"Community, Identity, Stability"—how is each achieved in Brave New World?

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Community is all important to the World State. A vital motto or "proverb ," taught to all children as they sleep, is "every one belongs to every one else." This concept is foundational to the society. Marriage and family are banned because they separate people into self-involved, isolated units....

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Community is all important to the World State. A vital motto or "proverb," taught to all children as they sleep, is "every one belongs to every one else." This concept is foundational to the society. Marriage and family are banned because they separate people into self-involved, isolated units. Early in the book, Lenina is seen as potentially deviant for staying too long with one boyfriend because it is considered abnormal to be exclusively devoted to a single partner. Community orgies, which substitute for religion, reinforce the concept of everyone belonging to everyone else, as does conditioning that puts people in solidarity with their own caste.

Identity is achieved through conformity. Not only does everyone belong to everyone else, everyone is expected to behave exactly like the other people in his or her caste. In the lower castes, this sense of identity is reinforced by creating as many identical people as possible from one fertilized egg. From earliest birth in any caste, babies and children are conditioned to have the same tastes, desires, and aversions as everyone in their caste. For example, we witness Delta babies being conditioned through electric shocks and loud noises to hate books and nature.

Stability is the cornerstone of the state, as Mond explains to John the Savage near the end of the novel. After the Nine Years' War, people were so tired of conflict that they were willing to give up their freedom to have secure, stable lives. This stability was achieved through letting a small ruling elite make all the decisions and do all the thinking for the society. Real literature, art, religion, and science were banned as destabilizing influences. Superficial pleasure has replaced deep passion or thought. The economy is also highly regulated through planning and forced consumption so that there can be no economic crises.

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In the scientific, mechanized, and controlled world of Huxley's novel, genetic engineering and manipulation of those in the New World fulfill the motto of "Community, Identity, Stability."

Community

  • With no natural parents, children are placed in nurseries where they live together and are conditioned by Neo-Pavolvian methods to feel and think the same in the State Conditioning Centres.  Taught to fear as others and to have the same likes and dislikes and beliefs, there is, then, a sense of community among the residents of the New World.
  • As adults, the residents of the New World also participate in the Solidarity Service which satisfies their need for spirituality and faith beyond themselves. Their "communion" is the ingestion of soma while they sing hymns such as this one,

"Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,

Annihilating twelve-in-One!

We long to die, for when we end,

Our larger life has but begun."

  • This sense of extending themselves and contributing to the community is also reinforced in the belief expressed by Henry Foster in Chapter 5, Part 1 in which he explains the "phosphorous recovery" from the dead:

"Fine to think we can go on being socially useful even after we're dead.  Making plants grow."

  • When the children play they are naked; later they are encouraged to have sexual relations promisucously since "everybody belongs to everybody."  In this way, no jealousy or other emotions are involved with sex, emotions which often lead to conflicts with others. 

Identity

  • The Bokanovsky Process of producing thousands of genetically identical people provides each caste with its own identity. In addition, these castes are conditioned to dislike other castes. While flying with Henry Foster on their date in Chapter 4, Part 1, Lenina looks down at the Gamma, Beta-Minuses and other castes waiting for helicopters, "My word...I'm glad I'm not a Gamma," she observes. When she sees the Deltas, she says, "What a hideous colour khaki is."

Stability

  • During the tour of the Hatcheries, the Director tells one of the students, "Bokanovsky's Process is one of the major insturments of social stability." For, he explains, with predestination and conditioning, people then like their "inescapable social destiny." In other words, people are conditioned to accept contentment over truth. In the nurseries, the children are subjected to hypnopaedia, or sleep-conditioning, as well as electric shock when they touch certain things.  Therefore, they are develop identical childhood fears that last into adulthood; likewise, they recite the same platitudes and beliefs to ensure a stable society. The children are taught to find the idea of individual parents and natural childbirth repugnant; they learn to hate books and nature and desire only to engage in consumerism. 
  • The more prurient desires of people are controlled in what is called "feelies."  By means of films and mechanized means, the audiences enjoy orgiastic pleasure and relieve any physical pressures they may feel.
  • If there is any discontent, it is immediately squelched when the police spray soma vapor, or when soma is handed out.  For instance, when John the Savage incites revolt at the hospital in Chapter 14. A "Voice" comes from the "Synthetic Music Box," the voice of "Reason and ...of Good Feeling"; also, a fresh supply of pills is brought in to replace the ones John has spilled.
  • When certain individuals are aberrations from the genetic engineering intended for them, they are expelled from the New World and sent to isolated places.

 

 

 

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