Brave New World: overview
Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, is a dystopian novel which goes to a large extent to tell modern society how the novel could develop in our world today.
A dystopian novel is a novel in which individuals of a society believe they are living a perfect life, but in reality, their lives are anything but perfect.
Brave New World takes places in London, England, in the year 632 A.F (after Ford). In the novel, Henry Ford is relied on as a god-like being; “Our Ford” is used instead of “Our Lord” for credit for creating the assembly line. In the novel, the technology present could only be dreamt about in 1932. Many of the ideas Huxley presents are related to everyday things we encounter in modern society such as teaching methods similar to hypnopaedia, the level of dependency of technology and consumerism, and the high intake of drugs we see the people around us consume.
In the novel, the World State is the government of the entire planet except for a few parts of the world such as the Savage Reservations in New Mexico. The World State also has complete control over caste systems, the distribution of soma (a drug provided by the government for people to feel free of pain or “cure” any other problems), how many babies are born each year, and even what society thinks. The way the World State controls the thinking process of society is through the use of hypnopaedia.
Hypnopaedia is the process of teaching babies while they are asleep and controllers “condition” ideas in to their minds. The Director of the World State states, “[Hypnopaedia is] the greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time” (Huxley, 26) as he tells young boys taking notes about what is being done to the babies. The Director believes hypnopaedia is the way to go because even he has been conditioned to think this way. This is similar to modern society because ever since students start school, they are conditioned to act and think in a certain way. For example, since kindergarten, students are trained to stand up during the pledge of allegiance and place our hands over our heart. This shows how the D.H.C will do anything to get society to think a certain way.
Another way Brave New World is developing in our society today is because of our dependency of technology and what roles society plays to make everything possible. In the World State, Mustapha Mond even rejects all technology that does not add to consumerism. Lenina states that “Everyone works for everyone else. We can’t do without anyone ” (77) as she explains that each caste has a part in making anything come to life. She actually repeats this quote multiple times, as a result of hypnopaedia. What she is saying is related to our society because everyone has to complete their duties and fulfill their roles for the end result to come out properly. An example of this would be factory workers. Each station at a factory would have to build each individual part with no errors so the next person can make sure the items fit together. No matter what object is being built, there is no room for errors so the assembly can be done correctly.
The World State uses soma as a means of something which should be used at any time of difficulty or pain. It also causes people to feel a false sense of happiness so they do not have to focus on the reality of living in a tyrannical government where the people basically have no say in anything. Many times in the novel, the words “A gramme is better than a damn” (61) are used to show that the maximum amount of happiness can only be found when soma has been taken. Huxley explains that the best thing everyone can do is to disregard all negative feelings towards society and others. The only way this can be done, of course, is by taking soma. This is similar to society today because when many people feel low, they feel the pressure of taking drugs which will temporary feed them a sense of “security”.
Additionally, Marijuana is now legal in California, meaning that we are slowly inching towards depending on medicine more than ever. All in all, as we can see, Huxley has gone to a great extent to tell modern society how Brave New World has developed in our society today. We have seen how the World State uses hypnopaedia to control citizens and the way they think to keep them under control at all times. We have also seen how easily Mustapha Mond rejects items that do not add to the consumerism of society.
Lastly, it is seen how heavily society depends on medicine to keep us from feeling negative emotions. This is why our society inches toward the society of Brave New World more and more every day.
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