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Brave New World: The Key to Happiness
The novel, Brave New World is like no other, it predicts a future overpowered by technology where the people have no religion. Has Huxley written about a degrading way of life or has he discovered the key to a perfect world that should be called Utopia? The society presented in the novel is as completely rational as our own and all the precautions that are taken are needed to preserve their lifestyle. However different and horrible as the lives of individuals seem to be, in actuality they are much better than ours are. While many believe that the government controlled word, religion, the strict class system, the restraint of history, culture, the arts and books, and the obsolete need for parents and love are contradictory to Utopia, these aspects of society are actually conducive to Utopia.
The first argument that would contradict the fact that Brave New World is a Utopia is the government controlling the world, causing the loss of freedom and liberty of the people. Is it really that bad that one government controls the world? Does the current structure of world government meet the needs of the people? Are millions starving? Do millions more search in vain for work every day? In Utopia, the people don't have to worry about having a job. One must remember that most people on our planet today have very little freedom – the exception being the population of western societies. Freedom is only important if it leads to happiness, and if one already possesses happiness, then there is no need for freedom.
Religion plays an important role in people's lives today. Religion embodies societies theoretical principles and values. Religion guides us, gives us something to believe in and a set of rules to live by. However, every society has their own religion and the majority of the people in our world pray to gods with names that we cannot even pronounce. Our current practice of worshipping hundreds of different gods is not conducive to a peaceful society and, in fact, results in hundreds of wars being fought every year on our small planet. The current system must be replaced. Mustapha Mond when referring to the Holy Bible says that "they're old; they're about God hundreds of years ago, not about God now" (Huxley, 237). Mustapha Mond is saying that with the evolution of time the many gods worshiped before have been replaced by the worship of one God, Henry Ford.
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In a utopian civilization, the people are isolated from one another, divided into five different classes. The classes range from the Alphas, the Betas, the Gammas, the Deltas and finally, the Epsilons. The members of each class are ranked according to their mental capacity and physical appearance. During the D. H. C.'s lecture to his students he tells them how by depriving certain embryos of oxygen will affect their stature. "The lower the cast, the shorter the oxygen" (Huxley, 13). It seems unfair that even before you are born, your future is already written out for you. However upon further study, one will realize that this sort of precaution is necessary. In our world, one has to face racism and stereotypes because people feel threatened by what is different. This conditioning is how the utopian society eliminated the problem. First of all, each class is conditioned to love their ranking and to realize that everyone is important and is indispensable to the society. The important thing here is that the lower classes are not jealous of the superior classes but even believe that their work is too tiring for them. The mental inferiority is very important for the survival of the utopian society. If the lower classes got too smart they would want to move up in life and that would ruin the stability of the society.
Another precaution taken to prevent chaos to the society is the restraint of history, culture and art to the utopian civilization. According to our views, these things are unquestionably important and we would go as far as saying that we could not live without them. But for these people, they are insignificant. Education to us leads to knowledge and for us knowledge is power and power runs the world. However for them there is no need for education because they do not need power. Power will not get them any farther in life then what is already written out for them. The only kind of books in Brave New World accessible to the public are reference books. Books with opinions and emotions are non-existent. This discretion is needed because those types of books could challenge the hypnopaedic propaganda served to the people. The hypnopaedia was given for a reason; it is the tool used to stabilize the society. If stability is threatened so will be the utopian world.
Of course some will say that they will miss their families and relationships and most of all, love. But the people in Utopia have never experienced any of these. They were brought up in conditioning centers and feel that parents and family are primitive. The mere sound of the word annoys them. "Mother, he repeated loudly rubbing in the science; and, leaning back in his chair, these, he said gravely are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts are unpleasant" (Huxley, 23). In our world, parents pass on to their children their own values and principles. What they may become as a result of their upbringing could be doctors, lawyers, accountants, robbers, rapists and murderers. In the utopian society everyone is raised and conditioned the same way abolishing the bad apples in society. Monogamy is discouraged by the utopian society and considered improper "Four months of Henry Foster, without having another man --- why, he'd be furious if he knew..." (Huxley, 40). This restrains peoples from getting too emotionally involved and putting their loved one's needs before the society's needs.
In the utopian society, everyone belongs to everyone else. One might easily point out that these precautions are too extreme. But one thing that cannot be ignored is that in Brave New World there is no war, no diseases and no old age. For people in our world that would be utopia. In the utopian society "you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do" (Huxley, 244). Thanks to the conditioning, nobody even considers fighting. And if ever anyone gets angry or depressed, there is always soma. In our society some would consider soma as an evil drug and therefore should not be used – but this argument is very shallow. As one of their hypnopaedic quotes says, "they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol"(Huxley, 53). This statement indicates that alcohol is our society’s drug of choice while their society prefers soma. Soma offers the tremendous advantage that it has no side-effects.
There are only three characters in the Brave New World that do no like their lifestyle. Bernard Marx is an alpha-plus and therefore should be living the "good life.” But even though his mental status is that of an Alpha-plus, his physical appearance is similar to that of an Epsilon. "They say somebody made a mistake when he was still in the bottle---thought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into his blood-surrogate" (Huxley, 46) He quickly becomes an outcast and does not get along with the opposite sex. Bernard criticizes the utopian civilization until he discovers John the Savage in the savage reservation and introduces him to society. Bernard then becomes somewhat of a celebrity and quite popular among the ladies. At that point, Bernard is always bragging about how many girls he has slept with and stops his complaining about the utopian life. All this proves that if someone hadn't made that mistake, Bernard would not have become an outcast, women would have liked him and he would have liked this world. Helmholtz Watson also does not like the utopian civilization – his problem is that they let him get too smart. That led him to want a better life, a dream he felt was unobtainable in Utopia. Once again, if his conditioning had been done right and his intelligence had been controlled, he would not have had a problem with his world. Finally, the third unhappy character in Utopia is John, known as the savage. As a matter of fact, he should not even be considered as an unhappy civilian because he was not raised in the utopian civilization but in the savage reservation. He does not like it because he was not conditioned to be happy with who he is. In the savage reservation, he learned about an old god, religion and freedom, all things that are not taught in Utopia. His values are different from a utopian's. John beats himself with a rope to get a good harvest, hardly a great advancement over utopian values and beliefs.
Every society in our world is very different and each attempts to find meaning and happiness in a completely unique way. Perhaps a society like Utopia would be better than some societies that currently exist. At least in Utopia, leaders attempt to create conditions for the people to be happy while today many government leaders have no interest in the welfare and happiness of the population. Utopia is a world where one can not help but be happy, a world that has improved upon current religions, and a world that eliminated racism and stereotypes. It is a world where you only possess knowledge you need, where everyone has the same values and principals. Utopia is a world with no war, no disease and no old age. Mustapha Mond best expressed the theme of Utopia when he said, "the key to happiness is enjoying who you are and what you do" (Huxley page #). Certainly, this is much easier in Utopia than in our pitiful and corrupt “free” societies.
1. Underline titles of novels.
2. You need a detailed thesis statement, in which you list all of the points that you plan to discuss within your paper. I would suggest the following: While many believe that the government controlled word, religion, the strict class system, the restraint of history, culture, the arts and books, and the obsolete need for parents and love are contradictory to Utopia, these aspects of society are actually conducive to Utopia.
3. You do not need to write “pg.” When citing your quotes. It is understood that the numbers are page numbers. However, you should always give the page number for every quote.
4. You do have a well organized paper that is thoroughly argued, well done.