Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his
Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece
My Take, Why it’s worth a read:
I enjoyed this book so much because I found it amazing how accurate it was becoming which lead me to deep thought and conversations with others. Originally written in 1931, Huxley does a eerily good job of predicting how our ‘infinite appetite for distractions’ would be our undoing. I see it on a daily basis. Our reliance on technology, love for reality TV, dislike of intellectual or challenging conversation. Belief that life is supposed to be easy instead of challenging. We’re quickly moving to a society that would prefer the illusion of happiness as a group vs the freedom to be an individual with things such as pure truth and beauty.
Brave New World has been overshadowed by Orwell’s 1984 for most of the past few decades. As a society we are constantly worried about the government or “Big Brother” controlling our lives through suppression. Through externally imposed oppression. But what Huxley does such a terrifyingly great job of showing in this book is that we may not need Big Brother to deprive people of our autonomy, maturity, or history. He believed that we would come to love our oppression without realizing it. We would adore our technologies and undo our capacities to think.
In 1984, Huxley, added people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
Give it a read and see if you think Huxley was as on point as I do…
Brave New World:
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
Brave New World Revisited:
“The wish to impose order upon confusion, to bring harmony out of dissonance and unity out of multiplicity is a kind of intellectual instinct, a primary fundamental urge of the mind.”
About the Author:
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and essays Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social mores, norms and ideals. Huxley was a humanist but was also interested towards the end of his life in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. By the end of his life, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time.