In chapter 17, how do John and the Controller represent the dichotomy of body and spirit?

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For the Controller, Mustapha Mond, the physical body is extremely important. Happiness, he believes, comes from keeping the body safe and well cared for. As he explains to John, after the Nine Years' War, people wanted peace and security far more than freedom. The Controller does his best to provide...

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For the Controller, Mustapha Mond, the physical body is extremely important. Happiness, he believes, comes from keeping the body safe and well cared for. As he explains to John, after the Nine Years' War, people wanted peace and security far more than freedom. The Controller does his best to provide this security for the citizens of the World State through economic planning that ensures social stability.

Mond is also willing to sacrifice religion, art, real science, and deep passions such as love to keep people superficially happy with orgies, new clothes, and consumer goods. He approves of using the drug soma to relieve stress. He fills his world with mindless "feelies," and he conditions people that everyone must conform because everyone belongs to everyone else.

John is completely opposite, for he rejects the idea of putting the physical body and its superficial desire for security and pleasure ahead of living on a deeper, more spiritual level. What animates John and makes him feel fully alive is reading Shakespeare, true religious activity that involves sacrifice, and pursuing the love of one woman who can be a lifelong companion. He is willing to put up with the risk of physical and emotional pain to have this fuller, more spiritual life.

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Sometimes, the best way to answer a question effectivey is to look up any words that you aren't familiar with, or haven't used in a long time, and find out the exact meaning. Dictionary.com describes the word "dichotomy" like this: "a division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups." In this sense, John and Mond are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum when discussing how each should experience both body and spirit. Mond, who represents the new world's philosophy, believes that happiness comes from letting loose, doing whatever you want to appease the carnal pleasures in life, and to fulfill the human's soul with pleasure.  John, on the other hand, seeks to control his soul and body through self-mastery; and, he believes that through this self-mastery one will find the ultimate happiness and joy. So, Mond would  prescribe promiscuity and pleasure through conditioning while John would advocate temperance, patience, and obedience to a higher power through personal choice.

 

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