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Brave New World by Adolus Huxley was published in 1932. Although that time, the genre, named utopia, was popular; the message of Huxley's novel is definitely not in unity with the meaning of it. The word 'utopia' comes from Greek and means 'no place' or 'good place'. When considering the second translation, an opposite of that genre is 'negative utopia' or 'dystopia'. Dystopia stands for a non-desirable place, a vision of a possible future with negative features. According to this definition Huxley's work belongs to the genre of dystopia. Brave New World is set in the future, but on our planet, so it can be regarded as a possible futuristic vision of the society of the 1930's. However, Brave New World is not a scientific prophecy, or a prediction; it is rather a satirical criticism of society. As Keith M. May indicates, Brave New World is a "fiction which describes an imaginary commonwealth in order to comment critically upon an existing commonwealth." (98)
Right at the beginning the author gives a science-fictional description about the way human are born in the seventh century After Ford. The use of biotechnology is for creating social stability. Maternity and family are swearwords; children are born in Hatcheries and after, raised in Conditioning Centres. As the World Controller tells a group of students "ectogenesis, though technically feasible, was held back by something called Christianity. Women were forced to go viviparous." (Brave New World, 37) By genetic engineering they can produce people divided into five casts. The lower casts have less physical strength, their intelligence is much under the average, and they are produced in Bokanowsky groups, therefore they have no identity or self-consciousness. Every cast, from Alphas to Epsilons fulfils a social need or interest. They are genetically preordained, they have been manipulated to happily fit these certain roles that are reserved for them is society. Manipulation and brainwashing is present from the very beginning. Firstly by chemicals, then by hypnopaedical teaching which during sleep, when the psyche is more impressionable. The slogans implanted in people's minds make the society function with stability.
In this imaginary society happiness is a constant state. Citizens live according to the motto of the world state: "Community, Identity, Stability". War, poverty and crime are just concepts from the distant past to Brave New Worldians. The words of the Resident Controller of Western Europe express perfectly the reason why this kind of happiness is attainable: "No pains have been spared to make your lives emotionally easy - to preserve you, as far as that is possible, from having emotions at all." People keep themselves occupied with their work. Apart from that, only sports like Electromagnetic Golf, the feelies, promiscuous sex and the consumption of pleasure-drug soma are all the activities which they spend their life with. Therefore one can suggest that in this society the sources of happiness changed: it doesn't derive anymore from love or family. Spending time alone, or having constant affections for anyone is considered to be sinful. Culture has been abolished. There is no intellectual excitement, and as Greenblatt suggests, "Happiness is purchased at the cost of imagination, discovery, free will, poetry and pure science" (96). The members of this new society have unwillingly sacrificed their true, deeper happiness and the experience of profound feeling for a superficial, hollow happiness. Welfare and total crimelessness is assured "by legalising a degree of sexual freedom that practically guarantees the brave new worlders against any form of destructive emotional tension" (Brave New World Revisited 27)
This content feeling they get is deeply coded in them, they had no choice; they had been conditioned from the beginning. For example, when Lenina Crowne, and Alpha attractive female has doubts of concerns about the structure of society and castes, or her lack of promiscuity; she cannot help but repeat the brainwashing slogans. "Everyone belongs to everyone else" suggests that one has to avoid any kind of emotional attachment to another human being. "One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments" states that all discerns are easily forgettable and replaced by pleasure by taking a legally accessible, almost compulsory mood-drug. "Better ending than mending" implies that everyone should consume much as possible. These are just a few, amongst the thousands and thousands of slogans repeated in their childhood in a state of lowered psychological resistance. These slogans are irreversibly encoded in all human being's mind in Huxley's imaginary society. All is organized from the beginning: people are manufactured like animals to keep the state static and efficient. Through non-violent manipulation the state controls everything. This dictatorship in Brave New World does not use terror; instead there is constant propaganda, encouragement of drug use and consumption. Huxley, reflecting on the totalitarian benevolent dictatorship in Brave New World states that "control through the punishment of undesirable behaviour is less effective, in the long run, than control through reinforcement of desirable behaviour by rewards." (Brave New World Revisited, 5) People are encouraged to consume mass-produced goods, playing costly sports, and taking soma, which provides a mindless, inauthentic happiness. Society and therefore, people's lives are empty of spirituality or higher meaning. (David Pearce) Religion and God are fully rejected. Instead, the state provides Solidarity Services, in which they perform an orgy and bless the name of Ford, who took an important role in the spreading of mass production. God is also substituted with the state that satisfies every immediate need of the society. Religion is also redundant, because the concept of death is meaningless to people. "Murder kills only the individual and, after all what is an individual? â€¦We can make a new one with the greatest ease-as many as we like" (Brave New World 133)
Everyone's role in society can be easily replaced by another Alpha or Gamma, and they feel like they lived a perfect, whole life looking young and being healthy through a lifetime. People turn to religion when they are in despair. But why pray when they can cure misery with soma? "Christianity without tears - that's what soma is" (Brave New World, 238). In addition to religion; poetry, artistic creativity, and above all, individuality is suppressed.
However, Huxley introduces the reader to a few characters in living is his fictional society, who are more intelligent than the others, who have creativity and ideas in themselves, like Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson. Everyone who is outstanding in any aspect, cannot reach that blind happiness provided by the world state. They are destined to suffer from misery in the society where everybody with a little individuality is a misfit. But the character Bernard is not appealing to the reader anymore when he cries pitifully to let him stay in London, although being sent to the Island can be considered as a reward, or a chance to awaken. "All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community life" have the chance to go to Iceland. With the appearance of John, the Savage, another individual, who is a misfit for both the reservation, and the civilized world. He had not been conditioned, that is why he just cannot accept the artificial and empty happiness he sees in London. It is inevitable that he commits suicide because a non-conditioned person could not ever bear to live in such brainwashed society. At the end of the novel, "he begs for the right to suffer from happiness" (Nicole Smith). During the philosophical conversation he begs for all the missing experiences: "I don't want comfort, I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin" (Brave New World 240)
Therefore, the genuine happiness of the members of society in Brave New World is originated of immediate and constant satisfaction, and the lack of knowledge. Huxley implicitly expresses his disapproval of a manipulated, brainwashed and emotionless community. In Brave New World, the propaganda of the world state encourages people to consume more and more. Individuality and emotions are lost, and everyone cures gloominess with taking pleasure drugs. But aren't these problems present in our lives too?
With writing his novel Brave New World, Huxley wanted to show in what direction our world is going. Of course the features of his fictional work are exaggerated, but the lack of individuality, manipulation, consumerism, globalisation, and a totalitarian kind of government are present in our world in an oppressed form, or slightly are slightly noticeable. Brave New World Revisited was written by the author in 1958. It reflects on the changes in the world since he has written Brave New World, and assumes that the main critical points he emphasized in his novel are reasonable concerns. In this critical work, Huxley draws the readers' attention to the fact that our world is slowly becoming very similar to the "nightmare" he depicted in Brave New World. Huxley's warning is legitimate even after 70 years after the birth of his work. The tendencies of society which he criticized indirectly in Brave New World are issues that need more attention nowadays.