‘Brave New World’ is a novel by Aldous Huxley that explores economic, social and political themes. Huxley gives an insight on what life would be like if governments try to create utopia (the perfect world), where everyone is ‘happy’ and everything ‘runs smoothly’. I will be focusing on the political topic of “how governments and systems tend to reduce individual freedom in order to get what they want”.
In the novel the whole world is ‘utopian’ apart from New Mexico, USA which is known as the savage reservation, where liberty is preserved. The novel is set in 2450AD and compares the two places; London is ‘stable’ where nothing wrong ever happens, because everyone’s programmed to do what the state ‘tells them’. The people are bred and conditioned into five groups, Epsilons as the least intelligent to Alpha’s, the most intelligent, who are uniquely bred from a single egg. The lower groups work in factories and do laborious and repetitive work because they are conditioned to do so. The savage reservation which is populated by Indians is known to be repugnant to the rest of the controlled world, because religion, disease, marriage and wild animals still exist.
By using the main character, ‘John the savage’ Huxley gives a balanced view on the two contrasting societies. John agrees to move from the savage reservation to the controlled, utopian London, as an experiment by Mustapha Mond (a controller of the utopian world) to see how a ‘savage’ would adapt to the utopian society. This led to him not being able to cope; as he was prohibited from doing things he previously took for granted and is anguished by the lifestyle of the utopian people. When he moves back to the reservation he cannot adapt there either, because he is horrified to see the torturing and death of innocent people as part of the common sacred rituals. This ultimately leads him to committing suicide.
Huxley shows how the state reduces individual freedom in the utopian world. The state programmes people with phrases and expressions through the means of hypnopaedia. Speakers whisper voices to each child in dormitories. Although the children may not think or feel the expressions and phrases programmed, they are compelled to speak them. This process is repeated one hundred and twenty times, three times a week, for thirty months. One example of the ‘precepts’ whispered out of the speakers is telling the Beta children that they don’t have to work as hard as the cleverer Alphas but are smarter than Epsilons, Deltas and Gammas. Each rank will be told positive things about their prescribed level, so the ranks feel ‘happy’ about their conditioning level, to retain social stability. The director explains how hypnopaedia was used twenty three years after Ford’s first T-model in chapter two, page nineteen;
“…occurred only twenty-three years after Our Ford’s first T-model was put on the market.’ (Here the director made a sign of the T on his stomach and all the students reverently followed suit.)”.
Huxley uses the satire technique, when the director is talking about the discovery of hypnopaedia. Huxley gets across how the utopian people look up to Ford as if the car manufacture is God, the utopian society only care about the state and how industry progresses. After that, the director concludes his opinion on the use of hypnopaedia:
“the greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time.”
This clearly shows the utopian state discards personal thought and opinion. The habitants in the utopian world have been conditioned in a way that they cannot