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Technology and Society in Brave New World
Technology plays a crucial role keeping orders in the society of Brave New World, everything from producing new members of the society to conditioning to fit their positions in the social ladder and to continue keeping the stability with biological and psychological drugs. Cloning is used to produce new members of society, conditioning is used to fix the minds and brainwash every members to think and feels in certain ways, and Soma; a psychological drug is used to keep the stability in place by keeping everyone happy and removing negative emotions that would potentially destabilize the social structures. The World State use these tools made available by its advance technologies to implement its guiding motto: “Community, Identity, Stability.” (15) The very structures of social orders would not be possible without these advanced technologies. In the novel, every single new member of society begins their lives inside the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Human beings are produced in factories and conditioned to serve their roles in the World State. Resulting in the society to divided into five classes or namely “castes.” The castes are: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Individuals are genetically engineered accordance with their caste. Alphas and Betas are the two highest and most powerful castes and they are not mass produced, therefore the two highest classes have some degree of individuality. The three lower castes are mass produced by the method of cloning. Individuality is not at all important in the lower classes because they only perform identical task at identical machines. “Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” (18) Conditioning is used to keep the castes happy in their role of World State society as the lower caste clones will never reach the higher castes standards. “That is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny.” (26) In the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, newly manufactured children are put onto the conveyer belts and go though certain stages of conditions. Like mechanical assembly lines, each aspect of their minds and bodies are equipped to think and act in certain ways and to like certain things. For instant, individuals who are destined to work in tropical climates are conditioned to suit the hot climates, physically and mentally. “Heat conditioning,” “We condition them to thrive on heat,” “Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it.” (25-26) Soma is the drug that people take to remove their mental distresses; it serves as an escape as well as entertainment. It is a medical and psychological technology engineered to produces euphoria with no side effects. The World State government distributes Soma to the population as a form of a control device. Due to conditioning, spirituality does not exist in Huxley’s world and Soma provides the human needs for transcendence. Soma satisfies the spiritual needs in the society, the state of existence, the experience beyond the material or physical level without actually having any kind of spiritual or moral conducts. Mustapha Mond, the resident world controller of Western Europe describes Soma as “Morality in a bottle” and “Christianity without tears.” (213)
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World,. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. Print.
Cited: Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World,. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. Print.