There is no offence more heinous as unorthodoxy of behaviour. Why is this so in Brave New World?How can this statement apply to today’s world?
Unorthodoxy of behaviour still strikes at the heart of our society. While those of us who live in democratic societies have the freedom to self-construct our identities (unlike those in the World State) one cannot deny that there are societal and behavioural expectations placed on people, and if they do not follow them, eyebrows are raised.
For example, while it is no longer unconventional for new university graduates to move back home for a period of time to offset the financial costs of education, if this person continues to live in his/her parents' home in their late 30s or early 40s, society will pass judgment on him/her. New graduates are expected to either pursue a successful career, build a family, or both. When one does not meet this criteria, society intrinsically will look down on that individual as someone who has failed at the game of life, so to speak.
Another example, in a high school context, would be a student who does not act in accordance to the social expectations set up by his/her peers and is rejected because of it. This could be because of clothes, musical tastes, behaviour, or pretty much anything. While adolescents today undoubtedly want to establish an individual identity, they don't want to be “too different”, because then they would risk being rejected by their peers. We've all see examples of this during our high-school careers, whenever that may have been.
While these societal expectations are no where near as rigid as those in the World State, one should recognize that they still exist. Yes there are rebels, and those that veer off the beaten path, but they are called rebels because their actions represent the counter-culture and strike at the heart of society's expectations for the individual.
This line is spoken by the Director when he is planning (in Chapter 10) to get rid of Bernard Marx. As he says, if you murder someone, you kill one person, but if you act strangely, you strike at the heart of society itself.
The brave new world only works if everyone acts the same. They need to have everyone care only about fun and games. If people start thinking and caring about stuff, the whole society will fall apart. So they need everyone to act the same all the time.
I don't really think this applies today, at least not in the US. I do not really see what kind of behavior would be so unorthodox as to strike at the heart of our society.