Brave New World
Utopia is a place of ideal perfection. When God created man and woman and
placed them into the Garden of Eden, this was God’s definition of his ultimate
utopia. There was a powerful and everlasting harmony between humans, God, and
his creation. No sin or death was present, and love was stronger than ever in
history. Unfortunately it didn’t last long, for “sin
entered the world through one man, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12 NIV).
Since a world with death, sin, and suffering is no longer perfect, God’s
utopia abruptly grinded to a halt. The key elements of real utopia were removed
and can never be replaced.
According to the World Book Dictionary, utopia is defined as “an ideal place or state with perfect laws.” The term applies and is used frequently in the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Huxley’s world is considered by some to be a utopia, for the governmental powers have gained almost complete control over society, and have indoctrinated citizens into believing that they live in a utopia through a continual process of environmental conditioning, censoring, and hypnopaedia. However, once the reader grasps the real workings behind this society, the term utopia is no longer appropriate. It is only the inhabitants who are indoctrinated and “somafied” enough into believing it is. The motto for society is “Community, Identity, Stability”, and these three words are some of the key elements used to maintain this false state of utopia.
To preserve the perfect society, regulations for stability are required to minimize conflict and prevent possible major changes. The repetitive conditioning of children at a young age, insures a stable economy and avoids problems and concerns. As a part of their education, all children are forced into thinking “ending is better than mending”(p.35) and other hypnopaedic phrases to keep consumption of products at a constant rate. If the society is given the choice of individual freedom and is able to choose on what to spend their money, such as in present society, they would encounter financial dilemmas as existing society does.
One of the main indications that Huxley’s world is not really a utopia is revealed when the reader comes to realize citizens are usually under a false sense of happiness and euphoria from taking so much soma. When Lenina is at the Savage Reservation, she is vulnerable to the shocking images because she lacks her beloved soma. While under the effect of soma, and as a result of governmental indoctrination, at one point she tells Bernard: “I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”(p.80) Bernard replies by saying “But wouldn’t you like to be free some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.” (p.80) It is obvious that Bernard has come to realize some of the flaws within this form of utopia. For once he has realized that there are no personal relationships; there is no true love, and no real joy. This sense of missing elements is what drives him to seek out in the Reservation, ignore the pain of being sent to Iceland, and inform others by example (ironically the director) that there is another way of living life. To be happy you must be an individual with personal relationships, hardships, and troubles. The Savage, John, soon realizes this when he says “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin." He eventually commits suicide once he realizes that society is so stiff-necked that it would be impossible for him to change it. Individuality is almost non-existant in society, for everyone has grown up to be a member of a certain class from Alpha to Epsilon. If humans are not created equal to begin with, they would not function properly as a society unless put under careful conditioning as in the book. One must be recognized by others as an special individual in order to be happy without soma, as Bernard is for a short time while he has access to John.
Therefore we see that the happiness and stability of this society is really completely false. If soma alone were restricted, there would probably be an outbreak of war because people would not be able to control their real emotions, and this utopian society would collapse. Without soma the contrasting emotion between good and bad, genuine happiness cannot be understood. Therefore members of Utopia cannot comprehend that these characteristics do not describe a place of ideal perfection or a “Garden of Eden”, but instead a dystopia. The illustrations in the novel prove that a faultless, perfect world cannot exist and that flaws must be accepted and persevered through to prevent a society that lacks emotion and identity, which must be cherished to understand the significance of existence and take a step towards utopia.