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Brave New World
Largely, the World State is able to control society through technology in this fiction, set in the year 2540, or for 632 years after the creation of the first Model T. car by American industrialist Henry Ford. This is the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre, a savage reservation in New Mexico, a Utopia, where no family life has existed for more than six centuries. Human life is manufactured from the Bokanosky and Podsnan Processes, which produce almost identical human embryos and condition them in bottles, according to five castes: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon. Alpha embryos are to become the leaders and thinkers of the World State, like Bernard Marx. The two lesser castes are slightly less physically and intellectually programmed than the Alphans. The Deltans are conditioned to be averse to intellectual and artistic objects and made into docile and eager consumers. As children, they are subjected to hypnopedica or sleep-teaching methods, which pound the morals of the World State into their subconscious. When older, they receive subconscious and repetitious whisperings on elementary class consciousness during their naps. And Epsilon embryos are deprived of oxygen and subjected to chemical elements to shape them to become menial laborers.
The World State, through its world controllers, has managed to eliminate strong emotions, desires, human relationships and even death from society in order to keep a Utopia for a long time. These world controllers point to these human elements as the source or cause of trouble in human life and that their elimination, through technological processes, filters out unhappiness - along with truth -- from the world. However, the scheme of things is altering a bit (Huxley 1998).
After more than six centuries of living in a Utopia, Bernard has developed dissatisfaction over the ways of the World State. He discusses this dissatisfaction with Lenina, a friend Helmholtz Watson and the "primitive" savage, John, of the Reservation. Bernard is displeased about his size and weakness. Watson, for his part, is uncomfortable about his job writing hypnopaedic phrases, for which he is too intelligent. And John is a violation of the rules of the World State, in that he was born in that Reservation, instead of produced by the State in a bottle like the rest. It also turns out that John is the offspring of Tomakin, the Director of Hatcheries, and Linda, a woman Tomakin met 20 years earlier. This is an evidence of power failure in the hands of the Director of Hatcheries himself and which questions the efficiency of the World State's principles and processes.
Complicated entertainment machines produce harmless amusement and high levels of consumption and production. The stability of the World states is built on these. Natural or biological reproduction is interfered with by surgically removing the ovaries or taking contraceptives. And the drug soma is another medical, biological and psychological high-technology product used to achieve perfectionist goals. It aims at progress and science, through constant technological upgrade, but not an increase n scientific exploration and experimentation in the search for truth (Huxley). Truth is the direct opposite of the essence of the World State, which uses science to create a flawless, pleasure-prone and superficial society.
Because death is not an outcome of the principles and processes of conditioning in the World State, life does not end in death. Nor does disease or defect exist. But age, disease and death do exist in the Savage Reservation, where those who are/were not part of the World State are ostracized. John and his mother Linda are among them.
World controller, Mustapha Mond, argues that social stability requires that art, science as search for truth, and religion be sacrificed (Huxley). He also equates individual happiness with the efficient and economic satisfaction of individual needs and views success as economic growth and prosperity. Most importantly, the World State finds happiness and truth incompatible. This makes the use of the drug soma an integral part of state machinery. It is very effective in creating self-delusion and in dulling inner pain. Soma darkens reality and creates hallucinations and an immediate sense of gratification in one's desire for food, sex, drugs, and other consumer or sense pleasures. The World State has managed for a long time to suppress all efforts to gain scientific or empirical truth and all traces of human emotions, such as love, compassion and justice. The citizens are, in fact and from the moment of their creation or production, are bombarded with forces that prevent them from confronting the truth about their situation.
John contends that all these things the World State eliminates deprive human life its very worth (Huxley). He represents the organic argument against the principles and stability of the State, being the result of the human imperfection of the Hatcheries Director and now the mouth piece of the savages. At this time, though, pressures from the World State overcome John's protest and follow him at the lighthouse where he recluses and later destroys his life in order to avoid the pressures.
In the "Brave New World Revisited," the citizens are subjected to the extremes of marching under the Nazi regime (Huxley 1989). It is another technique to control the minds of men. Marching diverts thoughts, kills them (Farmer) or ends men's individuality. Marching trains or conditions minds to a mechanical, quasi-ritualistic activity until it becomes second nature, according to Farmer. In this book, the World State translates into a hypothetical futuristic society, where the very powerful elite possesses ultra-modern and un-imagined technology that deprives people their basic human rights or violates these. And as in the original novel, the stern government faces opposition in a few self-willed individuals, who have not been subjected to conditioning processes and principles, who rebel. Huxley ends this sequel by warning that big government and big business in recent times already possess or are about to possess the techniques for mind-manipulation he describes in both books.
Huxley's pronouncements and warning seem prophetic today. Scientific breakthroughs, such as cloning; the internet in communication; and a higher-level of entertainment frenzy pose serious questions as to whether life in this world is becoming better or worse (Gehlhaus 1998). If these trends are in the direction of "community, identity, stability" principles of Huxley's World State, then man is at the brink of getting dehumanized. The World State is a hypothetical future society in the 25th century and characterized primarily by the loss of individuality. It aims at social stability and there can be no social stability without individual stability (qtd in Gehlhaus) and that stability can be achieved only if individuals think and look the same. The other high cost of that stability is the elimination of human emotions that make human being precisely what they are.
Genetic engineering, knowledge explosion through an uncontrolled internet communication, the explosive use of drugs and the diverse entertainment media are current realities (Dass). Besides cloning, there too are scientific "advancements, such as test-tube pregnancies that make the female body optional; surrogate motherhood; and artificial insemination which eliminate the natural bonding between a child and its parents. Likewise, embryos can now be tampered with to prevent the occurrence of certain diseases in later life.
The assault on privacy and the unbridled exchange of massive information are now stark realities in our times through the internet. No one owns this infinity medium, where privacy and trickery are uncontrolled.
Soma is current-day hypnotic, sedative and other mind-state-altering drugs, the mis-use of which has grown pernicious and very threatening. Huxley uses the soma as an escape device, which is what cocaine, crack and opium are, too. Soma does not remove consciousness but prepares it for a chemical that alters consciousness. Present-day mind-altering drugs do both, which are responses to the confusion and despair quite common in ironically highly civilized societies,…[continue]
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