Protection of Individualism in Brave New World
In Brave New World, the author Aldous Huxley predicts a future, like no other, where truth is trumped by happiness. The people in the World State are ignorant of the truth. They mistake the truth as happiness. This ignorance leads them to believe that a tablet called some is used “to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient”. Through drugs and conditioning, the government has kept the World State uninformed of the truth. It is the “controllers” who rule the Brave New world, without opposition they rule over economic, social, and cultural life. They can read any books but the ones that are not available. The media is censored; approval of books and other media has to be gained from a World Controller. Such a change in our society would be difficult to accomplish, unless the change from today’s system of government to be a world state were done gradually so it would be unnoticeable.
Individuality is a determining factor of a personal identity. Through individualism, a man is able to recognize his unique characteristics. However, in Huxley’s Brave New World, members of this seemingly utopian society lack identity. Each citizen’s individuality had to be sacrificed to preserve the stability of the World State. The government used many techniques to ensure the conformity of their society. Through the control of population, birth and growth, sex, relationships, and the citizens’ behaviors and actions, all of these combined discourages any possible independence left for the people living in the World State.
One aspect of dominance in Brave New World is the control over population, birth and growth. It is one of the methods to maintain the society`s motto of ‘Community, Identity, and Stability.’ In the first chapter of the novel, the process of creating humans was introduced. As the Director educates the students about the process of conditioning, he mentioned ‘For in nature it takes thirty years for two hundred eggs to reach maturity. But our business is to stabilize the population at this moment, here and now.’ This phrase simply proves that it is the government’s mission to continuously alleviate the number of residents in the World State. The reason of the rigid control of reproduction is to guarantee the perfect balance of their society. They needed to take greater control in order to formulate solutions to problems such as economic stagnation, starvation, maternal mortality, and unemployment.
Having power over population is not the only technique that the ten controllers are capable of controlling but also the birth of their citizens. In the novel, people are not born. Instead, they are created through Bokanovsky’s process and hypnopaedic conditioning. They are both defined as ‘one of the major instruments of social stability.’ This quote essentially portrayed that this is one of the strategies that the government use to have further control over the society.
The end of Brave New World brings John the Savage into direct physical conflict with the brave new world which he has decided to leave. He must get rid of all burdens put upon him by this dystopian world. Fasting, whipping himself and vomiting the civilization of this harmful world to purge himself, John cries: “I ate civilization. It poisoned me; I was defiled … I ate my own wickedness … Now I am purified” (Huxley, Brave 183). When he was exiled outside London, he spends the first night on his knees, not sleeping but praying to God: “Oh, my God! Oh forgive me! Make me pure! Oh, help me to be good!” (Huxley, Brave 184). Of course, the reason for his coming to this hill is to experience unhappiness and to think about the horror of the civilized world. In his new life of seclusion among the pretty forests, groves, ponds, and flowers, John realizes that he is really happy.
Like John in Brave New World, Jonas in The Giver decides to escape to a hill outside his community. He, like John, seeks for a normal life far away from his hellish society. Jonas escapes to Elsewhere, an unknown land that exists beyond the boundaries of the communities. But, unlike John, Jonas does not declare his comfort and purity. He just declares his feeling of hunger and disease.
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