What is Huxley's point about human nature and communities in Brave New World?

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The point that Huxley makes most acutely in Brave New World is that human beings and human communities are not solvable problems. Social engineers like Mustapha Mond tend to ask what is preventing people from being happy and then try to remove the sources of unhappiness. The first example of...

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this comes right at the beginning ofBrave New World, when we see that, in this society, children are born and raised in "hatcheries." We later find that these people form no lasting sexual or romantic attachments and that they have no religious or metaphysical beliefs.

The World Controllers correctly see that families, relationships, and difficult thoughts are often the cause of unhappiness. Their solution is to remove these things from the human experience like tumors. The mistake here is to assume that the default setting for the human mind is happiness. Families and relationships obviously do cause trauma, but they also give life much of its meaning. Anyone who has ever been in love would have to admit that the experience is at least sometimes painful, but this does not mean that they would wish to remove the experience of love from human life. Humans cannot survive individually or form supportive communities based on casual sexual encounters.

The aim of the Brave New World is to produce people who are perfectly contented. The Controllers even indoctrinate each caste, from Alpha to Epsilon, to believe that their station in life is the best. They carefully remove art, literature, religion, philosophy, and science, as well as love and family, because all these things cause discontent and upset people. To remove them, however, is remove all meaning and purpose from human life. Anyone, like John the Savage but also like Helmholtz and Bernard, who retains any humanity will not be content in such and environment. Anyone who is entirely content will not be fully human.

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In Brave New World, Huxley is reacting against utopian visions and aspirations concerning the future, providing a warning about how hollow and ultimately unfulfilling such a society can potentially be.

Huxley's World State is depicted as a collectivist society, one that prizes social stability above all other competing social aims. It is a dystopian vision which is supported by the use of genetic engineering, extensive conditioning, and a deeply hedonistic lifestyle that tends to hold its population captive through the manipulation of pleasure. In this respect, it contrasts sharply with dystopias such as 1984, built upon the use of brutal suppression, since in Brave New World, the population (at least when viewed from a purely surface level) seems to be, by most accounts, largely happy. Yet when viewed from the outside, this vision of the future is a deeply disturbing one.

Ultimately, I would suggest Brave New World reveals the flaws of a purely utilitarian vision of moral progress, which holds that morality can be boiled down to the maximization of pleasure and minimization of pain. Quite on the contrary, this book illustrates that a purely hedonistic calculus fails to achieve true fulfillment and human flourishing. Huxley's world denies individuality and self-expression and seeks to suppress the turmoil of genuine human emotion. The result is to diminish what it means to be human.

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Huxley illustrates that we as individuals are formed by the communities into which we are born. In other words, for him, it is nurture, not nature, that makes us what we are. Even in the World State, where individuals are genetically engineered, it takes years of intensive and continuing conditioning to create model citizens.

The differences between John the Savage and his mother, Linda, show the effects of social conditioning most starkly. There's scarcely a closer genetic relationship than a mother and her child, but John and Linda couldn't be more different. Linda wants nothing more than the cleanliness, superficiality, and comfort of "civilization." She never adjusts to life on the Savage reservation. John, in contrast, formed by the values of the reservation and his reading of Shakespeare, finds it ultimately impossible to reconcile himself to life in his mother's world when they both end up in the World State. 

As for the nature of human communities, Huxley shows through both the World State and the Savage reservation that communities are brutal in forming their people. In the World State, babies are subjected to electric shocks for conditioning. On the Savage reservation, beatings are part of religious ceremonies as well as a way to enforce social norms. Linda, for example, is beaten by the women for being a "whore," though she has no context for understanding what that means. It's brutal force that holds people together as a group, Huxley seems to say. For him, there is no ideal human society.

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In Brave New World, Huxley is satirizing how an extreme governmental and technological "community" has destroyed human individuality, the family, education, religion, and human correspondence with nature through the following ways:

The government controls technology to control us. Humans are no longer born in Brave New World; they are decanted.  Science and technology have been used by the state to replace natural reproduction.  Birth control is mandatory.  Drugs are part of religious observance.  In these ways, technology controls humans, not humans controlling technology.  Huxley warns us of an over-reliance and faith in science at the cost of human values, especially in the areas of human reproduction and family planning.

Communist government and doctrine control and destroy the individual. There is one world state in the novel, and the World Controller preaches the mottoes of communism and socialism ("identity, community, stability"), eerily reminiscent of Soviet Union doctrine.  John, the symbol for individuality, kills himself at the end because he has no more fixed identity; he has become "we," a slave to the group.  Huxely warns that a community must make room for the individual, especially a rebel (like John).

We have become a nation of pleasure-seekers. The citizens of the Brave New World have no private shame or monogamous values; instead, they are encourage to share their bodies openly with multiple partners, to engage in "orgy-porgy," to watch "feelies" incessantly, and to equate religious observance with drugs and free love.  In this way, Huxley presages our addiction to mass media (TV, movies, Internet) carnality at the sake of religious and family values and tradition.  We have become a "me-first" nation that is ruled by pagan idolatry, whether it be shopping, porn, reality TV, or food.  We must have it all to excess.

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In Brave New World what point does Aldous Huxley make about human nature and the nature of human communities?

There are many possible points that Huxley makes about human nature.  In Brave New World, there is a community of happy, entertained, peaceful and productive individuals that functions without war or rebellion.  How they have achieved this, if you set aside the genetic engineering from conception, provides us with a glimpse of what Huxley might be implying about human beings.  He seems to state that humans, as long as they are kept busy, active, entertained and sexually fulfilled, are perfectly content.  In this brave new society, the people are constantly playing games and activities, going to the "feelies" where they experience ultimate physical pleasure, and are programmed to not make any strong emotional ties, but rather to focus on physical escapes through sex and soma.  He seems to be asserting that humans are very physical creatures, and take care of those physical needs, either through genetics, or through physical satisfaction, and they don't need anything else.  He quite leaves out the concept of morality, religion, principles, soul, intellectualism and independence.  It's an interesting picture that he paints, one that he feels is necessary for human communities to thrive and succeed on any large scale.

Huxley's vision of the future is a very thought-provoking one, and certainly good fodder for some great discussion on human nature indeed.  I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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