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Brave New World - Society

Oct 08, 1999 877 Words
One may think that the society in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a gross representation of the future, but perhaps our society isn't that much different. In his foreword to the novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley envisioned this statement when he wrote: "To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda...." Thus, through hypnopaedic teaching (brainwashing), mandatory attendance to community gatherings, and the use of drugs to control emotions, Huxley bitterly satirized the society in which we live. <br>

<br>The way the fascist and totalitarian regimes of the past used mass propaganda techniques to "brainwash" their people was very similar to the way Huxley described the hypnopaedic teachings in his novel. He also thought, however, that the present-day totalitarian states' methods were still "crude and unscientific." For example, in the novel the different classes had been brainwashed since birth to believe that they all contributed equally to society. Therefore, the people wouldn't try to think for themselves because they had never been trained to think anything differently. In addition, they didn't have any knowledge of a society that they could compare themselves to. In our society, many great lessons have been learned from the mistakes of rulers in the past. This is revealed when the Director said, "History is bunk." In our society, the dictators attempted to gain control of the world, but they usually failed because they weren't able to persuade the entire world to think like them. In the past, Communist leaders have attempted to rewrite history, but in Brave New World, this was taken one step further; they forgot about history altogether. The only people who had access to any knowledge of the past were the ones who had the power: the World Controllers. Thus, they were able to create a society that fit their liking. <br>

<br>Since the hypnopaedic ideas in the society were continuously repeated throughout one's lifetime, attendance to community gatherings, such as the Solidarity Service, were strictly enforced. The main purpose of the Solidarity Service was to promote social stability, and to give people something that they can feel apart of. The people were driven to this by singing songs like the First Solidarity Hymn, which began, "Ford, we are twelve oh, make us one." During this time, people were also consuming soma rations, which drugged them and caused them to get swept up in the service. Consequently, at the end an orgy took place, which brought them together as one being. In comparison, the political rallies Hitler and other fascists held served a similar purpose. Just as people would chant "Hail Hitler" at these mass rallies, people in the novel would also chant their Ford's name during the Solidarity Services. These gatherings are also similar to the religious meetings that take place in our society. People come together and chant in different languages, sing to their creator, or read from a book. To people in our society, this solidarity service may seem odd and even obscene, but is it really all that different from our own gatherings? Even within our own society, we often look at religious gatherings that are not the same as ours in the same way that we saw the Solidarity Service. Huxley may have been poking fun at the hypocrites who look down on other religions, when they themselves are involved in these odd activities. <br>

<br>One wonders if we feel emotions for a reason. If emotions are not meant to be felt, then why do we have them? In Huxley's society, the people took a drug called soma constantly. While this may be the "miracle drug" with no side effects, it still masks the emotions that the people feel. Taking soma was part of the hypnopaedic teachings that the people were subjected to from birth. Likewise, in our society, we also use drugs to control emotions. The most common one is alcohol. People drink until they drop after a hard day at work, or an emotional hardship because they don't want to experience the emotion. Also, antidepressants are becoming more common. Doctors can now give you a pill to make you feel better if you are upset. Soma was a part of everyday life for the people in this brave new world. It was taken without even a second thought. It is easy for us to look down on this, but one wonders if we would be dependent on drugs to control our emotions if we could be.

<br>In conclusion, Huxley poked fun at political tactics and leaders in his discussion of hypnopaedic teachings, community gatherings, and use of drugs in society. It may be nearly impossible to imagine our world becoming the one that Huxley wrote about. We may never know if the book was written to scold society for becoming like that, or to warn us not to. Isn't it possible that this is the society that Huxley wrote about? Maybe our minds are being controlled be the powers that be, or maybe not. But in either case, we are a lot closer to becoming the society in the book than we may realize.

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