Artificial Happiness in Brave New World

Topics: Brave New World, Love, Aldous Huxley Pages: 6 (2181 words) Published: May 14, 2012
True happiness and artificial happiness are two similar, but very distinct emotions. The society in which one lives and the surroundings draw a fine line between the two. Happiness is pleasurable satisfaction which results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good, while artificial happiness can be defined as a state of happiness because it is the effect of relying on a substance to make one happy, therefore making it artificial since it does not come naturally. Happiness is not tangible, but can be achieved through many experiences. The famous American philosopher, Ronald Dworkin, criticizes meditation for artificial happiness in his book. A patient escapes her own consciousness through meditation and keeps her unhappiness at bay, but this also postpones any serious analysis of her situation. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the state’s goal is to avoid emotional instability; however there are cracks in the perceived happiness of this seemingly perfect society where there cannot be true happiness. The characters have no concept of love or any other passion and actually scorn the idea, where they are supposed to find artificial happiness in eternal youth, the comforts of technology, and soma. From the very beginning of the story, societal restrictions are placed on the characters. Due to the advanced technology, all of the citizens are assigned a social caste. The caste structure consists of the Alphas, Betas, Deltas, Epsilons, and Gammas. Alphas, being the highest class, are predestined to become intellectuals. Some of them work in the hatchery, and enjoy domination in their lives. Epsilons, on the other hand, are inferior to everyone else. They may work as elevator operators and coal miners. The people of each class enjoy their job and are supposed to find themselves happy with their occupations. Bernard Marx, being an important character, does not like the class to which he belongs. He thinks to himself; “I am I, and I wish I wasn’t’; his self-consciousness was acute and distressing (Huxley 69).” Bernard, being an Alpha Plus, is not fulfilled and would very much like to be some other person with individual thoughts. As an Alpha Plus, he is a freethinker and is able to understand what is truly happening around him. Other citizens who are not freethinkers do not know that the society offers other work opportunities and they work the jobs that the World State issues them. They do not ask questions because they are under the control of others, and therefore cannot find true happiness in their castes as well as relationships. The World State also controls the way that the characters view affairs. There is no real connection between any of the citizens. Each relationship is a fling. There is no emotional attachment and therefore when a relationship ends, no one is hurt. John, the Savage, is not able to understand this perception. According to John, love is special, not just a moment where you satisfy sexual desires. When John comes to the World State, he meets Lenina and falls in love with her but they both have different views on relationships, and that averts them from being together. John believes in forming a relationship based on monogamy, which means marrying only one person for an entire lifetime, whereas Lenina is brought up by the state to have relationships with no attachment. When the Savage refuses to come to the party, “Lenina suddenly [feels] all the sensations normally experienced at the beginning of a Violent Passion Surrogate treatment – a sense of dreadful emptiness, a breathless apprehension, a nausea. Her heart [seems] to stop beating (Huxley 159).” Lenina experiences a mix of emotions, which is very abnormal as citizens are not supposed to feel that way in the society. Although the state places restrictions on relationships, some citizens are able to feel the extra bit of emotional attachment, just as Lenina does. Yet, she cannot go against her will to accept John’s love. Lenina...
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