Brave New World Review
Brave New World, written in the 1931 by Aldous Huxley, is one of the most breathtaking literature books ever placed in the shelves bookstores for sale. An inside look at the book suggest that Huxley wrote a fiction literary material full of satire. Yet the response the book has received from critics is massive, with many scholars and opinion leaders suggesting that the book is an ill-conceived futuristic approach to life rather than a pure work of literature (Griffin, 1990; Huxley, 2007a; Sherborne, 2000). The debate to completely ban the book from the shelves of public schools has been raging for some time. But is there substantial reason to dismiss this book rather than being scary to ambitious young people in public schools? In a critical view, this book portrays a vision of a scary, yet comprehensible future that we don't want to become a reality. In addition, we can learn from it a lot more than one can imagine. It is understandable that the book offers a candid picture of the future, and provides a clear image on how things could go wrong in a society full of uncertainties. Is it not obvious that the world is increasingly getting infested by drug abuse? Is it not evident that internet has made the world a global village and more technology controlling our lives like never before? This essay explores the usefulness of the Brave New World and why it is important students get access to it for further knowledge acquisition.
Huxley was writing a fiction book full of satire, and presumably he did not intend to instill fear of scientific prophesy among the readers. It therefore means an attempt to classify this piece of work as ill-intentioned is far much an exaggeration and misinterpretation of a noble idea. In essence, Huxley turns the future with the notion of happiness into “archetypical dystopia” (Huxley, 2007a, p.154), where technology takes control of every aspect of our lives.
Admittedly, there is one aspect of this book that is unsettling and scary. The description of a Brand New World lives an image of a place where there is no love and full of sinister activities. The author manages to portray the future world as ideally designed, with characteristics that potentially alienates the people. In fact, reading the book invokes the feelings of dangerous future society, with no natural attachment between people. Huxley’s description of Brand New World as a “nightmare” sums up his intention to convince the readers that the book is not just a reflection of perfect future world once human genomes are restructured (Huxley, 2007a). He intimates that there is a likelihood of human DNA being subdivided and edited so as to prolong and add fun to life. In other words, he portrays the current genes as prone to diseases; hence anybody imagining that it is an easy life full of bliss must one who is hiding behind the realism of life and struggle.
The not-so-perfect individual life will also be full of sacrifices, indicating that the best way to eliminate the imaginations and illusions is to monitor one’s drug consumption. For example, asylum is found in Iceland, in addition to alpha male misfit found in the Falklands (Huxley, 2007b). The author does not stop from suggesting that there are some people who will remain emotionally insecure and that several mistakes are likely to be made in the process, leading to unhappiness (Huxley, 2007b).
What puts the book apart is the way Huxley creates anxieties among the audience through description of what entails happiness through production and consumption of mass products. According to Huxley, this universal happiness will only emerge when the society sacrifices it’s most valued tenets of its existence in families, parenthood and love (Huxley, 2007b). But is this what Huxley intends to instill in the readers’ minds? Certainly not, as the author looks at a deeper meaning of what he anticipates from the transforming society. According the author, mass production will dominate the range of things to be consumed. Among these mass-produced and consumed goods are sports, promiscuous sex and pleasure drugs (Huxley, 2007b).
Of all these mass produced goods, drugs (soma) seems to be the most significant anticipated dominantly produced and consumed good. While it will make users high, the producers’ increased skills will make it hangover-free. But, this kind of observation made by Huxley is a clear indication of his interest in the life of the future people, and concern as far as drug consumption increase is concerned. It is an open secret that Huxley is trying to warn the current generation of the future tragedies of drug and consumption. It is evident that if Huxley wanted to emphasize the imagined value of soma, he would have given it a totally different description that would portray it as a positive drug with which its usage would bring positive outcome to the consumers (Sherborne, 2000). He could have reinforced the importance of using these drugs rather than their ultimate impact on the society. Griffin (1990) observe that the misinterpretations of the book suggest that many observers see it as literary work that would perpetuate drug consumption among students, rather than fill their minds with rightful information. But according to the author, soma consumption does not in anyway add something special to the user’s mind (Huxley, 2007a). The drugs never turn the users into the idealized picture of themselves and what they would desire to be in the future.
This book is more suited to the youth, especially those in high schools and colleges, as they are the most affected in the current society. Of all the issues the author highlighted, portrayal of drug as a substance that has negative impact on the users is a good message for the youth who hold the future of the society at hand. Students of senior classes have the mental ability to derive positive interpretation from the book rather than focusing on its scariness. It is appropriate for APLAC because this group of students has the ability to learn the literary skills exposed by the author, and adopt positive behavioral change for a well known future. The book prepares the readers to develop proper psychological skills to cope with the challenging future.
It is apparent that Huxley has a totally different agenda from the one people picture after reading his book. The clearest revelation is that Huxley is trying to give warning to the people against scientific utopianism, which tends to dominate human’s imagination. This effort is successful as the book makes it possible to see individuals as the primary cause of their own utopianism. For example, his description of soma and its impact does not conform to any of the societal ideals presented as a common knowledge. In fact, one open intention of the author was to further heighten fear among the already worried population about the increased use of illegal drugs. The unpopular mood drugs are envisioned to become a menace among the people’s lives and destroy the very fabrics that define and stabilize the society. It is possibly heightened by the increased use of internet that acts as a channel of drug distribution, leaving numerous and vulnerable groups of young people at larger risks. In essence, a teacher can highlight specific themes that are deemed positive to and place them in a lesson plan for the students in order to derive positive knowledge acquisition.
In another perspective, it could be suggested that Huxley is doing some mental warm-up by suggesting a not-so-natural hedonic engineering to curb the anticipated problem with the urgency it deserves. In fact, the book reveals that the current users of these drugs, especially the medically supported antidepressants and mood booster suffer in silence without raising any concerns (Sherborne, 2000). In other words, students who with access to the hard drugs can adopt better behavioral habits and change their drug usage trend, possibly out of fear of its repercussion. In case they fail to change, they will be destroyed in silence and the society will find for solutions outside the right places.
The style of writing is scary as it seems more like a horror book. The tone is harsh and not friendly to light-hearted as the author uses analogies of lack of basic social life in the future, with people operating like robots. Even though Huxley intimates that soma is dangerous for the consumers, as it destroys the long term happiness, the manner in which he describes the outcome and the way we should cope with the situation is an outright exaggeration. But the objections of scariness and brutal honesty cannot outshine the positives derived from the open reality. The DNA engineering of course cannot replace natural humans and its activities, and people should never attempt to apply them practically.
Some generated high feelings do not reflect on other people’s feelings (Sherborne, 2000). In fact, a drug-induced happiness only works for a certain moment, and eventually leaves people disappointed with loads of expectations. Such high feelings are temporal and are likely to alienate the users from the rest of the society. These in effect make the users feel nothing for others; hence do not consider any form of welfare for others (Sherborne, 2000). In the outset of the book, Huxley suggests that elimination of nasty behaviors as well as mental pain associated with old genes would help the society live with a better option of an improved genotype. The false happiness illustrated by Huxley is a clear indicator of the need to support more anti-soma campaigns.
It is apparent that many have mistakenly misinterpreted the Brave New World as an amoral literary work, considering it as out of that particular environment. Though the author suggests a brand new location with unique people who have undergone genetic re-engineering, it is evident that it will not translate into everyone’s happiness. The whole concept of the book is hinged on Huxley’s desire to impart more knowledge among the people on what future holds for them is some pragmatic actions are not taken. This kind of approach to writing, despite being scary and worrying, has several hidden meaning and purpose for the people driven understanding of literary works. All these make the book worth reading for the school-going groups of students. The book is educative in nature and logically provides its readers with prior knowledge of what they expect in the future society. This kind of mental preparation is good for the future generation.