Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World talks of a futuristic society where technological progress and conditioning of the mind have led to the creation of a Utopia, brimming with its blissful subjects.
Is a happy world an ideal one?
Year of Publication- 1932
Printed pages- 268 pages
The novel starts off with a group of young students touring the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre where the gestation of embryos take place. Yes, human embryos. With the abolition of natural reproduction, the mass production of humans involves segregating the embryos into five castes- Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon.
“I want God, I want poetry, I want danger, I want freedom, I want sin.”
Here Alphas have the highest physical and mental prowess who become the next leaders and the Epsilons are stunted and deformed, who are primarily assigned menial and labour intensive jobs.
“We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters.”
The World State is a dictatorship ruled by the ten world controllers. The society is dispassionate where critical thinking, strong opinions, and new ideas are strongly discouraged. These are kept in check by the government issuing Soma, a hallucinogen, and encouraging recreational sex and promiscuity.
Enter Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowe, two Betas working as officials, who take a trip to the Savage lands near New Mexico. The Savages are the tribes who still believe in the concept of a family, monogamy, and in the social-moral-ethical construct of the ‘old world’.
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons- that’s philosophy. People believe in God because they’ve been conditioned to believe in God.”
Things get interesting when John, one of the savages, along with his mother are brought to the Brave New World.
Aldous Huxley plays out the tale with innumerable references to historical events and characters (Henry Ford, Mustafa Ataturk among others). One of the major themes of the book is the replacement of a culturally sound and artistically able population with a highly efficient, industrially produced breed of Homo sapiens.
Theimpact of conditioning and hypnopedia on a society are elucidated well in this wonderfully worded yet distressing narrative.
This is a great read if you can bear the thought of a mechanical and depressing future that Huxley has pictured. The plot does get disturbing in parts, yet, it’s a great read overall.
godlycreatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people
— William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll.