Brave New World: Happiness Essay, Research Paper
Happiness ? What is the price of happiness? What things in our lives would we be willing to give up so that the planet as a whole would operate more efficiently? Would there be any thing that we would willingly give up; freedom, religion, equality, love, fear? In Aldous Huxley s Brave New World it is suggested that the price of universal happiness will be the sacrifice of the most sacred aphorisms of our culture: motherhood, home, family, freedom, and even love. He indicates that happiness derives from consuming mass-produced goods, sport, promiscuous sex, “the feelies”, and a supposedly perfect pleasure-drug, soma. His Brave New World is essentially a benevolent oligarchy, under the direction of ten world controllers; their spokesman is Mustapha Mond, Resident Controller of Western Europe. He governs a society where all aspects of an individual’s life, from conception and conveyor-belt reproduction onwards, are determined by the state. The individuality of Brave New World s two billion inhabitants is suppressed. A government bureau, the Predestinators, decides a prospective citizen’s role in the hierarchy. Children are raised and conditioned by the state bureaucracy, not brought up by natural families. Value has been stripped away from the person as an individual human being; respect belongs only to society as a whole. Citizens must not fall in love, marry, or have their own kids. Society has no historical influence. It is interesting that in this utopia knowledge of the past is banned to prevent envious comparisons. One would think that history lessons would be encouraged instead. That way the people could uncover for themselves the horror that once was. What is so frightening is that I think that this is where our society is heading, and even scarier is the fact that I don t think we can help it.Brave New World wasn t written intending to evoke just how wonderful our lives could be if the human genome were rewritten, in fact it was nearly the opposite. Huxley was presenting to us a world which, in his time, was on the frontiers of science. He was issuing a deeply pessimistic warning against all forms of genetic engineering and eugenics. His view is to play it safe because nature knows best. It is in today s world that this has become a reality. Genetic engineering has now gone beyond that of modified foods and has moved into animals. Perhaps one day our DNA will be spliced and edited so we can all enjoy life-long happiness, awesome experiences, and outrageous designer-drugs. The inevitable question is that; will this be a bad thing? I think it has to be.
Huxley implies that by abolishing nastiness and mental pain, the Brave New Worlders have got rid of the most profound experiences that life can offer. Living in a soma induced bliss-like state would truly be the ultimate utopia, but every day would just be another drug induced, artificial high. We get hints that some of the utopians feel dissatisfied, and have an intermittent sense that their lives are meaningless. Contrary to the Brave New World, I feel that if we are to feel real happiness we have to find true fulfillment and meaning in our own lives. All of the good parts in our lives are contrasted with those that are bad, because everything is a balance.The class hierarchy, which is the New World, is another negative aspect, at least from our point of view. We look at it as a terrible thing to be controlling these peoples live, creating out of them whatever we want. But really, is it that bad? It can t be. The Epsilons are just as happy, if not happier than the Alphas. Although this is in part due to soma. The people learn to love being themselves. Everyone learns to respect Alphas who “work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever.” But they also learn to take pleasure in not being anyone else. It may seem that what the lower classes are put through is similar to slave labor. But they don t know any better, and the happiness they derive from their routine-bound lives guarantees stability for society as a whole.Even by its own criteria, Brave New World is not a society where everyone is perfect and happy. There are asylums in Iceland and the Falklands for alpha misfits. Bernard Marx is disillusioned and emotionally insecure. Lenina has problems which when she runs out of soma, she gets sick. Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning was guilty of an indiscretion when visiting the Reservation. It s all just a mess.Brave New World is an essentially loveless, artificially happy society. Though a future living in a society such as the Brave New World may be perfectly feasible and likely, there must be more viable alternatives. Relying on a drug is to a particularly safe way to keep society stable. Also, the very things which I think make us human have been taken away by the controllers in the Brave New World. The randomness of life, love, freethinking, fear hate; are no longer left up to an individual. It may improve the quality of life, and on average the quality of life might be better, but this would be o way to live.