Brave New World: Stability over Individuality

Posted by hanjeno.o
2016. 11. 30. 21:39 EDITORIAL/문예 :: Literature

COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY. Just by taking in these first three words of Brave New World, I was able to predict this book to be concerned with the consequences of a lack of individuality in a society. Similar to many of the dystopian novels I have read in the past, Brave New World was about an individual who proved to be different from the rest of society. The fact that the human species was genetically engineered to different castes, where Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons were made physically and mentally inferior to Alphas and Betas, was appalling. Henry Foster, a worker at the "hatchery", said, “The lower the caste, the shorter the oxygen.” I found it to be utterly inhumane for a selection of embryos to be kept “below par” on purpose as such. 

As I read on, I could not help but wonder when if ever the Bokanovsky's Process (basically identical to cloning) would be possible in real life. "The process is applied to fertilized human eggs in vitro, causing them to split into identical genetic copies of the original." Names such as Fertilizing Room, Bottling Room and Social Predestination Room gave me a vivid picture of the factory, which was called the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. 

Because human beings are decanted from a bottle instead of being born to a mother and father, there is absolutely no sense of family. I have always considered my family a very significant part of my life, my existence. Family fulfills a very physical and spiritual need for me and, therefore, I felt much pity for the people in this society of no family. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, lovers, monogamy and romance all do not exist. There is no “home”. How unfortunate. 

I slowly but surely came to the realization that human lives are worthless in this futuristic world when Henry Foster uttered under his breath, “If you knew the amount of overtime I had to put in after the last Japanese earthquake!” He even compares embryos to photographic films. I was offended, even more so, when I found out that the hatchery gives a dose of male sex hormone to 70% of the female embryos to make females sterile (freemartins they called them). In this society, human invention is considered superior to nature and the natural state of things. 

The Director of Hatchery and Conditioning (D.H.C.) tells his students that liking what you've got to do is the secret to happiness and virtue. I strongly disagree. In my opinion, having the ability to choose what you want to do is the secret to happiness and virtue. Further, there cannot possibly be any justification behind infants being taught, electrified to be exact, to not like books and flowers for economic purposes. Sleep-teaching sounded like hypnotizing and brainwashing to meThinking, while encouraged in our society, is discouraged in this new world so brave. In addition, it was quite baffling and uncomfortable for me to relate children with sexual games as mentioned in the novel. 

Is science really this dangerous? Truth and beauty, comfort and happiness... which is better in each case?

Overall, the themes discussed in Brave New World were very intriguing: the overuse of technology, an overly dominating society, exceeding economic values, happiness chosen over truth, and so on. The novel, I would say, was an excellent futuristic prediction of the direction in which the world may evolve under the circumstance where the progress of science and government control are not kept in check. The government in Brave New World threw away individuality for stability.

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