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Community, Identity, Stability

By tpro93 Oct 01, 2010 932 Words
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines stasis as, “inactivity; stagnation; a state of equilibrium” (Thompson 1360). In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, equilibrium is achieved through the three political doctrines of community, identity, and stability.

Firstly, the sense of community in Brave New World is achieved through the common worshipping of the new God, “Ford”. On alternate Thursdays, it is mandatory that Bernard Marx attend Solitary Service. During this ritual, soma is passed around and stimulation is provided until a group of twelve reaches, in essence, an orgy of faith. This sexual addition to religion is meant to satisfy the body as well as the spirit, and keep the sense of community alive. After Solitary Service, Huxley describes one of the participants, “…the Solitary Service had given as well as taken…she was full, she was made perfect” (86). While Solitary Service keeps the higher castes together as a community, the lower castes participate in a Community Sing, where large masses of Delta and Epsilons get together to sing Fordian hymns. These synthetic rituals have replaced religion in the name of unity and community. Another way in which equilibrium is enhanced through community is by organizing life to ensure that an individual is almost never alone (Astrachan). By doing this, the Controllers ensure that no individual can become independent, and that members of the community will always rely on each other. In conclusion, the synthetic rituals and crowded lifestyles of the new world ensure that a sense of community is constantly maintained in the name of social stasis.

The second part of the World State’s motto-identity-is mainly achieved through distinction of castes and hypnopaedic prejudices. In Huxley’s world, there are main castes that make up society: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. From the time they are embryos growing in bottles, all individuals are altered so that they belong definitely to a single caste. While describing the nurturing process of embryos to the young students, Henry Foster calmly explains, “the lower the caste, the shorter the oxygen” (Huxley 24). These oxygen shortages, as well as several other predestination factors, ensure that individuals are no better than their caste requires. After they are “decanted”, children in the new world are strictly conditioned in order to comply with the needs of the community. As Nicole Smith writes in her analysis of Brave New World, “[a]ll traces of human elements of individuality and identity have been replaced by the concept of the common good” (Smith). In the new world, children learn about this “common good” from a very young age. In their sleep, they listen to all sorts of propaganda and prejudiced remarks until these statements become engrained into their minds. Even as an adult, Lenina Crowne frequently repeats the hypnopaedic prejudices she was exposed to as a child, “I’m glad I’m not an Epsilon” (Huxley 77). With defined castes and character traits carefully thought out by the Controllers, identity is simply given to citizens of the new world in order to avoid conflict and maintain stability.

Finally, the most important doctrine that keeps the brave new world alive is social stability. The society in the novel is modelled after Henry Ford’s assembly line: there are no individuals, only the greater picture of society as a whole (Schellenberg). The goal of the World Controllers is to manufacture individuals who are almost identical so that there will be no conflict, no war, no risk and no unhappiness. Mustapha Mond explains that in order for the machine of society to run smoothly, the operators must also be stable, “Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended. There must be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon the axles, sane men, obedient men, stable in contentment” (Huxley 48). In order to maintain the universal happiness that consumes the citizens of the Brave New World, the individual pursuit of happiness must be sacrificed. Mond explains to Helmholtz that men must make sacrifices in the name of stability, “[Controlling] hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness must be paid for” (Huxley 205). Due to the need to serve the greater good, personal goals and pleasures cannot be accepted if everything is to remain stable. It is through this careful planning of life and of false happiness that the World State keeps itself stable, and minimizes the risk of change.

In these three ways, the societal motto of “Community, Identity, Stability” is the key to the equilibrium that holds Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World together. It is only through the methodical words of Mustapha Mond that one can truly understand the importance of these three doctrines: “The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get…[t]hey’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma” (Huxley 199).

Works Cited:

Astrachan, Anthony. “Brave New World: Barron’s Notes.” Huxley.net 1998. BLTC Research. 3 September 2010.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Collins, 1932.

Schellenberg, James. “Brave New World.” Challenging Destiny. 2004. Crystalline Sphere Publishing. 3 September 2010.

Smith, Nicole. “Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: An Analysis of the Themes of Consumption and Utopia.” Article Myriad. 2010. 3 September 2010.

Thompson, Della. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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