Initial Reactions to the Brave New World for FYS Journal

/ 19 November 2010

The novel Brave New World depicts a way that the human world may function in the future where, among no doubt other differences I’ll read about later, humans are manufactured in Hatcheries and conditioned to adulthood in the Conditioning Centers that are part of the same complex. There is no sense of family or parentage, in fact, the majority of humans don’t even know what these are. Here are my initial reactions to this Brave New World and what I see of it in today’s global society, as well as what my feelings would be towards living in the Brave New World.

The Brave New World seems like it’s set up similar to many corporations are in today’s world. There are a set of 10 Controllers, each taking one segment of the world, and they act a little like presidents, but given the strictness of society they are really more akin to CEOs. Literally from the start of the embryonic lives everyone is set out on the path their life will take, their very human nature is tailored to the job they will take in a matter of just a few years. My very initial reaction to this Brave New World was how the heck could we have gotten from here to there, and how in the world could I survive it. All I’ve read thus far takes place in a Hatchery, so that isn’t much to work on, but that alone feels like they are manufacturing what wasn’t meant to be manufactured, human biology. Likewise, that closed-in setting of the first 3 chapters is what helped to give me the sense of a corporation known as Planet Earth in this Brave New World.

What elements of the Brave New World are already directly under our noses today, in the world society we live in? The single largest element of the Brave New World is the total corporation-like control. This has no same-scale comparisons with society today, but it is similar to the way some governments used to function, and the way some still do. Different pieces of society that we work through in our lives, like to a young child their childhood relationship with their parents, is exactly this level of control. Like in the Brave New World, in these instances we generally accept the control and allow ourselves to be the lesser being.

Another element of the Brave New World that is evident in our world is the foundational science behind the Hatcheries. We have nothing as sophisticated (otherwise we may start seeing human manufacturing pop up in a place like China), but we are seeing the primitive scientific procedures already. Among others, think of stem cells and cloning. Scientific procedures like these are what I feel helped build the foundation for what Aldous Huxley describes in Brave New World.

My third element that is evident here and exists in the Brave New World has to do with servitude. It is clear that everyone in the Brave New World doesn’t have any qualms about the way of life handed down to them from above. Though there are occasional breaches, think about the civil rights movement and civil disobedience in general, we are just as compliant to our governments today. We, unlike them, know of other ways of life, but the general compliance is what I am saying is the similarity. In some serious ways, this is the worst of the three elements I talked about here. Why? Simply because by not standing up to our governmental institutions we’re not making any positive changes that are sorely needed.

Now where to start with in describing what I’d like and hate about living in the Brave New World… I guess I should start by stating that in reality, if I lived in the Brave New World, I’d have no choice but to like every part of my life. This reflection is therefore an outsider’s view on what being there would be like when our true home is here. So to start, I feel like I’d mostly hate the total control, who has the right to decide for me what my entire life would be like? Given what role it plays in my life today, religion being archaic history wouldn’t go over that well. Regardless of my position, I’d hate the solid class differences that to my American eye spell out segregation. As if those weren’t enough reasons to hate the Brave New World, manufacturing humans is not how we’re biologically set up. The randomness of live conception and birth is exactly what maintains the human race. Hatcheries take away the very random variable that makes us human as a race.

So what would I like about living in the Brave New World (that doesn’t quite feel so brave)… Let’s see, hardly a thing. I guess the solid security that being manufactured to a specific job may be nice, but also a bit boring. There being no sense of family is simply depressing, so that gap can’t be a plus for me. Many things are on the hate side, but seeing as the race was turned into a corporation-of-sorts I can’t find anything that would be solidly enjoyed about a life in the Brave New World. Maybe further on in reading the novel I’ll have more possibilities of things to actually like, but for now that is my list.

As one final component to this journal entry let me pose what I hope is a thought-provoking question for you to contemplate (and maybe discuss in the comments): What steps would it take for our society today to feel like it has to create the Brave New World society just to escape the downward spirals that we may be finding ourselves in at the moment and do you think it would even help in the long run?