What does Aldous Huxley want to tell us about in Brave New World?
Is there any message that he would like to deliver to readers of the contemporary world?
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Given that Huxley wrote a book entitled Brave New World Revisited, in which he explicates all that he sought to communicate in Brave New World, he did, indeed, have a message of paramount importance to future readers. This theme is clearly stated in his "Foreword" to Brave New World:
The theme of Brave New World is not the advancement of science as such; it is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals. (BNW, Foreword, xi)
Satire, by its very definition, is "a kind of literature that ridicules human folly or vice with the purpose of bringing about reform or of keeping others from falling into similar folly or vice. As such, Huxley's satire, Brave New World sends a warning of the potential dehumanization of man in a technological world that supersedes him. This very warning has been echoed by others who have analyzed our modern society. Within this last year, for instance, journalist Glenn Beck, who interviewed an author who has written about life in the twenty-first century, asked the author, "Have we now gone past 1984? Are we not, now, living Brave New World?" The author concurred.
The concern of Huxley with technology's potential to remove humans from what is most human--love, friendship, struggle, happiness--is a message for future generations, not merely his contemporaries. If this satiric novel is not of worth for his future readers, how can it even be considered satire, and how is it that it is considered a classic and remains on the canon for high schools and colleges?
Of course Huxley did not have any message in mind for us given that he wrote the book so long before the present. But he was surely trying to send a message to his contemporaries.
To me, the messages of the book are:
- Scientific progress can be a very bad thing if used incorrectly. This is why I first had to read this book in a class about bioethics.
- Consumerism and materialism can corrode the human soul. One of the problems in the book is that people want things more than they want a "life of the mind."
- It is bad to want constant entertainment and "happiness." When we do these things, we are taking away our own ability to think and our ability to feel the full range of emotions that make us human.
If you continue the way you use technology, then you will end up like brave new world.
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