Brave New World: Correlation between the Dangers of a World State Society

Last Updated: 28 May 2020
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Written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, Brave New World is a novel still highly revered in today’s literary world. The novel sets itself in London, England, in the year 632 AF (After Ford). The world is a strikingly different place in Huxley’s futuristic World State than it is today – society’s technological advancements have come nowhere near the incredible developments in fertilization and population and control that the World State has. Yet despite this, the novel is still heavily referred to, both in instances within the literary world and outside.

Thought written decades ago, Brave New World does not appear outdated in any way. The revelations and realizations of the characters within the novel could very well be the realizations of any 21st century man or woman. The novel Brave New World is still relevant in today’s modern world because its themes of government control, happiness conflicting with reality, and consumerism, are all present in today’s society. Government control is a very large part of the society that Aldous Huxley has created in his novel. In the World State, not many people have the ability to achieve unbiased or preconditioned thought.

The book starts at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where the Director of the Hatchery is giving a number of students a tour around. He is explaining their methods of population control and fertilization, known as the Bokanovskification Process (pg. 6, Huxley). The process in which a Bokanovskified egg will divide into 96 buds that grow into full embryos is the first step in the process of conditioning. The Bokanovskified eggs are conditioned with hormones and chemicals as needed to get them into the state that the Director wants them in.

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Huxley hints at the objective of this conditioning when a young worker at the Hatchery, Mr. Foster, says, “ “We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future…’ He was going to say ‘future World Controllers,’ but correcting himself, said ‘future Directors of Hatcheries’ instead” (pg. 13, Huxley). This shows that government figures in the book are responsible for the achievements and successes of all the humans they hatch, because they are the ones who essentially craft their personalities and character traits.

When they are conditioning the eggs by rejecting defects and enhancing positive features such as physical perfection, they inherently choose the path in life that the embryo will follow. This is much like the new ability that expecting parents have today to choose certain genetic aspects of their future child’s body. Parents have the ability to choose hair colour, eye colour, skin colour, and with our expanding technology, more child customization seems possible.

Another method of government control is sleep conditioning, more formally known as hypnopaedic conditioning. The sleeping newborns and fertilized embryos all go through a process in which workers at the Hatchery put bits of information through a loudspeaker on repeat while they sleep. This brainwashing of the fertilized eggs is similar to the programming and propaganda that many oppressive governments have tried to use on their people to prevent free thought, such as Hitler’s intense use of propaganda speeches and posters to fuel Anti-Semitic thought.

Lastly, the advancements in World State technology have allowed for the drug soma to be created. Its self-induced feelings of happiness and contentment to distract from society’s flaws are in a way very similar to North America’s prescription drug addiction. Anti-depressant pills to distract from life’s hardships are used both within the novel and society today. The controlling government in Brave New World can be seen as a metaphor for modern society and the dangers that technology and too much government create.

Happiness and a grasp on reality are two ideals that do not coincide within the novel. John, the son of the Director and his wife Linda, is the Savage within the novel. He is an outcast amongst the members of his father’s society. John was an intelligent boy who was taught to read by his mother at an early age, demonstrated by a passage in the novel that says, “Soon he could read all the words quite well. Even the longest. But what did they mean? He asked Linda; but even when she could answer it didn’t seem to make it very clear” (pg. 130, Huxley).

This is a reflection on the fact that his society is constantly trying to prevent him from learning – when John is taken back to the civilized world, he realizes that in order to be accepted into the World State and finally achieve happiness, he must give up learning and reading about the true nature of the world. He cannot make this sacrifice, which leads to his eventual suicide. This is similar to free thinkers in the past and present that have gone against the norms of society, who have either stopped rebelling against society and decided to conform, or continue their research for truth at their own expense.

Many early scientists were forced to conform to outdated forms of research due to religious or cultural beliefs within their society. Another example of how happiness and reality are incompatible is the use of the drug soma within society. The character of Lenina, a vaccination nurse at the Hatchery, is a heavy soma user. Every occasion that she finds strange or unusual is another opportunity for her friends and colleagues to encourage her use of soma, which makes her feel relaxed and without worry. An example of this is after she felt quite rejected by John after their date:

Drying her eyes, Lenina walked across the roof to the lift. On her way down to the twenty seventh floor, she pulled out her soma bottle. One gram would not be enough, but two would make her late for work the next morning…She compromised and, into her cupped left palm, she took out three half-gram tablets. (pg. 171, Huxley) Her dependence on mind and mood altering drugs is similar to anti-depressants and their role in modern civilization. When somebody has a different mental process than the norm, they are encouraged to take medication even if their mental state is not harming anyone, thus repressing these thoughts from occurring.

Lastly, Brave New World shows another representation of choosing between happiness and reality with society’s promiscuous nature. People are highly discouraged to develop feelings for a single human, and encouraged to take on multiple sexual partners. When Lenina starts to develop feelings for a man, her colleagues are quick to dissuade her from pursuing those feelings any further, all to conform to the harsh reality of the World State’s lack of personal relationships. This is an example of characters being forced to choose truth instead of happiness.

Drug dependence, persecution of creative minds, and oppression of the family are all ways that Brave New World demonstrates that happiness and truth cannot coincide. The theme of consumerism is very important to the understanding of how society works in the World State. Consumerism is a major aspect of their society because it is the driving force that allows the government to control the people of the World State without resorting to tyrannical or violent rule. During hypnopaedic conditioning sessions, the embryos will be taught that “Ending is better than mending” (pg. 23, Huxley).

This is meant to show their society’s encouragement when it comes to buying new things. The quote is in reference to purchasing new clothes, and how it is favored to attempting to fix old clothes. They are taught at a young age that this is the best option, which reflects on the world’s current driven consumer society. All over the globe today, it can be seen that what truly makes a country successful is not its politics, but rather its economy. Commercials, politicians, and public messages of any kind are constantly trying to insert their message into society’s mind – purchasing new items will help society and the economy.

Buying things will somehow add to personal happiness. Even fixing broken or lower class products by oneself is discouraged as there exist paid services that allow others to do the fixing instead. A second important point worth nothing in Brave New World is the attitude towards things as simple as children’s toys. When a product breaks (for example, a child’s toy), instead of the same toy being bought once more, increasingly complicated toys are created instead. This is similar to today’s consumerist society where advertisers and consumers are always searching for something “better”.

Though the search for better products may improve technology, it also puts emphasis on unnecessary materialistic items. The last and most important aspect of consumerism is its religious like status. The founder of the World State, a man called Ford, is named in reference to Henry Ford, the famous automobile maker. When talking to one another, members of the World State often make a capital-T with their hands. This is a reference to Ford’s famous T-model car, as well as the Christian symbol of the cross.

These gestures heavily imply that Ford, a famous capitalist, is seen as a Christ-like figure, and consumerism has replaces religious belief. The manipulation of World State Citizens into thinking that they must spend money at a constant rate, idea that something “better” must all exist, and the religious-type undertones of society all show how consumerism is a major aspect of the novel. Brave New World is a novel that directly reflects modern society through its depictions of government, truth’s incompatibility with happiness, and consumerism. Unlike many dystopian novels that depict futuristic governments s oppressive and dictatorial beings, Brave New World is a story that does not portray the people in command as a repressive, brutish force. Just as in our society today, the community within the World State are each given choices – there are no sections of the government that require people to take soma, yet they do. There are no sections of the government that require people to partake in sexual activities, yet they do. Aldous Huxley’s depiction of the World State is relevant to ours because it is a direct reflection upon what humans today have done to society.

People are given an endless amount of choices as to whether or not they want to conform, but as presented through the characters in the novel and people in the 21st century, the society that people live in will inevitably modify those choices. Brave New World is a story that masterfully shows the correlation between the dangers of a World State society and the dangers of the modern world. Works Cited Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 1931

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Brave New World: Correlation between the Dangers of a World State Society. (2016, Nov 15). Retrieved from

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