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Just to add to the excellent points made above, people in our society have, like those in BNW, become desensitized to violence through exposure in songs, videos, movies, etc. Lack of compassion for others parallels the sleep-conditioning given the children of the New World.
Huxley's concern of the effect of technology upon people was certainly cogent; people believe what sound-bytes tell them, most of what is on the internet. They lose themselves in their ipods, phones, and videos. Little independent thinking goes on in the minds of many and less social intercourse takes place. That is, is not uncommon to see daughters at the mall with their mothers, but instead of interaction between them, the girl is text-messaging or talking on her cell phone.
The concern that people not be depressed and take the equivalent of soma is an indication that our society is going the way of a controlled society. For, no great changes in either individual lives or in a society are ever effected if people are "content." It is unhappiness that drives people to alter their lives. In his "Crisis, No. 1 Thomas Paine castigated the complacency of those who said, "Well! Give me peace in my day." He, like John the Savage knew that to be human is to struggle.
Of course, the Solidarity Service is a satire of the "feel-good" religions nowadays that have great followings.
Everything about class consciousness has become more true in American society. We haven't started wearing particular colors to denote our class, but there are groups who are very sensitive to particular colors in colthing. People notice what others have, are wearing, and are not wearing more particularly these days than in the past. The trend in clothing is more revealing.
Our society has become overly sexualized due to the advent of The Pill in the 1960s. Sex is the engine that drives MTV, VH1, and other music video television shows. Cable TV, and Satellite TV have channels that are not regulated by the FCC and are able to show more explicit programs. The Internet also has increased the sexualization of the very young as well as the predation on the young by sexual predators.
Babies are created in test tubes, but are not hatched in a nursery. embryos are implanted into their mothers' wombs to be born.
Not everyone in our society has a job or task. The entire society in America is not totally socialist or brainwashed. Public schools do socialize youngsters from age 3 upwards, but children still go home in the evenings. The influence of parents is probably more important than the influence of school teachers on American Youth. But, in some homes, that idea could be debated.
I do not view Brave New World as prophesying anything - either scientific development, or social condition. It only uses the medium of science fiction or fantasy to present in an exaggerated form the social practices that trends that already existed at the time of writing of the book.
For example social classes have been in existence for thousands of years. When Aldous Huxley wrote this novel, already there was a general shift towards atheism, which was given a stamp of official approval by communist governments. There was also a trend of increasing use of alcohol and other drugs. By the way word soma used by Huxley is borrowed from ancient Sanskrit literature which refers to a drink that demi-gods took to make them happy.
The assembly line operations popularized by Ford and which are being used increasingly, has the impact of highly under utilizing the mental capacities of human beings, and this creates many social and industrial problems. These problems and efforts of managements to make the workers happy within such environment also existed at the time of writing the book. The portrayal of lower class of people developed by stunting their mental growth is a direct extension of such existing practices.
When we consider the extremities portrayed by Huxley, I will say that actual situation is not as bad as that shown in the book in any respect. But yes there have been considerable movements in the direction pointed out by the book.
At the same time there have been other developments, not anticipated in the book, which run counter to the assumption of the book. One such important development is the clear failure of totalitarian regimes and increasing tendencies of democratic government. The class differences still exist, but the differences between classes has been reduced. The tremendous growth if IT, totally unanticipated by Huxley, has resulted in eliminating many of the routine manual jobs. This accompanied by practices like job enrichment and multi-tasking has considerably reduced the need for under utilization of human mental capacities.
Thus in summary, I will say that though in some respects the civilization is moving in the direction predicted by Huxley, the mankind has also been able find innovative ways to tackle, at least partially, the problems of industrialization and economic development.
Huxley's view that the human spirit has become conditioned and controlled can look no further than to the politics of our day. A sound bite is all you need to become famous, politically inspiring, and a career in politics. Our society has become desensitized to long standing concepts of debate and analysis and we are lucky to receive any information that is not just superficial or topical.
Commercialism has been food to the gods of marketing and while people can not make up their minds as to what fabric softener to use, it takes seconds to decide who want to run for president.
Huxley asserted that what we love will ruin us. By inflicting too much pleasure we will self-destruct. The media, responding to our demands, inflicts pleasure. A flip through cable stations produces MTV (music videos,) HSN (Home Shopping Network), GTV (golf), and Prevue Guide, where one can sit for 24 hours a day and be hypnotised by the endless, incessant scrolling of channel listings and broadcasts
His views on society do seem to be coming true.
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