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Criticism of practical application of utopia in brave new world

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

everyday life.

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

invention" (12).

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

the novel.

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

actual society.

Works Cited

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Collins, 1989.

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