The New Power: “Brave New World” and the Status of Mustapha Mond
In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, World Controller Mustapha Mond has to reconcile imposing the suppressive values of the world state with his powerful knowledge from a past world. This very knowledge is what keeps him in control of the world of AF 632. Community, identity, and stability are the values that he preaches to his millions of citizens. However, he embodies a different viewpoint, one that leads him to value the world; under this perspective, Mond goes the extra mile to study physics and appreciates the craft of Shakespeare.
When John confronts Mustapha about how he breaks the societal rules prohibiting reading, Mond responds, “but as I make the laws here, I can also break them” (Huxley 234). The novel is intended “to reveal ironically the inadequacies of the present” (Firchow) through its satirization of society and capitalism in the modern world. Nonetheless, in this novel, literature and knowledge place Mond ahead of every man in the world, instead of the immense wealth that often ensures power today. Mond is apparently a hypocritical character, one who holds his subjects to a code which he does not follow. He is treated like a god when he is called “Your Fordship” (Huxley 150) and this is a satirization of the immense respect and reverence that people in today’s world all too often show an individual of immense wealth.
Being master of someone’s happiness is similar to being a literal caregiver. Mond states that “happiness is a hard master—particularly other people’s happiness” (Huxley 244). This declaration reveals how Mustapha views his position as World Controller, as if all the world were his children, as if he were God himself. His image of himself as a caregiver, and the people as his children, places him far above the people and therefore above the law. This arrangement relates to the intentional satire of the novel; Mond is just like a wealthy man who is put on a pedestal and believes that the rules do not apply to him. (Furthering the novel’s connection to capitalism, some of the characters sport the names of Rothschild and J.P. Morgan.) Mond says that stability and peace come at a cost and “that’s the price we have to pay for stability… you’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art” (Huxley 236). His decision to form this new world by choosing a safe stable world over one of creativity, expression, and disorder is a great sacrifice to the human experience. Mond is an “exception [to the] Freudian concepts [that] dominate the motivation of all the characters in the novel” (Clareson). Although nearly the entire world is subject to conditioning and social restructuring, Mond is a third party in society and remains unaffected by the new world order he helped to create: “The deep voice thrillingly vibrated; the gesticulating hand implied all space and the onrush of the irresistible machine. Mustapha Mond’s oratory was almost up to synthetic standards” (Huxley 238). His deep voice helps to reaffirm his powerful image as his “Fordship” and World Controller.
Mond indicates “that he, along with the other World Controllers, has taken the pain of life’s ambiguities and indecisions upon his own shoulders in order to spare those less capable from having to endure such emotional and psychological pressures” (McDonald). This mentality aligns the world leaders with no less than Christ himself, who took on his burdens of pain during the crucifixion in order to wipe away human sin. Instead of ending sin, the World Controllers suffer to end conflict. but end it through suppression and artificial conditioning rather than through action, as Jesus did.
Even though the pain is replaced with an off brand of happiness, the society of Brave New World “denies the reification of [the spirit]” (Varriccio). As Gina McDonald states, “The irony of Huxley’s ‘brave new world’ is that its advances have been gained at the cost of family, romance, love, religion, ‘humanistic learning,’ creativity, and individuality.” Even though the citizens of this Brave New World do not acknowledge their suffering but instead mask it with soma, they still are without true substantive happiness. Suffering is instrumental to the human experience because without it one is not capable of appreciating the most joyous and beautiful moments in life. Mond is seemingly willing to allow the world to be governed by soma and idiocy, yet he places such high values on the works like Shakespeare’s plays, which value expression of the individual and praise innovation and learning. His powerfully resonant voice and references to the works of Shakespeare are thoughtfully tied into his vocabulary, highlighting his cultured nature and how much more information he is able to obtain in comparison to the average citizen. This very knowledge keeps him in control as a world leader. Keep in mind that Mond is often called “Your Fordship,” a title reminiscent of the late Henry Ford who is idolized in this novel as the founder of their world. This title connects the modern consumer world with the medieval ruling system of Lords who ruled over their “lesser” men, or subjects. Ford can also be connected with “Lord” when he is mentioned as a mysterious, all knowing ruler who has access to information which no other man in society is able to obtain.
Mustapha Mond supports and forwards the values and ideas of the world state, all the while knowing how much freedom of expression is limited because of his actions. He seems to view himself as above the rules that confine this new world and willfully disobeys the laws against reading works from the past. In the midst of Brave New World, he is both a power and a paradox.
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In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, World Controller Mustapha Mond has to reconcile imposing the suppressive values of the world state with his powerful knowledge from a past world. […]