Brave New World
Customs and conventions force people into a mold. In this way, human beings are prevented from enjoying personal fulfillment in their lives. However, is the lack of personal freedom justified if the mold people are forced into creates social stability? A social stability that creates personal fulfillment, however, is as artifical as the people that enjoy it. In Brave New World the people, for the most part, are robots made of flesh and blood. These are not people enjoying fulfillment but are drones, high on soma, playing their role in the puppet show of the World Controllers .
At first, someone will dismiss the notions, ideas and predictions of this book as a ridiculous fiction and the result of Huxley’s crazy imagination. However, one must look at his development of his Brave New World more closely to see its feasibility. As Mustapha Mond stated, technology and life sciences were making rapid advancements, as they are in the present day today. These advancements in Huxley’s society caused gaps in countries, religious and various groups of people because of the moral, political and scientific values they epresented. Eventually, one comes to the 9 Years War in A.F. (after Ford) 141 along with the great Economic Collapse. What was left was a choice between world control and destruction. Liberalism was destroyed during the war, but the leaders of the time realized things could no longer be done by force.
So, the Brave New World and social stability was born.
The mold of social stability was thought to be necessary in order for the survival and continued growth of mankind. This social stability includes the absence of family, God and religion, art, Shakespeare, history and culture. This is a list of things that today’s society in 1999 and Y2K could not be without because there is at least one thing on that list that affects everyone in a major part of life. One must be careful at this point to stay away from the term impossible and replace it with improbable. One can not see a society like Huxley’s being feasible, but there is a solid development to support Huxley’s Utopia. Right now some technological pieces are not there but no one knows what tomorrow will hold.
Now that the mold is developed, people still must fit into it or be forced into it. At first, the 10 World Controllers of this Brave New World used force to arrange their ideas. However, this practice goes against the idea of stability. It was also realized that no matter how much technology advanced there would still be opening’s of resistance. Savage Reservations were created and instituted to allow some people to live according to the old ways. For this Brave New World to be realized there were 4 major contributing factors:
1. The ability to produce Bokanovsky groups allowed for up to 96 identical twins to be decanted from one egg. The advancements of genetics to so great in this time period that during the decanting process, one can control the intelligence, stature, looks and any other trait of a person. They could make anything from a super genius Alpha Plus for managing the hatchery and conditioning center to a semi-moron Epsilons for grunt work.
2. This ability to create classes of workers and managers stabilizes society because as one will see no matter what class a person is decanted into they are satisfied to be there. This is necessary because “round pegs in square holes tend to have dangerous thoughts about the social system and to infect others with their discontents.” Signs of this statement is shown frequently thoughout the book.
3. To keep these people in their classes, the process of hypnopaedia was practiced on all decanted babies thoughout their lives until adolescence. This technique, along with soma, allowed everything to run smoothly because everyone was in there own place.
4. No matter how a Utopian this society may seem to be, people feel the need to take holidays from reality from time to time. A safe, pleasure-giving gramme of somma replaces alcohol and other narcotics in this Brave New World. This harmless form of stress relief allows people to emotionally avoid becoming unstable and creating instability in society.
These 4 things shape the Brave New World and are the major differences in today’s world and Huxley’s world. However, as ideal as they may seem to be, they are not completely perfected in Huxley’s world.
The idea of personal fulfillment created by social stability should be the same for everyone in this utopian society. It will obviously be different for someone like John, the Savage, but according to the class system everyone should get equal fulfillment from their jobs because they do not have any other place in society and can not fight for anything more. However, personal fulfillment of the lack of differs from person to person. The characters in the story are special cases because no one else in the drone-driven society enjoys true personal fulfillment. At least because of their situations, the characters in Brave New World have a chance to recognize personal fulfillment and a possibility to get it.
In analyzing the personal fulfillment in the lives of the book’s characters, it is necessary to start with Lenina and Bernard. These 2 are most like the other robots of society. One could go as far as to say that Lenina, being an Alpha nurse in the hatchery, enjoys the same fake fulfillment as all the other mechanical people. She can not understand why John rejects her sexual advances nor can she take the scenes or stresses of the reservation. As a typical citizen of the Brave New World, she retreats into soma to drown her troubles away. However, Bernard is slightly different from the beginning. There is the physical differences, but behind the stunted exterior Bernard thinks differently from the rest of society. He is driven to heated rage when Henry talks of Lenia as if she was a piece of meat. This just was not normal because as children everyone was programed to the idea that, “everybody belongs to everybody else.” Bernard is shy, emotional and will not give into soma for relief but still exibes some qualities of his hypnopaedic teaching. He just strives to do his job as it should be done and becomes extremely upset at the suggestion of him being transferred to Iceland. He only wants to be normal and does not realize that it is actually a gift that he is not like everyone else.
There is Helmholts, the only person in the world who Bernard can talk that understands him. Helmoholtz is not satisfied with things as they are and is extremely intelligent. He knows that there is something more to life because, along with Bernard, he realizes that he is an individual. He knows that there is something that he is missing but can’t quite express it no matter how well he writes. When Helmholtz meets the Savage, it is as if another door was opened inside of him. Suddenly, all of the things he knew were there, but could not be defined, had names. Helmholtz was searching for the freedom of expression that John had picked from Shakespeare and history. Helmholtz is a fascinating character who is the biggest threat to the social stability of the region. He has found personal freedom and has the power to express it which could cause the downfall of his new society. This danger is recognized by Mustapha Mand, who at one point was just like Helmholtz. Mustapha gave up his ideas of freedom to serve as a World Controller. This is his personal fulfillment because even though he gave up his quest, he is now keeping order trying to make other’s lives better. Helmholtz’s personal fulfillment is genuine because he has risen above society.
If anyone in this story has an advantage, it would have to be John the Savage because he did not live in civilization. However, he was an outcast on the Indian Reservation as well as from civilization. He had the advantages of reading Shakespeare and other books and experiencing the 2 different societies. John’s downfall was that he is too much of an individualist. He detests society so much that he drive himself to near insanity trying to avoid it. He represents a lot of today’s views on the Brave New World but is too much of an extremist. John is an outcast no matter where he goes because he just does not fit in. Nobody could force him into a mold yet he still could not find personal fulfillment. He found comfort in whipping and torturing himself, but these are not the actions of the same person who is happy and fulfilled in their life.
These are the last resorts of a rugged individualist to try to reject society and keep himself pure of its evils before he loses what is left of his right mind.
Forcing people into a mold because of the need for social stability does take away personal fulfillment. There is no freedom or individuals to think, so they can’t comprehend personal fulfillment. They do achieve the artificial fulfillment left in its place by those who manipulate them, but it might as well be given to them through hypnopaedia because it serves no individual purpose. It does fill a gap or emotion but does not have the true purpose of what fulfillment really is. However, that character will be limited by those in power to a few small islands around the world where threats to social stability are sent. The creation of social stability, as achieved in Brave New World, is not something the world should try to accomplish. For without art, Shakespeare, culture, history, God and individuals this Brave New World is no better than the old one.