Brave New World, Essay Example
The concept of Brave New World for Huxley is a direct inspiration from utopian novels written by H.G. Wells. He also was much influenced by plots of A Modern Utopia (1905) and Men Like Gods (1923) by Wells. It is the trend of optimistic vision towards the future under the impact of industrialisation that made Huxley come up with the parodic initiation of such plots in Brave New World (1932, later 1998). In his words,
“I am writing a novel about the future — on the horror of the Wellsian Utopia and a revolt against it. Very difficult. I have hardly enough imagination to deal with such a subject. But it is none the less interesting work” (letter of 18th May, 1931, 2009, p. 403).
The basic approach of this paper is to concentrate over the understanding of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Brave New World Revisited’ and thereby comprehend the technological approaches used in the advanced society of London ans the traditional set up of New Mexico. Further, the paper interprets the dangers of democracy, added by the creation of modern technology thathas been explored by Huxley in his writings.
Brave New World is a plot in London, preconceiving a life thatis 600 ahead in future (as noted by Huxley it’s “After Ford” thatis A.F. 632). It depicts the industrialised life of human being that is governed by some highly established World State. The beginning of the plot illustrates the process of antiseptic tone towards the dehumanisation process, by which people are conditioned as per the requirement of the current caste system of the society. Instances of birth, growth through aging and ultimate death get disgusting get ups in this particular world.
As the plot develops, it brings forth Bernard Marx as the protagonist who spends his vacation week with a “pneumatic” beauty, Lenina Crowne. The location is that of a remote Savage Reservation, New Mexico that is a place in contrast to the technological life of London. In this context, Bernard’s superior, D.H.C. informs him that he too visited Savage Reservationand eventually lost his woman. Keeping this in mind Bernard visits Savage Reservation and there meets a woman, Linda, who originates from London and 20 years ago she gave birth to a son, John, whose father was none other than D.H.C. Bernard brings them to London and offers them to D.H.C. publicly, who was on the verge of banishing Bernard. Eventually D.H.C. flees from the place in terror and Bernard gets socially outcast. However, he enjoys his new success as he now got John, “the Savage” with him.
Being from traditional set up of New Mexico, London turns weird to John and he turns against its systems. He quotes the Shakespearean lines of Miranda from the play The Tempest:
“O brave new world that hath such people in it!”
However, his declarations turns ironical as he turns more disgusted by the application of soma, recreational sex and identical process of creating human beings in London. By the end of the plot, John with Bernard and an engineer, Helmholtz Watson, is arrested due to their revolts. In accordance to the prosecution of World Controller Mustapha Mond, there is the serious loss of individuality as well as instance of freedom that leads to a minimal small price for the attainment of stability. Mond as per the judgement exils Bernard with Helmholtz to Falkland Islands and allows John to be there in London. In search of peace without his partners, John goes for seclusion in a lighthouse that was outside the city and adopts the vomiting and regular modes of ritual whippings to attain purification. Soon he gets trouble by the press and people as an animal and he ends up as a sexual orgy. The story ends with the picqueresque image of hanging lifeless body of from at the lighthouse.
Technologies for Advanced Society
There are various technologies introduced in this novel to serve the predetermined purposes of the advanced society. There is the “Sport” that is a World State pillar with different games implied under high-tech equipment. There are “feelies” that are high-tech version of then-current “talkies.” There are also these Synthetic Music Boxes,famous Scent Organs that are musical instruments with a combination of music with very pleasant sorts of aromas and Colour Organs that got the combination of music and dazzling light show. Room for transport technology is identified under urban system of transportion, noted as”taxicopters” or the advanced helicopters; and “sporticopters” that are comparatively long-ranged and expensive. High-speed “monorails” note provision of transportation for lower castes. For the global travel, there are “rocket planes.”
Further, there is the process of creating new embryos at the Centres of Hatcheries and Conditioning that are assisted by high-tech lab-instruments. Clothes for the population are from specialised kinds of fine synthetic materials like those of viscose and asacetate. The range os architecture is initiated by “vitra-glass” added by the provision of “ferroconcrete” that are skyscrapers. “Electrolytic razors” lead the action of shaving by men and they can consume some chewing gum for the attainment of sex hormone. Relaxations are offered to the population by massage machines like “vibro-vac” and there is interestingly the attainment of happiness for the entire population, by advanced drug in tablet form or in the form of anaesthetic cloud, called Soma.
Social Purposes of these Technologies
There are great social significances of the noted technologies in the proceedings of day-to-day life of the advanced society. As for instance, the implication of feely, the users can attain rest for their hands by keeping it over the metal knobs sticking out the same from the arms in the chair. This allows the users feel physical sensations of the actors, who are displayed on-screen (especially for the sexual films).
As explained by the novel, the implication of the advanced technology aims in keeping all the workers busy in the process of manufacturing determined products. However, though people of World State are liable for the advantages of better devices, yet World Controller Mustapha Mond also adds that there are still many designs and plans in the pipeline to attain advanced kinds of society-oriented technologies. The basic aim is to offer people with enough room for themselves to rest and then again get into the work with high-spirited mental and physical advancement. The core approaches are towards the attainment of high profile dominance towards the advanced society where excellence is the only thing that must be attained. in the way to follow this, all the workers are offered with necessary facilities and scopes to attain relaxations and high-tech lifestyles for better existence in the world. The scopes and advancement in the field of transportation stand prominent to show how speed and time get balanced in order to offer best of the services and products to humankind in no time.
Compare and Contrast Social Control Mechanisms between Advanced and “Reservation” Societies
The predominant matter of concern for the reader of this novel is to understand and thereby comprehend the implication and persuasion of two different worlds or social formats. These formats are that of social control mechanisms that remain prevalent in both advanced society and “reservation” society in diversified manner.
The “reservation” society is from the other end of London that is New Mexico, and is identified by Malpais, a community. People of this community are aged and toothless that appears like a strange scene for any native from London. Here people are traditional in their approaches and are free from all the high-tech facilities that are offered in the advanced socity of London. Issues of illegal pregnancy and frustrations due to lack of abortion seemed to remain a common social problem in the “reservation” society. These kinds of frustrations lead the individual to a life of social seclusion, which is much accepted politically. These are some issues that have of no relevance in the advanced society of London as everyone here prefers to concntrat in their individual lives and dedicate themselves in developing technological set ups for a more adavanced life in future. In contrast to the conservative mechanisms for social control of “reservation” society, the World State of advanced society of London follows the principles led by Henry Ford. This format is of mass production, predictability, and instances of homogeneity. Here antidepressant as well as hallucinogenic drug termed as Soma, resolves unhappiness of any kind. This is a secularised version of Christian sacrament of Communion thathas been quoted as “The Body of Christ.”
However, there are still some common points that make these societies come along under the same umbrella of human emotion and the essence of fear and helplessness. Irrespective of any boundary, the novel very distinctively addresses importance of family and the noted values being integral part of the social construct in both advanced society and “reservation” society. The governance in both the cases is very much into the process of outcastism and the classification of social groups remains relevant in these societies.
Brave New World Revisited
As Aldous Huxley revisits Brave New World after World War II, he was surprised to see that his predictions and imaginations related to a modern and advanced society is already inits process. In a gap of almost 30 years, there were many things turning real and strangely enough can be considered as having the base from Brave New World of 1932.
Dangers to Democracy
Huxley pointed out many technlogical inventions and issues towards the functionalities of advanced society of London or the mechanisms for social control. As the author revisits the Brave New World after World War II, he finds drastic chnages in the traditional society that he had 30 years back and science and technology are so adavanced now that there hardly any space for regularhuman troubles. However, these inventions and issues were directly affecting the functionalities of democracy in the Brave New World.
According to Huxley,
“Democratic institutions are devices for reconciling social order with individual freedom and initiative, and for making the immediate power of a country’s rulers subject to the ultimate power of the ruled. …” (2000, pp. 30-31)
In this reference, people in general were offered with enough independence through diversified technological inventions in the field of architecture, transportations, and above all, medicines. The citizens, as noted by Huxley are getting so advanced that they are hardly getting concerned about themselves as any kind of individual entity. The government has created such formats that these individuals are being conditioned to perceive and comprehend the world in a collective as well as technologically supportive way.
Advanced transportations like Hub-and-spoke systems of 1961-78 is an intermediate airport hub with maintainence of integrity of flight schedule as majority of passengers follow connecting flights. This system assists in restricting flight delays caused by congestion. Added to this Airbus and Boeing from 1970-2000, are considered as replicas for “taxicopters.” These transportations are though very advanced, yet are creating dangers to the process of democracy, as people no longer remain responsible to come down for the regulr process of voting. They are more engaged in various proceedings of developing similar technologies.
In terms of advanced architechture, London has skyscapers like Economist Building and Centrepoint that were similar to the fantasies of “vitra-glass” and “ferroconcrete” led by Huxley in Brave New World. However, these advancement also referes to the threats of terrorism that eventually hampers the democratic and economic proceedings of any nation, especially as in case of 9/11.
In reference to medical advancements, ther are innumerable drugs as Amitriptyline, Maprotiline, and Ritalin, which are available in the market and get black due to its popularity. as declared by Wilkenfeld (no date) –
“However, according to Prevention First, Inc., Ritalin is also one of the most popular street drugs in America. The Drug Enforcement Administration rates it as one of the top 10 controlled substances stolen from pharmacies and other licensed handlers. And it is one of the most abused controlled substances available legally today.”
These drugs can offer the citizens with the sense of indifferent attitude towards the nation and their responsibilities. The implication or popuylarity of this drug is due to its capability to offer relaxation to anyone out of the stressfull lifestyles and so regular and common of it can cause massive imnpact over the persuasion of political consciousness among the population in general. This hampers the democratic approaches as people can very easily opt to ignore their democratic responsibilities and thereby offer government with the power of being totalitarian.
Technology since 1960
The use of Soma in Brave New World can be very easily perceived in reference to the drug of Ritalin. Just as Soma, which is from the Vedic ritual drink with antidepressent and energizing qualities, Ritalin or Methylphenidate, prescribed from 1960 too have similar facilities of making people get away from their physical stress and attain relaxation.
Analysis of the Technology
Ritalin, developed by CIBA, now identified, as Novartis Corporation is a kind of drug that is similar to Soma mentioned in Brave New World by Huxley. This drug is usually prescribed to handle the condition if lethargy and depression. There is the scope for treatment over the emergent psychosis by the long-term therapy managed under Ritalin. Ritalin tablets comprise of some active ingredient as methylphenidate hydrochloride that is also recognised as a stimulant. The basic approach of these tablets for any user is to treat the status of ADHD or the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The respective stimulants are connected towards amphetamines, and thereby are managed to increase activities of the user’s brain. This feature encourages many people in normal to consume Ritalin for the attainment of active and alert brains, which can turn harmful under normal and long-term circumstances. Ritalin or Methylphenidate acts by affecting brain’s natural chemicals, especially in reference to the th eprocess of increasing chemicals known as noradrenaline and dopamine thata re directly related to the controlling proceedings of individual behaviour and attention grasping features of the brain (NetDoctor.co.uk. 1998-2012.).
There is a serious recommendation of regular psychiatric monitoring of all the users, as it can create adverse effects like those of psychotic symptomatology; especially in case the drug is not mainatined as per the necessary dose adjustment or some phases of discontinuation in te entire process of medication. Regular consumption of this drug can cause serious psychological damage to the user. It is important to note that Ritalin is commonly prescribed for ADHD. Though there are records that this drug actually helped many people, yet its side effects are not discussed in general. As declared by Dr. K. Lundberg (2012), “Ritalin is a stimulant like cocaine; it may cause undesirable changes in the brain over time. It also has the potential for abuse.”
Technology as Threat to Democracy
Being an anti-deprssent advanced technological drug; Ritalin can assists in making the user free from daily hassles and offers enough pleasure in being by him. Interestingly Soma too is noted as a drug that offered simillar sort of anti-depressent and lethargy free lives to the users. It is used under biological method by the Alphas in the novel to keep lower castes population sedated. In case of United States of America, the leaders bluster a lot about all sorts of dangers caused by the abusive use of drug and alcohol. However, the government acts exactly like the Alphas and sedate American popultion by the use of drug and alcohol under prescriptions. It has been marked that 10 percent of U.S. population, which will be 27 million people, are using anti-depressant pills on regular basis. Strangely enough, the government allows Ritalin for more than 4 million children, for attaining malleable status. By regular consumption of Ritalin, the US government is actually following the same trend of creating advanced society under the supremacy of World State.
However, this technological invention of Ritalin seems very fascinating for the US population and offers immediate sense of pleasure and energy to the user, its long terms affects are yet not highlighted to the public by the government. It has been used in a positive way among the citzens and enough emphasis has been made towards its consumption. However, under clear analyses it can be noted that these drugs like Soma is going to create such citizens in future that will depend more on these kinds of drug to have a pleasurable life anf offering least possible attantion to the functionalities of the government. As a result, the government will get the totalitarian power over the population and there will be no room for the people in general to decide anything about their government.
The essence of capitalist democracy, like that of the United States, is controlled by Power Elite. This is a term coined by Professor C. Wright, who illustrated Power Elite as, “those political, economic, and military circles, which as an intricate set of overlapping small but dominant groups share decisions having at least national consequences. Insofar as national events are decided, the power elite are those who decide them.” (1956, p 18)
The group of Power Elite dominates the governances like those of the United Staes and decides for the people by restricting them from having real role-plays in the democratic system. Implications of technological supports as Ritalin, through legal permissions there is a direct sedate procedure used over the population in general by such sorts of governments. This declaration can be well authenticated by the following figure
Figure 1 Incarcerated Americans
Source: Quinn, TranslationDirectory.com
Intelligent Use of Technology to Enhance Democracy
Eventually, it can be noted that use of technology in an intelligent way can well support in the developmnent of human race. However, failure to the same can turn the government into a totalitarian format. Consciousness among people is thecore element towards the maintenance of these kinds of issues, especially those exemplified through the application of drugs like Ritalin. In order to prevent and mainatin fair democracy, there is the need or sel-consciousness among the population and the zeal to turn totalitarian world as illustrated in Huxley’s Brave New World into an appropriate governance with absolute powers in the hands of the public in general. Issues as noted by Huxley in Brave New World Revisited; particularly those of overpopulation and the way to handle the same, must be well comprehended. His illustrations over the effects of drugs added by subliminal suggestion must get popul; arised to make justified and intelligent worldwide population, for the establishment of global democracy.
Bussacco, Michael C. “The Heritage Club, SandGlass,” Number XI: 38, April, 1974. Heritage Press Sandglass Companion Book: 1960-1983. Tribute Books, 30th April, 2009.
Huxley, A. “Brave New World.” New York: Harper Collins Publishers (1932). First Perennial Classics edition. 1998
Huxley, A. “Brave New World Revisited.” New York: Harper Collins Publishers (1958). First Perennial Classics edition. 2000
Huxley, A. “Propaganda in a Democratic Society.” Brave New World Revisited. 1958 http://deoxy.org/huxley1.htm [retrived on 13th November, 2012]
Lundberg, Dr. K. “Ritalin and Cocaine: The Connection and the Controversy.” Learn Genetics. Genetic Science Learning Center. University of Utah. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/issues/ritalin.html [retrived on 13th November 2012]
Mills, Charles W. “The Power Elite.” Oxford University Press. 1956
NetDoctor.co.uk. “Ritalin (methylphenidate).” ADHD medicines. 1998-2012. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/adhd/medicines/ritalin.html [retrived on 13th November 2012]
Quinn, J. “Brave New World Revisited.” TranslationDirectory.com. 2003-2012 http://www.translationdirectory.com/articles/article2083.php [retrived on 13th November 2012]
Wilkenfeld, A. “ADHD Black Market.” CWK Network. no date. http://www.connectwithkids.com/tipsheet/2001/51_dec19/adhd.html [retrived on 18th November 2012]
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