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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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Mikayla Bay

on 16 October 2014

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Transcript of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
Aldous Leonard Huxley
Brave New World vs. 1984
Huxley's words to George Orwell:
"Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience"
Utopia vs. Dystopia
An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects

An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror; a form of literature used to critique one's current world state

Q: Can you think of other examples of Utopia or Dystopia portrayed in literature, television, or film?

Brave New World
Brave New World is set in London 632 A.F. – "After Ford" (The World State is built upon the principles of Henry Ford's assembly line—mass production, homogeneity, predictability, and consumption of disposable consumer goods)

Notice the lingo in the novel - "Oh my Ford" - deeming production and consumption the god of this society?

Brave New World is a dystopian novel, which extrapolated from the rise of technology, science, and totalitarianism in the 1930s to imagine a future totalitarian state in which humanity had been robbed of all free choice and were forced into happiness through the manipulation of genetics and psychology.

The novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and operant conditioning that combine to profoundly change and control society

From birth, members of every class are indoctrinated by recorded voices repeating slogans while they sleep ("hypnopædia") to believe their own class is superior, but that the other classes perform needed functions. Any residual unhappiness is resolved by an antidepressant and hallucinogenic drug called soma (named for an intoxicating drink in ancient India) distributed by the Arch-Community Songster of Canterbury, a secularised version of the Christian sacrament of Communion ("The Body of Christ")

Huxley reassesses his own work in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958) and with his final work, a novel titled Island (1962)
Historical Context
When Huxley wrote Brave New World in the early 1930s, the world was in a vulnerable state: it had recently undergone WW1 (1914-1918), was suffering in the Great Depression (1930's-1940's) and WW2 (1939-1945) was getting ready to commence

Huge strides had been made in both science and the application of science through technology, and the world had industrialized

Huxley took all these developments and spun them into the World State of Brave New World, a totalitarian dystopia that uses technology to trick its citizens into loving their slavery

Keep this themes in mind as we work through the novel together: Dystopia and Totalitarianism, Technology and Control, The Cost of Happiness, Industrialism and Consumption, and Individuality
Brave New World
What is the significance of Aldous Huxley's title?

What does freedom mean to you? Is total freedom accessible in this world?

What does true happiness entail? Do individuals in society deceive themselves into believing they are happy?

Born on July 26th 1894 in England and died in Los Angelas on November 22nd 1963
Edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts.
Humanist, pacifist, and satirist, he later became interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, and Universalism. He is also well known for his advocacy and consumption of psychedelic drugs (primary action is to alter cognition and perception)
Acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time
Huxley aspired to go into medicine; however, due to a severe eye infection, Huxley nearly lost his vision and suffered near blindness for almost 3 years, detouring him from his initial education plans. When Huxley eventually recovered and continued to study English Literature at Oxford
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