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- Book Summary
- Pillars of the World State
- Community in Brave New World
- Everyone for everybody
- Freedom in community
- Evidence of communion in the novel
III. Identity in Brave New World
- Predetermined Identity
- The role of genetic engineering
- Manufacture and conditioning of humans
- Evidence of identity pillar in Brave New World
- Stability in Brave New World Essay
- The essence of Stability in the World State
- Conflicts and elusive stability
- Evidence of Stability in action
A. Book Summary
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a utopic novel featuring a sterile and controlled World State. The World State has controllers who manage the affairs of the state. They grow people inside bottles through genetic engineering and condition them to become what they want through brainwashing and Pavlovian techniques. For the smooth functioning of the system, humans are divided into five castes: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. The system is designed in such a way that people in one caste feel satisfied and unwilling to learn or move to another caste. The destinies of the people are predetermined at creation by the use of narcotics such as soma and chemicals. In the World State, everyone is for everybody. People are identical and they think the same and can have sex with anybody of their choice. The World State came about as a result of abrogation of individual liberties. The people cried for a stable world community in which people enjoy all rights. By craving for a world in which there are no wars, sadness or individuality, the people in the new world ended up having a world full of identical people in which they are controlled like robots, a world of community, stability and identity.
B. Pillars of the World State
In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, he provides three important pillars which form the foundation of the World State: “Community, Identity, and Stability” (Huxley, 2010). The Brave New World achieves the three qualities through a paradoxical process. Firstly, contrary to the contemporary perspective of community as a group of diverse people living together in society, Huxley paints the community in the World State as a group of manufactured people. The people are classified under five social castes.
Secondly, contrary to the normal definition of identity as a sense of individuality in society, a reader of Huxley’s novel finds out that all people have predestined identities no matter what they do (Huxley, 2010). The caste system forces all people in the World State to conform to uniform standards which lead to stability. It is extraordinary to think that stability can prevail in a world where the rights of individuals do not exist and a world where people are denied the opportunity to develop distinctive identities. Contrary to the utopia presented in the novel, John’s suicide at the end of the book confirms the chaos and incoherency in the World State in spite of the efforts of the controllers in maintaining social control. In the systematic, computerized, and well-ordered world of Huxley’s novel, manufacturing of people through genetic engineering and controlling them using the available resources model the motto of “Community, Identity, Stability.” The rest of this paper explores how the three themes of permeate throughout Brave New World.
- Community in Brave New World
A. Everyone for everybody
In the Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, nobody lives for himself. All people belong to everyone else. That is the kind of community for manufactured people who follow their identities leading to stable lives. In Huxley’s Brave New World, community refers to the entire population unit in which every person is connected (Huxley, 2010). The daily actions of the citizens such as sexual desires and other horrible emotions connect the New World. The effects of social connection are best expressed by Bernard who hates the society’s status quo. What disgusts Bernard is the mere thought of having anyone for sexual relationships or intercourse. Since all people are the same and everyone is for everybody, people can choose any person they wish to have. Bernard expresses a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration and yearns for a sense of individuality which cannot be obtained in the New World.
B. Freedom in community
The Brave New World goes into great lengths to develop a sense of community in the World State all in the aim of making people comfortable in the caste in which they belong. Since the utopic community is a result of stability and identity, satirical religion also plays a role in achieving a sense of community (Huxley, 2010). Christianity, for instance, enhances all aspects of community. It encourages the people to unite by playing sex with anyone instead of choosing the right partner as is in the contemporary world. The World State organizes life in such a manner that nobody is alone at any one time. Solitude and loneliness that are characteristic of the contemporary society are unheard of in the Brave New World. Constant community gatherings like Orgy-Porgy and singing sessions decorate the days in World State. The citizens are free to attend any event of their choice depending on their caste. The events include Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta or Epsilon for each of the five castes.
C. Evidence of communion in the novel
The novel presents a lot of evidence to confirm that the World State is anchored on the principle of community. Huxley claims that since the children do not have natural parents to take care of them, they are bundled together in nurseries where they live and grow together (Huxley, 2010). As the children grow up in the common nursery within State Conditioning Centers, they are acclimatized by Neo-Pavolvian techniques which help them to have similar thoughts and feelings. The children end up having similar desires, likes and dislikes which creates the sense of community envisaged in the New World. The adult residents of the New World take part in Solidarity Services which helps them to satisfy their emotions such as spiritual emotions and other desires beyond themselves. Ingestion of soma while singing hymns suffices as communion that is celebrated by contemporary Christians. Children are encouraged to play naked and satisfy themselves sexually with anybody since “everybody belongs to everybody.” Thus, they enjoy sex without jealousy or other emotions such as hatred and live together as one community. In order to survive, the controllers demand that the community must have the other two attributes of identity and stability.
II. Identity in Brave New World
A. Predetermined Identity
Identity is predetermined through genetic engineering in the World State. People are born depending on need based on the five castes, hereditary and social grouping (Huxley, 2010). The people in the lower three castes are cloned in order to allow them to conceive up to ninety six identical twins. Another way of achieving identity is by teaching every person to conform to the specific laid down regulations. The teachings make them feel identical, failure to which, necessitates ouster.
B. The role of genetic engineering
Genetic engineering enables the World State to predestine the life of every citizen right from the time of decantation. The caste, careers, ways of life, thoughts, fears and everything concerning everybody are already predestined by the genetic engineering system. People who portray irregular behavior are brainwashed into what the controllers want them to become. The identity of all people is chosen and it is the obligation of all people to work towards achieving what they were created to become. It becomes easier for people to work towards their goals because that is all they know from creation. Furthermore, all people are brainwashed to love their lifestyles in whatever cast they are placed. They are thought to love their lifestyles and esteem them better than people from other castes. That is why people from the beta caste cannot think, imagine or think like those from the remaining four castes. Nobody dreams to have a different identity other than the one they were brainwashed to believe.
C. Manufacture and conditioning of humans
The identity of the community is predestined at genetic manufacture with the needs of the community in mind. During the incubation period, the controllers determine at their discretion whether they need males, females or freemartins. Males and females have the same anatomies like the ones in the real life (Day, 2000). However, freemartins are female embryos which have been infused with male hormones. Freemartins are sterile with dominant male traits that are meant for masculinity. Genetic engineers determine the size of the body, the stature and physical abilities through controlled application of growth hormones. The infants are conditioned through Pavlovian training, the use of heat and cold and electric shocks to hate and like certain things. The end result is a new crop of identical genetically modified people with similar identities, behaviors, likes and dislikes.
D. Evidence of identity pillar in Brave New World
There are many examples of resentment to the genetic engineering of people in the Brave New World. For instance, Bernard’s sense of identity is lost in the sea of miasma. He looks for self-consciousness to no avail and faults himself for his miseries since he is not similar to other engineered people (Huxley, 2010). To get rid of people struggling for self-identity, the controllers banished Bernard to the Falkland Islands in a bid to silence him and stop him from telling anyone about his individuality. With no individual identity in Brave New World, community is upheld and stability is realized, albeit in utopia.
IV. Stability in Brave New World Essay
A. The essence of Stability in the World State
Stability is the last of the three goals which the World State should achieve. Stability is the reason for designing and having a one world government in the world (Huxley, 2010). Without it, there would be no government structure. Pandemonium and chaos will reign and destroy the community and identity. In order to attain stability, it is necessary to create many genetically modified individuals who are identical. The people who are the same are more likely to co-exist since chances of having conflicts are minimized. Stability reduces struggle, risks and change.
B. Conflicts and elusive stability
In the real world, stability refers to stability as resistance to rebellion through constancy of purpose. Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World envisages a stable world unit of likeminded people. Stability helps in preventing chaos. According to Huxley, stability is peaceful co-existence which comes as a result of oneness in character and purpose. He foresees a world in which people have consistent character and predictable action. Although stability looks good from a surface understanding, it denies the principles of real life. The real life is made up of turbulences which help people to shape their lives. If people already know their reactions too circumstances and ways of life, they are reduced to puppets waiting to be controlled. If people cannot decide for themselves, and have their lives determined by other people, life ceases to make meaning. A critical analysis of Huxley’s novel reveals that humanity is worth more sacrifice than controlled stability.
C. Evidence of Stability in action
The novel shows many incidents where stability of the citizens of the World State was squelched. For instance, one of the directors tells a student in one of the tours to the Hatcheries that Bokanovsky’s Process creates social stability. Such claims are false because the process predestines people making it hard for them to escape their social destinies (Finney, 2014). The process also conditions the people to accept satisfaction in their status quo instead of knowing the truth behind everything. Secondly, using electric shock and fear conditioning to mold the character of children in the pretext of preventing social instability is insane. Thirdly, the use of soma vapor by the police to squelch dissidents and the use of pills to influence character in the quest for stability is not acceptable. Lastly, aberrant genetically engineered people are expelled from the New World to isolated worlds to maintain stability.
In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a utopic world in which people co-exist under the three premises of community, identity, and stability. According to him, such a state can only be achieved when people learn to shun individuality and strife to work as one community which would lead to stability. Once the conditions are met, the people can live happily ever after. However, a great sacrifice is the only way out as demonstrated by Mustapha Mond (Huxley, 2010). At the same time, it is impossible to implement such a way of life in the real world since some people, just like John, Bernard, and Helmholtz, will question the system. Although Huxley believes in individuality, he believes that individual values, believes and norms must be sacrificed in order to attain to the higher standards of the Brave New World.
Huxley, A. (2010). Brave New World. New York: Harper Perennial.
Finney, C. (2014). Brave New World? Ruminations on Race in the Twenty-first Century. Antipode, 46(5), 1277-1284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/anti.12021