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Brave New World: A Criticism
|by T. A. Ramesh|
Aldous Huxley had published his novel Brave New World in the 1930s. In this novel Huxley has dealt with the future activities of the world in a humorously witty manner. In the future world, he predicts that science will take charge of the total activities of the people. In the past literature or religion or art was reigning supreme over mankind. But in the future science will fully conquer the place of art or religion. In that circumstance who will be the savage and who will be the civilized in the society is the matter he analyses and explores in this novel. To effect such changes in the society, people will naturally have to be quite brave with the aid of science! In short this novel is a direct contrast to the play of Shakespeare, The Tempest by title.
Shakespeare versus Huxley
Shakespeare was concerned with human beings, their nature, imagination, dreams, emotion and hopes. He did not bother about religion or God. But Huxley was concerned with his own philosophical ideas regarding beauty, truth and God. Both of them had employed wit and humor in their writings. They had dealt with Utopia in their respective fields of art. Shakespeare used the idea of fantasy or magic in his plays. Huxley used the ideas of science in his novels. Shakespeare was immersed in romantic mysteries whereas Huxley was engrossed in the philosophy of mysticism. Shakespeare, in short, was exploring and creating a world of his own imagination whereas Huxley was criticizing and discovering the reality of life.
Test Tube Babies
In this world citizens are hatched and conditioned in the laboratory. There will be directors to look after this job. These directors are doing their jobs under the direction of the World Controllers of the brave new world. Why are they doing like this? The answer is to bring about social stability and happiness to the people. By scientific process they are able to eliminate fear, old age, loss of youth, worries and loneliness. Everything goes on under a scientifically conditioned routine. There is no time and place for the people to THINK, because that is the starting point for all the troubles of the past world (i.e. our world). Hence they never bother about reading, talk about beauty, truth and God. During the process of manufacturing itself people are classified as α, β, γ, epsilon, + or – etc. and are provided with the job they are suited for under this codification. How fantastic this world is! Only the top level group α is able to do the intellectual and journalistic works. They prepare new slogans for the propaganda purpose. Under these circumstances history is no doubt a great waste! To the last people will be beautiful, youthful. They die also joyfully. Therefore individuals won’t be there, revolutions won’t be there, chaos won’t be there and the society will be happy and stable!
So “work while you work, play while you play and that is the way to be happy and gay.” Hence everyone will be playing a game rather than living a life with a noble purpose. That is all. It is so easy to love and live in this Brave New World!
Old and New Utopias
This Utopia is a great dream of men which could be achieved one day or other. A fine hope!
Thinkers have No Place
The original thinkers or the individuals have no place to live in this stereo-typed or the orthodoxical society, because their thoughts jeopardize the stability of the society and put an end to the happiness they enjoy. Ironically two individuals are spotted out in London controlled by Mustapha Mond, the Resident World Controller for Western Europe. What the two individuals Helmholtz Watson and Bernard Marx shared was the knowledge that they were individuals.
Helmholtz is mostly engaged in pursuit of beauty whereas Bernard is for love. Both of them are sent to different islands at the end as a sort of punishment given to them for their individual thought and ideas. The punishment is in fact as indirect reward to these individuals who if they are ingenious can make use of this opportunity and can become World Controllers later on. Even Mustapha Mond was once like them. He gives reasons as follows: “I was given the choice: to be sent to an island, where I could have got on with my pure science, or to be taken on to the Controllers’ Council with the prospect of succeeding in due course to an actual Controllership. I chose this and let the science go”
Truth versus Comfort
“I’m interested in truth, I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent, it has given us the stablest equilibrium in history….. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change… Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness….. What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when anthrax bombs are popping all around you?”
“People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We’ve gone on controlling ever since…. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for… That’s how I paid. By choosing to serve happiness. Other people’s – not mine.”
God and Science
In chapter XVI and XVII, there are a lot of questions and answers served among the World Controllers, Bernard, Helmholtz and The Savage brought by Bernard to the civilized spot from an uncivilized spot. This Savage has read all the plays of Shakespeare and he knows what is what. After the two individuals are dealt with, Mond has a detailed talk on religion with The Savage. Religion, Literature, God and other items are not at all bothered in this scientifically civilized world and for which Mustapha Mond says to The Savage, “Call it the fault of civilization. God is n’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. (But he manifests himself indifferent ways to different men. In pre-modern times he manifested himself as the being that’s described in these books.) You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That’s why I have to keep these books – locked up in the safe.
Religion and God
Finally he says that as they are maintaining youth and prosperity they don’t bother about God, nobility and heroism; they swallow 2 or 3 half-gram tablets and there they are; anybody can be virtuous there; they can carry at least half their morality about in a bottle and that Christianity without tears – that is what Soma is! Therefore the savage of the present will be considered to be the civilized in the future, if the world changes to the stage as depicted in this Brave New World. What a world this New World is! A Soma World!
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06/19/2012 12:24 PM
Rajat Das Gupta
06/18/2012 09:29 AM
06/16/2012 15:14 PM
Rajat Das Gupta
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