Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World out of fear of society's
apparent lack of morals and corrupt behaviour during the roaring twenties.
Huxley believed that the future was doomed to a non-individualistic,
conformist society, a society void of the family unit, religion and human
emotions. Throughout the novel, Huxley predicts many events for the future,
most of which concentrate on a morally corrupt society. The most important
of these predictions include: greater sexual freedom, over-population,
brain-washing/sleep-teaching, and the use of mind altering drugs. Aldous
Huxley's Brave New World warns of a possible future dystopia, based on
social attitudes and medical advancements of his time.
Huxley's future dystopia is created largely by perverted sexual
freedoms, which in turn cause corrupt individuals, entirely lacking ethics
and morals. Sexual promiscuity appears to be a much more frequent activity
now then it was in the Thirties. Critics blame "...the advent of the pill
for declining morality and indiscriminate sexual activity." Many believe
that each time medicine reduces the risk of unwanted diseases and
pregnancies, society, on the whole, will increase its sexual activity.
Huxley's prediction of promiscuity is based on his iron law of sexuality:
"As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends
compensatingly to increase." A current example of Huxley's belief is China.
China is the last remaining communist regime, it also suffers from having
one fifth of the world's population within its borders. Needless to say,
China's large population is a direct result of a very sexually active
society. Aldous Huxley's fears of the future caused him to write about
sexual freedom and the resulting over-population in Brave New World.
Over-population is another problem which is addressed by Huxley,
and is the direct result of sexual freedom. The fear which Huxley addresses
concerning population control is: "Food supplies cannot grow as fast as
people can, and population growth in underdeveloped countries will jeopardize
the world order." Simply stated the growing population of earth will
consume more than it will be able to produce, unless some form of regulating
births can be created. This is an obvious truth today, as millions of
people are starving each day. The brave new world that Huxley speaks of,
is a warning to mankind concerning its destruction of the laws of nature.
For example, marriage is forbidden, as well as, pregnancies, and mothers
are non-existent because possible children result in abortion.
In Brave New World over-population is solved by society's ability
to produce as many or as few humans as are necessary to keep the population
at equilibrium. The solution is test-tube babies or "bottled babies" as
they are referred to in the book. Effective birth control of such a large
population is difficult to achieve, especially in a society where people are
encouraged to be sexually active with numerous partners. Today, the world
is facing over-population head on, with mixed results. Abortions are not
readily accepted by most, and birth control in third world countries is
virtually impossible. Huxley realizes the problem with mass birth control,
and solves it by making seventy percent of the female population sterile,
while only thirty percent of the women remain fertile. By leaving thirty
percent of the women fertile, Huxley is able to show that even though birth
control on a large scale is difficult, it is possible to achieve. Through
the religious use of contraceptives, pregnancies rarely occur, however,
when a pregnancy does occur it results in an immediate abortion. Huxley's
fear of over-population and the control of so many people is an obvious
concern which comes to light in Brave New World.
Brain-washing is suggested by Aldous Huxley in the form of manipulating
individuals, rather than the masses. While brain-washing and sleep-teaching
are different (the former being done while the subject is awake, and the
latter being done while the subject is asleep), both methods employed by
Huxley, act upon the subconscious to obtain the same final results. Prior
to Brave New World, Huxley researched the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov
and his experiments on dogs. The Pavlovian dog was subjected to highly
stressful conditions, this was done to teach the dog how to react to
certain stimuli. The end results of these tests were dogs who had been
broken, became mentally insane. Prime human examples are the veterans of
the world wars, where victims became incapacitated from intense stress
and fear (known as "shell shock"). Huxley suggests that teaching under
such stressful conditions can also be considered torture (in its most
refined state). Huxley once wrote, "The effectiveness of political and
religious propaganda depends upon the methods employed, not upon the
doctrines taught." Huxley believed that when mentally programming a
subject, it is not the principles that matter, but the techniques used to
instil these principles. Our modern society has come realistically close
to Huxley's predictions. After all, for many years already, communists
have been renowned as being experts on brain-washing (in the form of mass
propaganda). This type of distortion of the human psyche lends itself
perfectly to the corruption and backward morals of Aldous Huxley's
Brave New World.
Aldous Huxley's dystopia is structured around the use of a pleasure
inducing drug called "soma". Soma is a means of drowning one's sorrows to
make them feel better and to create a positive feeling towards those who
supply such happiness (i.e. the ruling power). Such a drug, therefore,
becomes the perfect tool of the dictator, as it creates a more submissive
and conformist society, a society that is easier to control. Soma becomes
the perfect escape from reality, because its use is public, not private,
thus, allowing for the happiness to be shared among friends for an all
around greater high. Soma can be considered a wonder drug, a wonder drug
that has always been searched for by medicine. After all, soma has only
positive effects (i.e. no side effects), and can be used whenever necessary.
Positive effects that may just reach beyond the person's body and onto
their productivity at work. A current example is Japan's car industry, they
believe that the dose of ginseng that each worker receives daily, accounts
for their output being so much higher then their American counterparts.
"...a little white tablet that keeps production workers happy. The Japanese
motor industry believes it is an important aid to its productivity." With
all the different types of drugs now available the wonder drug-soma, will
most certainly soon arrive. Soma is used in Brave New World the way alcohol,
smoking and drugs are used in today's society.
In conclusion, the future events of which Aldous Huxley predicted, are
quickly becoming a reality in today's society. It cannot be denied that
events such as greater sexual freedom and over-population have already
occurred and are becoming even worse. As well, the use of sleep-teaching/
brain-washing and mind altering drugs continue to be experimented with
on a regular basis. All of these factors combined make for a backward,
morally corrupt and ethically depraved modern society. It is this modern
society which Aldous Huxley warns against in Brave New World.