Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Brave New World Response

Chin Tan
Brave New World Response
Brave New World is a novel written by Aldous Huxley that showcases a technologically advanced society. The novel takes place in London where every individual is born using reproductive technologies, such as cloning and genetic modifications. Babies are fertilized in a test tube, not in the uterus, therefore  people have a conceptual sense of motherhood and fatherhood. Everyone is born the same and is assigned in different caste since birth. There are five castes; alpha, beta, gamma, delta and epsilon. At a young age, they were conditioned to like their castes and to enjoy the specific jobs their castes have assigned for them.
This novel is an obvious dystopia. Individuals are created through genetic engineering. Their fate is predetermined, in which individuals are born in different castes and are conditioned to like their castes. Cruel conditioning techniques, such as electric shocks, are used to condition the lower castes to hate books. Most individuals are born infertile, which inhibits intimate relationships between one another. The World State also eliminated parenthood in order to further regulate strong emotions. The protagonist, John Savage, is an outsider who fell in love with Lenina and thus challenged this practice. They obviously show affection towards one another, but the concept of monogamy confuses and frightens Lenina, who is a model citizen. John was furious that the World State, which at first he was fascinated with, had turned against him. This is particularly dystopian due to the fact that it is missing the basic element of humanism, which is love. The individuals are giving a false sense of happiness. The relationships each individual has are not permanent, but rather temporary. How can one be happy in a society where relationships between one another are just temporary? There won’t be anyone to help them during times of need, and eventually they will feel lonely and abandoned.
World State has a lot of unethical practices including early sexual interaction, over reliance of drugs/somas, and treating each individual as products of mass production. Citizens of the World state are exposed to elementary sexual lessons where children are forced to have erotic interactions with one another. This is particularly disturbing. Children should not have sexual interactions with one another, especially when it is not consensual. This is to condition that sex is no longer a taboo; it is a normal thing in World State. Sex became a form of entertainment. Since children are exposed to openness of sex at an early age, and were never taught about commitment to their partners, they can have sex freely.  
The citizens are conditioned to embrace soma. They have a slogan for somas “..Half a gramme for a half-holiday” which is stated when an individual is depressed. It comes to a point where somas are abused whenever one is feeling slightly pressured. It is believed that somas can solve their problems. This over reliance of drugs can be observed in the world we live in now, especially with mental health. One was treated with drugs when diagnosed with depression,  ADHD, or any mental disorders to regulate the patient. This is believed to suppress urges of the patients from potentially harming themselves or others. In this example, the author accurately portrayed what the future can be. Over the years, people being overly reliant on drugs seems to be a recurring issue.
Another disturbing practice was objectifying oneself. Treating each individual as a product of mass production eliminates any sense of individualism. Since each individual is a product, it would make them a better citizen if many desire them.

Brave New World provides us with an insightful prediction of what the advancement of technology can bring. Many unethical practices might no longer be unethical. These practices will be seen as the norm, and strong emotions will be eliminated, which was believed to be the stem of Wars. Although World State seems to be a dystopian society, no citizens are ever hungry, unsheltered, and they are able to live a normal life. Ideally, everyone will love their jobs and will be regulated by one another, but at the same time will enforce each other to stay on track in  society.

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