Society and the Individual in Brave New World

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Society and the Individual in Brave New World
"Every one belongs to every one else," whispers the voice in the dreams of the young in Huxley's future world — the hypnopaedic suggestion discouraging exclusivity in friendship and love. In a sense in this world, every one is every one else as well. All the fetal conditioning, hypnopaedic training, and the power of convention molds each individual into an interchangeable part in the society, valuable only for the purpose of making the whole run smoothly. In such a world, uniqueness is uselessness and uniformity is bliss, because social stability is everything. In the first chapter, the D.H.C. proudly explains the biochemical technology that makes possible the production of virtually identical human beings and, in doing so, introduces Huxley's theme of individuality under assault. Bokanovsky's Process, which arrests normal human development while promoting the production of dozens of identical eggs, deliberately deprives human beings of their unique, individual natures and so makes overt processes for controlling them unnecessary. The uniformity of the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons is accomplished by careful poisoning with alcohol and produces — in Huxley's word — "sub-human" people, capable of work but not of independent thought. For these lower-caste men and women, individuality is literally impossible. As a result, built on a large foundation of identical, easily manipulated people, the society thrives. Stability lives, but individuality — the desire and/or ability to be different — is dead. "When the individual feels, society reels," Lenina piously reminds Bernard, who strives without success for a genuine human emotion beyond his customary peevishness. This inability is a kind of tragic flaw in Bernard. Even love — acknowledging and cherishing another's unique identity — represents a threat to stability founded on uniformity. The dystopia's alternative — recreational sex — is deliberately designed to blur the...
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