Explain the issues discussed between Mond and John in Brave New World.

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In Chapter 16 of Brave New World, Mustapha Mond discusses his role in maintaining stability in the Utopia.  His role is mainly that of a grand censor.  He censors all high art, namely literature, because it causes emotional imbalances in society.

For example, Hemholtz tells Mond that he wants to write something like Othello, but Mond says he doesn't have an emotional market for tragedy.  He means that since the goal of tragedy is to purge pity and fear, a tragedy like Othello will never elicit those emotions because the audience is conditioned not to feel.  The lower castes are emotionally immature (they don't feel pity or fear).  Only a small fraction of the society, the Alphas, would feel pity and fear.

Mond uses the analogy of an iceberg.  He says to maintain stability, he must keep 90% of society (the Betas, Gammas, Deltas, Epsilons) below the waterline.  They are engineered to feel nothing moral or intellectual.  He does this, he says, to maintain stability, but he is really maintaining control.  So, the main theme of this chapter and the novel itself is how "a few can control the many."

Among the ways this is done is outlined in this chapter: censorship of high arts and sciences that deal in the ethical and logical; and permit the low arts and sciences that deal in the emotional.

This is done through:

  • Social Darwinism: the caste system
  • Sex: soma, orgy-porgy
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Entertainment: Centrifugal Bumble-puppy, orgy-porgy, feelies
  • Birth Control: Malthusian belts
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The conversation between Mond and John discusses the issues implied in the rest of the novel. Explain.

If you think about it, this conversation really explains why the society in the book is set up the way that it is.  Mond comes right out and tells John, Helmholtz and Bernard about what the government is trying to accomplish.

For example, he talks to them about why the government does not want new things.  He tells them why it does not want real science.  He is telling them that the government values stability over all other things.  That tells us why they have castes and why they keep them entertained all the time and why they have soma.

It's really an explanation of the whole reason for their society and it explains why some people come in conflict with that society.

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