Criticism of Practical Application of Utopia in "Brave New World"
Debra Ackerman Mrs. Eileen Waite
Criticism of Practical Application of Utopia in Brave New World Aldous
Huxley's Brave New World illustrates the loss of morality when established
standards are replaced by amoral criteria. In his novel, Huxley criticizes the
practical applications of Utopia in actual society. Huxley's depiction of love,
science, and religion support the ineffectiveness of implementing Utopia in
In Brave New World, Huxley shows contempt for the human emotion of love.
The people that make up his imaginary society have no conception of love or any
other passion, and actually scorn the idea. Huxley believes that along with
passion comes emotional instability. The Utopian state cannot afford any kind
of instability and therefore cannot afford love.
The destruction of the family is one example of the effect of Utopia's
absence of love. In a world of bottled-births, not only is there no need for a
family, but the idea is actually considered obscene. The terms "mother" and
"father" are extremely offensive and are rarely used except in science.
Huxley uses Mustapha Mond, the World Controller, to portray the
vulgarity when he explains the obscenity of life before Utopia to a group of
And home was as squalid psychically as physically. Psychically, it was a rabbit
hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with
emotion. What suffocating intimacies, what dangerous, insane, obscene
relationships between the members of the family group! (37)
In an earlier passage, Huxley shows the effects of Mond's explanation on
one boy, "The Controller's evocation was so vivid that one of the boys . . .
turned pale at the mere description and was on the point of being sick" (36).
In reality, the family unit is the core of society. Huxley realizes the
importance of the home and family. A home is where people learn to establish
communication and relationships. Without a family, a person cannot learn these
relationships which are invaluable in dealing with everyday life in society.
In Utopia, any approach toward monogamy is forbidden and long term
sexual relationships are discouraged. In the brave new world, it is taught that
"everyone belongs to everyone else." Excessive sex with many partners is
considered normal and even expected. In a conversation between two of the
female characters, Huxley illustrates Utopia's views on monogamy through Fanny
Crowne, "I really do think you ought to be careful. It's such horribly bad form
to go on and on like this with one man" (40). In Huxley's Utopia, having sex
with only one partner is not acceptable.
Sexual pleasure in this world is greatly degraded. Promiscuity is
considered a virtue, unlike actual society where promiscuous women are thought
to be trashy and cheap. Children are taught at a young age to be exploratory in
their sexual behavior. Children who seem timid and embarrassed about their
bodies are taken for psychological testing.
Huxley criticizes the idea of the absence of love in Utopia. In actual
society, love is a revered emotion. Our society cannot exist without passion
because it is the foundation of all relationships. Unlike Utopia, sexual
relationships cannot be degraded because they are the manifestation of love.
Huxley's representation of Utopia in terms of technological evolution is
a world that is enslaved by science. Everything in this world is owed to
science. Huxley refers to scientific manipulation stating, "out of the realm of
mere slavish imitation of nature into the much more interesting world of human
Not only are people born, or in this sense created, by scientific means,
but they are also conditioned to think and live a certain way through science.
Even before babies are born, they are treated to a specific amount of oxygen, or
a specific temperature in order for them to be conditioned to fit into a certain
caste. In the novel, Henry Foster explains this process to the students saying:
We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human
beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers, or future . . .
Directors of Hatcheries. (12)
In Brave New World, science and technology are used not to help society,
but to control society. From the time that the embryos are in each bottle to
the time of death for each person, science is acting as a controller, ruling
over every individual life.
Although their world is based on science and technology, the leaders of
Utopia know that "science is dangerous; [they] have to keep it most carefully
chained and muzzled" (231). In a world where "Community, Identity, and
Stability" is the main objective, scientific advancement is unacceptable. As
the World Controller explains, science is ". . . another item in the cost of
stability . . . incompatible with happiness" (231). Huxley knows that along
with science comes change and in his Utopia, no one can afford change. By
sacrificing change, the controllers of the brave new world are maintaining
In our society, man controls science to benefit and improve the quality
of life. Conversely, in Utopia science controls mankind. In a world where so
much emphasis is placed on individualism and human initiative, the applications
of this policy are unrealistic. Huxley is aware of this absurdity and
criticizes its practicality in everyday life.
In Brave New World, Huxley shows how the sacrifice of a god must be made
in order for the stability of Utopia to be maintained. Any religious book is
considered to be pornographic. All old bibles are locked away and forbidden to
be read. As Mustapha Mond states, "God in the safe . . . " (237). The people
who occupy Utopia cannot be exposed to the bibles because ". . . they're old;
they're about god hundreds of years ago. Not about god now" (237). In Brave
New World, god is described as necessary when "youthful desires fail" (240).
Mond explains that these youthful desires never fail, and therefore there is no
need for a "substitute for distraction" (240). Huxley illustrates the reason
for the absence of a god through Mond's explanation to the savage:
Call it the fault of civilization. God isn't compatible with machinery and
scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our
civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That's why I have
to keep these books locked up in the safe. They're smut. (240)
People in actual society place a tremendous importance on religion and
god. Not only are beliefs formed and based upon religious teachings, but
religion is also the moral fiber of a community. Huxley is aware that society
cannot function without religion or a god. This belief is portrayed throughout
Brave New World presents a frightening view of a future civilization
which has forgotten current morals and standards. Instead of humans controlling
science and their lives, science controls humans, and World Controllers decide
all rules which are intended to mold society into a stable community. Huxley's
criticism of this community portrays the impractical application of Utopia in
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Collins, 1989.