from Brave New World, chapter 11:
From the "Miranda 2.0" hypertext of Huxley's Brave New World.
Virtual Realities like Second Life have developed sophisticated visuals and a variety of audio effects from ambient background sounds to site-thematic music, but tactile and olfactory effects for VR have yet to be sufficiently developed for widespread use. Though SL and other VR programs do not have the level of sensory sophistication of "the feelies" described in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, neither are they designed for the same purpose.
The feelies are a multi-sensory, sensational and simple narrative meant as an entertaining distraction for the genetically designed, heavily conditioned consumer workforce that is strictly divided by caste, completely incurious and uncreative. Huxley opens the novel with a group of Alphas, the management caste, brainlessly copying everything they are told - and it never occurs to them to ask any questions.
Second Life particularly contrasts with Brave New World and the feelies because SL not only offers a vast array of character and participatory choices, but it demands thoughtful creative participation of its viewer/users. So, if or when the tactile and olfactory features of Huxley's feelies become available to SL users, we'll at least be able to compose the story and its sensory input ourselves. Additionally avatar-educators, like Professor Ignatius Onomatopoea, are actively deploying Second Life in university classrooms with good results. As forecast by the 2008 Horizon Report by EDUCAUSE, such pedagogical uses of virtual worlds will be widespread on campuses within a few years.