Utopias: Brave New World – Aldous HuxleyJune 26, 2021
In Aldous Huxley’s (Aldus Haksli, 1894 – 1963) work called “The New World”, a society that is highly developed in terms of science and technology is described.
According to the needs of the society, people are produced in factories according to predetermined qualities and dimensions and are raised in special centers. A large number of identical people can be produced to work in the same job by genetic methods. The inheritance of IVFs is predetermined according to the jobs they will be employed. Through certain conditioning and a pleasurable drink called “soma”, individuals are made to be satisfied with their position. Marriage and family disappeared as children were produced in factories and raised by the state. Human cultural existence and historical consciousness have also been destroyed. The hero of the novel is a hybrid born from normal parents. He cannot adapt to the society he lives in and finds salvation in committing suicide.
Huxley, in his “New World,” says that the brave New World has very attractive features, even if they are superficial. War is a thing of the past, there is no form of crime and violence, and there is no cruelty. Diseases are almost eliminated. Everyone maintains their youth, strength and vigor until they are about sixty years old, when they will suddenly die. Huxley wrote all this not to praise this society, but to criticize it. He wanted to point out that people cannot be made into creative or sane people by being content with their situation.
The fiction of the novel takes place in London in the 26th century and has a dystopian atmosphere. In the novel, society has been changed thanks to reproductive technology, eugenics, and hypnopedia (sleep teaching). In fact, the defined world may appear as a utopia, but it is an ironic utopia; for humanity is healthy, technologically advanced, wars and poverty have been eradicated; there is a world where all races are equal and everyone is absolutely happy. But, ironically, all these developments have been achieved by the destruction of many values that are very important to the individual; family, cultural diversity, art, literature, religion and philosophy no longer exist. In addition, the society that finds pure pleasure in promiscuous sex and drug use has turned into a hedonistic society.
“Brave New World” takes us to the “year 632 after Ford”. Brave people of this world are bred at the Central London Incubation and Conditioning Center with “Community, Identity, Stability” on its door. Since it is forbidden and shameful for women to inseminate, “maternity and paternity” are seen as pornographic concepts. Conditioning, which is the main guarantee of social stability, is provided by hypnopaedia – sleep education. Thanks to hypnopedia, everyone is happy; Everyone works and everyone has fun. “Everybody is for everybody.”
The significance of “Brave New World” lies not only in its setting a standard for its successors and its powerful depiction of a pessimistic future vision, but also in its solid narrative of the adventure that continues even if the individual is destroyed. Huxley takes his work out of the dry expression of the utopia tradition and raises it to the category of good literature.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM)