Science: Society\\’S Dystopia Essay, Research Paper
Science: The Heart of Society s Dystopia
Science robs men of wisdom and usually converts them into phantom beings loaded up with facts (Essays and Soliloquies, Miguel De Unamuno, p. 55). Science can make life easier by discovering innovations and technologies for the sake of society, but at the same time, it has the utmost potential to destroy humanity. As science continually grows, society becomes so engaged with new breakthroughs and advances that science inevitably controls humans through the misuse of biology and psychology. Both Aldous Huxley and Anthony Burgess predict a society where the government harnesses the power of science in order to achieve stability and peace among mankind. However, at what cost does society receive these benefits? We must sacrifice our own individuality and even our freedom of choice. Without free will and moral choice, humanity is reduced to machines without purposes, and we cease to exist as true human beings.
In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley illustrates a dystopia in which society is completely controlled by the science of a totalitarian government. This society s ultimate goal is to achieve universal happiness through its motto, Community, Identity, Stability. The new government solves all of its material and social problems, but the citizens lose their individuality and right to choose because of genetic engineering and psychological conditioning. Genetic engineering brings forth a stable society because the government controls the levels of strength, intelligence, and aptitude for each human embryo. Since large numbers of genetically identical individuals are also produced, people who are exactly the same are less likely to come into conflict. Identity is even achieved by using hypnopaedia to teach everyone to conform, so that someone who has or feels some individuality is made to feel like an outcast. All these new procedures are nothing but methods to manipulate human nature. Humans no longer have the right to choose their route in life and become a distinct individual. The science of the government even eliminates passions of painful emotions and deep feelings, including love. People can no longer feel painful emotions of grief and loss when deaths occur. Death ceases to be a spiritual significance. What kind of society decides how a man thinks and feels? Passion is a part of the definition of humanity, and therefore, John, the Savage, rejects this society. He claims the right to be unhappy, the right to suffer pain and fear (288). John wants to be human, but since the science of his time controls every aspect of life and eliminates the right to choose, he refuses to conform to society. He would rather be an outcast than not be a human.
In A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess also portrays a dystopia where the government uses science in an attempt to create a society of peace and stability without moral choice. At the beginning of the story, Burgess depicts a society of chaos, caused by social disintegration and gang violence. Alex is a fifteen-year-old gang leader, who takes joy in committing robbery, rape, and torture, allowing nothing to get in the way of his impulses. The government notices these types of criminals and decides to take serious action by finding a way to manipulate human nature in order to end the chaos. They inevitably look towards science for the answer. The result is the Ludovico Technique. It is a process of brainwashing through the association of pain with cruel thoughts. After an injection of some pain-inflicting drug, the patient is forced to view films of street violence and rape. The drug and images create a powerful aversion against thoughts of violence. Despite the fact that the prison chaplain tells Alex that goodness is something chosen and that it comes from within (83), Alex still decides to undergo the treatment. After Alex endures the extreme torture of the process, the prison chaplain realizes that Alex is no longer a human being:
He has no real choice, has he? Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice. (126)
Alex is a human creature only to the extent that he retains his free choice; when conditioned, he is reduced to nothing. Therefore, being an evil human is better than being a creature without the freedom to choose.
Both Huxley and Burgess conclude from their dystopian visions that science is the sole cause of corruption within society, but moreover, they realize that the government is the true evil which controls science. Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one ( Common Sense, Thomas Paine, Ch. 1). The government is the power which controls science in order to control humanity. Although human beings may lose their individuality and freedom of choice, the government does not care; they only care for the stability of society:
We are not concerned with motive, with the higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime. (A Clockwork Orange, Burgess, 126)
A perfect example of the government controlling science is the issue of cloning humans. The answer to whether or not we should investigate human cloning is based on this question of human nature: Does every human being have the right to individuality and moral choice? The right answer is debatable, but we should all consider the value of human nature and how justified it is to manipulate God s creations.