Brave New World vs Modern Society

How does the society in Brave New World compare to modern society?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are various ways in which modern society mimics that of Brave New World.

Medical Science

While there is nothing to parallel the activities of the CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE of Huxley's novel, there has been cloning of animals. Genetic engineering, such as producing human insulin, and genome therapy are also realities.  Certain genes have been isolated as well.

Conditioning

In the New World children are conditioned to think in certain ways and to feel that "everyone belongs to everyone." The children play naked so that as adults they will think nothing of many sexual partners. 

People in modern times are conditioned by exposure to movies, television, news media, social media, current trends, and peer and social pressures. There is little or no independent thought among many who follow certain trends of thought.

Desensitization

In Brave New World, the children play near the dying so that death will be of little meaning to them. This activity is called death conditioning. But everyone looks young, even the dying. So, when the children see John's mother, they are shocked because she looks old. 

They had never seen a face like hers before-had never seen a face that was not youthful and taut-skinned, a body that had ceased to be slim and upright.... At forty-four, Linda seemed, by contrast, a monster of flaccid and distorted senility

People in modern times are so exposed to violence that they have become desensitized to it. With movies and other media, people are desensitized to death and others' misery.

Drugs

People of the New World take an entertainment drug called soma. Real emotions are purged because any time that people feel the least bit unsatisfied, they merely take soma. 

In modern society drug use is prevalent as a reliever of stress or pain because people have trouble dealing with reality.

Sex as Recreation

Children of the New World play with one another naked. In this way, they are conditioned to play little attention to sexual differences. "Everyone belongs to everyone" is a slogan taught to them. In this way they do not experience erotic love or feel any personal attachments.

Likewise, in the real world, people have become more desensitized to sexual relations. They engage in these relationships on casual levels as they often see recreational and casual sex in movies. 

An All-Powerful Elite

The New World has people who are bred to be leaders; these are the Alphas, and they are the ones in control of the others.

In modern society, the wealthy owners of certain companies such as media companies exert a power over citizens because they control what information goes out. They have the opportunity to alter this information, as well. 

Read the study guide:
Brave New World

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