The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise.  Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire — we hold history’s record for all of them.  And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence.  That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio, is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes.  And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the ear-drums.  It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions — news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic (frenzied) or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but merely create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas.

And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ears, through the realms of fantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s central core of wish and desire.  Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose — to prevent the will from ever achieving silence.  Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination.  The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving.  Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify craving — to extend and intensify, that is to say, the workings of that force, which (as all saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and is the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its divine Ground.

– Aldous Huxley, 1944

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