Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a dystopian novel published in 1932in England. This unorthodox view of society and government led this book to bebanned in Ireland and Australia and is currently within the top 10 most wantedbanned books in America. Huxley wrote Brave New World not only as a warningabout what could happen to society if things go wrong but a satire of thesociety in which Huxley existed, and which still exists today. Huxleychallenges how the use of highly developed technology by an all-powerfulgovernment will affect society and humanity itself. This novel is stillrelevant today because of its satirical perception of the threats the worldwill face due to advancements in technology when misused by powerful people;many believe this will lead to the end of man.
The novel takes extreme measuresto convey its message with its technology. The community receives Neo-PavlovianConditioning which consists of shock therapy and hypnopedia, which is sleepconditioning. The society is taught to take soma, a drug used to escape truthand reality. The rigid control ofreproduction ensures there is no change in the World State’s”stability.” Brave New World is living in an unstable society,meaning it consists of individuals who are not established – those who are notin control of themselves. Brave New World suggests that society’s instabilityis primarily caused by the misuse of technology by those that control it. Soma is a governmentally provided hallucinogen drug that is distributedto the masses.
Citizens take soma to escape any kind of unhappiness. Societyhas been conditioned to love and depend on the drug whenever they feel any discomfortor dissatisfaction. The citizens are essentially enslaved by the drug andturned into mindless drones. The World Controllers misuse the technology thatis supposed to be used to relax the muscles is instead used to prevent anythoughts that is unorthodox and goes against “our Ford.” Those that take somago on a “soma vacation” where they are no longer aware of their surroundings andare just in a “happy state” where they are in a calm and surreal condition.This drug has caused the society to be unstable. They are not willing to facereality and only want to live in their own little bubble. The citizens are notable to cope with loss, uncertainty or difference of opinion.
As Mustapha Mondsays, “and if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehowhappen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts.” This drugdistracts a person from realizing what is wrong with their society. The WorldControllers have full power over the citizens, and they do not realise it. Thecitizens are conditioned to never speak their thoughts and just be in a stateof no consciousness. As the citizens say, “A gramme is better than adamn.” The community will not accept their anger, discomfort, sad state becausethey rather forget there is a problem entirely. This is seen when John throwsout the soma when it is being distributed to the Deltas.
The Deltas then gointo a riot until they receive their soma ration. Also, when Lenina is withBernard at the Savage Reservation, she is barely functional and is foundreaching for soma. She had left it behind so she resorts to a substitute fordrugs found at the reservation. She could not stand the difference of societiesand is disgusted. She is in desperate need to lose herself and not have tothink or feel. This soma has caused instability within the individuals becausethey cannot function without their daily dose of soma, without receiving itviolence and self-destruction occurs.
Soma is used to condition society throughout their lives but precautionshave been taken to ensure there is uniformity since the birth of a citizen.World Controllers use a sleeping technique which is called hypnopedia. Whilethe children are asleep, they are to listen to rhyming phrases for about 123times a week for 30 months and then continue to the next advanced teaching.This method is used to ensure that one’s thoughts are contributing to theeconomy, use and abuse soma and accept the values and tenets of the Ford.
Forinstance, they have been taught, “the more stitches, the less riches.” Thismeans that when something is old or broken, one should just buy a new item andnot mend the item they already own. This way citizens are always investing inproducts and the cycle of consumerism continues. World Controllers are misusingthis technology to make their wants the only form of action society can take.There is also a brutal method used which is called Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning.
It is a method that was used originally on animals that is now used on thebabies; it is a system of rewards and punishments – the punishment being shocktherapy. Since there are different castes, some are lower or higher thanothers. Those that are from lower castes have been given shock therapy whenthey were little children, so they associate items worth knowledge as bad. The caste,Epsilons, are the lowest caste and they are given books. Once the childrenbegin to play with the books they are shocked. This leads the children toassociate bad thoughts with knowledge and ensure that they never try to attemptto pursue any job that is more advanced than what is supposed to be withintheir caste capabilities.
As the director says, “They’ll grow up with whatthe psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers.Reflexes unalterably conditioned.” Those in power do not allow people to havetheir own opinions or thoughts about topics because it has already been decidedfor them. By random selection, they are put in a caste, which determines theirthoughts, emotions and decisions for the rest of their lives. The society isvery instable because the citizens have never formed their own thoughts andrely on the government’s ideas and principles. This is seen when Lenina istalking about the unorthodox views of monogamy and she says, “After all,everyone belongs to everyone else.
” Lenina is pneumatic, she is lifelessand dull. She is a machine repeating what has been taught to her. This totalitarian government has complete power over not only thesociety’s minds, but also their bodies.
Females are required to receive apregnancy substitute when they are 21 years old. These substitutes are set ofinjections and pills that women are given to simulate the effects of beingpregnant and they simulate the hormonal effects of pregnancy. Women are alsorequired to wear a Malthusian Belt. It consists of various contraceptives inorder to prevent females from getting pregnant. However, not all females needto take these precautions to ensure the growth of population is restricted.Some females are who has been deliberately made sterile by exposure to hormonesduring fetal development; in the book, government policy requires freemartinsto comprise 70% of the female population. The World Controllers misuse thisadvanced technology and do not understand what instability they are causing tothis society.
As Henry Foster said, “fertility is merely a nuisance.” However,having children is a fundamental natural process of human life. As the Directorof Hatcheries and Conditioning says, “The greater a man’s talents, the greaterhis power to lead astray.” They recognize that they have given up humanity for”social stability” but in reality they have created unstable citizens who aredependent on this misuse of technology. The teachings of Ford have led to the members of society having a lackof thought and emotion. Brave New World suggests that the advancements oftechnology have allowed to surpass any barriers known to man. However, thisadvanced technology is being misused by these World Controllers leadingindividuals being stripped of their identity and humanity.