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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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's review
Feb 14, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: 1001
Read in February, 2008

Awesome book of the dystopia/utopia genre that l simply loved. I can fully understand why it is considered a masterpiece and I am surprised it is not referenced more in popular culture (seems like Orwell’s 1984 gets much more publicity today, whereas this one might be more on point in describing today’s new world order.) In looking up the listed themes on the cliff notes version of the novel, the following are referenced: the use of technology to control society; the consumer society; the incompatibility of happiness and truth; the dangers of an all-powerful state; alienation; the absence of God in the modern world; promiscuity - do any of these sound like they might have some relevance in today’s society.

Novel is set in the future where the vast majority of the world is part of the World State. There is no social competition, no parenthood, no marriage, no history, no science, etc. Sex is encouraged and is practices during childhood. Society is divided into five castes and all members are trained to be good consumers in order to keep the economy strong. Isolation and being different are strongly discouraged. People are kept happy through the use of the drug soma. There is a group of people not from the World State who live as primitives in the Savage Reservation, reproducing normally, fearing death, etc. The plot of the novel essentially involves one of these savages who are brought to the World State and how he adjusts to these differences.

I especially loved some of the dialogue between the savage and the leader of the World State. For example,

. . .

“[t]he world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get. They're well off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're not afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they're so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty . . .

Besides, we have our stability to think of. We don't want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. That's another reason why we're so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science

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.”

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