Brave New World: The Perfect World?


Aldous Huxley\'s Brave New World presents a portrait of a society which
is superficially a perfect world. At first inspection, it seems perfect in many
ways: it is carefree, problem free and depression free. All aspects of the
population are controlled: number, social class, and intellectual ability are
all carefully regulated. Even history is controlled and rewritten to meet the
needs of the party. Stability must be maintained at all costs.

In the new world which Huxley creates, if there is even a hint of anger,
the wonder drug Soma is prescribed to remedy the problem. A colleague, noticing
your depression, would chime in with the chant, "one cubic centimetre of soma
cures ten gloomy." This slogan is taught to everyone, from the youngest to the
oldest. Unhappiness, intellectual curiosity, disagreement, suffering - none of
these feelings is allowed in the world which Huxley creates. At the first sign
of unhappiness, Soma is prescribed. Emotions of all types are strictly
controlled to provide stability and predictability within the population.

Another of the panaceas for social ills is the belief that everyone
would enjoy his or her work because he or she was "made" or trained for it when
young. Consequently, from birth, everyone in Brave New World is slotted to
belong to a specific social and intellectual strata. In conjunction with this
idea, all births are completely planned and monitored. There are different
classes of people with different intelligence and different "career plans." The
social order was divided into the most highly educated, the Alpha+, and then in
descending intelligence, the following divisions: Alpha, Beta, Beta -, Gamma,
Delta, and Epsilon, which is the last group comprised of those citizens of the
lowest intelligence who are necessary to perform society\'s most menial jobs.

Another of the problems with the society which Huxley depicts is that
the people do not have individuality. They are all conditioned by subliminal
messages and artificial stimuli to respond the same way. Although all people are
meant to respond identically without thinking, a few are made \'imperfectly\' and,
as a result, do have personalities. These people violate the principles of
technology and artificial personalities and consequently have to be sent away so
as not to "contaminate" others. To maintain order in Brave New World, the
Resident Controller must have complete authority over more than just the
present; he must also have influence over the past. In order to be able to
achieve this, he must be able to rewrite history. This gives rise to one of the
most famous quotation from Brave New World, "All history is bunk." The ability
to rewrite or "edit" history is not so far distant from our current
technological society. A simple stroke of the computer keyboard can make a
global change in information disseminated on a network or to thousands of
electronic bulletin board subscribers. Being able to distinguish the true from
the false is becoming increasingly difficult. Brave New World focuses constantly
on the question of whether technology requires a sacrifice of human
individuality. In this novel the reader is keenly aware of the dangers that
homogeneity poses to the quality of life. People may enjoy life with
technological advances, but if they are required to forfeit individual
personalities or interpretations about life, Huxley makes us see that life will
become meaningless.

In comparison to 1984, Brave New World makes the technology less obvious
to the members of the society themselves. The characters in Brave New World
participate willingly in their manipulation by the government. They happily
take the wonder drug Soma, "the wonder drug." In contrast, in 1984 the people
seem to sense they are being controlled by Big Brother, but here the domination
is imposed on them by the government.

Category: English