In the book Brave New World, Huxley envisioned an all-encompassing community where “every one belong to every one else”. In this community, people are reproduced in test tubes and are predestined into different castes before their birth. All their life, they only fulfill their own destiny as someone from certain caste and obtain the sense of happiness by taking drugs. Under Huxley’s envision, the future world of the human race is very dreadful and very different from the current society.
The book is perfectly written and the plots are very interesting to read. At the same time, the book is thought-provoking and relates to the themes of technology use and human rights, community versus individuals and dehumanization. It is the perfect choice for sifi lovers.
Technology, Humanity and Social Stability
— book review of Brave New World
Technology has changed our lives. From emails, smart phones to online shopping, technology has made our lives easier and more convenient. However, more people are starting to question the affects technology has on the human race, and many believe that technology can destruct humanity and have very negative effects on the entire human race. Huxley is among one of those critics of technology, and he envisions a prison in the future under the negative influence of technology, where people are completely reliable on technology to reproduce and be happy. From these envisions, Huxley argues that technology is destructive to the society and humanity as it eradicates human emotions and attachments, prevents social mobility and class awareness, and eliminates independent freedom of thoughts and speech, and Huxley does so by exaggerating the negative effects technology has on the people in brave new world. I agree with Huxley that technology developments can potentially lead to dehumanization, but I disagree that its effects are completely destructive. In my point of view, even though technology may potentially lead to some bad consequences, as long as people use it properly and be mindful, technology can still benefit the human race.
Huxley argues that technology has the potential of eradicating any human connection and emotion, and he does so by exaggerating the numbness of the people in brave new world. In his envisions, people are reproduced solely in test tubes and thus there is no parental relationship or any kinship connections. People are also brain washed with beliefs that only benefit the stability of the society but eliminates individual feelings. For example, when reflecting upon the community, Huxley writes that ” mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. But there were also husbands, wives, lovers. There were also monogamy and romance” (40). However, these are all terms people are no longer familiar with these terms. People are dehumanized as they lose the ability to love their family members and lovers, and instead they become cold-blooded emotionless creatures that only care about human reproduction. No one genuinely cares about one another, which is also why the nurse in the hospital is surprised to see human emotions and pain in John, as ” the nurse glanced at him with startled, horrified eyes; then quickly looked away. From throat to temple she was all one hot blush” (199). In the community, people are no longer connected to specific people, but “every one belong to every one else”. There is no emotional attachment and this dehumanizes people as humans are with feelings and love.
Huxley perfectly conveys the idea that technology has the effect of eradicating human emotions by using such extreme examples. Even though Huxley’s point is valid , I think that technology has positive effects in helping people expressing their feelings, and the benefits it has given the human race are undeniable. Thanks to technology, people can keep in touch with people from other locations, and they can also use technology to confess their feelings if they are not able to do so in person. In a way, it has brought people closer. As a result, I think that Huxley’s concerns are not necessary as he neglected the bright sides.
Besides eliminating human emotions, Huxley also claims that technology is detrimental to social mobility as it completely controls the social caste. When explaining how the system differ from animals, the director stated that “we also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings” (13). Technology has completely controlled the social caste one person is born into, and it controls the social fabric by making changes to one’s genetic information or making changes to the embryos. For instance, the embryos from the lower caste are given less oxygen, and they are limited in the social caste. By doing this, human completely controlled social stratification and avoided any possible social mobility. It is very cruel and unjust, and all of this is achieved by technology developments. On top of the fact the different people from different castes are genetically modified differently, people are also limited in their class in terms of education and entertainment. Different castes are completely isolated from each other in the aspect of culture and education, as different newspaper is published for different class. For example, “the Hourly Radio, an upper-caste sheet, (is) in pale green Gamma Gazetee, and, on khaki paper and in words exclusively of one syllable, The Delta Mirror” (66). People in their class are only exposed to the corresponding culture and information, and it makes social mobility impossible as people’s visions are completely limited by these cultural limitations. In order to achieve social stability, people are forever banned from other castes and are brain washed to accept that.
Huxley proves his point that technology can prevent social mobility and equal opportunities by showing this possible outcome in brave new world. However, I think that the effects technology has on the social structure is not completely negative. Technology may be able to promote social mobility by providing possible education opportunities and transporting certain information. Huxley’s worry is unrealistic in reality as various revolutions occurred to alter the societal structure under the influence of technology, which includes the French Revolution, the Independence of the United States and so on.
Lastly, Huxley argues that technology can control people’s thoughts and actions, and thus people lose their freedom and independence because of technological advancements. While explaining how children from different castes are brought up differently, the director gladly exclaims that ” but all these suggestions are our suggestions”, and they are “suggestions from the State” (29). This is a dehumanizing process as people lose their rights to make decisions and control themselves; their life chances are completely controlled by the State and the community. People’s thoughts in brave new world are also controlled by the state as they are brain washed from the sleep teaching process. Lenina is a great example of how technology dominates people’s minds. Lenina hears the word “damn” and instantly starts repeating “a gramme is better than a damn” and says “mechanically from behind her hands, ‘I wish I had my soma’ ” (116). People are being brain washed from sleep teaching since they are very young, and their thoughts are no longer theirs, but belong to the State and are controlled by other people. This contradicts with the rights of being human, that is the independence and freedom and speech and thoughts. Huxley brings about this potential outcome of technology and warns people about the bad consequences. I agree that technology has the ability to control human’s minds as technology can unconsciously change one’s decision by putting things on smart phones, and I think that Huxley’s point is completely valid.
In general, Huxley believes that technology dehumanizes people and changes the real sense of happiness to fake illusions. In terms of happiness, John claims that “well, I’d rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here” (179). As an outsider, John objectively views the happiness in brave new world as fake and self-deceiving. People in the community gain happiness by completely fooling and indulging themselves, and it is not the real happiness. From describing the horrible reliability people in brave new world have on the happiness-generating drug soma, Huxley claims that technology can ultimately dehumanize people by taking away happiness.
Multiple negative effects of technology are revealed in Brave New World, and these include the dehumanization of the human race and the prevention of social mobility. Huxley thinks that people need to be mindful when inventing and using technology because the misuse can potentially lead to the elimination of emotions, absolute class stratification and even take away the independent human thoughts. The idea that technology can dehumanize people is dreadful, and Huxley knows very well about the possible outcome of the human race even hundred years before. It is undeniable that technology has benefited the human race in various ways, but it is also extremely important to understand the potential outcomes and be very careful when using technology. Hopefully technology would never dehumanize the people and can always be people’s friends but enemies.
information: Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
writing comment: I used the MEAL paragraph structure in this essay as learned in freshmen composition and civilization classes. Besides thinking in the shoe of the author, I also incorporated my own thoughts on the argument and thoroughly discussed the issue. I enjoyed writing this essay a lot.