Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review of "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

This book was first published in 1932. It was time of a great depression. World was in chaos. Future of world social and economic order was in turmoil. 

In the "Brave New World" Aldous Huxley imagined a new world order, set in far future (around year 2500 AD), where people are artificially divided into intellectual and labor caste system referred by Greek alphabet: alpha, beta, gamma, delta. In this world, children are created in an in vitro dishes (bottles) and modified by hormones to develop into appropriate castes.

Alphas and Betas are in charge of "intellectual" work, while Gamma and Deltas are destined for lifetime of menial works. Surprisingly, it seems that everyone is content with their role. How? Because of pharma drug called soma and childhood conditioning.

However, occasionally few individuals from top alpha caste did not seem to fit in. Probably they are "mutants" who develop some kind of resistance to conditioning and soma. These individuals are questioning their environment. They want to experience something "different" and as the novel develops, they are able to meet people in "reservations" who follow forgotten traditions and live in pre-historic fashion (religion, monogamy, disease, ageing).

Is such future possible? Now this is not a typical dystopian future since Huxley's world is "happy" and "safe" place, at the expense of truth or love or any self-expression like art and literature. It is an extremely utilitarian and consumerist world (but not a totalitarian world). It is highly controlled and highly organized society. But still everyone needs soma to feel good. It appear that only soma can keep this world going.   

posted by David Usharauli

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