Themes Values, Issues, Concerns:
The meanings of a novel emerge indirectly or implicitly via the vicarious personal involvement or identification and empathy of us the responders.
Meaning can also be derived from recurring Motifs which unify the plot and provide clues to the composer’s underlying concerns in creating meaning through patterns of design.
Huxley is warning us about future trends; mind numbing assembly production, overly organised societies, totalitarian control via, mass persuasion and conditioning creating apathy.
- Feared no reason to ban books as there would be no one who would want to read a book.
- Feared those who would give us so much information that we would be reduced to passivity and impotence.
- Feared that truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance
- Was concerned about an over organised world and a conformist society lacking individuality and creativity. ’nightmare of total organisation’.
- Apathy a greater threat to democracy than oppressive self-serving dictators. ”Government’s an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with the brains and buttocks, never with the fists. (40).
- Happiness is people loving their servitude. The state has triumphed over: Christianity, Liberalism, Democracy, culture and intellectualism.
- Means toward stability – stagnation?
- Eugenics and other technological inventions lead to standardisation. There is a difference between: THERAPEUTIC and ENHANCEMENT technology. benign eugenics and mood control where people are genetically programmed for particular jobs and anaesthetised into happiness by drugs and entertainment, may create social stability but denies human individual freedom.
- Bokanovskification: natural birth rhythms eradicated, no loyalty to parents, siblings, children- family no doubts, suffering, uncertainty, no questioning, searching for truth, no pining or yearning – totally smug and complacent - non engaged.
- Conditioning through mass psychology - hypnopaedia
- Distinct hierarchies – caste system - Wedge politics where each caste is suspicious of others.
- Holidays and anodynes – without hangovers
- Conformity – The price of stability – lack of difference, blandness, insipid, -
- Characters compliant, inert, supine, blind obeisance, servile.
Role of Government:
- Huxley presents a world government based on the League of Nations acting to maintain stability by pandering to the basic welfare of its citizens and keeping them supine through a variety of programs. Governments exercise supreme social, political and economic power.
Great is the truth but greater still… is silence about the truth.
Natural beauty has been squeezed out and replaced by sleaze, garish, meretricious, artificial glamour.
Antithetical Views of Nature:
Genesis 1. 28 “And God blessed them and said unto them (Adam and Eve), “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air.. and over every creeping thing…..
In Huxley’s time, nature was considered resilient and indomitable. Huxley is showing great prescience or foresight when he warns us about the long term effects of pollution and environmental degradation. It was only after the publication of Rachel Carson’s (An American writer and scientist) Silent Spring, 1961, that people began to recognise the potential of human disaster through the vandalism perpetrated by improved technology. Rather than resilient, nature was fragile and vulnerable when fundamental natural rhythms were ceaselessly destroyed by ruthless exploitation by ever increasing mammoth technology. If Ecosystems are repeatedly defeated, human life will be diminished and likely extinguished.
As a Canadian Indian Chief queried; “When we kill the last fish, what will we eat – money?
Man has not only subdued the earth but conquered and utterly defeated it. There is no real attempt to replenish it, Brave New World makes some token efforts to replenish by recycling the human body’s phosphorous.
The text indicates little attempt to adapt to nature’s rhythms and cycles rather a determination to override them by circumventing, subduing, and exploiting it?
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