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Is Huxley's purpose in writing Brave New World important/meaningful?Aldous Huxley's...

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ashleyben | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM via web

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Is Huxley's purpose in writing Brave New World important/meaningful?

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 17, 2012 at 2:42 AM (Answer #1)

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It is interesting to consider that Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931 during the Great Depression in America which affected his native England and other countries, a period not unlike what the current economic situation is in the USA today.  Also of much interest are these prophetic words that Huxley wrote in Brave New World Revisited:

Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligenltly on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures.  A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and not in the calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera [ed:  he knew nothing of the internet], of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.

Most ironically, shortly after Huxley's novel was published, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-tung came into power, leaders whose regimes were characterized by propaganda, control of the masses through censorship and even murder. These regimes made Huxley's warnings prophetic. 

Further,one of Huxley's greatest fears is stated in his Foreword to the novel:

The theme of Brave New World is not advancement of science as such; it is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals.

Huxley feared the advancement of technology as surpassing the advancement of human beings.  In the society of Brave New World the stability of the New World is devised by scientific means, "the ultimate, personal, really revolutionary revolution," Huxley contended.  All but a few are content in their technological servitude, and those who are not are ostracized.  Because John the Savage has not been scientifically conditioned as have the other inhabitants of the New World he is tortured by the dehumanizing of the society of the dystopia, so tortured that he choses real death over the scientifically sanitized death of the soul.

Is Huxley's purpose in writing his work meaningful?  Indeed, it is; it is even more relevant today than ever as people unthinkingly traverse time in mindless entertainment, sports, cyberspace, etc. News media selectively slants or chooses reports upon events. Advertising subliminally conditions people to consume. People do not confront the agonies of life as John did, but retreat from them with anti-depressants and other drugs as those in the New World seek soma as a solution to their disturbing feelings. The music as propaganda of which Huxley writes in Brave New World Revisited has also come to fruition:

Nonsense which it would be shameful to a reasonable being to write, speak or hear spoken can be sung of listened to by that same rational being with pleasure and even with a kind of intellectual conviction.

Certainly, the subversive lyrics of contemporary music that denegrates law and order and the treatment of women, encouraging sexual promiscuity, etc. has its affect upon youth.

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