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Reaction to the Brave New World


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The book Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, published in the year 1932, has always been widely acclaimed, in concurrent with 1984, for their unique and insightful perspectives of diving deep into the prevarication of freedom and human welfare. This book, in my opinion, is more sophisticated and profound, in that it rings a more lasting and alarming siren in its readers, with the presentation of a seemingly consummate happiness of human beings loomed by one and only discount – Passiveness. Faith, health, materials, even the sense of happiness and felicity are all granted to everyone in the society, representing everything the existing world has been pursuing. Now in 2503, we have it all; we see “ immediate gratification of every desire”. Isn’t it nice? The ultimate salvation, technology, really works! The Utopian world Huxley orchestrated, if put under utilitarian check, is better than perfect. Not just greatest number of people’s greatest happiness is thus fulfilled; everyone is so in loss of the sense of pursuing of happiness because no more happiness is left to be pursued. Arts, love and religions, those metaphysical entities, those means through which people wish to experience the highest sense of happiness or to evade the pains and agonies, are useless and should be removed. Because we have everything, we experience no pain. What a beautiful world. However, in line with the author, I find the word is beautiful in a sarcastic way. There in this world bereft of freedom, people do not live their life, but are programmed to accept everything that does not belong to them, yet forced into them. I think the forfeited sense of happiness do not represent happiness itself. It is chemical incentives, maybe dopamine. It is absolute physical, but nothing spiritual. It is nothing but passiveness, anything but happiness. In fact, I find no difference here, between nerves in these people and wires in robots, both devices connected to authority, resulting in no freedom of choice. Genes, conditions and sudden environmental alterations are all predestined. Here my reasons for arguing that people in that ‘brave new world’ are not

granted the supreme happiness are two folds. For one, happiness lies first in the comprehensive understanding of diversity, or at least, the awareness of diversity. Yet everyone is prescribed to a setting even in the process of fertilization; those not ‘qualified’ are sorted out of the scene. The lucky ones are later prescribed to abhor books, nature, aloneness, families, religions and arts, meanwhile, collectivism, consumption, casual sex are programed to be people’s passion. Surprisingly, they are not all prescribed in an indiscriminate manner. We see five tiers of people, among them superiority and inferiority exits. Nevertheless, they are all happy, to the same degree. Every tier of people ignorantly embraces their own tier, believing its highest position. Everyone’s emotion and attitude towards everything take into shape even before they understand the thing, or the emotion itself. I firmly believe that diversity, the fact that limitless possibilities exist, should at least be made known to people for once. Second, the essence of being a human is the freedom of choice. The fact that I choose to de-evolution to be mere animal, driven by pure desire of food, sex, even impulses to kill does not by itself make me non-human. The God, creating the world, where up there angels rule and down here earth and water nurture a wildness teeming with brainless animals and plants, at last feels like to add something interesting to this world. Upstairs, downstairs, anything is within reach, so this time he nuanced a little the old pattern of creation, i.e. to confine and define. This time let they choose what they want to be, God says, to sublimate, or to degenerate, you have the right to choose. Freedom of choice, on the basis of the understanding of diversity is another prerequisite for happiness. Here in the brave new world, humans are ‘happied’ rather than being happy. Their sense of happiness has nothing to do with their own capacity of creativity, their ability to experience emotion or to appreciate arts. Everyone just sits there as babies, opens their mouths, awaiting to be fed with food, physical or mind. Then they take the elevator, and all of a sudden, they are in the Pure Land, the Elysian Field. The freewill, the freedom of choice has nowhere to exist. “If in 1984, people suffer the loss of freedom, here in Brave New

World, people celebrate the lift of the heavy burthen or freedom. “ Compared with the choice to degenerate, this is truly non-human. Thus I fail to detect any happiness

in this world. Authorities, for their part, are seemingly doing well, too. They provide what the human history has so long and so hard tried to provide. Economic development, the eradication of poverty, stability, health, youth and longevity, everything, everything is there. But they deprive people of the most precious thing, which is individual’s pursuing of happiness. It is in this regard the elitist ruling shows its contempt for its people, and for life. The world can be beautiful for some people, who deem freedom too onerous a burthen. For me, I would rather have my own free mind, free observation of the world and finally, the right to choose freely who I want to be and how I live my life. Huxley, as early as in 1931, was so far-sighted and so insightful that he foresaw what the existing human generation somewhat fail to grasp. To give him his due credit, I think he is the most incredible humanist.



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