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Aldous Huxley's Central Argument, Warning, and Satire in Brave New World

Summary:

Aldous Huxley's central argument in Brave New World is a critique of a future society driven by technological advancement and consumerism, warning against losing individuality and freedom. The novel satirizes the potential dehumanizing effects of a controlled, pleasure-seeking world, highlighting the dangers of sacrificing personal autonomy for societal stability and superficial happiness.

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What is one central argument that Huxley makes about society in Brave New World?

In my opinion, the central argument that Huxley is making in this novel is that it is wrong to try to take conflict and emotions out of a society.  He is saying that people should be left to argue among each other, should be allowed to be unhappy or angry, even if that seems to cause problems in a society.

In the "brave new world" the society tried to do away with all the sources of conflict.  They engineered beings to do each sort of work and they condition them to be perfectly happy with their lot in life.  But all of these efforts took away the people's humanity.  They are left without souls (especially the lower castes) and without human emotions (the upper castes).

Overall, then, Huxley is saying that it is dangerous to try to create a society where there is no conflict.

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What point was Aldous Huxley trying to make in Brave New World?

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is somewhat of a warning to people about the direction the world was taking.  In literature, this type of writing is refered to as an allegory.  Huxley teaches moral lessons about consumerism, totalitarianism, self-gratification, and the dangers of technology. 

Historically, during Huxley's life time, Henry Ford had created the model T car.  With this came new technology, one of which was the conveyor belt.  This allowed for vehicles to be manufactured much more quiclky than before.  However, this also rendered certain workers redudant.  In addition, the creation of the light bulb was a marvel at the time and still is today.  Nevertheless, this created shift work because workers could now see at night.  From this point on, men were working at night instead of spending time with their families. Although there are many benifits to technology, Huxley warns of the possible dangers associated with them.  It also turns out that he was right.  As we see in the novel, technology is revered above all else.  People, even when in the company of other people, are emotionally segregated from one another.  This can also be seen today with the use of cell phones and other such technologies on the rise. 

Furthermore, Huxley also speaks about the dangers of sexual permissiveness.  In his time, Huxley noticed that people were becoming more open about sex than ever before.  In fact, with the availability of birth control, he warns that permissive sexual practices will lead to a lack of intimacy and even to the destruction of the family.  In the novel, the women are conditionned to take their birth control medication regularly.  In addition, all citizens are expected to "give themeselves" sexually to one another because "everyone belongs to everybody else".  They are forbidden, however, to  form any emotional attachments to anyone. 

Huxley also warns people about the necessity of religion.  Because of certain practices, people were beginning stray from religion more than ever before.  And, in the novel, we see how the controllers are constantly trying to keep its inhabitants occupied in order for them not to notice that something is missing in their lives.  The only characters who do in the novel are Bernard and John. Because of this, they are unsatisfied with their existance in this "new world".  This is also why the controllers feel it is necessary to introduce the solidarity services - where they offer the husk of religion without its essence. 

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What is Aldous Huxley's warning to the world in Brave New World?

Brave New World is not so much a prophetic book as it is a book that satirizes what the author views as harmful contemporary trends by projecting them to their extreme conclusions. The period between the two world wars (and indeed the first half of the twentieth century in general) was one of remarkable scientific and intellectual advances coupled with a great deal of anxiety about the future. The war raised a number of questions about the nature of progress, and the increasing mechanization of society, along with mass culture and an increasing focus on science, especially behavioral science, only made these questions more profound. It is also significant that Huxley wrote in the midst of the rise of totalitarianism, which was fulfilled in Stalin's Soviet Union and soon would be in Hitler's Germany. These trends are satirized in the society described in Brave New World: people are literally produced in what can best be described as human assembly lines; they are ruled by a truly totalitarian state that nevertheless appears to be benign; their lives are controlled by bioengineering; and individuality is nonexistent. Huxley was, in a sense, warning about the the world he lived in, and in carrying the dominant intellectual ideas of his day to their (il)logical conclusions, he was urging contemporaries not to accept them, or "progress" in general, uncritically.

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What is Huxley's message in Brave New World?

Due to the many issues addressed in Huxley'sBrave New World, it is not hasty to say that Huxley had many points to make about where the world was heading as of 1931. In the book's forward, Huxley says that his book "is a book about the future and, whatever its artistic or philosophical qualities, a book about the future can interest us only if its prophecies look as though they might conceivably come true" (xi). Hence, Huxley must have thought that every issue addressed in the book, from test-tube babies to soma addicts, was a logical possibility for the path upon which humanity walked. He also believed that a "revolution" was taking place "in the souls and flesh of human beings" (xii) and not necessarily in the external world as many had thought at the time. Another poignant quote from Huxley's forward, which also presents his message a bit further, is "It is probable that all the world's governments will be more or less completely totalitarian even before the harnessing of atomic energy; that they will be totalitarian during and after the harnessing seems almost certain" (xv). From the forward and the wonderful narrative that follows, Huxley seems to say that all we hold dear, from education to morality, will be compromised if people of the world don't limit their governments. The story shows the limits of personal freedom in the mind, souls, and bodies of people governed by totalitarian rule.

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What is Huxley satirizing in Brave New World?

Satire pokes fun at human weaknesses or social problems, often through exaggeration.

One social trend that Huxley satirizes in Brave New World is the growing emphasis on wasteful consumption in the 1930s. As more and more consumer goods became available and more and more people could afford to buy them, disposing rather than reusing goods was becoming possible for the masses in Huxley's England.

He satirizes this by envisioning a society in which people are required to constantly purchase new consumer goods and get rid of things quickly rather than reusing them. For example, betas like Lenina are conditioned to buy new clothes with such sayings as:

Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches

It would have been comical and over the top to think of throwing out torn clothes rather than mending them in Huxley's time.

Huxley also satirizes the growing sexual promiscuity of his time by envisioning a hook-up society in which people substitute a shallow sexuality for genuine love and in which staying too long in a relationship with one partner is considered deviant behavior.

In addition, the novel satirizes modern society's growing incapacity to endure any kind of emotional discomfort, envisioning a world in which everyone pops soma rather than suffer the least distress.

Many of Huxley's objects of satire have become commonplace today—so they hardly seem exaggerated.

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What is Huxley satirizing in Brave New World?

Throughout the novel Brave New World Aldous Huxley uses satire to provide a social commentary on various aspects of modern society. Huxley satirizes everything from sex, love, entertainment, science, morals, drugs, and government through his fictional utopia in order to examine and warn readers about the threat of totalitarian regimes. Huxley criticizes society's propensity to take prescription medication to repress emotions, which is then contrasted with John's self-inflicted punishments. Huxley juxtaposes John's ascetic lifestyle with the utopian society's affinity for entertainment and physical stimulation. The concepts of free love and lack of self-control are also examined and satirized throughout the novel. Lenina and the other citizens of the utopian society believe that "every one belongs to every one else." Love exists only in a physical debased form throughout the utopian society, which Huxley uses to satirize the increasing promiscuity of the modern era. The lack of religious ideals coupled with reverence for anything scientific is also satirized by the worship of Ford. Satirical content is also evident in the utopian society's class division and insistence on conformity. Huxley sought to illustrate how a future totalitarian regime could eliminate individualism and freedom by removing any painful (physical or emotional) experience from society. 

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What is Huxley satirizing in Brave New World?

Since satire has as its purpose ridicule with the hopes of reform, Aldous Huxley satirizes many of the contemporary trends and values of his time when he foresaw the dangers of the advancement of science as it related to the advancement of humanity. "Brave New World" is a world of mass-production, even of people; it is a world society where values are pleasure, order, and conformity. These values are held so that there will be no wars, no conflicts, no unhappiness. However, in this false utopia there are flaws, for science cannot totally eradicate humanity despite its great advancements. Afterall, in the human psyche and soul, one must know unhappiness to truly feel happy, one must know adversity in order to enjoy peace, and one must have interpersonal relationships that are difficult in order to appreciate and experience real feelings; one MUST be human.

Huxley satirizes the attempt of people to find happiness in the rising communism of the times which suggests that all should be "equal." The various castes of BNW are taught to associate only with their own so no one is different. When a character, Bernard, expresses feelings that are taboo, the others laugh and joke about him. Electric shock and hypnopaedia condition children. People take soma anytime they are unhappy. They value only material things; Nature is scorned. When the savage/natural man, John, comes to BNW, he is sickened and dies.

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What is Huxley satirizing in Brave New World?

"Brave New World" is Huxley’s satirical look at a totalitarian society of the future, in which the trends of Huxley’s day have been taken to extremes. When John the Savage encounters this world, he cannot accept its values and chooses to die rather than try to conform to this “brave new world.”

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What is Huxley satirizing in Brave New World?

Even though Huxley wrote this novel in 1931, his satire about contemporary social and moral issues still stands the test of time. In his book, Huxley comments on people's constant desire to be happy at all cost. They want to be entertained, not educated. For example, Lenina loves "Three Days in a Helicopter" because it makes her happy without doing anything. People's reliance on soma to make them happy is a satire on how much people will do not to feel sad or uncomfortable. Even the lack of parental values is satirized because in the world of Our Ford, there are no parents. Lack of moral values are also made fun of because 'everyone belongs to everyone else."However, people have had to give up real freedom to the ten world controllers,and do know seem to understand that to experience happiness, one must also experience emotional pain. That's the truth that John brings to the society.

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What warning or point is Aldous Huxley conveying to readers in Brave New World?

In the foreword of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley states explicitly his theme as the "advancement of science as it affects human individuals."  Here are some key points of this theme:

1.  Scientific advances to life are what change the quality of life.  In Brave New World there is no longer natural procreation by humans; in fact, the words mother and father are considered obscene.  In the CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, eugenics is used to "predestine and condition" human beings.  There is a caste system, a system in which people are relatively content.  This genetic engineering is the truly "revolutionary revolution" that is acquired in the soul and flesh of the residents of the New World.  For instance, Lenina tells Henry Foster how repulsive she finds the clothes of the Deltas--"What a hideous color khaki is"; and, she also finds Epsilons repellent,

"I'm glad I'm not an Epsilon."

"And if you were an Epsilon," said Henry, "your conditioning would have made you no less thankful that you weren't a Beta or an Alpha."

In order to make people love the castes in which they are fashioned, this "deep, personal revolution in human minds and bodies," sleep conditioning, known as hypnopoedia, is conducted; children are taught to love their castes, to believe that "everyone belongs to everyone else," and to believe in consumption and detest nature.  As insurance for this contentment, soma is distributed so people can go on "holidays" from reality. When Lenina and Henry go to the Westminster night club, for instance, soma is served with their coffee. 

2. Social Stability must be established in order to control people. In order to deal with dissent and confusion, power must be centralized and government control increased.  In the New World, there are ten World Controllers of the totalitarian state, one of whom is Mustapha Mond.  People are kept "stable in contentment" through their conditioning, and by means of silence about the truth.  No one reads literature, no one knows any history other than what is taught.  Time is measured after the year of Our Ford, the year that Henry Ford created the assembly line method of manufacture. 

Sexual freedom compensates for diminished economic and social freedom.  Sex is encouraged among people because it helps people reconcile themselves the "the servitude" which is their fate.  All individuality has been eliminated as it is dangerous to social stability.

To make people love their servitude, the ministries of propaganda control the dissemination of information. One character, Helmholtz Watson, named by Huxley after the founder of the Behaviorist School of psychology, John B. Watson, has a distinguished career as an emotional engineer and writer.  He composes slogans and simplistic rhymes designed to promote the values of society and pacify people.  And, although he feels that there is more that he could write, his conditioning prohibits him from appreciating Romeo and Juliet when John the Savage reads to him in Chapter 12.  He laughs at the idea of a person loving one person so much.

3. Despite all the conditioning and stability, man cannot be happy without a struggle, without suffering.

The character of John the Savage, born naturally, literate, and human is in total opposition to the New World.  He alone understands that sorrow must exist if one would be human,

"All right then...I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

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