Sunday, June 27, 2010

Huxley's Liberty, Equality and Machinery

Main Discussion of the Essay
John Ruskin has deplored over the machinations of industry and agriculture because he has put forward the theory that machines look hideous and repulsive. He hated machinations, not due to their functions, but to their esthetic outlook. Being a sociologist, he feared that machines cause monotony and turn human beings into functional robots. Even William Morris and Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy held similar views.

Ruskin, Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi all opposed the ever-increasing manifestation of machinery in the cozy and snug life. They regarded machines the best weapons of oppressions. So Mahatma Gandhi was in favor of promoting domestic handicraft industries. But the fact is that those who have opposed machinery has ignored the population explosion. Since their time, population has doubled or to be more exact trebled. Despite the excess of filthy environment all over the world including cities such as London, Paris, New York, Decca, Bombay And Karachi, people have enjoyed prosperity and long life due to machinery. Overgrowth of population destroys not only happiness, but also liberty and economic resources. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to solve the population problem by sexual abstinence among the married groups, but it will remain unsolved until contraceptive pills as easy to use as aspirin are not invented.
Today we have computers and rulers today are better equipped than in the past to cope with most of the current international and national problems. Even expansion of mass media have revolutionized the world greatly.  We have means of production, greater opportunities for jobs to curb unemployment. Great machines of mass production are growing significantly and at the same time small machines are being exploited by individuals.
Art and creativity are related, but art is not one thing; it entails many things in one. Art means creation in some sort of field and it is a device for making sense of out of the chaos of experience in life. The gifted artists present their unique and enlightening visions of ideal order; thus art leads to self-discovery. Art possesses pathological properties of Catharsis in Aristotelian terms. Queen Victoria also believed in art as therapy so she took drawing classes.  Sadly, amateur artists don’t qualify themselves for these effects.  We should promote and practice art for therapy, not for communication.

Leo Tolstoy saw the greatest threat to liberty in applied sciences. He thought that applied sciences are the most powerful tools of oppression and atrocities because man will become a slave to machines and lose his freedom.  Industrialization also produces pollution and artistic ugliness so it is unhygienic to be mechanized. Contraceptives will improve living standards in the third world countries. Man, however, cannot survive without advanced technology.  

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