As I read through the first chapters of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World I was shocked by how cold society had become. Sex was replaced by a laboratory Logan’s loophole; parents no longer exist so the children never have a family, systematic cloning of the lower castes (Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons) throw the Bokanovsky’s process, where the clones have no individual identity due to constant brainwashing. This type of behavior the world seems to have adopted in the name of stability reminds me of the Combine in Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The Combine will do everything to keep society’s conformity and stability, everyone needs to do what they are assigned to do without questioning, or they are considered an anomaly. This sounds to me exactly how Brave New World works, they (Alphas and Betas) choose the fate of people even before they are born. If an embryo is chosen to be an Alpha or Beta they will be “future World controllers” (Huxley 13), but if the embryo is a Delta, Gamma or Epsilon (a lower caste) they undergo an “oxygen-shortage for keeping an embryo below par” (Huxley 15). The lower castes suffering does end here, even after they are born the must endure cruel brainwashing, “the Head Nurse pressed a second lever. The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, (…) ‘We can electrify that whole strip of floor,’” (Huxley 21). Apparently the Big Nurse was able to get a promotion and improve her shock therapy methods, so now it includes babies and electrified floors. Brave New World seems to be a future where the Combine is the ruling body of the World, where everyone is deprived of freewill in the name of “Community, Identity, Stability” (Huxley 7), and if an anomaly presents itself it needs to be discarded.
Tiago makes a pertinent comparison, but consider the outstanding differences in the purposes of this Brave New World vs. the Combine. Throughout the novel, Huxley clearly comments how and why this system came into existence. Watch for logic and reason behind the system!
A nightmare. What was read in the chapters of Brave New World resembles to an unfortunate near future. Just think a little: Huxley introduces us to a manufactured life with extinct sadness, but isn’t this inside this sick society we live in already? Not with the same grotesqueness of Huxley’s Community, indeed, however what is more manufacturing than the life we live in today? You go to school, then to university, get a job, marry, have children and die; just like Ford’s assembly line technique of mass production. That’s our life, summed up into 6 boringly phases. And one is forced to obey, since if he or she denies this reality, he is called a lunatic, a bum and pejoratively called a hippie.
People forgot nowadays that nature of being alive. We are turning ourselves into working machines with the excuse of “being useful to society”. The state, in the other hand, promotes what I call “the Happiness Dictatorship”, where one is prohibited to feel unhappy, they encourage men to be always sedated with an unconscious happiness full of indiscriminate parties, drugs, alcohol, sexual propaganda and, most worryingly, it is all done unquestioned, it is all supported by a status, coerced by the majority.
Look towards ourselves. Aren’t we walking towards this frivolous society suggested by Huxley? Our music is filled with this “fake happiness” motto and people are even more exposed to this reality. Not to mention that people are even less interested in working with arts and evoking feelings on people, instead we are even more into sciences that can modify nature, which can rule over our natural surroundings. We are triggering a society that the DHC proudly announces: “What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder” (Huxley 22).
As you read Daniel's post, pay attention to the labels in it: "lunatic," "bum," "hippie," "fake happiness," etc. Whose labels are these? To what extent have we been conditioned, just like Huxley's characters, to judge and label others? How has Huxley´s notion of conditioning impacted the way you perceive others' behavior? And on the contrary, is it possible that what you might consider "fake happiness," be real happiness to others?
Correction: The title of this post is supposed to be "A nightmare".
A Gramme of Happiness
It is scary to think that Aldous Huxley's fiction book may someday be considered nonfiction. As the novel begins by introducing how this new world is structured and organized, everything seems to be perfect, a Utopian society. Each individual is predestined to belong in a specific group, whether it is Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons, and everyone is happy, or better, conformed to such situation. Every single detail, from the way an embryo is treated to what they are conditioned to believe in, creates an illusion of happiness throughout the community. Just like the director puts it, “and that's the secret of happiness and virtue- liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny” (Huxley 16). This is when I began to question myself if what they feel is actually happiness. How do they know that they are happy if sadness is almost extinct?
Every individual grows perfectly adapted to their adequate surroundings, and everything that is planed seems to function perfectly. The alphas are the smartest, best looking, highest, the ones closer to perfection. As the class changes this perfection decreases. Epsilon is the worst class, which does not even receive any education. Even though everyone thinks that they are happy in the position they are, it is a society in which people have to medicate themselves to avoid their true emotions. They've never encountered an obstacle, or had to fight for satisfaction. When they feel that they are in an uncomfortable position or are beginning to think something out of the box, “there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East¨ (Huxley 55). And this is where the problem begins.
Take Bernard, he is supposed to be an Alpha Plus, but he doesn't look like one, he is small, doesn't like Obstacle Golf, spends most of his time by himself, and most importantly avoids taking soma. How do you think a man that doesn't “fit” to his classification will react? What can the effects of not taking so much soma as “normal” individuals be? If everyone takes soma to escape from their true emotions, then, coming back to the question, how do they know that they are happy?
If you were to compare the “humans” that the society is producing, to computers being manufactured, there seems not to be much of a difference. Both of them are programmed to act in one way, and will never try to do something else. Everyone is trapped in a system, not much different from our reality. We live under a government, where we have to obey laws, maintain status quo, and depending on the amount of money possessed the individual is classified to one section or another. Capitalism has turned happiness into consumption; religion has turned happiness into submission, etc, etc. So, are we actually happy? Do we know what being happy actually means or is it all an illusion?
"Take Bernard, he is supposed to be an Alpha Plus, but he doesn't look like one, he is small, doesn't like Obstacle Golf, spends most of his time by himself, and most importantly avoids taking soma.
How do you think a man that doesn't “fit” to his classification will react? What can the effects of not taking so much soma as “normal” individuals be? If everyone takes soma to escape from their true emotions, then, coming back to the question, how do they know that they are happy?"
Take Bernard, he is supposed to be an Alpha Plus, but he doesn't look like one, he is small, doesn't like Obstacle Golf, spends most of his time by himself, and may be considered some how socially awkward. How do you think a man that doesn't “fit” to his classification will react? If everyone takes soma to escape from their true emotions, then, coming back to the question, how do they know that they are happy?
Andrea asks some incredibly provocative questions here. I often wonder about the extent to which one might legitimately be able to judge one´s own degree of happiness. In the end, this relies heavily on how you define happiness, or how your cultural conditioning impacts this definition. One of the reasons I love travel and living abroad is that immersion in other cultures perpetually forces me to redefine and reevaluate my conception and perception of how to live. That being said, Andrea´s question probes at an essential conflict. To what extent does the indefiniability of happiness cause it to be a facade? And furthermore, if you do consider yourself happy, but ultimately cannot be sure of the definition of happiness, does it matter?
UTOPIA OR DYSTOPIA?
While reading the opening chapters of Aldous Huxley's “Brave New World”, I instinctively felt as if I belonged to the group of children visiting the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Like the children, I was instantly exposed to what seemed to be a flawless world in the political, economical and scientific sense. To some extent, the World State could even be regarded as socially perfect. Let's consider it, the children “fabricated” in the Hatchery are born with a given limited reality through hypnopaedia, differing according to the social class the human is born in. The scientific advances in rapid maturation, human cloning, and prenatal conditioning have allowed what the D.H.C affirmed to be the “ultimate social goal” to become reality: social stability. Since the humans are subconsciously educated to abide by the World State's rules, then how could they be unhappy since they were never given any other reality to compare to theirs?
With social stability acquired, the next step to attain is economic growth. With the aid of the scientific discoveries over time, the Creators have achieved economic growth by conditioning the babies to have unalterably conditioned reflexes. From the narrow viewpoint of any human created in the Hatchery, the manufactured beings are happy because they have been subconsciously forced to take pleasure in being a part of the larger community, thus, disregarding the importance of the individual (especially in the lower castes due to the Bokanovski cloning of the gammas, deltas, and epsilons).
While conducting a little research on my own, I noted that happiness is found in three forms: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. The humans in the World State take pleasure in playing Obstacle Golf, having open relationships, and working on their assigned jobs. Their intelligence is limited to fit their future occupation and maintain them happy and satisfied. They are constantly engaged in the society since they are regarded as abnormal if they aren't. And lastly, they give meaning to their life by always trying to be part of the social body, and being happy with what they do. Even the D.H.C highlighted that “[a]ll conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny” (Huxley 16).
Referring to the novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”, Chief Bromden took the habit of pretending to be crazy and inarticulate to the point that he could no longer distinguish whether it was an allusion or reality. My point is, the same thing could be happening with the humans; they pretend to be happy by repeating what they've heard during hypnopaedia while they were children. And then that does not suffice, they never forget to recall “one cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments” (Huxley 54) and medicate themselves to forget “wild thoughts.”
From my point of view, what the Creators of Hatcheries have done to humanity is unacceptable. The manufactured beings are given no free will, or individuality. It seems as if humans have willingly allowed science and technology to rule the minds of people in order to achieve unison and a stable society. The result of such mistake is the creation of a society dominated by infantile behavior and unthinking obedience. The caste system produces servants who are devoted to and fully accept their servility; people who are incapable of executing any other function than that to which they are assigned. When the D.H.C stated that “what man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder,” he illustrates the World State’s abuse of biological science in conditioning its citizens.
Interestingly enough, the first 3 paragraphs of Gaelle's post make it sound as if she were praising Brave New World. Consider what this society has sacrificed for social stability and happiness. No one suffers, there is no poverty, no war, and resources and abundant and at the population's fingertips. Who needs individuality and freewill when the quality of living is such? How might you argue this flip-side?
At the beginning of the book, when reading the part the students were taking a tour through the factory that creates humans I actually stopped the reading and started to think, could this become true? The fact that humans are always looking for perfection, the best results and lack of weaknesses could lead us to a quest for a new “creational system” that is suggested in the novel. Are we always going to be fully humans or are we going to modify ourselves and the following generations so much that we will eventually be new specie? Would “homo novus” be an appropriate name? Could those “things” created in the laboratories be called humans? I’m really confused and can’t find the answer to define this new “thing”. Could any of this ever become part of the really that we know so far? Some authors claim that science fiction predicts future events, considering artifacts like James Bond movies that are now possible and real, video calls that 10 years ago was just a crazy idea, could this novel be one of the parts of literature that predicts the future? I really hope that our future gets more human, gets better, less machine intervention, more human love and heat. I hope that perfection is never fully achieved, otherwise, we would never move, I’m really excited by the book and pretty anxious to get to know what’s going to happen next
A Rather Dystopian Future
We all have the notion that the future might provide new wonders and opportunities. These are only possibilities though. What Huxley is showing us here is a paradox, an abnormality. A future where a society is not a society. Everything has a procedure, even sex. as Huxley wrote in page 2 (Kindle Version): "For particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers, but fret-sawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society." The important of this society is to maintain control of its people. What this society suggests, people shouldnt be smart (at least from our point of view), those that compose society should not be asking questions. Pay attention to the tour given to the students. Barely any of them make questions that were not incited by the director. The simply write down what is told to them instead of asking anything else about it. In our day and age, students receive incentive to ask questions, create doubts,and seek answers.
Our society right now seeks to increase the level of intelligence and critical thinking of the people, but in Brave New World, the opposite is shown.
I See Humans But No Humanity
While reading the first pages of Brave New World, I immediately remembered my favorite middle school novel, The Giver. Just like Lois Lowry's futuristic society is free of sadness, feelings and emotions, Aldous Huxley creates a rather similar world. Just like my classmates, I kept thinking of how would it be like if the world we live in today became controlled and planned out like the ones in both of these novels. Humans (I am not sure if they can be related to humanity really), have no distinction, no feelings and freedom. "Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!" The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. "You really know where you are. For the first time in history." He quoted the planetary motto. "Community, Identity, Stability" (Huxley, 7). This seems to be the perfect world, where people are "designed" to be equal and assigned specific roles in their own lives, but is it really? Isn't people's differences and distinctions what makes our world so rich and interesting? In Brave New World, there are processes and methods developed to define Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. One of these that really grabbed my attention was the process created to make Delta babies dislike books and nature. Putting books and flowers in front of them repeatedly and afterwards, giving them electric shocks is quite an inhumane technique. The description of the suffering babies allows the reader to understand the coldness and pure professionalism of the nurses and other staff in the centre. How could they bear to continue when "The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic yelps to which they now gave utterance" (Huxley, 21). This is what the world has become, systematic, empty and emotionless.
Of course, Huxley´s version of cultural condition is made hyperbolic for fictional effect, but consider how our own societies condition us. How are we likewise victims of cultural conditioning? What have you been conditioned to believe? How?
As the director of the Hatchery talked to the students (who seemed overwhelmingly interested on what he said) something called my attention: as if it was extremely obvious, he mentioned that “everyone belongs to everyone”. The students nodded, almost automatically. That is because they have been conditioned to think like that. But was that really the case? I believe, in this situation, “nobody belongs to nobody”. I can’t see any sense of belonging in this society, any familiar support or any friendship based on what the person is, independently from the social class. It seems like everyone is thrown in this space and have to live their lives with the conditions they have been given, and no one complains about it.
The human nature is conditioned to connect. By that, I mean creating family ties, friendship and love relationships. So far in the book, it seems that sexual relations is what maintain the system. Sexuality in The Brave New World is one of the few strong connections humans have among each other. Even so, in this case “everyone does belong to everyone” because having sex with someone is so common, that has become a child play. It seems to me that having so many sexual relations, really does feed their necessities. Is that a way to take away their focus on the real issues that society faces? I guess the fact that the boy in the garden felt uncomfortable when the kids were encouraged to “amuse themselves” might say there is something different with him...
The Director reminds me of Leonardo DiCaprio's character Calvin Candie in Tarantino's "Django Unchained". In the movie, Monsieur Candie is a rich plantation owner in Mississippi, which he ingeniously names Candyland, known as a pimp/slave master given that he forces his slaves to fight to the death and owns his own brothel.
He reminds me of the Director because he has a twisted science behind all of his actions, as if his brutality was justifiable and actually supported within the scientific community. According to an in depth and acclaimed psychological analysis on Candie's Wiki page, "Calvin justifies his inhumane treatment towards blacks by using psuedo science. Blacks, he claims have dimples in their skulls in a part associated with submissiveness, hence it is only suitable that they be slaves as it is their natural state and they can take much pain." In the movie itself Candie actually takes out a skull who was once a slave (#Yorickmuch?) and does a very eerie and creepy presentation of his own manipulated beliefs right in the middle of dinner.
The Director also carries these fascinations for science as to justify society's actions in regards to conditioning, bottling, the social structure, Bokanvosky’s Process and "un-escapable social destiny." (Huxley 6%)* Then again, in such a brave new world science is manipulated towards its own motto of "Community, Identity, Stability" (Huxley 2%). The Director manipulates his students into believing that everything occurring in those labs is for the benefit of social stability and the "greater good", "Bokanovsky's Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!" (Huxley 2%). He even encourages to further dehumanize these embryos by trying to figure out a technique where they could shorten the period of maturation, "what a triumph, what a benefaction to Society! Consider the horse."
Thinking about it now, I think Django Unchained uses lots of the components that make "Brave New World" what it is. The Director would be Calvin Candie, Bernard Marx would be a more cowardly version of the German bounty hunter/dentist Schultz and Django would be the John, who is seen as a savage in the eyes of the American slave for being black in an era which would be its own form of dystopia. And of course Lenina would be a much more "promiscuous" version of Broomhilda.
The questions remain the following: Do all twisted minds think alike? Why the need to use science as a justification for preposterous beliefs that are in fact unscientific? Is Django Unchained actually "Brave New World" in Tarantino's eyes? How does the use of science further dehumanize the human being and its role in society? Is there such thing as a "greater good" in different types of dystopias?
"Community, Identity, Stability"
Anxiety was the first thing that filled me when reading the first pages of Brave New World. What if people walked around to see other people just like them? How would I react if I saw myself walking down the street? Would it be weird? Would I scream? The thing is these people were probably going to nod and pass by each other as if nothing was wrong because they were born into a system that made that something normal.During the students visit the Director explains the process that the fetus go through and the way they are conditioned to the life they are predestined to have, they before even being born have a written social destiny. The process done with the babies to create their repulsion to books and flowers instantaneously reminded me of the training of horses. When training horses on how to obey commands man usually use boots with spikes on the ankle so when they hit them on the belly they run. After repetition the horses learn to run whenever the riders feet touch the belly despite it having spikes or not. When educated one cannot be manipulated, making the babies hate books, depriving the fetus from oxygen and giving them alcohol to diminish their intelligence is a way of manipulation and although when reading in the book it seems fictional and in reality impossible it does happen. Of course it is not as it happens in the book but the manipulation of the masses is directly affected by education. Less education, less questioning, less ideas, less revolutions. Ignorance is bliss for those that manipulate not for the ones that are manipulated the ones that are manipulated just dont know any better. The idea of stability to this society is accompanied by various moral challenges in the attempt of creating the utopian society the humanity and individuality were left aside. When reading about these processes I could only think that each and every person is shaped by what they find to be normal and true. What if we, just like the kids in these labs are conditioned to think and act like we do? What if our truth is a lie?
Liz has pinpointed the precise problem that Huxley raises in these early chapters. What if socio-psychological conditioning is the sole reason for all that we do? What about free will? What about human nature? Does the question of nature vs. nurture even factor into this equation?
"Every One Belongs to Everyone Else"
Reading some of the previous blog posts, I noticed that most seemed rather horrified with Huxley’s post-Nine Years’ War society. Nonetheless, while I read the first three chapters I actually noticed excerpts that could have been describing our contemporary society (of course, many descriptions are extremely hyperbolical). The first aspect that caught my attention was how consumerism is highly valued in this fictional society. As the kids in the consciousness lesson chanted, “I do love having new clothes […] But old clothes are beastly, we always throw away old clothes” (Huxley 49), it reminded me of how the media is always propagating the idea of new objects, devices, and even fashion. Even though we don’t chant these exact phrases out loud, we have allowed this notion of always needing to have the latest trend become natural in most of our minds. It is rather ironic to notice how capitalism, criticized by many, is one of the few institutions still present in this society, while liberalism and religion, whom many praise, have collapsed.
A second characteristic comparable to our society is the caste system. Huxley’s world is divided into Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. According to what they were predestined to be, each class has a specific role in society and they cannot change their status. It would be rather naïve of us to think that there are no caste systems in our modern society. I visited India during the holidays, and even though their caste system is no longer something official in the law, it is still socially inherent. Each person knows whether they belong to the priests, warriors, merchants or the untouchable class. It may not happen in the big cities like Mumbai or New Delhi, but smaller towns I visited like Agra or Jaipur, each person can only marry someone of their same class. The caste system seems rather absurd in a Western aspect, but looking closely it is not that abnormal. Take Salvador’s Carnaval party, for example. The upper class people go to their VIP areas or dance inside the ropes of the blocos because they are afraid of joining those of lower economic classes.
Thirdly, even the grams of “somas” ingested by the characters to make people happy whenever they need are something we already have in our society. Those can be comparable to alcohol, LSD or marijuana. It’s true we still haven’t found a way to take out the side effects, but these are simple tools people refer to whenever they want to forget their problems and go on a quick “soma holiday”.
Finally, one of the most repeated phrases in chapter 3, “everyone one belongs to everyone else” (Huxley 43) is a motto we could as well adopt in many modern societies. As Mustapha Mond discussed how monogamy ceases to exist and Fanny tried to convince Lenina that she should have more than one lover, t got me thinking on how any of these conversations could have been happening right now. Adultery is becoming evermore common and many people do not content themselves in being loyal to only one person.
In conclusion, these first three chapters described a few characteristic of this dystopian society, which got me thinking, until what extent is Huxley describing modern society? Which aspects does he maintain in this new society and which does he completely change? How accurate are his predictions of the future?
In the 20th century, Arnold Huxley wrote the novel “Brave New World” creating a futuristic society with a totalitarian government that use manipulation as their key concepts. In this society, manipulation starts before the person is born (the natural process of reproducing was banished and was substituted by the Bokanvosky’s Process) when the embryos are created artificially and their genetic information is modified and divided among several individuals. The manipulation is not purely the source of life and a physical one; there is also a psychological manipulation, which is called the hypnopaedic method. Since there is no personal opinion, the humans are trained to reject things such as reading, nature and animals.
This physiological manipulation helps the totalitarian regime to maintain itself in place, which reminded me of manipulations during the Russian Revolution during Joseph Stalin’s power in the USSR, to Hitler’s power over Nazi Germany, and to this present day in the People’s Republic of China. These authoritarian regime use censorship to hide information’s from their own citizens and propaganda, often lies, to believe in what is necessary. The government maintains control through the technological inventions before birth and until the day of death with drug soma, which stimulates the ideological happiness. Though out history, happiness is provided though the manipulation of information and with the idea that no place could be better than the on their living. Though these first chapters of the novel, the manipulation is though providing “happiness” as a drug to satisfy them, which remove the characteristics of humanity.
The manipulation of the source of life also manipulated the way society is divided. Our society is divided by several categories such as gender; age, religious affiliation, income, nationality and some of these are not changeable like the cast system in Huxley’s society. However unlike Huxley’s caste system, there are some changes in our current caste systems that are allowed like changing religion, sexual orientation, social class, work and others. While in Huxley’s society the color you wear and how much oxygen you have access when you were produced and you cannot change from an one to another, we currently fight to change at least some of the ways ours society is divided.
Stability over Individuality
As I began to read “A Brave New World” nothing about what was being enthusiastically described by the Director and Mr. Foster seemed to be a perfect world to me. As the Director shows the students around the Centre he proudly states, “Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocks- already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly: What man has joined nature is powerless to put asunder” (Huxley 22). The entire society is based on manipulation as a tool to achieve stability. Thinking logically, I cant’ see what is attractive in being patterned and being created by a centre where I have no free will and I am forced into a mind set. Stability just doesn’t seem worth it. But I wonder.... what if that is the world we are living in. I see our world as a lighter version of “A Brave New World”. We have been living in an extremely divided society, we have been fueling ignorance, society has with time increased sexual freedom and people use drugs to search for happiness. The similarities are so many, it makes me wonder: Who controls the information we receive? Are we manipulated to think the way we do? Are we simply a combination of science and does free will even exist? It alarmed me how in the book the details such as “Heredity, date of fertilization,membership of Bokanovsky Group”, made the embryos “no longer anonymous, but named identified” (Huxley 10), making me wonder if someday the same will be done to us; identity linked to a number and no longer to being a human. Will we with time lose individuality? The book in my opinion has only been instigating questions I believe deep inside all of us hold. Society shapes us and manipulates us in diverse ways, so how can our worlds be so far apart? I think they aren’t! If you analyze their motto, “COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY” (Huxley 1), it seems to be what our world is striving for as well. Also just like Gaby, the book reminded me of “The Giver”, and how the strive for a perfect society couldn’t resemble more a dystopia. As well as “The Giver’s” main character, Jonas, the hatred felt by Bernard Marx makes me foreshadow a similar rebellion.
Stand Against the Machine
At first we are introduced to Huxley’s world of biological manipulation which affects both the psychological and physical state of the after ford society. The conditioning system leads to a conventional society, shaped to conform and whose traits are manipulated in order to maintain this very society running. This conditioning controls the human mind and personal traits, which are supposed to be natural, but now become predetermined as the directors wish. Traits like the aversion to flowers and books as well as the fondness for country sports and consumption. Not only that but the current cast system also predetermines a person’s job, personality, and type of conditioning they will be exposed to. Hence this system precludes any individuality.
This type of dystopian society where individuality is nonexistent is also present in 2081 a movie I saw based on the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. 2081 portrays a dystopian society where they attempt to reach equality, by prohibiting any trace of distinction. Consequently the beautiful wear masks, the strong carry weights, and the intelligent wear earpieces, all of which prevents them from demonstrating their uniqueness. They are also constantly being monitored keeping the citizens in check so no one rebels. A society that oppresses the people and goes against the human nature does not last long unperturbed, in this case the beautiful, intelligent and strong Harrison Bergeron stood against the oppressing government by freeing himself of all that detained him and broadcasting it so that the society could see they did not have to live that way.
In Brave New World we see Bernard who does not completely accept the principles of his society, but does so quietly. Could Bernard be Brave New World’s Harrison Bergeron and stand against the oppressive government or will he stay quiet? After all it is easier to release yourself from technology that suppresses your characteristics then values that have been imposed in you biologically.
That is no Perfect Society!
With the advancement of technology, could we get to a point where humans will create other humans to be their own dummy slave?
When starting to read Brave New World I realized that the separation of casts for instance, Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons, is the same way our society is molded. There are people that are superior to others like the Alphas. The only difference is that in this novel the created humans are being placed in a cast and each cast is separated for the intelligence the human has. For instance Mr. Foster is an Alpha, for his power to think and create his own ideas, while the thousands of identical twins are Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. “Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines.”(Huxley, 7) this quote shows that those three casts were created to be the workers or the proletariat which just obey orders like dummies. Throughout the three first chapters the Alphas are criticizing the “savages’” society for the violence, great amount of ambition, for loving, and even for reproducing. To love, create families, and be ambitious for what you want are major things that makes us humans, and as Gabriella stated in this book we can see “humans” but not humanity. Going through some pages we see some Alphas talking and saying that this is the perfect society, where there is no war, and everybody likes what they do. We can see that manipulation is the major actor on the society, for example, in our “savage” society the media is the manipulator; while in their society the manipulator are the fancy machines that create different humans manipulating their intelligence to fit them in different casts.
HUXLEY AND US
The fist three chapters of the novel set up an ominous foreshadow of what could happen in a society so artificial that the sense of humanity itself is forgone. Even though its motto is “community, identity, and stability” (Huxley 7), it is all for the sake of society, not of the individual. The hatchery at the beginning itself shows inhumanity: now people are bred, not born. The process of birth has been reduced to an industrial line of production.
Additionally, during the critical period of growth from birth to adulthood, youngsters are continually conditioned to accept the workings of the Brave New World. The prevalent idea that “what man has joined nature is powerless to put asunder” (Huxley 22) is an important tenet of society.
This society is, to me, full of preposterousness and hubris. It reminds me of the millennial tale of the Babel Tower. Men tried to build a structure tall enough to go beyond heavens, and were catastrophically segregated into different languages. I predict that the society Huxley proposes, even though it seems to bring equality and security for all, is ultimately doomed to separate man and take from him all spirit.
The chapters bring questions that may be unanswerable due to our own bias. To what extent is Western society being full of itself and imposing mindlessness among its population? How do our own lives suffer form a conditioning similar to the one that happens in Brave New World? And how can we be more aware of our biases and presumptions? Reading Huxley may be a good first step.