For an essay published in 1946 Aldous Huxley’s “Science, Liberty and Peace” took my breath away when I read it recently. It seemed to describe and analyse the world in which we live, or more specifically the world I inhabit, and even more so the world surrounding London, Britain.
You see recently I went home for the night and had to travel through central london and all I could notice was the ubiquitous cctv cameras there for my safety,and the stern police officers searching members of the public, all of which were asian (I take asia to be from Lebannon to the borders of china here), there were even sniffer dogs on my train.
In this stream of thoughts manifesting itself here I should also mention that as many people already talk of Orwells 1984, his ideas seem creepily real, yet when one wants an engaging ‘free roaming’ conversation on the subjects of society, technology and security one is met with hostility unless the other members of the discussion are already in agreement or wish to pursue the same avenue of discussion.
I am well aware this sounds like a rant and it is, and I am well aware that I am off he topic of Huxley’s essay. It is simply that all these thoughts and themes are interlinked.
Now back to Huxley.
Recently the Metropolitan police announced that cctv helped to stop 3% of crimes in London and their responce was to place more! recently there has also been a poster campaign to alert citizens to the danger of those with photographers. There are also more and more frequent reports of photographers being told it is illegal to take photos and in some cases detained by the authorities.
in my mind this is the minority leveraging the power of technology to pursue their own agenda’s, especially in terms of insular, defensive ‘nation states’ that are not at face value totalitarian, but instead leverage the power of media to inculcate a world of moral ethical rights and wrongs.
It seems that there are a lot of people who wish things to be different, but seemingly they are not heard or if they are not responded to or anything done about their concerns.
I may sound pissed off, and that’s because I am, I am feel like I have no place to air my views and even if when i tried to my local council they didn’t respond.
There is a point in Huxley’s essay where he says that in India pacifist tactics worked and those same tactics could and have functioned in the west. The problem is launching such a campaign and getting recognition and a change of behaviour by our ‘authorities’.
On a parting note did you know that digital computer encryption, like that used in online shopping used to be illegal in the USA until the mid 1990’s, it was termed as a weapon by their govnt.
p.s. I may come back to this and add links and try to clean it up, but for now you’ll have to search for the references to my thoughts yourselves.