Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Setting: Futuristic London, England
Plot: Huxley created a world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization focused on mass production, homogeneity, and predictability. To ensure such social climate, people were genetically designed to be passive and conditioned for caste-appropriate work and behavior via sleep learning (hypnopaedia). The system guaranteed universal happiness by promoting recreational sex and discouraging solitude and individualism.
Overall Impression: This work reminded me of The Giver, whose characters also faced predetermined roles. The World State, however, went a step further to condition personality and one’s idea of happiness. I honestly felt this system could work (as outrageous as it sounds). Members cannot be dissatisfied as their definition of happiness was conditioned to be easily fulfilled. However, such a society cannot advance as innovative work would be impossible, as well as banned.
One of the most interesting arguments presented in this novel is that to acquire truth is to sacrifice happiness. I feel a fully developed individual would actually desire truth and cannot be satisfied until truth is acquired. And they would be equipped with mental faculties that can reconcile with truths that are unpleasant. And it is only when we can face truth in the eye can we advance as an individual and society at large.