Sunday, August 19, 2012

Less Perfect and More Free

Aldous Huxley
Brave New World was written by Aldous Huxley as a vision of a future "utopia". Here, everyone is engineered for compliance. Even before decanting, (no one is born from a mother nowadays), each bottle is given special treatment to best suit it to its future assignment in life. As each little child is raised, hypnopaedic (sleep-learning) methods are used to ingrain the mindset decided upon for it. They are taught to be happy with their station in life, to be happy at their job, to be happy in their social life, where promiscuity is the norm. Everyone has everything they could possibly need or want. And if ever they should be unhappy, there is always soma, a drug with no side effects or downside. The government is not visibly oppressive or constantly rationing and controlling as in George Orwell's 1984. In Brave New World, there are no Thought Police because people have been trained to be happy with the life they have, which is not a drudgery. No one needs to watch your choices when you have no choice. You have been trained to make the 'right' choice from the beginning. The people of Huxley's dystopia have lost their freedom - and their humanity. Huxley's book is frightening because everyone is happy; the totalitarian regime is not starving them or mistreating them. Individuals have lost their freedom for the greater good.

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