Try to imagine yourself in an unnatural world where most people are produced in factories, where there is no freedom or morality as you know it, and you are considered a savage because of your human origin. It is exactly what Brave New World suggests.
Brave New World was first published in 1932 by Aldous Huxley. The Brave New World describes a society that attempts to be a perfect world, where every one lives in harmony. In Brave New World, people are created on an assembly line, and there are no mothers and no fathers. People are typecast into their area of profession from before birth, if I can call it that. People are given drugs, soma, to control themselves, and there is no personal freedom. This book also illustrates that a utopia created can be an Eden or a hell, depending on the point of view. Personally, I think that Brave New World is hell! I think Huxley wrote this book to warn us about the dangerous development in the society. Biological experiments with gene-manipulation are increasing rapidly. For sure, there are laws against cloning and gene manipulation but that will just slow down the speed of these experiments. The challenge is too great for the scientist, and usually they are sponsored by people that want to be well-known in the whole world.
The characters from this book are described in such a way that readers can easily understand how they feel and have pain ( Bernard feels left out in the society) . In contrast, the other characters are described as brainwashed and government controlled individuals. While reading this, I felt like we (America) are entering in Huxleys Brave New World today in 2000. Why? Because there are so many signals from the society on how to behave, and what to do with your life. Today, people who dont behave the same as the others are looked upon as weird people e.g. if you dont surf on the web, you are not in!) Brave New world is about totalitarianism. The whole society is under control (dictatorship) and the people that live there think that they are free and happy but they arent. They are not free because they lost the right to be unhappy and to have emotions. The totalitarian regime must then ensure that people are happy with what they have , be able to control the behaviour of each individual, and ensure that independent thinkers like Bernard Marx are forbidden from disturbing the social fabric. That is the reason why they want to transfer Bernard to Iceland. There is no physically violence under totalitarianism. Instead, their police use soma-vaporisers to control the population. There is a fundamental principle behind Brave New World society.
It is called utilitarianism, which describes a society that seeks to create the maximum happiness. Through the use of science, people are not only created, but also conditioned to guarantee they will be happy members of the society. Limiting the intelligence of each person to fit the job which that person will be given is one way this society makes them happy. Alphas are given challenging jobs and Epsilons are given scrap jobs which would be boring for higher class members because they would be too much intelligent for that. A group of children are trained by the Neo- Pavlovian Conditioning method at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center. ( p.17 from the Flamingo Edition) The Neo-Pavlovian conditioning is based on research by Pavlov who discovered the principles of conditioning and behaviourism.. Pavlov showed that animals can be trained to do an action through punishment and reward. This concept is extended to human by Huxley. Does Huxley want to advice us that sooner or later, humans will be treated the same as animal? The behaviour of Deltas is modified through the use of electric shocks and sirens whenever the babies touch roses or books. This is done to discourage behaviour that might destabilize society. Books and nature are banished from Brave New World. People who live there are more encouraged to consume in order to create more job.
Consumption is viewed as beneficial to Brave New World society. It is related to the American Society of today where everybody is kind of forced to consume because of the capitalism. We are viewed as consuming machines and think we are happy. Arent we? American are not free because they are condemned to consume all their life. This is not freedom! The society believes that more consumption means that the more goods will have to be made. This will increase the number of jobs and keep the society fully employed. The best example is when citizens are encouraged by hypnopaedic phrases to throw away their old clothes and buy new ones. Monogamy, sex and family ties generate most human emotions. Thats the reason why it is banned from Brave New World. The goal of the totalitarian society is to eradicate emotions by replacing them with pure sexual desire. With this solution, emotions have no place to exist. Community, Identity and Stability is the device of Brave New World. It emphasizes sameness and monotony. With emotions, this device would have no reason to exist. No emotions? no love? no wedding? no babies? no responsibilities FREEDOM? Its not freedom because people from this society cant choose who they want to be. The years 20 were the machine age. This novel is set in A.F. 632. A.F. stands for the year of Ford, named for the great industrialist Henry Ford who refined mass production with the Model T car. Everybody from Brave New World see Ford as a God because they apply Ford idea to the real society. It is not really a new religion but rather a system of ideologies which acknowledges Ford as its leader.
The society replaced the Christian Our Lord with Ford and uses the T in the special ceremony instead of a cross. It is the new religion based on consumption. The real religion is banned from BNW because its viewed as dangerous and potentially corrupting. Religion goes with history and having history gives people a sense of time outside of their own frame. Thats the reason why people, from Brave New World, have been early conditioned to avoid books. People from Brave New World are taking soma to eradicate emotions. At a early age, they were conditioned to take soma: 10 grams a day, keep emotions away!. Every single time they see or hear something that they were conditioned to dislike, they take soma to forget. Soma brings them in a kind of mental utopian world. We can relate soma with Extasy. People who take extasy get the same effects than soma. They are happy to live, forget their problems and the best they dont have any headaches when the effects of soma are over. Soma doesnt in any way promote personal growth. Instead, it provides a mindless, inauthentic happiness.
For those who are curious about the choice of the title, it is when John asked to go to London and said: Oh brave new world, that has such people in it He remembered these words from the William Shakespeares play The Tempest, which once was found in the reservation where John lived. He was really enthusiastic, but when he is in London, it disappoints him as in the Tempest. You must have read The Tempest to have a better understanding. Although this book was written more than 60 years ago, a renewed interest is warranted because most of the technologies introduced in this book have, in part, become realities. A good example of this that doctors are able to produce babies with specific traits based on the gene pool of the chosen donors. Also, there are now drugs which can control moods, if that is desired. Are we in Brave New World? We are not really in it because we can still read book and express our thought and feelings but I cant say if it will be the same in 60 years Huxley via his book is trying to tell us to live with individualism in our society. If we throw that away, we will maybe enter in the Brave New World where nobody has identity.
- Published in 1932 by Aldous Huxley