vrijdag 3 juli 2015

Aldous Huxley: Brave New World


This is my fourth time reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The first time I must have been around 14.
It has 50 pages of introduction and foreword and 229 pages novel.

The question I still ask myself, even after reading it so many times is this; is Brave New World a utopian novel or a dystopian novel?

Everything is set around pleasure and consumerism. This society is stable and successful and its inhabitants have lots of free time they can fill with a score of hobbies and their multitude of friends. Everyone is satisfied.
This sounds great.
Until you get a better look at the way it works.

There is sexual freedom but an obligation to have promiscuous sex; people have lots of friends but die alone in the end and there’s no motherhood but a medical substitute for women who feel down.
And that’s not the most mind-boggling difference. The lower castes are stupid on purpose. That terrifies me. Changing the genes to get a ‘perfect’ society is an utterly horrifying and chilling. The conditioning gets to me every time.

The central idea is how far science can go without being immoral. But it’s about much more than that. To me, that’s not the most important message.

By shaping and creating a world without real danger, without hunger or boredom and with instant gratification; they created a world without love, passion, anticipation and pride at one’s work. They created humans less than human.

The first half of the novel remains the best in my opinion. Discovering this world was jaw-dropping the first time. And it is still chilling even after four times.
But I feel too much for/like Bernard to really appreciate the parts about him becoming popular and going back to the old Bernard again.
It is such a fast read. Not a boring moment in this too short novel.

We have ‘the right to be unhappy’. Something few people understand, even today, in our world.

Happy reading!

One of my favorite fruits and one of my favorite books!