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 Mustapha Mond is saying that with the evolution of time the many gods worshiped before have been replaced by the worship of one God, Henry Ford.
A Comparison of A Brave New World and 1984
A Brave New World and 1984: Need Pain to Know Joy
Although many similarities exist between Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984, they are more dissimilar than alike. A Brave New World is a novel about the struggle of Bernard Marx, who rejects the tenants of his society when he discovers that he is not truly happy. 1984 is the story of Winston who finds forbidden love within the hypocrisy of his society. In both cases, the main character is in quiet rebellion against his government which is eventually found to be in vain.
Huxley wrote A Brave New World in the third person so that the reader could be allotted a more comprehensive view of the activities he presents. His characters are shallow and cartoon-like (Astrachan) in order to better reflect the society in which they are entrapped. In this society, traditional notions of love and what ideally should result have long been disregarded and despised, “Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet” (Huxley 41). The comparison to a wild jet is intended to demonstrate the inherent dangers of these activities. Many of the Brave New World’s social norms are intended to “save” its citizens from anything unpleasant by depriving them of the opportunity to miss anything overly pleasant.
The society values, “A COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY,” (Huxley 1) supersede all else in a collective effort. Soma, the magical ultimate drug is what keeps the population from revolting. “What you need is a gramme of soma… All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects” (page #). The drug is at the forefront of their daily lives supposedly providing freedom from life’s every ill. The drug is used as a form of recreation, like sex, and its use is encouraged at any opportunity, especially when great emotions begin to arise. “The word [soma] from the Sanskrit language of ancient India. It means both an intoxicating drink used in the old Vedic religious rituals there and the plant from whose juice the drink was made – a plant whose true identity we don’t know.” (Astrachan page #)
They are conditioned to accept soma to calm and pacify them should they begin to feel anything too intensely. The conditioning also provides them with their place and prevents them from participating in social activities which they needn’t take part in.