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In Brave New World, discuss the relationship between science, religion, and political...

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ninniclements | High School Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM via web

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In Brave New World, discuss the relationship between science, religion, and political power in the World State.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM (Answer #1)

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It is clear that religion in Huxley's dystopian world has changed significantly from what it is today in our world. Christianity has been significanty modified and altered, both spiritually and politically, in order to support the central ethos of the World State which is all about science and technology to create a social order where everybody is happy and coexists peacefully. The purpose of religion in terms of the comfort that is drawn from it is therefore kept, whilst the way that religion sought to produce spiritual enlightenment, which led people to challenge political power, has been erased. For example, note the following description of a religious ceremony. The reference to the "T" comes from the way that the cross has been altered as a symbol, having had its top cut off to form a "T."

The President made another sign of the T and sat down. The service had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup of strawberry ice-cream soma was passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, "I drink to my annihilation," twelve times quaffed. Then to the accompaniment of the synthetic orchestra the First Solidarity Hymn was sung.

Note how soma, which is of course a major way that the World State maintains power and prevents unrest, is incorporated into this parody of a communion service. The scientific developments that allow the creation of people prepared specifically for certain roles in society and drugs that can control them is therefore linked with religion in order to maintain political power in this novel. All work together to ensure that the goal of creating a perfect society is accomplished.

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