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Brave New World: A Novel/Brave New World Revisited

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The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley's vision of the future--of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley's vision of the future--of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece. The non-fiction work Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, is a fascinating work in which Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with his prophetic fantasy envisioned in Brave New World, including the threats to humanity, such as over-population, propaganda, and chemical persuasion.


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The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley's vision of the future--of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley's vision of the future--of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece. The non-fiction work Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, is a fascinating work in which Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with his prophetic fantasy envisioned in Brave New World, including the threats to humanity, such as over-population, propaganda, and chemical persuasion.

30 review for Brave New World: A Novel/Brave New World Revisited

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    1984 by Orwell was the first work of dystopian fiction that I laid my hands on. It left me so numb that I couldn't gather my thoughts on the experience of reading it. Then I read Brave New World by Huxley and then We by Zamyatin followed by the little story (The New Utopia) by Jerome. BNW inspired me to read We. That makes for a reverse order in terms of their time of publication.I am not sure why I felt drawn to these books in succession. May be these readings came in wake of the increasing unc 1984 by Orwell was the first work of dystopian fiction that I laid my hands on. It left me so numb that I couldn't gather my thoughts on the experience of reading it. Then I read Brave New World by Huxley and then We by Zamyatin followed by the little story (The New Utopia) by Jerome. BNW inspired me to read We. That makes for a reverse order in terms of their time of publication.I am not sure why I felt drawn to these books in succession. May be these readings came in wake of the increasing uncertainty towards the kind of future we are standing on the brink of. I don't know if the nations have become more hostile towards each other than they were ever, whether we the people have become more intolerant towards each other or whether it is because of the faster and consistent accessibility to the happenings around the world that it appears to be the case. May be I felt that these readings might help me understand the extent to which we humans can advance in order to maintain the supremacy of a selected few/ one in power so that some form of uniformity may be imposed in the name of forced ideals. What these readings really did was to lay bare the fragility of societal structure which can crumble and surrender to the whims of its "selected few/one". But it also made clear the neccessity to exercise our faculties rationally, to be aware of the dangers such advances may hold for the future of human civilization itself. P.S : Only thing which really didn't go down well with me about this book was the portrayal of the character of John (the Savage). He is born in a savage society, there is no mention of him being ever educated but he has read the complete works of Shakespeare and his discourse later on shows a kind of deep understanding and adherence to an idea of morality which is difficult to imagine owing to his savage upbringing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    I somehow managed to live to age 60 before reading a book most people read in high school. The title is so etched in our culture, I had little curiosity - and now I've discovered just how brilliant this 1932 novel is. While the specifics of Huxley's Brave New World may not yet be here, or not in the form he envisioned, the picture he paints is frightening. As he says in the introduction: "There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old...A really efficient tot I somehow managed to live to age 60 before reading a book most people read in high school. The title is so etched in our culture, I had little curiosity - and now I've discovered just how brilliant this 1932 novel is. While the specifics of Huxley's Brave New World may not yet be here, or not in the form he envisioned, the picture he paints is frightening. As he says in the introduction: "There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old...A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude." The first element of the brave new world is production-line bio-manufacturing of people - assembly line produced babies: "standard men and women in uniform batches", bio-engineered to fit a particular role in life. Henry Ford's production methods are so revered, the passage of time is measured by A.F. years, or years after the time of Ford. Then there is the embryonic, childhood and early adult conditioning, explained by a manager: "All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny." My "favourite" conditioning scene had a nurse training infants to dislike books and nature, by terrifying them whenever they approached or even looked at a book or flower. "We condition to masses to hate the country [i.e., non-urban living]", says one manager. The other means of control was mass addiction to the drug soma, readily distributed to all, more powerful than alcohol or heroin, and producing complete bliss. In one scene, a sub-species group was getting out of control, so police arrive and, rather than wielding batons, spray soma mist in the air. "Suddenly, from out of the Synthetic Music Box a Voice began to speak....The sound track roll was unwinding itself in Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech Number Two (Medium Strength). ..."My friends...what is the meaning of this? Why aren't you all being happy and good together?...at peace, at peace...Oh I do want you to be happy." Two minutes later, the riot was over. Most of the book is chilling, but for a modern reader, one of the funniest scenes is how Huxley envisioned an on-the-scene live radio broadcast by a reporter in the future: "...rapidly, with a series of ritual gestures, he uncoiled two wires connected to the portable battery buckled round his waist; plugged them simultaneously into the sides of his aluminum hat; touched a spring on the crown - and antennae shot up into the air; touched another spring on the peak of the brim - and like a jack-in-the-box, out jumped a microphone and hung there, quivering, six inches in front of his nose...". Cool! One of the managers summarized the brave new world this way: "The 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 strong 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." It's a neo-fascist's wet dream. In his follow-up booklet/essay Brave New World Revisited, written in 1958, Huxley compared Orwell's nightmare vision of 1984 with his vision of Brave New World, and describes the differences this way: "In 1984 the lust for power is satisfied by inflicting pain; in Brave New World, by inflicting a hardly less humiliating pleasure." I don't think modern day totalitarians have set aside Orwell's approach, but I do fear the most serious danger in the future is closer to what Huxley envisioned.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Prophetic. Well, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) tried to predict what would happen probably during our time now up to the 26th century or 632 A.F. (Anno Ford with Year 0 being 1908 when Model T was introduced). He wrote this novel, Brave New World in 1931 and first published in 1932. Fifteen years after, in 1949 George Orwell did a similar thing when he published his social science fiction, 1984. Both Huxley and Orwell were like Nostradamus but without the dreams or visions. Huxley came from the famo Prophetic. Well, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) tried to predict what would happen probably during our time now up to the 26th century or 632 A.F. (Anno Ford with Year 0 being 1908 when Model T was introduced). He wrote this novel, Brave New World in 1931 and first published in 1932. Fifteen years after, in 1949 George Orwell did a similar thing when he published his social science fiction, 1984. Both Huxley and Orwell were like Nostradamus but without the dreams or visions. Huxley came from the famous Huxley family with outstanding scientific, medical, artistic and literary talent. Orwell, on the other hand, was said to possess a keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense, revolutionary opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism. IMO, let's see what happened so far after almost 80 years. At least with some semblance: Huxley's prophesy: Babies are mass-produced in laboratories. Take note that Watson and Crick only discovered the DNA helix structure in 1953. So, this was a good guess by Huxley. Reality: Dolly, the cloned sheep (1996-2003). Huxley's prophesy: Soma, readily available all-around upper that make you feel better Reality: Ecstasy etc - although they are not readily available and expensive Huxley's prophesy: Overpopulation Reality: Correct! (But that should be easy) Huxley's prophesy: Free sex Reality: Marry your wife, get sex free! :) Huxley's prophesy: No religion, no God, no concept of the family, no mama, no papa Reality: 'think that this has not changed so much Seriously, this is a well-written dystopian novel and is now top of my list of favorite sci-fi novels relegating 1984 to second place. Reason: this came before that Orwell's book and this is written in a funny way that I think even children can appreciate. John the Savage, for example, seems like Tarzan the first time he sees the World State (aka The Brave New World) and also his eloquence and mastery of Shakespeare's verses is just so funny. Why Shakespeare? Because Huxley and The Bard were both British? Well, I should have added that. In a way, Huxley also indirectly prophesized that children of the 21st century would still study Shakespeare in school. Huxley and Shakespeare are both genius anyway. So let their books live forever. Thanks to my reading buddies: Bea, Angus and Tintin for reading this book with me. Whoever thought of suggesting this book for us to read should have some potential to be a future genius too. Excellent choice for a book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tristan

    “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.” While its illustrious counterpart, Orwell’s 1984, has entered our cultural lexicon in more significant “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.” While its illustrious counterpart, Orwell’s 1984, has entered our cultural lexicon in more significant ways – who doesn't know about Doublethink, Newspeak, Memory Hole, or The Ministry of Truth? - Huxley’s concocted fable of a scientifically authored future for mankind remains the most clinically, rationally approached - and thus more prescient - one. In a far off future, this vision, penned down in 1931, could very well prove to be correct, making the noble attempt of his former student Orwell seem almost crude and laughable in comparison. Indeed, in 2017 a Brave New World scenario is more near than we’d like to imagine. All the technical tools - even if still primitive - are available, all that need be added are the right circumstances and a powerful, unopposed group strong-willed enough to bring it into reality. Yet for all its prophetic potency, at the same time this is exactly where the issue lies with Brave New World: as a work of art, it doesn’t cleave to you. It’s a novel almost solely composed of ideas. And so, judged purely as a novel, it shows itself to be rather threadbare in its construction, offering up little more than a dry summation of what are admittedly intriguing concepts, but ultimately showing an acute deficiency in its ability to evoke any deep emotion. This, primarily, is the fault of its underdeveloped, two-dimensional characters, and a lacklustre, almost lazy plot that doesn’t necessarily invite further contemplation by the reader on the intricacies of what by all rights should be a richly textured world (or on its history for that matter). It's mind-bogglingly restricted, superficial, and (how ironic) sterile. One wouldn't be wrong in asserting this might have been Huxley’s exact intention, so as to make the future all the more devoid of humanity and thus frightening to us, but that shouldn't serve as an excuse for tedium. All good fiction does need to have these emotional anchors in place. Here, sadly, it falls short in that regard. A historically significant work to be sure, but aesthetically lacking. Brave New World Revisited (1958) however, Huxley’s later commentary on the viability of the future he envisioned, I found to be much more preferable. Dispensing with characterization or concern for plot, Huxley can engage at heart’s content in some intellectual freestyling: ruminating, extrapolating, pursuing various strands of thought, etc.. His comparision of the different techniques of mind manipulation (both of individuals and of crowds) employed by the authoritarian regimes of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were particularly insightful. I could have tolerated it being more lengthy than it is, actually. In essence, it is both a sobering account of how malleable, and indeed easily influenced, human beings in the main really are when put in the “right” conditions, and a manual on how to counteract the ambitions of those in possession of the vulgar will to power. A vigilant defense of freedom in all its forms, education and a deep awareness of our inherent corruptability and faults, Huxley argues, are still our best bulwarks against further encroachment by budding tyrants. In this case prophesy, for all intents and purposes, thankfully remains a mug’s game.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol Smith

    Brave New World A difficult book to rate. I thoroughly hated the journey. Random thoughts that popped into my head along the way included: - I’d like to go to Iceland. Right now. - I could really use a soma tablet. - Dystopia is so not my cup of tea The ideas communicated are both profound and profoundly disturbing, but the vehicle used to communicate them to the reader is simply excruciating. Lame, shallow characterizations along with a simplistic and simply boring plot = a lethal combination. In Brave New World A difficult book to rate. I thoroughly hated the journey. Random thoughts that popped into my head along the way included: - I’d like to go to Iceland. Right now. - I could really use a soma tablet. - Dystopia is so not my cup of tea The ideas communicated are both profound and profoundly disturbing, but the vehicle used to communicate them to the reader is simply excruciating. Lame, shallow characterizations along with a simplistic and simply boring plot = a lethal combination. In the excellent foreword (which I don’t recommend reading until the end), Christopher Hitchens suggests that the characters are two-dimensional for a reason – because the Society of BNW has snuffed out their emotional and intellectual depth. This may be so, but it makes for painful reading. Nabokov detested the “novel of ideas” for very good reason – they just aren’t much fun. And yet I thoroughly enjoyed the climactic conversation between the Savage and the World Controller. Here we get to hear Aldous – channeled via Mustapha Mond – brilliantly lay out his full dystopic vision. I just couldn’t bear the path taken to get me there. Brave New World Revisited The earlier chapters on population pressures, over-organization, and propaganda are quite prescient and interesting. I lost interest once he began delving into how the future state will brainwash and distract the individual, and I suspect he did as well. In the end notes, Huxley is quoted as saying, upon completing BNW Revisited, “I am sick and tired of this kind of writing." Finally, it must be said that Huxley was a futurist but was also inevitably a product of his time. His obsession with eugenics, his belief in the hereditary nature of intelligence, and his obvious anti-Semitism detract and distract from his core message. Still, I couldn’t have hated it all that much as I just added Island and Point Counter Point to my GoodReads queue…

  6. 5 out of 5

    John M

    What I like most about Brave New World is that it centers on the disease of human passivity as it's controlled by the higher-ups in society. With 1984 there is the possibility for consciousness of the inherent evil of the subversive intolerance of the government, and therefore the possibility for revolution. If only the people would realize their situation! If only the proles could unite against totalitarian tyranny! With Huxley's fable, however, this consciousness is completely undermined throu What I like most about Brave New World is that it centers on the disease of human passivity as it's controlled by the higher-ups in society. With 1984 there is the possibility for consciousness of the inherent evil of the subversive intolerance of the government, and therefore the possibility for revolution. If only the people would realize their situation! If only the proles could unite against totalitarian tyranny! With Huxley's fable, however, this consciousness is completely undermined through the fulfillment of the base drives of the majority. There is no reason to rebel, and society can change only through an impossible systematic negation of all the techniques espoused that clamor to fulfill these drives. Anyone who comes to realize the true state of affairs isn't filled with a Herculean wish to revamp it, but can only sigh to himself while secretly saying, "ah, that's just society getting what it wants," and make plans for voluntary exile. This is the cynicism of Huxley given literary flesh. He echoes the Dostoevskian lament through the Grand Inquisitor (alluded to in Brave New World Revisited) that human beings want to be taken care of and provided for, not free. Freedom is too hard, it takes work, and to be human is to take the easy way out. The grandeur of Huxley is that he wasn't just a novelist, as seems to be the case with creative writers for the last fifty years -- Walker Percy, Anthony Burgess, and a handful of others exempt. "Brave New World Revisited" attests to this fact, as well as other minor philosophical gems, like "The Perennial Philosophy", where he stretches to mysticism, and "The Doors of Perception", where he journals the psychedelic flavor of mescaline. His ruminations are perfectly commensurate with our state today -- where education is in decline, where neohedonism is the game, where it's all about money and fulfillment of drives over truth, etc. --, and the points that shine the most are on propaganda and, well, the distractability of human beings: "In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies -- the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." This is the basis of society in Brave New World, and scientific and technological advances (eugenics, hypnopaedia, classical conditioning) are a means to this end. Huxley saw, like Chomsky after him, that you don't need to bludgeon the population in order to coerce it to your preferences. Rather, you manipulate minds. Things are less messy this way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jakk Makk

    Brave New World beat out 1984 as the tyranny of choice. Consider smartphone addiction, people love to be enslaved 2,ooo times a day and beg for the privilege. I don't believe most people make independent decisions anymore, they just act out their programming. The first step to overcoming brainwashing is to realize you've been brainwashed. Do you fail to one star your DNF's? To do so is to cheat the reading community of their time. Is it because you are lazy or because you want to be nice? If you Brave New World beat out 1984 as the tyranny of choice. Consider smartphone addiction, people love to be enslaved 2,ooo times a day and beg for the privilege. I don't believe most people make independent decisions anymore, they just act out their programming. The first step to overcoming brainwashing is to realize you've been brainwashed. Do you fail to one star your DNF's? To do so is to cheat the reading community of their time. Is it because you are lazy or because you want to be nice? If you are doing it in order to get more likes, are you certain that strategy is effective? Or is it because your handlers have taught you to never question authority? Is three question marks in a row bad style? If you can't embody this level of skepticism you may no longer have a choice in the matter. Why do people self-censor? Is it training or the path of least resistance? If you are still reading this I highly recommend Brave New World Revisited. It's a checklist of how we got to where we are now.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kirstin

    This one just didn't live up to the hype I had built up about it. I feel bad giving it 3 stars but I just didn't enjoy it that much. I'm sure I should have read it long ago.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    I needed something to read on the plane from San Antonio so I picked this book up at an airport bookstore. It was a good choice because I have been interested in dystopian literature for some time. I found Brave New World both prescient and engaging. I thought Huxley did a good job not only describing his view of the future, but also supplying a decent plot and good character development. The interplay between the rebellious intellectual Bernard Marx, the beautiful and shallow, fully acclimated I needed something to read on the plane from San Antonio so I picked this book up at an airport bookstore. It was a good choice because I have been interested in dystopian literature for some time. I found Brave New World both prescient and engaging. I thought Huxley did a good job not only describing his view of the future, but also supplying a decent plot and good character development. The interplay between the rebellious intellectual Bernard Marx, the beautiful and shallow, fully acclimated Lenina Crowne, and the "Savage" John from New Mexico was interesting. I also appreciated the contrast between hyper-modern London and the Indian reservation in New Mexico, where old traditions persisted. Huxley described the setting in both places convincingly, although they represented opposite extremes of human behavior. I do see some signs that Huxley's depressing vision of the future has been realized. For example, the stratification of society according to cognitive skills is very evident today. One might even suggest that today's surveillance state and military-industrial complex leave little room for individuality. A powerful media is capable of transmitting government propaganda. Our popular culture is extremely low-brow and decadent. Perhaps it is difficult to have authentic, unmediated experiences and shape one's own destiny. Those who try to live off the grid in order to escape the confining norms and conventions of a post-industrial society may relate to Huxley's dystopian vision.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ✧ k a t i e ✧

    Yeah, I enjoyed this 10000000000x better than 1984. AND WHAT WAS THAT ENDING????

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Yes, I read this a long time ago. No, I didn't remember anything. I came to the book thinking it was a mirror image of 1984, with the political violence and control. But Huxley is much more subtle, and ironic. The control evident in THIS Brave New World has been willingly given over...relationships, emotions, drive, ambition. Individualism...none of this matters, and no one cares. I had forgotten the tongue-in-cheek humor in the observations...until John Savage appears. Then the tone shifts and t Yes, I read this a long time ago. No, I didn't remember anything. I came to the book thinking it was a mirror image of 1984, with the political violence and control. But Huxley is much more subtle, and ironic. The control evident in THIS Brave New World has been willingly given over...relationships, emotions, drive, ambition. Individualism...none of this matters, and no one cares. I had forgotten the tongue-in-cheek humor in the observations...until John Savage appears. Then the tone shifts and the book moves to its conclusion. This book was published in 1932 -- 15 years before his student, Orwell, published his dystopia. Huxley's predictions of technology and the intent of technology are uncanny. The visit to the Indian Pueblo in New Mexico makes me wonder if he traveled...that area of the country is a favorite for us, and his portrayal of the village and the area were fascinating. John, and his unconscious references to Shakespeare, added that outsider view of the culture, and reminds us how alien it really is. "Oh, brave new world, that has such people in it." Indeed. Indeed. John's philosophical discussion with Mond (world?) lets us know Mond also can throw out Shakespearan lines at will...he understands the ridiculousness of the world he supports...and he supports it anyway. The essays Huxley wrote in 1958, revisiting his novel were so interesting. He seemed very defensive that his book never reached the heights that his student, Orwell reached. His letter to Orwell after the younger man sent him a copy of 1984 seems touchy... He revisted in his essays the issues he felt were important in his novel...overpopulation, over-organization, propaganda, the arts of selling, brainwashing, chemical persuasion, hypnopaedia (sleep learning), and education for freedom. He explains that his book is a blueprint for 'a new kind of nonviolent totalitarianism.' He believed, and I see evidence, that humans will participate willingly in the stripping of their rights and responsibilities. That's the tragedy of Brave New World...people have lost their responsibilities, their individuality, their ability and willingness to do right, to make decisions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Briar Rose

    There are so many layers to Brave New World. One aspect that is often overlooked is its exploration of what it means to be human, and how far humanity can be stretched and altered before basic humanness disappears. I think this is why the book still resonates today -- even though the methods have changed, we are still using technology to play with the idea of humanness, whether it be computers, genetic engineering or something else. The book raises questions about the interplay of science and te There are so many layers to Brave New World. One aspect that is often overlooked is its exploration of what it means to be human, and how far humanity can be stretched and altered before basic humanness disappears. I think this is why the book still resonates today -- even though the methods have changed, we are still using technology to play with the idea of humanness, whether it be computers, genetic engineering or something else. The book raises questions about the interplay of science and technology with power and social engineering. Huxley both reveres and fears science, he welcomes its advances and comfort it brings, and fears the unintended consequences of its application, and science that has no reference to a system of ethics. Then there are the questions of sex and love and happiness and suffering and how a person can function both as an individual and a member of a society, and whether the two are even possible. The novel itself is only half a novel -- it is really more a place to hang ideas on, and all the characters function as authorial ciphers. The plot is superficial, a mere way to explore the world Huxley has created and all its strange and terrifying consequences. But it's still compelling, funny and bizarre to read; I still wanted to keep turning the pages. Brave New World Revisited is less interesting, but still fascinating as a piece of paleofuturism -- a forecast from the 1950s about what the world would look like today. It is interesting how much Huxley got right, and how much he got wrong. Many of the issues he was concerned with no longer trouble us, but others are just as relevant today as they were when he wrote it. I was unimpressed with the introduction in this edition, written by Christopher Hitchens. His ideas were confused, he was clearly pushing his own agenda rather than introducing us to the work, and ultimately I feel he just didn't understand Huxley or his novel. Disappointing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kane Bergstrom

    Tonight, I finished "Brave New World", a book published in 1932, by Aldous Huxley. Ironically I was wearing work boots and pants, and on the clock for a fortune five hundred company. A pawn, an epsilon if you may, in this world run on time, money, and class. His visions have come true in a sense, but just the fact that we can read such things proves different. But, it does give proof that maybe his new society had it right. If I had never read this book, or any book, or any free form of entertai Tonight, I finished "Brave New World", a book published in 1932, by Aldous Huxley. Ironically I was wearing work boots and pants, and on the clock for a fortune five hundred company. A pawn, an epsilon if you may, in this world run on time, money, and class. His visions have come true in a sense, but just the fact that we can read such things proves different. But, it does give proof that maybe his new society had it right. If I had never read this book, or any book, or any free form of entertainment, I wouldn't know any better than what's right in front of me. Oblivious happiness. So, maybe the secret is to care a bit less, and stop looking so deeply? Well, if you never know, and if you never dare to know, then what the fuck is the point? To just work your life away, have meaningless sex, watch oatmeal tasting movies, and not know any better? To just pop a pill and settle for the mundane. To not think differently ever. Huxley for me confirms beliefs in the way I was brought up and taught to think and believe. To never stop asking questions, to always search for more, and to not be afraid of failure, in fact, embrace it, and learn from it. Keep dreaming, and keep learning. I recommend this and "Island" for a bit of an escape of everyday life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    O wonder! How many godly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest This was a reread for me (why did everyone who saw me with this book say, "Haven't you read that before?") and I suppose since everyone has read it, everyone knows the basic premise of Brave New World: About 600 years from now, after a devastating Nine Years War full of terror and anthrax bombs, a world government is put into place. Through gen O wonder! How many godly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest This was a reread for me (why did everyone who saw me with this book say, "Haven't you read that before?") and I suppose since everyone has read it, everyone knows the basic premise of Brave New World: About 600 years from now, after a devastating Nine Years War full of terror and anthrax bombs, a world government is put into place. Through genetic manipulation, the population is engineered to fulfill the tasks of their preordained castes, and through hypnopaedia, the population is conditioned to accept the imposed values of their society. As adults, people are discouraged from solitary pursuits, and as a result of their conditioning, spend leisure time devoted to consumerism, group sport, free sex (including mandatory orgies), 4-D movies called "feelies", and the consumption of soma -- a drug that brightens mood, aids sleep, or enables a mental holiday, depending on dosage. When a "savage" from a New Mexico Indian Reservation is introduced to the totalitarian society, both he and the people that he meets are innately repulsed by the other. Now, I reread Brave New World at this time because in Liberal Fascism, author Jonah Goldberg warned that this is the future that we're blindly marching towards. And as Goldberg also stated each time he invoked Aldous Huxley, many people read this book and wonder, "What would be so wrong with that?" The 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 strong 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. That doesn't actually sound so bad, but even Huxley himself makes it clear that his vision of the future here is a dystopia, not a utopia, and in Brave New World Revisited -- which he wrote in 1958 and which was included in the edition that I read -- he despaired that his vision was coming true even quicker than he foresaw and hoped to warn society against sleepwalking towards a future of conformity, loss of freedom, and the mindless pursuit of the trivial and degenerate. Huxley's warnings about imminent overpopulation (and, in particular, his predictions about the overbreeding of the wrong sorts of people) -- which is the lynchpin of his argument -- now seems quaintly outdated in the same way that Marx wasn't right about the imminent revolt of the working class, so it's tempting to dismiss all of his fears out of hand. For contrasting views about what modern writers think of the vision of Brave New World, here's a dissenting viewpoint from The New York Times in 2013 (but it is interesting to read in the comments section that most readers think that this article is off the mark) and an article from The New York Post in 2012 that thinks Huxley was a visionary. To me, putting Brave New World into context like this is far more interesting than simply reading the novel on its own, and insofar as Huxley was considered a great thinker of his time, I think that was his intent (and forgives the less than perfectly literary constructions of his book). Even if Huxley didn't impeccably envision the near future (although Jonah Goldberg and Kyle Smith of The Post might make compelling parallels), Brave New World certainly extrapolates a logical progression from what Huxley identified as the problems of his time, and if they have any resonance with modern readers, we would do well to sit up and take notice.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin B.

    What would happen if you were designed in a lab? If things like hair color, height, and IQ, were determined by a Greek letter? Brave New World is a book where people are born in test tubes. They are then decided to be in the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon class. Then they decide all of your characteristics, based on what class you are in. As you group up, you are taught morals through the hypnopaedic process (sleep-teaching). One of these morals is to not like being alone. But, there is What would happen if you were designed in a lab? If things like hair color, height, and IQ, were determined by a Greek letter? Brave New World is a book where people are born in test tubes. They are then decided to be in the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon class. Then they decide all of your characteristics, based on what class you are in. As you group up, you are taught morals through the hypnopaedic process (sleep-teaching). One of these morals is to not like being alone. But, there is a man named Bernard Marx who has different ideas. He prefers solitude to company. This makes him unique to the society, which threatens England’s moral structure. A theme from the book is “Having people have diverse thought processes is important.” Something that the author did great was portraying a possible future. Also, he did a great incorporation of complexity and simplicity. It was a very interesting style of writing to read. The book Brave New World is a classic for a few reasons. One reason is the quality of the writing. Another reason is the genius involved in the book. Finally, The book’s plot is very interesting and complex. Clearly, the book, Brave New World, is an amazing work of art.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    This was an OK book. First off I enjoyed the futuristic feel of the book even though it was written back in the Thirties. The idea of humans being mass produced is pretty wild. The thing that I didn't like about it was the dryness of the book. I did not see a plot buildup nor a very "high" climax in the plot. In some sections the book is really dense and I would have to use Sparknotes on it to try and decipher its meaning. In some other cases it was a good read that I could follow. I am the type This was an OK book. First off I enjoyed the futuristic feel of the book even though it was written back in the Thirties. The idea of humans being mass produced is pretty wild. The thing that I didn't like about it was the dryness of the book. I did not see a plot buildup nor a very "high" climax in the plot. In some sections the book is really dense and I would have to use Sparknotes on it to try and decipher its meaning. In some other cases it was a good read that I could follow. I am the type of person that if I feel like reading a book, I would want to just sit down and read it. I dont want to use my brain to try and get a small message out of it, but that's just me. The book has a lot of input on politics. I am not into politics so this book was sort of a bust for me. The characters in the book were probably more interesting than the actual book. You have a sex addict (Lenina), a socially awkward penquin (Bernard), a noob (John), and a hypocrite (The Dirsctor). I dont regret reading this book, but I wish that it was a little more entertaining and less prophetic.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson

    A very disturbing read! I was very upset by this book on many levels, but was intrigued by the structure Huxley used. Every different line was a different plot following many chracters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Etonomore

    I struggled with whether I wanted to give this book 4 stars or 5 stars for a solid couple of hours. I think if I were to rate Brave New World on its own, I would probably go with 4 stars. The story is incredibly ambitious and has a lot going for it, but I really think the early chapters drag. I find Bernard to be an almost intolerable character to spend time with, and its not until John is introduced that I really become invested in the world and the story. John is, quite clearly, a twisted sort I struggled with whether I wanted to give this book 4 stars or 5 stars for a solid couple of hours. I think if I were to rate Brave New World on its own, I would probably go with 4 stars. The story is incredibly ambitious and has a lot going for it, but I really think the early chapters drag. I find Bernard to be an almost intolerable character to spend time with, and its not until John is introduced that I really become invested in the world and the story. John is, quite clearly, a twisted sort of stand-in for the reader, and it is through his perspective that I think the themes Huxley is exploring really pop off the page. What really pushed me to give 5 stars here is the second half of this book, Brave New World Revisited. I can not stress enough how interesting and delightful it was to explore the mind of Huxley and his musings on the current state of the world in the '50s in regards to the totalitarian "utopia" he dreamed up back when Brave New World was originally published. If you have ever read Brave New World or if you ever plan on reading it I cannot stress enough how important I think it is to give Revisited a read through also, as it both enriches the experience of Brave New World as well as providing an incredibly engaging exploration of society and the problems we face.

  19. 4 out of 5

    jordan

    Nice world building, very inventive for the time that this was written in. I do wish we would have seen more of a protagonist, and what happened to Bernard and Lenina at the end, but what was there was pretty satisfactory. (As for the Brave New World Revisited part, I must admit that I glossed over most of it because 1) it’s rather philosophical/theoretical, and 2) I’m tired.)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aug Mdc

    A chilling look at a supposed utopia. Chillingly relatable to today!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joseph R.

    Brave New World is a classic in dystopian fiction. It shows the world circa 700 AF (After Ford). The world is seemingly ruled by one central authority, which can be looked at in two ways. In one way, the central authority is the Alphas, individuals raised to be the intellectuals and social organizers who keep society running peacefully and efficiently. Part of the efficiency managing the production of all classes of people--Alphas, Betas, Gammas, etc. They are grown in special "Hatchery and Cond Brave New World is a classic in dystopian fiction. It shows the world circa 700 AF (After Ford). The world is seemingly ruled by one central authority, which can be looked at in two ways. In one way, the central authority is the Alphas, individuals raised to be the intellectuals and social organizers who keep society running peacefully and efficiently. Part of the efficiency managing the production of all classes of people--Alphas, Betas, Gammas, etc. They are grown in special "Hatchery and Conditioning Centres." Every person is conceived in a test tube. The lower classes's eggs are split as many times as possible (called "Bokanovsky's Process") typically resulting in 96 identical people. They all do the same grunt work, so why have them different? All these people are carefully conditioned as they grow to accept their state in life. The main condition is through "hypnopaedia," where a speaker is put under each child's pillow at night and a constant stream of jingoistic ideas are implanted in their minds. As adults, they are kept in line with "soma," a drug that puts the users in an ecstatic state, and with promiscuity, so people are constantly trying to sleep with each other and no one minds. Marriage has been abolished and part of the youthful conditioning is to take contraceptives regularly. The very idea of motherhood or fatherhood is offensive and embarrassing. In a second, subtler way, the central authority is science. Science rules the development of new people, what class they are put into, how they develop, and what they do as adults. The society is carefully managed so everyone is happy and contented in their state in life. The main risk is with the Alphas, who are smart enough to think other ways of life might be possible if they can escape the distractions. Enter Bernard, a physically scrawny Alpha who works for the propaganda machine but isn't too happy in life. He can't get the girls he wants and rumors float around that he was accidentally given some of the conditioning for a lower class during his youth. Since he's in the top tier of society, he can go on vacations. One destination is an Indian reservation in New Mexico, where people still live according to the old ways. People from the Brave New World go there like they are going on safari, to see wild life in its natural habitat. Bernard gets a girl to go with him. She is horrified by what she sees (it's all dirty and they practice religion and they have children the shocking old fashioned way!) but he is fascinated, especially when he discovers a woman who had been abandoned by one of his bosses. She's had a child by the boss, named the child John, and raised him on the reservation. John has some very different ideas about life and society because of his upbringing and the only book he's ever had--The Complete Works of Shakespeare (which is of course banned in the "civilized" world). Bernard brings John and his mother back to civilization to humiliate the boss and become a celebrity. Things don't work out too well for anyone. The story is very interesting if very bleak. The scientifically-run society is fascinating and horrifying at the same time. The natural family is completely destroyed and all substantive bonds between people are so weakened that it is easy for the powers that be to run things smoothly and efficiently. The substitutes provided (soma and sex) stifle everyone's imaginations and creativity. Science isn't about discovering new things but about maintaining the status quo as much as possible. Many ideas are explored and satirized in the novel. Brave New World Revisited was written by Huxley twenty-seven years later and is a philosophical and scientific exposition on the ideas in the novel. Huxley goes through the various predictions he has made and is quite discouraged to see that things are moving much more quickly towards a real Brave New World than he thought back in 1931. His analysis is thought-provoking but it's fairly clear that his pessimistic predictions haven't turned out true yet. The essay isn't as good as the novel but it is still worth reading. I'll probably reread the novel but not the essay. 4.5 stars for the novel, 3.5 for the essay.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I ran across a website that had some free books hosted online (legally) when I was bored, and saw Brave New World, so I decided to give it a try. I read about half of it on my computer and then decided that it was absolutely worth going out and buying it. There were some times where I found myself mixing up some of the characters- but I think a lot of that comes from starting it at 3am. I didn't find that it detracted from the story though, because the plot was straightforward enough that you cou I ran across a website that had some free books hosted online (legally) when I was bored, and saw Brave New World, so I decided to give it a try. I read about half of it on my computer and then decided that it was absolutely worth going out and buying it. There were some times where I found myself mixing up some of the characters- but I think a lot of that comes from starting it at 3am. I didn't find that it detracted from the story though, because the plot was straightforward enough that you could kind of sort things out after the fact. But really, that's the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars. I'm willing to bet that it was probbly due to being sleepless- but still, looking back- it seems as though it was just too easy to confuse the characters while reading. (but again- easy enough to sort out after the fact) Some books just pop up at the right time. I mean, in a societal sense, it's a great time to revist the message of Brave New World, but even on a personal level- I found myself really challenged by some of the ideas examined by Huxley. Is an easy path- the path of least resistence, really worth the benefits of hard work that you're giving up along the way? I've been presented with some decisions that are based solely on that exact thought- so hitting these ideas in the book, granted at an exaggerated level, but still- it's been a really good reminder. I watched Gattaca in my 9th grade Biology class, and I've been somewhat interested in these strange utopian societies ever since...and I've got to say- Huxley's Brave New World only amped up that interest! It's disturbingly creepy, tragic, and absolutely fascinating all at once! Passion is worth the struggle and the pain. Pain and passion go hand in hand.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Michael

    What surprised me the most about Huxley's book was the fact that it was written in 1932. Some of the imagery of the book's dystopian future were shocking to me, so I can only imagine what the readers of 80 years ago must have thought. It reads much more like a piece of science fiction from the '60s than something from the Depression era. I was also surprised to learn (after getting about half-way through the book) that it is widely considered a very right-wing piece of fiction. I can see where t What surprised me the most about Huxley's book was the fact that it was written in 1932. Some of the imagery of the book's dystopian future were shocking to me, so I can only imagine what the readers of 80 years ago must have thought. It reads much more like a piece of science fiction from the '60s than something from the Depression era. I was also surprised to learn (after getting about half-way through the book) that it is widely considered a very right-wing piece of fiction. I can see where that idea may have originated, since the horrific society depicted in the book is partly the result of the abandonment of religion and traditional families, along with the worship of science, drugs, and free love. However, the awful future we see is also the result of excessive commercialism, corporate worship (our Lord is now "our Ford"), and white supremacy-- hardly leftist ideas. I might be more inclined to agree with the labeling of "Brave New World" as right-wing if the book had been written in the 1960s during the era of free love and civil rights. The characters even wear bell-bottoms, hot pants, and green velvet. So one might say that Aldous Huxley was more prescient in his views on the future of fashion than the future of our society. However, I wasn't reading this looking for a political message. In fact, I believe the best fiction is written when the author sets out to entertain and tell an interesting story with compelling characters. There, Huxley succeeds. It is a compelling piece of science fiction, and for that fact alone I recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    This is another difficult book to review, because it's more of a historical document than a novel. Plus, it's hard not to compare it to 1984, which I just read. I'll say this: I like this book more than 1984. 1984 is as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. While Brave New World does its share of preaching, its vision of the world is much less horrific. On the surface, it seems like a great place to live. Sure, there are horrible caste systems, but it's not like they *know* there are horrible cas This is another difficult book to review, because it's more of a historical document than a novel. Plus, it's hard not to compare it to 1984, which I just read. I'll say this: I like this book more than 1984. 1984 is as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. While Brave New World does its share of preaching, its vision of the world is much less horrific. On the surface, it seems like a great place to live. Sure, there are horrible caste systems, but it's not like they *know* there are horrible caste systems, right? Everyone's a promiscuous drug user and no one is all that unhappy. It sounds like the 1960s minus Vietnam. The ending with the whip led me to compare this book to the Lars Von Trier film Manderlay. In Manderlay, Bryce Dallas Howard ends up on a plantation in Georgia (I think) in the 20s. No one told them that slavery had been abolished. Yet, it's that uncanny utopia/dytopia that leads you to believe that /this works/. Von Trier does the unthinkable: he makes you think that abolishing slavery was a bad idea. Huxley does the same thing in Brave New World: he makes you think that this society is a good idea. That achievement makes this novel complex and thought-provoking, unlike 1984 which just beats you over the head with BIG BROTHER IS BAD over and over and over again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    I read both of these books, one after the other, under separate covers either at the end of junior high or at the beginning of high school, then went on to pick up other cheap paperbacks of Huxley's writings none of which I could relate to much until encountering Doors of Perception in college. Years later I found this combined, hardcover edition and gave away the old paperbacks. Brave New World is so much commented upon that I can think of little to add except to note that it, particularly the s I read both of these books, one after the other, under separate covers either at the end of junior high or at the beginning of high school, then went on to pick up other cheap paperbacks of Huxley's writings none of which I could relate to much until encountering Doors of Perception in college. Years later I found this combined, hardcover edition and gave away the old paperbacks. Brave New World is so much commented upon that I can think of little to add except to note that it, particularly the stuff about sex, eugenics and outlawry, was fascinating to me as an early adolescent already much interested in science fiction. The social prognostications of Brave New World Revisited were upsetting, but rather dull and already dated by the time I read them. There's no reason to read that material unless one wants to understand Huxley or the fifties better.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carsten

    the book "Brave New World" written by Aldous Huxley takes place in the future world where people are "made" and they are born with levels. In my opinion, this is a great book, however, the comparison to "1984" and "Animal Farm" this book aren't as good. This book is not directed enough in my opinion but it does use interesting details to show how the world is range.

  27. 5 out of 5

    G.M. Burrow

    Didn't like this one as much as 1984. Neither characters nor social commentary hit me nearly as hard.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For a child of the 80s and 90s, reading books like Brave New World requires constant slaps to the face to remind myself that Huxley was not, in spite of appearances, imitating that one episode of Dr. Who, or that one Kurt Vonnegut book. I brace myself to squint through the layers of cliche that might have formed over its message as a result of the book's influence on popular culture, especially the culture of the 1960s that celebrated liberties of all kinds. And yes, many elements from Brave New For a child of the 80s and 90s, reading books like Brave New World requires constant slaps to the face to remind myself that Huxley was not, in spite of appearances, imitating that one episode of Dr. Who, or that one Kurt Vonnegut book. I brace myself to squint through the layers of cliche that might have formed over its message as a result of the book's influence on popular culture, especially the culture of the 1960s that celebrated liberties of all kinds. And yes, many elements from Brave New World found their way into my head through other media. The lyrics to The Smashing Pumpkins' s song "Soma" now make a little more sense, as much sense as can be expected from any of The Smashing Pumpkins's lyrics. It is nearly impossible to read BNW without comparing it to 1984. Huxley himself does in his "revisitation" of the text in the included essays. Huxley wrote before WWII, in 1932, and Orwell, famously, in 1948. Both authors took aim at communist regimes, especially Stalin's (1922-1953), which encompassed both books. Orwell pointed retrospectively at Stalin through allegory, while Huxley was forced to predict the impact of communist culture, an act that pulled his work into the realm of science fiction. And according to the essays, Huxley thought he was making an accurate, researched prediction of humanity's future. Problems such as overpopulation would lead to desperate new systems of social order. He was partly right, and partly wrong. Huxley's world probably bears greater resemblance to Nazi totalitarianism, and, some might argue, to contemporary "consumerism," though I find that conclusion a bit of a stretch. Huxley's world is cleverly socially engineered using a system of applied eugenics, subconscious conditioning, consumerism, and drugs. The lengthy opening chapter is a tour a laboratory where babies are cloned in bottles, many of them exact genetic copies, created to fill quotas in a spectrum of intelligence classes. The Alpha class inherits superior intelligence, while the Gamma class, as a result of planned fetal alcohol poisoning, is a synthesized neanderthal. Engineered conditioning in early childhood, combined with a heavy batch of sleep hypnosis, teaches members of each class to be happy with their lot, and this is where the difficult questions begin. In an ideal communistic world, someone still has to clean the toilets and press the elevator buttons. Huxley argues that the only way to make this seem an ideal situation is to make people who enjoy cleaning toilets. Happiness here means contentment, placation, an obliviousness to any need for change or progress. Emotion and critical thought, when they arise at all, are quelled through a combination of social taboos and the drug Soma, which induces a blissfull, fantastic state free of any negative side effects. People are kept so content, socialized, and entertained that it never occurs to them to attack the system. In his essay, Huxley describes the world as "an attempt to re-create the human race in the likeness of termites." As Huxley points out in his essays, his flavor of mind control is the inverse of Orwell's; it controls entirely through positive reinforcement. In 1984, Big Brother and his "Ministries" subjugate the population using fear, torture, and wartime desperation. Orwell's world resembles a giant Dickensian orphanage, and Huxley's, Pinnochio's Pleasure Island. Huxley's injustice is more nuanced, buried in a problem of human nature as much as in an over-controlled government. There's something far more disturbing about a world in which people obey not because they're under a knife, but because they are content with the standard-issue lifestyle. Huxley's recipe for complacency: * a degree of job contentment, * a culture that encourages sexual promiscuity (beginning at age 5) * the elimination of parental relationships * a ready supply of euphoric, tranquilizing drugs * multi-sensory porn as the highest art form available * a sense of group belonging * a balanced amount of food and exercise * an arbitrary religion of consumerism that worships "Ford" Without parental issues, romantic tension, job dissatisfaction, and poverty, there is no real need for emotion or critical thought. No one really feels or thinks about anything for too long. "Mindlessness and moral idiocy are not characteristically human attributes. They are symptoms of herd-poisoning," Huxley opines optimistically in his essays. And his herd is completely poisoned. Well, except for a few odd cows. Like most dystopian stories, Brave New World tests its dystopia when outsider characters question the social order. One of them, Bernard Marx, a slight misfit in the Alpha class, falls through a chink in the design of uniform happiness. Another, John ("the savage") emerges from a culture entirely outside of "civilization." John derives his entire personal philosophy from a mixture of: 1. Native-American beliefs (where relationships involve painful sacrifices and rituals) and 2. An encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare Once Shakespeare and love are involved, a life of tranquility is out of the question. Both Bernard and John venture into sacrilege by pursuing an offensive kind of monogamous love and by questioning . . . well, by questioning anything at all. Huxley attacks totalitarianism from a different angle than I expected. Rather than unmasking blackhearted, power-hungry puppeteers behind the government as Orwell does, he presents a utilitarian dilemma: the choice of individualism over happiness. In the Brave New World, stability and contentment are purchased at the cost of individualism, emotion, and critical thought. The flaw in any plan that involves making everyone happy is that people want different kinds of happiness. Huxley won't prescribe the correct form of happiness . . . his point seems to be that such a prescription is impossible. I'll close with a few favorite quotes to illustrate: "In a properly-organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble and heroic." "Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand." "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." "In fact, [ . . . ] you're claiming the right to be unhappy. Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent, the right to have syphilis and cancer, the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind." How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in it! Chapters 8 & 15 Shakespeare's The Tempest (V, i) "Life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something." -Westley, from The Princess Bride by William Goldman, shortly before being pushed into a ravine *********************************************************************************************************** A good philosophical read always gives me a few paper topics. If you need one, take it. Just send me a copy of the paper when you're done. 1. LOVE, HUXLEY STYLE VS. HEINLEIN STYLE Halfway through the book, I shake myself and realize that Huxley's story has convinced me that there is something daring and revolutionary about romantic, monogamous love. Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land also presents a radical form of love. On what aspects of love do Heinlein and Huxley agree and disagree? 2. SHAKESPEARIAN ROMANCE? John derives a zest for romantic, monogamous love as a result of memorizing Shakespeare. Write a paper examining the Shakespeare that John quotes, evaluating John's conclusions about love and his reading of Shakespeare. 3. TOTALITARIAN BUDDHISM? Huxley's characters have most of their basic needs met "moderately," in ways that they perceive to be healthy, ways that free them from desire, as their desires are almost immediately slaked in a peaceful manner. There is no war, no conflict. Might Huxley also be criticizing a Buddhist philosophy (or at least Buddhism as it might manifest if prescribed superficially by a totalitarian government)? 4. IRONIC DISTANCE Huxley's narrator makes use of free indirect discourse, an ironic mode of narration established by Jane Austin and often used to highlight cultural absurdities. The ironic narration provides a degree of levity, makes the dystopia darklly humorous instead of just dark. In the end, though, readers must move beyond the irony or it can become its own form of Soma, a safe way to create distance from the dirty business of thinking of alternatives to what's being satirized. Toward the end of the story, can the reader maintain that safe distance? Why or why not?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron White

    I had recently listened to a podcast comparing 1984 to Brave New World with a debate on which novel was more prescient. Though most of the audience came in voting 1984, by the end of the night the vote had dramatically switched to Brave New World, which I was in favor of. I have read Brave New World, but not 1984 – so I thought I had better get to it. After reading 1984, I gave this one a reread. I found the process of reading this one fantastic. I was constantly consulting the internet for info I had recently listened to a podcast comparing 1984 to Brave New World with a debate on which novel was more prescient. Though most of the audience came in voting 1984, by the end of the night the vote had dramatically switched to Brave New World, which I was in favor of. I have read Brave New World, but not 1984 – so I thought I had better get to it. After reading 1984, I gave this one a reread. I found the process of reading this one fantastic. I was constantly consulting the internet for info on word definitions as well as all other sorts of thoughts that arose as I read. The big contrast between 1984 and Brave New World is the process of sedating/numbing the populace. In both however, the end goal is the mind-altering sedation. In 1984, it is pain and deprivation, in Brave New World it is pleasure and the absence of work and striving. The punishment for transgression in thought is different between the two as well. In 1984, reconditioning, pain, fear, death. In Brave New World, separation from society, exile to a place where you cannot badly influence others. The end goal of both societies however, is altering the mind. Bringing about a contentment or at the least malaise with the status quo. Emphasis is on the whole rather than the individual. And I found my thoughts again drifting to the idea of how our desires, thoughts, assumptions are formed. For in Brave New World, culture is formed from genetics and conditioning. People are made to take joy in whatever their lot in life has been programmed to be. Is that really so different from the way John – the Savage – has been programmed by the culture which he grew up in, and which shaped him to the point of beating his body and mind into submission when it was threatened. So, then, how does culture and current human thought shape us. Can we rely on anything we think or believe. Is genetic modification as icky as it sounds to us? This brought up thoughts of the importance of diversity of opinion and thought. How differing viewpoints should not be threatening, but liberating, and how much our current culture eschews this idea. Ford, help us to be more open-minded. Discerning, reasoning, but reasonable with others that disagree. Is happiness becoming a greater virtue than truth, even beauty? Both societies sought to produce a kind of robot, which sounds easier, gentler. Thought, actions, beliefs dictated for us. At how heavy a cost of freedom? I loved the Shakespeare references as well. I did not find Brave New World Revisited to be extremely helpful. I did note the idea of over-organization as an affront to our freedom to be interesting. And the sections – Propaganda Under a Dictatorship and The Arts of Selling to be extremely worrying, especially seeing the rhetoric and tactics of our current politicians, noting how similar it is to rather notorious bad guys of the past.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sixtine L

    I have been told and told again how important and crucial it is that I read this book. Well now I have and here's my review. It is widely considered a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, after having read this I find myself on the opposing spectrum. Yes, some things that were included in this novel are similar to the societal change that we have been experiencing. Nevertheless, I struggle to wrap my head around the idea that this is truly the direction our civilization is heading towards. This bo I have been told and told again how important and crucial it is that I read this book. Well now I have and here's my review. It is widely considered a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, after having read this I find myself on the opposing spectrum. Yes, some things that were included in this novel are similar to the societal change that we have been experiencing. Nevertheless, I struggle to wrap my head around the idea that this is truly the direction our civilization is heading towards. This book is what I would call a dystopic science fiction book. The society that is depicted in this novel is considered to be a utopia. The keyword here is considered. It is, in fact, more of a nightmarish depiction of what Aldous Huxley believes the future of humankind is going to look like. Is it perfect? No. This society only offers one kind of freedom: sexual freedom and that is the only reason why it is successful! If it did not have this freedom it would not have lasted for all those centuries. One might be perfectly fine with having only one type of freedom but it is hard to imagine our current society morphing into a society that is so limiting and technologically advanced. All in all, I liked the book but thought that Brave New World Revisited was a waste of my time. I felt like the author's perspective on the world had narcissistic undertones which made it a bitter read apart from when I was in the mood. The names of the characters were clearly inspired by Marx and Lenin. Him explaining the reason behind that would have been more interesting than reading about useless commentaries and lessons on how the world works. The whole thing about the savage reservation and the savage was disturbing and gruesome to read about. The ending was bitter and did not make me want to read this book ever again. The writing was academic but at time very addicting.

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