Retaining Essentialism in a World of Cogs: The Individualism Versus Societal Conformity

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Throughout Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, the contrast of individualism to the blind conformity of society is shown repeatedly. The constant battle between the day-to-day life of conforming citizens in The World State and the main character Bernard Marx’s realization of isolation demonstrates the separation an individual feels from the rest of society. The sense of consciousness or individualism that Bernard Marx begins to feel is openly condemned by The World State, along with the mindless citizens. This sense of independence can be seen as a positive trait to an individual, but it can also be harmful to the individual’s reputation and standing in society. It has been evident, that through our history there have been many societies that parallel the attitudes of The World State, including the regimes of Stalin and Hitler. Bernard’s consciousness can directly parallel the resistance that some displayed under those regimes, in principle forcing the demise of said societies. This alone is the fear of The World State, the fear of revolt or resistance. By effectively brainwashing and conditioning, they try to suppress the ability of its citizen to cause civil unrest. Although as documented in history, there will always be those that can slip through the cracks, leading to the demise of a system. Following the social construct in Brave New World, the American society in the twenty-first century follows a pattern of conformity over essentialism. Interestingly enough, modern society has turned the notion of individualism into a subsection of conformity. While blind conformity still rings true like in the World State, a movement promoting individuality has been popularized. Society has become a place where mass conformity exists... ... middle of paper ... ...8): 598. Print. Douthat, Ross. "The Age of Individualism." New York Times [New York] 14 Mar. 2014: SR12. Print. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. 1932. New York: Harper & Brothers, 2005. Print. Lunt, Peter K. Stanley Milgram: Understanding Obedience and Its Implications. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print. “Millennials in Adulthood.” Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends. Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. 7 Mar. 2014. Web. 8 May 2014. Mises, Ludwig Von. "Human Action: A Treatise on Economics." Political Science Quarterly 66.4 (1951): 96. Print. Orwell, George, and Erich Fromm. 1984: A Novel. New York, NY: Signet Classic, 1961. Print. Sushil Bikhchandani, David Hirshleifer and Ivo Welch. “A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as Informational Cascades” Journal of Political Economy 100.5 (1992): 992-1026. Print.

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