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Lessons Learned From 'Brave New World' - Is 'Brave New World' Happening Now?

Hey friends, I'm still on holiday but thought I would get a post in for you guys to read before I get too busy soaking in the sun. I bring to you today: 

Brave New World

This picture was taken on top of Borobudur in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
By: Aldous Huxley
Published: 1932
BookMattic's Rating:  
I'm probably the 5th billionth person who has read 'Brave New World',  Aldous Huxley, not to be confused with the story about how settlers coming to North America. Many other people have reviewed, rated and analyzed this book but I'm not afraid of giving my own opinion of it since everyone is entitled to their own unique opinion. I'll, of course, be adding my own flavor to try and make it interesting for those of you that have read this classic dystopian science fiction novel. 'Brave New World' is a worthy topic to talk about.

First, before getting into the review, I wanted to mention the interesting way I came across my tattattered up 1969 copy of this book because I thought you might enjoy the background. As many of you know, I teach English in Indonesia and I've got several coworkers from different Western countries from around the world. Well, my American coworker had been here for about 8 years and had decided that it was time for him to go back to the US.

But before he left, he gave me a decent sized stack of used books of various conditions and ages. One of those books was 'Brave New World' but at that time I cast it aside because of the condition as you can see in the picture above. I'm not saying it was my friend's fault about the poor condition of this copy, but...well it probably really was his fault because he is not the cleanest of people. But then again the copy that he gave me is 48 years old and as I can see from the inside cover it has probably traveled around the world. No wonder the book is falling apart!

What's so big about Brave?

The book was published in 1932 and set in London far in the future in 2540 or as the book calls it, A.F. 632. A.F. stands for After Ford who the people practically consider a God. And yes we are talking about the Ford who created the car. Strange right? The first half of the story follows an oddly short man for an Alfa Plus named Bernard Marx who is in charge of overseeing the total conditioning of children through sleep hypnotism. 

Society is run on a hangoverless drug called soma which is given out to each citizen every day after a not too strenuous day of work. People LOVE and depend on soma since it makes them stress-less and turns them into a mindless, almost emotionless, other than happy, citizen. It's a drug addiction that no one knows is bad for their creativity and individuality. 

No one has mothers or fathers (everyone is a tube baby) and everyone belongs to everyone. The lower caste tube babies are purposely made retarded by lowering the oxygen and putting alcohol in their system. Basically, people could choose to have sex with anyone whenever and wherever they like. It's encouraged to have as many partners as you can get while on the other side looked heavily down upon getting attached to any ONE person.

Since before birth every person in the civilized world has a chosen purpose and role in society which the government does not want to be messed with and that's where Bernard Marx comes in. He doesn't quite fit in with anyone and has feelings no one else experiences. He even doesn't like taking soma that much. Although part of his habits are still ingrained into him by the government, his emotional side is trying to break free.

The story shifts a bit when Lenina Crowne, a sexy vaccination worker at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre sets her sights on Bernard. They decide to take a holiday to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico where they find someone that could change their brave new world forever. His name is John.

Analysis of John

At this point John, who was born on the reservation, son to Linda who got left behind a couple of decades ago by the current Director of Hatcheries, takes over as the main character. He's a very curious and confused individual since the only two things he knows about the world are from what his mother tells him about London and from what he sees in the reservation which are complete opposites. He's also got a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare which the book refers a lot to including excerpts.
Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice; Handlest in thy discourse O! that her hand, In whose comparison all whites are ink Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure The cygnet's down is harsh...On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand, may seize And steal immortal blessing from her lips, Who, even in pure and vestal modesty, Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin.
People on the reservation grow old and diseased. They worship gods and even Jesus. The religion is a bit mixed up. Whereas people in the civilized world worship Ford and soma. People get married and have children on the reservation where the civilized people have whoever they want, never get married or have children. No wonder John gets confused specially since when he meets Lenina he starts to have an emotional tug-o-war with himself whether to follow what the people have taught him on the reservation or his new found culture of the brave new world.

When he decides to go back to the brave new world with Bernard and Lenina along with his mother he finds that he cannot fit in with the conformity of the society. He despises that people have no individuality and hates soma and free sex.

3 Final thoughts about Brave New World

I want God, I want poetry, I want danger, I want freedom, I want sin.
If you take these things away, what do you have left? I think this is one of the major things we can take away from 'Brave New World' is that if we take these basic human traits then we are only half human. Yes generally people in this dystopian society are happy but it's because they don't know any better. The government has taken away their freedom. As a society now we have to be careful that our governments never get even close to what the world is like in 'Brave New World'.
Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning, truth and beauty can't.
The government has provided perfect happiness but in turn the people have lost their individuality. There is no beauty in this book. The truth is hidden and if someone like Bernard starts thinking creatively or like an outsider, the government will send them away forever.

Happiness is by far not a bad thing, but to lose someone's humanity is the worst thing that could happen.
It isn’t only art that is incompatible with happiness, it’s also science. Science is dangerous, we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.
Seeing just from these three quotes that I picked from the book you can see that the citizens in this book have a thumb pressed down on them. Come on! Science is so important, but in this world people are not allowed to experiment. They are just stuck in their mediocre world believing that their life is perfect not realizing that their freedom has been taken away by the system that their ancestors created. 

They are stuck in a vicious cycle that most likely will not be broken. Space exploration, new inventions, arts, music, literature and movies will never be permitted in this scary under toned dystopian science fiction vision of the future.
Beautiful sunrise at Borobudur
 Is any of this familiar in our society today? Our world now is definitely not as drastic as in 'Brave New World' but I do see some similarities from this book happening in America. 

Do any of you? Add your comments below and share your thoughts about 'Brave New World'.

Comments

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