Watching modernity dawn, Aldous Huxley realized that a civilization dedicated to the self would rapidly become a witless place of self-centered, oblivious people. In Brave New World, he wrote about the danger of positive reward systems in creating a Utopia-Dystopia where human illusions dominated.
“And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue–liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.”
In a gap between two tunnels, a nurse was delicately probing with a long fine syringe into the gelatinous contents of a passing bottle. The students and their guides stood watching her for a few moments in silence.
“Well, Lenina,” said Mr. Foster, when at last she withdrew the syringe and straightened herself up.
In the Huxleyian view, the extremes of Communism and Consumerism were the same: a society dedicated to humans and their pleasures, instead of the achievement of self-control in order to find unity with the order of nature and the divine.
This conflicted with the modified French Revolution view of 1984 by George Orwell (Eric Blair) which argued that society suppressed the human desire for freedom, and that only freedom could save us from ourselves. Huxley says that freedom and selfishness lead to our doom.
The whole book is worth reading and luckily, is now available online so you can do it from your favorite handy device. It shows us the bleak past and future of modernity and how it is the creation of the human ego and social impulse, something you will not hear from your media or social group.