Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, is an extemporary novel that deals with moral problems like the problem of how to achieve happiness in the best possible way. The novel includes the poignant role of the government in achieving this goal and the drawbacks it can create in a society. This paper will thoroughly discuss both side of the moral problem and how it affected the society as a whole.
More often than not, a novel is a little interpretation and portrayal of an author’s life, experiences and knowledge. It would be hard not to incorporate his/her own opinions and thoughts inside his/her work.
An author can go as far as draw sound arguments to defend his/her point, and all this can be easily done by describing his/her characters, the setting, plot, and so on. Aldous Huxley started writing the Brave New world in 193, and by that time, technological innovations as well as world-changing events were taking place, and society was at its total make over. From its primitive way of life, the world was developing and advancing to a new and completely modern era. The event as a whole didn’t escaped the attention of Huxley, and all of this, no doubt, affected him, and resulted in one of the most powerful, thought provoking novels.
His visualization of the world in the near future, maybe decades or centuries from the time he wrote his work, gave deep insight of the unfavorable would-be lifestyle of the world, which may not be so far from today’s way of life. It is Huxley’s ability to portray the future that uses his current observations that made his novel a classic, affecting not only the people of his time, but also the latter societies. Inside the book, Huxley introduced a moral problem. He presented a society that was under the total power of a manipulative government.
Due to advanced scientific techniques, people live in constant happiness. Here Huxley wanted his readers to see an important question, should the state of happiness be the prime goal of mankind, or should free will, at the expense of contentment, be the key. The Brave New World’s government chose the former, to keep its people happy while ensuring stability. It was the director in the novel who explained the mechanics of the World State. He explained that tremendous amount of conditioning is necessary to unfold the secret of happiness, and that you must like what you are doing.
Making people like both their pursuit and the way of life the government wants them to do is the goal of all the conditioning. One of the defining moments of the novel was when the lead character, John, entered the story. The other side of the argument was brought into account. John, who came from a very different society, sees the World State in a very different way. Because he had grown up in a society where the government doesn’t have total control over its citizen, he sees how the citizens were denied of the truth of literature, history, emotion, and most of all, humanity.
It was when he met the world leader, Mustapha Mond, that he was able to adamantly point his observations. But even though he understood John’s view, the leader refused to listen and continued to argue that it must be done in order to achieve happiness and stability. These aspects are much more important compared to humanity, the leader continued. He insists that social stability requires the sacrifice of the things John values. As long as people are happy everything will be fine. John protests that, without these things, human life is not worth living, even with happiness.
Mond explains that the government’s plan is foolproof, with the help of soma, a drug that offers a way to deal with unpleasant emotions that lead to inefficiency and conflict, and keep people from trying to change the way they live. As everyone knows, utopias strive to work as perfection; therefore it is completely necessary for these societies to have moral values. The society in Brave New World lacks values like promiscuity, over-population, use of drugs, and elimination of religion and family, creating a Dystopia. During the entire novel, Huxley makes evident that these values are missing in the society.
As a peculiar characteristic the World State eliminates the word family. This word doesn’t exist for the people anymore, meaning that there are no parents or siblings; a person is created in an assembly line in mass production, creating 96 persons in one blow (Huxley, 6). This civilized society lives in a world where science and technology play an important role. Religion is replaced with God does not exist anymore (Huxley, 230). Instead of attending church on Sundays, people attend to services where morals are not learned at all. They just get accustomed to having sexual intercourse or taking soma.
The government not only controls how one thinks, but it also controls one’s physical usefulness to his society. By genetically engineering one’s body, the government can make it infinitely useful to itself. To make that one body feel no pain, to make the soul feel like it belongs to the society, and to make the mind open to any ideas is a vital asset for this government. The people are not always worried about death and can always relax in this utopian society since other people pleasure them, and with a society of happy people, the government never fears a revolt.
One aspect of control that is touched upon from the beginning of the novel until the end is the control of the population birth and growth. As a way to maintain the society’s motto of Community, Identity and Stability, the number of inhabitants is managed through the artificiality of the brave new world’s use of technology. In the first chapter of the novel, the reader is introduced to the process of creating humans in this Utopia. The fact that machines do what is done by human reproductive systems shows how science has dominated over man in this world.
The actual process of creating humans is made possible through the use of a single ovary, which makes thousands of identical people. Since these people are similar in appearance, thought and relations, they are able to live in perfect harmony with each other. Huxley uses Lenina and Fanny, two of his female characters who are distant relatives from the same ovary, as people who get along well and are on the same page on issues concerning Utopian lifestyles. This is how the government of Utopia, made up of only ten controllers, is able to maintain stability among its people.
Since stability is part of the brave new world’s motto, it is a crucial deal for the government to uphold. Something else that is controlled by government and science is any thing to do with marriage, romance and pregnancy. It is a rule by the government for everyone to freely have sex with anybody at anytime they want. It is against the rules of the Utopia to date anyone regularly. Government forbids anyone to go towards thoughts of monogamy and romance because they require too much time and bring no stability to life.
Science controls the aspect of pregnancy in the way that females have to wear contraceptive belts while having endless sex to avoid any pregnancy. Pregnancy is controlled because it brings pain and goal of the brave new world is to have happiness. Government and science restrain Utopia’s citizens from what is part of being human. In Brave New World, there are no feelings and emotions whatsoever because they are refused by the dominating authority which gives out the soma that allows people to do whatever they please without being guilty about it.
But they live their lives with ignorance. Lastly, literature is another characteristic that makes this society a dystopia. It is completely banned for anyone to read because it brings ideas to people, creating individual. They are more focused in a society that consumes and every time is buying new things. Even Mustapha Mond, one of the new worlds’ seven controllers, admits that the world they inhabit is far from perfect. Mond says to John those who have the ability to write the laws also have the ability to break them (Huxley, 248).
Even the seven controllers of the World State break the rules by reading books. It is evident that even though they want to create a new world where the past is completely forgotten, they still want to read and learn. The truth is that by knowing about the past societies learn to not make the same mistakes again. Much of Huxley’s vision is already reality today. We are already seeing the development of the fundamental principles evident in the novel with things like cloning, government control, drugs to make us happier, and being a consumer based society.
Now, when a scientific breakthrough is discovered, people will refer to us coming closer to the brave new world. We are more conscious of changes that technology brings upon us and try to recognize its potential threats. This is the reason why there are always opposing groups of certain advancements, trying to see not only the pros but also the cons of new technology. Huxley therefore hasn’t so much aided in the creation of new technologies, instead he has made us guarded or worried about these advancements.
The book helped the population see a future, which may not be so appealing, compared to many other futuristic novels, which portrayed a much happier lifestyle. Huxley’s upbringing, along with the world events going on around him, was contributory in some ways to the writing of Brave New World. More significantly however, are the effects the book has had on modern society. Not so much, that people have consciously taken ideas from the book and tried to implement them, more that the ideology has served as a gauge against which we judge the advents of technology.
In conclusion, science has become a major part of this modern life. In Brave New World, Huxley predicts a world dominated by government and science and how the two aspects influence humanity. Although I lack the understanding of a society of this New State, I can picture out what might happen to the world if the government makes this drastic operation. I can see a world deprived of passion and love. Everything movement is mechanical. Every reaction will create confusion. I can see them asking themselves, how will I react when I accidentally do something wrong? How will I love someone?
The questions somewhat made me laugh, but at the same time made me sad. The prospect of having the same fate as anyone else frightens me. It’s as if we’ll all be buried inside the same caskets. I don’t like the idea at all. And by creating people massively, it automatically eliminates individuality. Parents are not necessary to raise a person, but they are actually wrong. Education starts at home, something very true in the real world. So if there isn’t any home or family, how can a person be raised to be a well-mannered adult? Reference Huxley, A. (1975). Brave New World. Markham, Ontario