The Argument for Stability Over Freedom
“The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave” (Huxley 220).
This quotation exemplifies Aldous Huxley’s purpose in Brave New World to pose the question whether it is better to be happy or free? The speaker of the quotation, the Controller Mustapha Mond, is arguing that stability and happiness are more important in society than freedom and expression of life through authentic plays like Shakespeare’s Othello. In Huxley’s future society, everyone is conditioned to be “happy” and if they begin to feel down, they can turn to “soma,” a drug that makes you feel very happy. The Controller’s view of the society is that the lower castes could not be able to function at a high enough level to appreciate freedom and liberty. Through the character of Controller Mond, Huxley is making the point that people are happy because they get what they want, they are safe, not ill, and unaware of passion with lovers and are emotionally conditioned to not fear death. In a word, they are “blissfully ignorant” of the enjoyment and benefits that come with freedom and liberty. Mond seems quite pleased with the fact that conditioning has removed fear of ill health, death, and emotional attachments. As long as every caste member was “blissfully ignorant” of their position in society, the individual caste members remained content in their own lives.
The quote above is taken from the conversation between Mustapha Mond, John the Savage, and Helmholtz Watson regarding the Shakespearean play, Othello and the “feelies.” In this scene between Mond and John...
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