braveBrave New World by Aldous Huxley

“Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. “The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma.” Soma is a drug engineered to eliminate side effects of sickness, while promoting submission.

The revelation of Huxley’s world, how it is created and how it functions leads to powerful messages about the purpose of humanity, the pursuit of happiness, the role of suffering and the need for individual human dignity and freedom. It also illustrates Huxley’s theory that the masses are more easily mollified by the power of pleasure than the threat of force.

What I learned is that in Huxley’s Brave New World, there is no middle ground. You’re either a part of society or an Indian on a reserve, neither path seemed entirely sane. Maybe the islands offer a reasonable alternative, but we never really know, since we’re never shown one.

This was a quick read, but it just didn’t really hit any chords with me. The characters are pretty one-dimensional, a result of their society, but nonetheless I didn’t really connect with them. Huxley’s vision did not really lead me to compare his world with ours. I’m sure that others love it or feel it is an important work, it is a classic for a reason, but I didn’t care for it.

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