Do We Live in Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’

 

Brave New World is about a futuristic society that is trying to create a perfect community where everyone is happy and content. At first sight, the society in this novel seems well organized, as the mantra “work, earn, buy” seems to be the driving force of many people living in Huxley’s world, also the main thing you should have in mind is that this novel was written  in 1931. Huxley went to the extreme and many things he presented, prophesied even, in this novel are not exactly how things work in present society, but it is undeniable that there are many related topics and similar ideas which are obvious today. Also, it needs to be noted that the title of this revolutionary sci-fi dystopian novel is taken from Shakespeare’s masterpieces ‘The Tempest’.

 

 Babies could be mass produced

 

In Brave New World there are Hatcheries where babies are produced. Human beings no longer produce living offspring but, instead, surgically removed ovaries produce ova that are fertilized in artificial receptacles and incubated in specially designed bottles. Even before the process is complete, it has already been decided which baby will belong to which caste (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, or epsilon). The alpha and beta castes are the people who will be the future leaders of the World State, while epsilon represents the working class. One of the more interesting and scary concepts Huxley introduced in his work is the ‘Bukanovky process’ which allows scientist to produce up to ninety-six full-sized adults out of one egg! Alphas and betas are spared from the ‘Bukanovky process’, but other castes have to go through it, and yes, the ‘humans’ produced with this process are all the same.

bravenew2
Illustrated by Emily Carroll

Of course, we are not able to produce that vast quantity of babies like it is described in the book, but it is partially possible. In vitro fertilisation is the closest related technology to the book. Fortunately, it is not used in such terrifying way like it is done in Huxley’s novel.

 Technology controls the society

 

“Everyone works for everyone else. We can’t do without anyone” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Basically, society in Brave New World strives only for technological progress. A progress, through invention, is a key goal of  mankind. This kind of a society is a perfect example of technopoly and not a technocracy.  “The citizens of a technocracy knew that science and technology did not provide philosophies by which to live”  – Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.

Illustrated by Finn Dean

 

If you ever questioned what is the purpose of life, for the people of The World State it is consumerism. Without getting philosophical, I can’t imagine what is the other purpose of life for citizens on the planet Earth.

 

Pursuit of happiness, through drug usage

 

“… there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a weekend, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

soma
source – http://blog.pencilbandit.com/

People in Brave New World continually use ‘SOMA‘ – a drug which will help any citizen if he is feeling unhappy or depressed. The novel is full of examples where Soma helps various characters.

In our, modern-day society, we have similar drugs that will make you “happy”. For example, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is used as  antidepressant and it has similar effects as Soma.

 

Sexual Freedom

In Brave New World, you don’t have to be emotionally attached to someone to have sex with him or her. For citizens of The World State, sex is just considered an act of release. Its main purpose is not procreation since the population has been controlled by the government of The World State. Promiscuity is the law while love and passion are barely legal. The whole act of sex is dehumanized and depersonalized.

the100
Illustration by Alex Kostiw

This can be compared with the world we live in and many of the themes Huxley introduced are open to debate since nothing is truly black and white, but one thing is for sure – this genre classic predicted many things which are happening today, so it is your right to consider these things a problem or just another step on the evolutionary ladder.

 

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