Book Review: Brave New Word by Aldous Huxley

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In Brave New World, you enter the Fordian world that functions as a well-oiled machine, with every part working perfectly. There are machines for everything, sundry surrogate materials, helicopters for commutation, and drugs that guarantee happiness and solace. Human beings are mass produced in embryonic bottles and are segregated into five distinct groups- the upper class Alphas, the Betas, the Gammas, the Deltas, and the moronic Epsilons. The five groups are conditioned continually on their own class disparities and their duties so as to avoid conflicts. They devoutly believe that, “everyone belongs to everyone else”. The Fordian world allows entry to an “uncivilized” man, John “Savage”, who fails to comprehend its civilized nature.

This book is well ahead of its times. Reading the first few pages of the book was akin to waking up from a dream I couldn’t fully remember nor understand. The utopia depicted in the novel is one that I think many people in the present age would gladly be part of- a place where you are ruled by comfort and recreational sex. Ironically the “civilized” Fordian society is founded on stability and the concept of conditioning, and not on love, loyalty, and compassion, everything that makes humans humane. In this utopia, religion is outdated, science is feared, familial relationships are a joke, and people or more accurately; genetically-engineered clones live conditioned lives robbed of their free will. Living in a world sans poetry, beauty, and truth, seems insane to me. People go about their lives unaware that every decision, move they take, is a result of conditioning. Strangely in a world where man is free from sorrow and all things unpleasant, he is not free to think on his own. This novel warns the readers of the path scientific development is to take, and its potential consequences.

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them…But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy”

John Savage

The novel’s connection to Shakespeare’s The Tempest cannot be ignored starting from the title to John’s sobriquet “Savage”, which alludes to Caliban. There is nothing brave about the brave new world where the people lead seemingly content lives never risking change and maintaining a pseudo stability. It is essentially a dystopia in the garb of a utopia. The book attempts to discuss the nature of a utopia by drawing on both modernity and tradition. The question the novel poses is that will we be able to tackle our future even if it stares in our faces?

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