Monday, November 24, 2014
Depicts a world where the state organized to insure happiness, community and stability. Citizens are condition to maintain the status quo Huxley suggests in BNW revisited (essay) that we are drifting towards that at present. Welfare-tyranny BNW, people 600 years in the future direct all their energy toward avoiding physical and mental discomfort. The state provides constant diversion in the form of elaborate games, erotic "feelie" motion pictures and endless sexual freedom Today-TV, sports, events and increasingly sophisticated games have much the same aim-to escape from life's doldrums and disappointments In Huxley's futures world-though happiness might be elusive, world-state citizens can always life their spirts with SOMA. This cure all acts as a tranquilizer, stimulant or hallucinogen Today-The multi-million dollar drug business the pumps out tons of anti-depressants Belonging in BNW has nothing to do with close personal relationships, marriage or national identity. The world state has eradicated personal loyalties to eliminate divisiveness. Everyone belongs to everyone This extreme does not yet exist. But it cannot be denied that a high divorce rate and unstable close, personal relationships are features of modern life In Huxley's world no one is meant to be alone
Emphasis on group activties
Shows a truth about human nature: belonging to a group is needed to feel secure People who conform are happy and are given a sense of identity, those who don't are left to be alone The need to belong is used by modern police states to achieve social stability China government dress code and social regimentation were used to control people and foster group loyalty Some democracies accept dress codes as means of developing disciplines in some situations. The armed forces are the most notable example of this Huxley's world states uses Bokanovsky's Process and social and moral conditioning to achieve stability. Process produces five distinct castes, each mentally and physically suited to a particular role in life. Although scientists have not yet managed to mass produce test-tube babies, they are using scientific techniques to produce babies. Artificial inseminations, fertility drugs and embryo implantation are not all accepted practices Through hypnopaedia an elaborate system of behaviour modification, and an all-inclusive network of propaganda, each BNW citizen is conditioned to conform. Modern equivalent: subliminal messaging
BNW ridged structure also guarantees economic well-being. Citizens must buy expensive equipment in order to play approved games. Consumption is also encouraged by state slogans like "end instead of mend" Slogan could also apply to existing production techniques. Planned obsolescence is here. In addition products are routinely associated with values that buyers hold dear--social status and sex appeal Emphasis on materialism is yet another prophetic strain in the novel. In today's society, materialistic concerns frequently override humanistic ones. An individual's worth is often measured in terms of wealth rather than intangibles such as goodness. One might not guess that "money isn't everything" by observing North American social and economic structure Many critics, including Huxley, believe the kind of future that is depicted in BNW is possible, considering the direction technologically advanced societies are taking. Huxley's visions of technology's effects on morality, social structure , labour and leisure time were, indeed, extreme-but prophetic Huxley agreed with credibility of his predictions by depriving BNW citizens of any freedom or rational thought. They have two choices: an insane life in Utopia or a strange, primitive life on a Indian reservation. Later he wrote that he should have provided a third alternative: life within a community of exiles and refugees from BNW. Here would live those who refused to relinquish the thoughtful control of their lives.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
A social outcast who suffers from self pity
An alpha plus with too much brain power=realizes the weakness of his society Suffers from an inferiority complex
Always depressed, physically deformed ("too much alcohol in the decanting process") Plagued by inner conflicts
Spends most of his time by himself
Wants to be a rebel but cannot find the strength to do it, or the outlet to express it
"Hesitant on the fringes of battle. 'They're done for', said Bernard and, urged by a sudden impulse, ran forward to help them; then thought better of it and halted, then ashamed stepped forward again" p
Conditioned by a society that has deliberately left no outlet for the expression or individuality His ideas are left impotent and unless, hypnopaedia suggestions have made free though immoral
John the Savage
Thursday, November 27, 2014
John is a classic hero in an age that rejects heroism
"My dear young friend', said Mustapha Mond, 'civilization has absolutely no need of nobility and heroism. These are symptoms of political inefficiency"
Possesses integrity, a personal values system, indivduality
Attractive, unspoiled, well-educated, literate
His use of Shakespeare indicates his education, knowledge of poetry, love An innocent=does not understand the complexity and controlling nature of this "new world" Suffers from an incredible guilt complex concerning his relationship with his mother For him, the world outside his New Mexico compound is the brave new world Changes to recognize it as a hell=punishes himself for being attracted to this evil Stands in for reader
Traditional literary technique to introduce an audience to a foreign environment He acts as our surrogate (asking questions, exploring, misunderstanding as we would misunderstand) Also represents us=his eventual rejection of this society urges us to reject this future
Prophetic or Apocalyptic?
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Prophetic: predictive or portentous
Apocalyptic: predicting or presaging immanent
a variation of Lenin
Russian totalitarian society
Important figure in formation of the World State
His utilization of mass-production techniques has a large impact on consumerism
Reference to Karl Marx, German Socialist
Marx called religion the opium of the people, in BNW soma is substituted for religion
Conditioning is defined as the training of an individual to respond to stimulus in a particular way. Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov conditioning takes places
BNW Individuals are conditioned to believe
Combines the names of two men with power in Huxley's time
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and President Henry Hoover
The Malthusian belt: Thomas Malthus
Political economist believed that unless the population diminished, the means of life world be inadequate Reference to the mandatory birth control seen in BNW
Predestination is the act of deciding an individual's fate of density Heaven or Hell
Both in the old and testament contain allusions to God as the Predestinator In BNW God is eliminated so government has predestined according to the needs of society
Realized that these advances, which were welcomed as progress, were full of danger Man has unleased power he is unable to control
BNW is Huxley's warning=makes men realize since knowledge is power, he who controls and uses knowledge wields the power Science and technology should be the servants of man--man should not adapted and enslave to them.
International Political Scene
Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the dictatorship of Mussolini in Italy, and the Nazi Party movement in Germany. Concerned about threats to man's freedom and independence, Huxley realized communism and fascism place the state above the individual in demand and total allegiance to a cause
A time of more and bigger factories, more manufactured goods, the advent of mass produced automobiles Big business used and misused the individual-- man became important as produce and consumer
More people were moving to the cities
Change in attitude and point of view
As "one of the crowd", the individual is not responsible for himself or for anybody else. Huxley carries this loss of individuality one step further in his projection of Bokanovskified groups of identical twins performing identical tasks
Brave New World
"O wonder!...How many goodly creatures there are here! How beauteous mankind is!...O brave new world…O brave new world… O brave new world that has such people in it"
Aside from the meaning of the quote, the repeated occurences of this line are great way to trace John's evolving opinion of the World State. When he first speaks the line with aw and amazement (just as Miranda did). John is excited that he will see this place Of course, the second time, he's violently retching behind the bushes with disgust. The third time he is fully aware of the irony, and "the words (mock) him derisivley" as he leaves the hospital after Linda's death. Finally, though, interprets the quote as "a challenge, a command." It is this line spurs him to the act of throwing soma boxes out the window.
BNW: Big Picture
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Why is this book important?
BNW is a masterpiece of science fiction
Imaginatively employed scientific facts and theories to produce a classic of its kind Believable piece of science fiction
2 major people of science fiction before Huxley: H.G Wells and Jules Verne Few writers of science fiction have equalled Huxley's ability to make the unbelievable seem believable and to make the improbable seem probable Huxley's own interest in science, its use and misuse, its peril and its promise , contributed to the accuracy of his presentation of the future Huxley's qualifies as a social commentator by reason of his diversified interest. His comments are always perceptive, sometime biased but never dull He sees little chance of mankind saving itself; he sees mankind inexorably moving toward self-destruction. He sees himself as a voice crying in the wilderness- but crying to no avail, for the deaf to refuse to hear Prophetic elements in BNW contribute much to its continuing popularity because year by year we see more and more of Huxley's fantasy becoming reality Huxley himself later commented that we are moving in the direction of this Utopia much more rapidly than anyone could have imagined At the time the novel was written only a few research scientists were concerned with conditioning, the importance of heredity and environment, and the effect of chemical imbalance on physical and mental development Today, government, educational institutions, and industries are exploiting the results of research in these areas The breadth the depth of Huxley's interests and ideas prompted one critic to refer him as one of the most prodigiously learned authors He wrote novels, plays, poetry, essays, biography and history on a variety of topics Huxley's satire expresses his profound pessimism (Only two choices are insanity or lunacy)
From his essay Revolutions
"Now that not only work, but also leisure has been completely mechanized; now that, with every fresh elaboration of social organization, the individual finds himself yet further degraded from manhood towards the mere embodiment of a social function; now that ready-made, creation-saving amusement are spreading an ever intenser boredom through ever wider spheres-existence has become pointless and intolerable. Quite how pointless and intolerable the great masses of materially-civilized humanity have not yet consciously realized."
In Brave New World Huxley helps humanity to this realization