Homework Help

What is Huxley's attitude towards science and technology?

user profile pic

enotejovy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:10 PM via web

dislike 1 like

What is Huxley's attitude towards science and technology?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:33 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

In his 1932 foreword to his novel, Brave New World, Huxley's expresses his anxiety about science advancing ahead of humanity, for he states,

It is only by means of the sciences of life that the quality of life can be radically changed.

The Controllers of the New World of Huxley's novel, claiming that social stability is their aim, instead with the use of genetic engineering, sleep conditioning, and propaganda, they control human lives by silencing truth. And, Huxley worries in his foreword that

it is quite possible that the horror may be upon us within a single century."

Further, in his Brave New World Revisited, Huxley discusses at length his concerns.  In one section he writes,

In Brave New World non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature (the feelies, orgy-porgy, centfigual bumble-puppy) are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attnetion to the realities of the social and political situation.

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 whole members spend a great part of their time, no on the spot, not here and no and 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.

In a later book published in 1962 entitled Island, Huxley writes an alternative outcome for those influenced by technology and science.  For instance, drugs would be used for self-improvement and self-knowledge; trance-states used for super-learning rather than indoctrination, group living so that children would not be solely exposed to their parents' neuroses rather than group-living for indoctrination.  While this novel presents a more positive outcome for the advancement of science and technology, it, nevertheless, proposes no way to guard against those dangers that Huxley's feared in 1932.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes