Brave New World - Happiness

Brave New World - Happiness

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With reference to the text, discuss Mustafa Mond’s statement: “ The secret to happiness is liking what you have to do.”

Mustafa Mond is presented to us as one of the Ten World Controllers in Brave New World, of that Utopian, communal and stabilized world, set six hundred years into future. This new world that contradicts the world we live in today, eliminated the Freedoms that we depend on: the freedom of choice, the freedom of thought, religion and being. They have chosen to condition their individuals in baby factories in order to ensure identity, community and stability. The fundamental tenet behind the conditioning is utilitarianism, which describes a society that seeks to create maximum happiness. Those who are happy are thought to be efficient and beneficial to society. Mond’s statement: “The secret to happiness is liking what you have to do,” applies to his ‘conditioned’ world, with abolished Freedoms, but it does not apply to the world we live in today.

Huxley shows how "identity" is established in the Conditioning Centre through the selection of the embryos into each of five groups. All the individuals in Brave New World have their identity predestined by someone else. This promotes stability by creating a group of workers whose preferences are moulded by the state. I cannot concur with this idea of ‘puppet creation’ where people can be depicted as puppets and the state can be said to be their puppet master who has a right to choose their character roles. In our society, this goes against the freedom of being and becoming someone you wish to be.

Mr Foster addresses the students about Epsilons and mentions, “We condition them to thrive on heat,” (p. 31). This can explain why they are predestined to like warm temperatures and why they emigrate to tropics to become miners and steel workers and in that way benefit the society. I should mention that I do not agree with their idea that one should be conditioned to be happy with what they are doing or to perform the task correctly. In today’s society, one may notice that there are people who grew up near coalmines and without anyone forcing them to work, they still feel like they should dedicate themselves to a miner’s duty. They might have been born into a miner’s family and upon their own will, might decide to follow their family’s footsteps.

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One should realize that this again applies to our Freedoms, in this case, the freedom of choice.

In Huxley’s example, one can notice how Delta babies are forced to learn a lesson of instinctive hatred towards books and flowers. Their love for books and flowers may influence the efficiency of the society. I must disagree with the way these babies are treated just to be more efficient. Before they even know it, their freedom of choice and belief is eliminated. In today’s world, children might learn not to play with fire if they burn themselves once, however, this stands behind the fundamentals of survival. One should not be taught to hate things that are not dangerous for their own health, otherwise these individuals can be said to be narrow minded and ignorant.

Deltas are trained to avoid roses and books by giving them electric shocks when they touch those items. Psychologically, this conditioning also lowers these classes to the status of animals. They are trained to hate books in case they read something that might undesirably decondition one of their reflexes. They are taught to hate flowers, so that they will not spend too much time in the countryside, away from work and responsibilities. This again applies to the efficiency of the society. Alphas are given challenging jobs and Epsilons are given grunt work that would be boring for higher caste members. "Stability" in their society is ensured through the limitations placed on the intelligence of each group. In our society, nobody has a right to limit anyone’s intelligence. This applies to the freedom of thought. Those who are intelligent enough will become what they desire, and their knowledge will be contributing towards the whole world.

Huxley generates "community" by dividing the population into segments, where the Alphas serve as intellectual superiors and Epsilons function as pure menial labour. People are conditioned to respect each other’s caste, and to be happy with their identity and the community they form. In our society, individuals tend to separate by their cultural backgrounds, for instance, religion. In today’s world, we may encounter people that change their religion from Christianity to Buddhism for example, and that can be a part of our freedom of choice, thought and being. Due to our education and our intelligence that is not limited we may decide what is best for us. In Brave New World however, where the only reason for living is to benefit others, those freedoms are eliminated and no one is given a chance to choose, think, or change.

As Huxley explains, consumption is beneficial to the Utopian society. Economic stability is simultaneously guaranteed by creating preferences that promote spending. The use of hypnopaedia and repetitions strengthens the conditioning and makes individuals believe that, “ending is better than mending” when referring to clothes, or that they should like country sports that require expensive machinery. People are made to believe that they should spend money on the things they are made to like. He reinforces the point that people are unaware of how influential this propaganda is by constantly having his characters quote hypnopaedic phrases. Again, one must realize that in Brave New World, people do not have a choice over their likes and dislikes, and one may refer to Mond’s statement as completely acceptable, as people are happy with what they’re doing and what they’re spending money on, because they ‘know’ that that is the only way. On the other hand one should notice that in our society, due to our Freedoms, consumption is still in effect, however on a much larger scale. Due to our wide knowledge we may want to own all kinds of things, spend money on travelling, and entertainment of all kinds.

Promiscuity, sexual games among children, and drugs are promoted in Mond’s world because they are considered pleasurable and fun. The government provides free soma and encourages random sex because they do not want their people to get bored and become thinkers. It must be evident to the reader that the world they live in is different from ours. Again, one may notice how when compared to our world, the freedom of thought and being has been abolished from their society.

After all, one may agree with Mustafa Mond’s statement because it does apply to the world he lives in. Liking what you have to do, may sound a little cruel to us today, however, the individuals in Brave New World are conditioned to like what the society wants them to do. They are taught to love spending money and buying new clothes, they are taught of ways to have fun, they are taught not to spend time alone and thinking, and above all they are taught to love their identity and community. Their identity defines their caste and social status which are important in a sense that they give them an orientation of the work they should be doing. One must agree that setting ‘appropriate’ limitations on everyone’s intelligence influences their prospect of knowledge. They are not aware of anything else that does not concern them. Therefore, their characters are happy with what they are doing because that is all they know. However, it is a different world that Huxley writes about, but in our world today, when our Freedoms are applied one may change the statement and say, “The secret to happiness is doing what you desire to do.”

I should also mention that when someone is doing what they desire, they ought to be doing it right, therefore, they are just as efficient as the people in Huxley’s world.
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