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The task of predicting the future is difficult at best, yet Huxley’s predictions of the future have proven to be eerily accurate in several areas. Many of Huxley’s predictions are being realized today, have already been realized or will be realized in a few short years. These specific predictions, which are closely related to today are our sexual practices, an obsession with youth and beauty, the minimal role of parents and the practice of religion.
In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World people treat sex as a form of entertainment rather than an expression of love between a couple. Most forms of entertainment in Brave New World somehow relate to sex. For example the feelies are pornographic movies with a more advanced plot line and the tremendous bonus of experiencing the same things as the actors on the screen. The government encourages sex and promiscuity among its citizens, if a person is not promiscuous they are seen as outcasts. Sex in Brave New World is not a private matter and is openly practiced. To ensure that sex’s purpose is for entertainment the government makes only thirty percent of the female population fertile. This ensures that the population will not view sex as a form of reproduction because the majority are not capable of sexual reproduction. The more partners a person has the more popular the person is.
A person is discouraged from having a long-term relationship with one person. If they have a long term relationship their loyalty to the government and Ford is in question, as evidenced in the following excerpt: “And you know how strongly the DHC objects to anything intense or long and drawn out. Four months of Henry Foster without having another man - why, he’d be furious if he knew”(page #) One night-stands are common and expected.
Sex is discussed openly in Brave New World. It is not seen as dirty, shameful or something to be discussed behind closed doors. From a young age children learn about sex and contraceptives. Children are forced to use contraceptives every time they have sex. They are encouraged to participate in sex play from a young age. Those who do not wish to participate are taken to a psychologist for an evaluation.
Religion in Brave New World is also linked to sex.
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Orgy- porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at one with girls at peace;
Orgy-Porgy gives release (75).
Once Ford has come to them the service reaches its climax and they all have sex. Sexual behavior in our society is moving toward Huxley’s vision.
In the past sex was viewed as a private issue not to be discussed openly. Today sex is shown in all forms of media in magazines, movies, and TV. You cannot turn on the TV without hearing about or seeing some aspect of sex. The pages of magazines are filled with articles on sex. Children are learning about sex and the importance of contraceptives at younger and younger ages. In grade eight girls are taught how to use a condom and other contraceptives properly. A growing number of people in our society wish to have sex with multiple partners instead of only one person. “One night-stands” frequently occur in our society and divorce has become common. It has even become common for teachers to have sex with their students. Safe sex is being taught more often to teenagers rather than the benefits of abstinence. We as a society are moving away from the idea of sex as a form of reproduction and an act performed between two loving individuals towards sex as being purely a form of entertainment.
The people of Brave New World have an obsession with youth and beauty. All Alphas are given hormones at the age of thirty to assure that they would not age past that point and would retain their youthful appearance until they died. When Lenina saw Linda and the other savages on the reservation she was disgusted as were the children at the hospital when they first laid eyes on Linda. They “had never seen a face that was not youthful and taut-skinned, a body that had ceased to be slim and up right” (183). Those Alphas who were not beautiful such as Bernard were believed to have had something added to their bottle at the hatchery, which caused the defect to occur. The most beautiful guys got the most girls and vice versa. The washrooms had a vacuum to make their skin perfect they also had eight perfumes. At the age of sixty all the people were allowed to die and they were cremated. The phosphorus from the bodies was used as fertilizer for plants. Looks were the most important thing and the thought of aging to most of its citizens was unbelievable.
In our society beauty helps to define who we are and helps to open doors and opportunities for us. The “beautiful” people in our society are noticed first. They often get good jobs and are treated better. We have been searching for the fountain of youth since the beginning of time. Failing to find it, many people have turned to plastic surgery to retain their youthful appearance. The number of people who exercise has increased. Some exercise for health benefits but the majority do it to help make their bodies more attractive to the opposite sex. The media bombards us with the image of “beautiful people,” men with rippled abs and woman with a size three waist and size D chests. Many girls will go to such lengths to achieve perfection that they starve themselves to death – surely this surpasses even the imagination of Huxley!
Parents in Huxley’s Brave New World have become obsolete. The government believes that efficiency is the most important thing and the most efficient way to reproduce is through cloning children and the process of decanting. They believe that the mental state of the child can be most effectively formed through a combination of hypnopaedic responses and conditioning. The government believes that parents hinder the growth of their children. The government has transformed the word of mother or father into a smutty word, a word that makes people feel uneasy and embarrassed. The whole concept of parents is repulsive and primitive. “The parents were the father and the mother.’ The smut that was really science fell with a crash into the boys’ eye-avoiding silence” (20). They can not grasp the bond that exists between a parent and a child because they themselves have never experienced this and they think it’s dirty. They also find decanting to be more efficient because they can alter the individual’s genetic code to fit the needs of the country. If the country has high elevation they can alter the individual so that he thrives at low oxygen level. With the process of decanting they also condition the child to accept the world state's motto and way of life. “We decant babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons” (11). They believe that if a child is already born with a specific job it is much easier to train them for the world because they only learn the information they need to do that specific job. Also if children are decanted the government can begin to condition them right after birth without having to take the child away from parents who may not be willing to relinquish their child. The government believes a parent’s job can be carried out more successfully by machines rather than by humans.
Parents in our world are becoming obsolete. Very few children in our society have two “functional” parents. Children who only have one parent in their lives are more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior. Parents should provide a child with unconditional love, morals and support, yet this is becoming more difficult every day since parents are not with their children. Parents are working, teaching, playing golf, drinking with friends, shopping, and doing a thousand other things besides spending time with their children. A parent is not just a person who gives eggs or sperm. A parent has a special bond to their child, but every day in our society this bond grows weaker and parents spend more time working and amusing themselves and less time with their children This results in children stealing, cheating, robbing, and even murdering their fellow classmates as we have seen over, and over again. Not even Huxley could foresee the parenting void that exists today.
In a Brave New World religion is the worship of a mortal instead of a Supreme Being. Henry Ford is their equivalent of a god; they worship the letter T in honor of the model T car. They have even cut the crosses from the past into letter T’s. Huxley realizes the importance of having someone or something to worship. It gives society a feeling that they are living their lives for a purpose that is greater than themselves. Huxely also realizes that the concept of religion can be manipulated to fit the situation. “Our Ford - Our Freud as, for some inscrutable reason, he chose to call himself whenever he spoke of psychological matters” (34). This quote emphasizes this point. To make Ford all knowing and powerful in the area of psychology they change his name to the name of one of the best known psychiatrists Freud.
Religion is also just another reason for them to have sex. Their solidarity service that has a remarkable resemblance to a church service turns into an orgy at the end. The solidarity service consists of twelve people passing around a cup of a strawberry flavored drink laced with soma. The service is for only those of the higher casts. It’s as if Huxley is saying that only people of higher intelligence are able to understand religion and benefit from it. In a Brave New World the government uses religion as a way to control the people.
In our society religion represents different things for different people. In each country, organized religions have changed what they stand for to fit the views of society in that country. For example, the Roman Catholic Church has certain customs and beliefs in Asia, and completely different customs in America. All organized religions change their views to fit the needs of society. There has been an increase in the number of people following cults in recent times. Typically cult members worship the leader, a mortal, instead of the traditional supreme beings. Western religions have begun to loose popularity to alternate religions, which may indicate that people have become frustrated or disillusioned with western religions and the concept of one “God.”
Huxely’s prediction of the future has proven to be accurate on many counts. Today’s society has an eerie resemblance to that portrayed in Brave New World. The moral and religious fabric of our society is unraveling. Sex as entertainment is commonplace and religious leaders become pop stars using mass media. The role of parents has continued to decline as childrearing responsibilities are happily turned over to MTV, Sony, Sega, and the other companies of the entertainment conglomerate. With further scientific progress, parents may even become part of our past. Welcome to a brave new world!
1. Your paper is very well developed. You discuss your points in a clearly organized manner. The only change I have made is to break down your discussion of sexual practices. It is lengthy paragraph that deals with several different sex-related issues. I would also develop your introduction a little more.
2. In developing your introduction, for the sake of clarity your thesis statement should be confined to one sentence.
3. Underline titles of novels.
4. When citing a quote, you do not need to write the word “page;” it is understood that the numbers are page numbers.
5. Also, since you tie current issue into the novel and spend a great deal of time discussing these issues, perhaps you should consult outside articles, books, etc. to support your argument of these current issues.