Brave New World
The novel Brave New World is like no other in fantasy and satire.
It predicts a future overpowered by technology where the people have
no religion. Has Huxley written about a degrading way of life or has
he discovered the key to a perfect world that should be called Utopia?
This essay will show that upon close analysis the way of life in the
novel is justifiable and all the precautions that are taken are needed
to preserve their lifestyle. This essay will also show that however
different and easily looked upon, as horrible as their lives seem to
be, in actuality it is better than ours.
The first argument that would contradict the fact that Brave New
World is a Utopia is the government overpowering the world, causing
the loss of freedom and liberty in the people. Before judging their
lives the reader must ask himself one simple question: Is it really
that bad? Obviously no it's not. In the novel, the people don't have
to worry about having a job. One must remember that being born and
raised in Utopia, one does not know what freedom is and therefore does
not know what is missing. Freedom leads to happiness, and if one
already possesses happiness, then there is no need for freedom,
especially if your government is making sure that all your needs are
Religion plays an important role in people's lives. It represents
our principles and values. Religion guides us, gives us something
to believe in and a set of rules to live by. However, who is to say
that one hundred years from now people will still believe and
practice religion? Mustapha Mond when referring to the Holy Bible says
that "they're old; they're about God hundreds of years ago. Not about
God Now" (Huxley, p.237). Mustapha Mond is saying that with the
evolution of time the need for religion has disappeared and has been
replaced by the worship of another God who is Ford. They basically
live a fulfilled life and then they die. Also thanks to their
conditioning they do not fear death but accept it as a way of life.
That alone is a task that our world still has not been able to
accomplish. In our world we must go through the ritual of the funeral.
After one has died, his family must go through an enormous task of
planning, organizing and dealing with the death of their now gone
In utopian civilization, the people are isolated from one another,
divided into five different classes. The classes range from the
Alphas, the Betas, the Gammas, the Deltas and finally, the Epsilons.
The members of each class are ranked according to their mental
capacity and physical appearance. During the D.H.C.'s lecture to his
students he tells them how by depriving certain embryos of oxygen will
affect their stature. "The lower the cast, the shorter the oxygen."
(Huxley, p.13) It seems unfair that even before you are born, your
future is already written out for you. However upon further study, one
will realize that this sort of precaution is necessary. In our world,
one has to face racism and stereotypes because people feel threatened
by what is different. This conditioning is how the utopian society
eliminated the problem. First of all, each class is conditioned to
love their ranking and to realize that everyone is important and is
indispensable to the society. The important thing here is that the
lower classes are not jealous of the superior classes but even believe
that their work is too tiring for them. The mental inferiority is very
important for the survival of the utopian society. If the lower
classes got too smart they would want to move up in life and that
would ruin the stability of the society.
Another precaution taken to prevent chaos to the society is the
restraint of history, culture and art to the utopian civilization.
According to our views, these things are unquestionably important and
we would go as far as saying that we could not live without them. But
for these people, they are insignificant. Education to us leads to
knowledge and for us knowledge is power and power runs the world.
However for them there is no need for education because they do not
need power. Power will not get them any farther in life then what is
already written out for them. The only kind of books in Brave New
World accessible to the public are reference books. Books with
opinions and emotions are non-existing. This discretion is needed
because those types of books could challenge the hypnopaedic
propaganda served to the people. The hypnopaedia was given for a
reason, it is the tool used to stabilize the society. If stability is
threatened so will be the utopian world.
Of course some will say that they will miss their families and
relationships and most of all, love. But the people in Utopia once
again have never experienced any of these. They were brought up in
conditioning centers and feel that parents and family are primitive.
The mere sound of the word annoys them. "Mother, he repeated loudly
rubbing in the science ; and, leaning back in his chair, these, he
said gravely are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical
facts are unpleasant" (Huxley, p.23). In our world, parents pass on to
their children their own values and principles. What they may become
as a result of their upbringing could be doctors, lawyers,
accountants, robbers, rapists and murderers. In the utopian society
everyone is raised and conditioned the same way abolishing the bad
apples in our society. Monogamy is discouraged by the utopian society
and considered improper " Four months of Henry Foster, without having
another man --- why, he'd be furious if he knew..." (Huxley, p.40).
This restrains peoples from getting too emotionally involved and
putting their loved one's needs before the society's. In the utopian
society, everyone belongs to everyone else.
One might easily point out that these precautions are too extreme.
But one thing that can not be ignored is that in Brave New World there
is no war, no diseases and no old age. For people in our world that
would be "utopia". In the utopian society, "you're so conditioned that
you can't help doing what you ought to do" (Huxley, p.244). Thanks to
their conditioning, nobody even considers fighting. And if ever anyone
gets angry or depressed, there is always soma. In our world soma would
be seen as a drug and should not be used. Nevertheless as one of their
hypnopaedic quotes says, "they used to drink enormous quantities of
alcohol"(Huxley, p.53). That statement proves that once again values
are what changes one's views towards situations. Our alcohol is their
soma except for the fact that soma has no side-effects.
There are only three characters in the Brave New World that do no
like their lifestyle. Bernard Marx is an alpha-plus and therefore
should be living the "good life". But even though his mental status is
that of an Alpha-plus, his physical appearance is similar to that of
an Epsilon. " They say somebody made a mistake when he was still in
the bottle---thought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into his
blood-surrogate" ( Huxley, p.46 ) He quickly becomes an outcast and
does not get along with the opposite sex. Bernard criticizes the
utopian civilization until he discovers John the Savage in the savage
reservation and introduces him to society. Bernard then becomes
somewhat of a celebrity and quite popular among the ladies. At that
point, Bernard is always bragging about how many girls he has slept
with and stops his complaining about the utopian life. All this
proves that if someone hadn't made that mistake, Bernard would not
have become an outcast, women would have liked him and he would have
liked this world. Bernard Marx is an exception of bad conditioning,
his life should have been different from the start.
Helmholtz Watson also does not like the utopian civilization. The
problem with him is they let they him get too smart. That led him to
want a better life, a dream he felt was unobtainable in Utopia. Once
again, if his conditioning had been done right and his intelligence
had been controlled, he would not have had a problem with his world.
Finally, the third character unhappy in Utopia is John or better
known as the savage. As a matter of fact, he should not even be
considered as an unhappy civilian because he was not raised in the
utopian civilization but in the savage reservation. He does not like
it because he was not conditioned to be happy with who he is. In the
savage reservation, he learned about God, religion and freedom, all
things which are not taught in Utopia. His values are different from a
utopian's. For instance, he beats himself with a rope to get a good
harvest, which proves that a person can not judge others through his
or her own values but through theirs.
In conclusion one can clearly see that human beings can adapt to
anything. The question is: do we want to adapt to a society like
Utopia? This is a world that one can not help but be happy, a world
that replaced not destroyed religion, a world that even eliminated
racism and stereotypes. It is a world where you only possess knowledge
you need, where everyone has the same values and principals. Finally
here is a world with no war, no disease and no old age. This question
seems difficult to answer at first. Let's rephrase this question.
Forget adapting, is this a world you would want to be born in? That
changes everything because you can no longer judge by your own values,
principles and standards. You now have to picture how much you would
like it if you were born there and followed the same treatment as the
others. It was best said by Mustapha Mond at one point. "The key to
happiness is enjoying who you are and what you do". ( Huxley )
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