Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World presents a portrait of a society which is apparently a perfect world. At first inspection, it seems perfect in many ways: it is care free, problem free and depression free. All aspects of the population are controlled: both as to number, social class, and mental ability. Even history is controlled and re-written to meet the needs of the party. Solidity must be maintained at all costs. In the new world which Huxley creates, if there were even a hint of anger, the wonder drug Soma is prescribed to remedy the problem.
A colleague, noticing your depression, would chime in with the chant, “one cubic entimetre of soma cures ten gloomy. ” This slogan was taught to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. Unhappiness, intellectual curiosity, disagreement, suffering- none of these feelings is allowed in the world which Huxley envisioned Soma, (the predecessor of the modern day Prozac) would be prescribed immediately Emotions of all types were strictly controlled Another of the panaceas of society was that everyone enjoyed his or her work because he or she was “made” or trained for it when they were young. In Brave New World, society was strictly stratified.
All births are ompletely planned and monitored. There were different classes of people with different intelligence and different “career plans. ” The social order was divided into the most highly educated, the Alpha+, and then in descending intelligence, the following divisions: Alpha, Beta, Beta -, Gamma, Delta ,and Epsilon with the last comprising those citizens of the lowest intelligence. Another of the problems with the society which Huxley depicts was that the people did not have individuality. They were all conditioned by subliminal messages and artificial stimuli to respond the same way.
This is similar to the kind of subliminal suggestion which advertisers use today. ) Although all people were meant to respond identically without thinking, a few were made ‘imperfectly and did have personalities. These people violated the principles of technology and artificial personalities and consequently were sent away so as not to “contaminate” others. (This is similar to what happened to slaves during the United States Civil War. The educated slaves who knew what was wrong and had influence over others were sent away from the United States and back to Africa )
In order to maintain order in Brave New World, the Resident Controller must have complete authority over more than just the present; he must also have influence over the past. In order to be able to achieve this, he must be able to rewrite history. This gives rise to the famous quotation from Brave New World, “All history is bunk. ” The ability to rewrite history is not so far distant from our technological society. A simple stroke of the computer keyboard can make a global change in information disseminated on a network or to thousand of electronic ulletin board subscribers.
Being able to distinguish the true from the false is becoming increasingly difficult. Unlike most of the other novels I have read, this book focuses constantly on the question of whether technology requires a sacrifice of human individuality. In this novel the reader is keenly aware of the dangers that homogeneity pose to the quality of life. People may enjoy life with technological advances, but if they are required to forfeit individual personalities or interpretations about life, Huxley makes us see that life will become meaningless..
In comparison to 1984, Brave New World makes the technology less obvious to the characters. The characters in the society in Brave New World do know that they are being controlled by soma “the wonder drug” and at birth the Controller has subliminal messages piped into the babies ears. In 1984 the society seems to know they are being controlled by Big Brother, but most do not really seem to be aware of negative aspects. The characters are similar in both books. In Brave New World Bernard, The Savage, and Helmhoz are very similar to Winston (in 1984)because they all are revolts against the established system.