Yesterday, I found myself in attendance at the tail end of a workshop on scenario planning. And a gentleman was presenting a two-by-two, with the x-axis being about degrees of community, and the y access about degrees of innovation. And the upper right quadrant, with high innovation and deep community, was labelled “Brave New World.”
Brave New World is a dystopic novel by Aldous Huxley, and not really something you want to set out as a goal, or a marker of a desirable future.
One of the worst offenders of the Glorious use of “Brave New World” is, not surprisingly, Wired. A list of google results on “brave new world” constrained to wired.com reveals a number of misuses (Brave New World of Web Services, Brave New World of Myst). Though, not surprisingly, considering the schizophrenia that is Wired’s editorial vision, there are a number of appropriate phrases (“brave new world of government intrusion”).
Anyway, I’m calling this out because the misuse of Brave New World has always been a personal bugbear. It’s a brilliant phrase, when used appropriately (i.e., IRONICALLY). It loses its heart when simply slapped on as a label for “forward thinking.”