What is phosporous recovery in Brave New World?
In the New World, phosphorous recovery is the ultimate end of life; all that a man or woman of this futuristic society becomes in the final hours after death is part of chemical recycling. On a satiric note, Aldous Huxley comments on the insignificance of individual existence in his dystopia.
In Chapter 5 Part I, Lenina and Henry have finished playing Obstacle Golf as the courses are closing; then, they climb into the helicopter and start back. As they hover over the landscape, Lenina asks Henry about the purpose of the smoke-stacks with "balconies" around them. Henry replies that they are phosphorous recovery:
"on their way up the chimney the gases go through four separate treatments. Phosphorous used to go right out of circulation every thme they cremated some one. Now they recover over ninety-eight per cent of it....Fine to think we dan go on being socially useful even after we're dead. Making plants grow."
In this parody of the Romantic William Cullen Bryant's Thanatopsis that rings with piety and sincerity in his eulogy of "him who in the love of Nature holds/Communion with her" in his death as he lies in the earth with kings, and "patriarchs of the infant world," Huxley's character Henry Foster further lauds phosphorus recovery,
"All men are physico-chemically equal," said henry sententiously. "Besides, even Epsilons perform indipensable services."
Phosphorus recovery is another way in which the genetically manufactured beings of the New World are further dehumanized.