A happy world

Brave New World (in English Brave New World ) is the novel ‘s most famous British writer Aldous Huxley , first published in 1932 . The title originates in a work by author William Shakespeare , The Tempest , in Act V, when Miranda pronounces his speech:

Oh how wonderful!
How many beautiful creatures there are!
How beautiful is humanity! Oh happy world ,
where people live like that.
The wonder!
How many good creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! The brave new world ,
That has such people in’t.

The importance of the book in the life of Huxley led him to later write a book of essays and considerations christened New visit to a happy world ( Return to Brave New World ), which addresses in detail the different socioeconomic problems that gave impetus to The creation of his futuristic novel.

Argument

The novel anticipates the development in reproductive technology, human cultures and hypnopedia that, combined, radically change the society. The world described here could be a utopia, albeit ironic and ambiguous: humanity is unconcerned, healthy and technologically advanced. War and poverty have been eradicated, and all are permanently happy. However, the irony is that all these things have been achieved after eliminating many others: family, cultural diversity, art, advancement of science, literature, religion and philosophy.

Introduction (chapters 1-6)

The two characters (whose names, Lenina Crowne and Bernard Marx, allude to the leader of the Soviet socialist revolution, Lenin , and the father of historical materialism, Karl Marx ) present opposing views of this society. Lenina is the perfect citizen, happy and “pneumatic”, according to her behavior, fulfilling her role in society, which relates to as many men as possible, but quite incapable of exercising her freedom of thought; She does not recognize her love for the “Wild” as an emotional conflict with her conditioning.

By contrast, Bernard Marx has something of the outsider, intellectually smarter than the others (alpha-plus) – his intelligence does not respond to conditioning; But physically it is smaller than the average alpha, it faces (or at least believes to face) social problems including social rejection by women of their caste and disrespect on the part of lower castes. As a result, he has become a social misfit, embarrassed when he tries to get appointments with women, disinterested in sports, he prefers to be miserable than taking soma and often expresses opinions of nonconformity. Bernard’s unacceptable behavior puts him in trouble with his boss, the Director of the Incubation and Conditioning Lab. However, Bernard obtains permission to visit the Wild Reserve, where he takes Lenina.

The Reserve and the Wild (chapters 7-9)

The second half of the novel begins with the visit to the reserve. This is where the other main protagonist of the novel is presented. John the Savage is the son of two citizens of the civilized world (it is the result of an accidental error in the contraceptive method ). Soon it will be seen that his father is none other than Bernard’s boss; He was visiting the reserve when his mother got lost; Staying there alone, gave birth to John. He grew up with the lifestyle of the Zuni tribe ( Indian village , sedentary populations living in the Southwest United States), and his religion, which is a mixture of Zuni and Christian beliefs . However, he is also influenced by his mother’s education (which taught him to read) and the discovery of the works of William Shakespeare .

The Savage Visits the World State (chapters 10-18)

The cultural clash that results when the “savage” is brought into “Happy World” society, as he initially calls it, provides a conduit for Huxley to compare the values ​​of society with ours and points to the major defects of Happy world.

The key moral point of the book revolves around two diametrically opposed problems. The first, and most obvious, is that to ensure continued and universal happiness, society must be manipulated, freedom of choice and expression must be reduced, and intellectual exercise and emotional expression must be inhibited. Citizens are happy, but John the Savage believes that this happiness is artificial and ” soulless “. In a crucial scene, he discusses with another character, Western World Controller Mustafa Mond, that pain and anguish are as much a necessary part of life as joy, and that without them, putting it into perspective, joy Loses all meaning.

The second problem presented in the novel is that freedom of choice, inhibition of emotional expression and the search for intellectual ideas result in the absence of happiness. This problem is shown in principle through the character of Bernard, but also through the behavior of John in the final stages of the novel. Unable to completely suppress his desire for Lenin, whom he considers immoral, and prisoner of remorse for being incapable of expressing his pain at the death of his mother, he seeks isolation from society.

In the last chapter, Bernard Marx and his friend Helmholtz Watson go into exile on the islands, but the Savage is not allowed to go with them. Instead, find an old lighthouse in the rural area of ​​England and settle there. Try to start a new life as a hermit , including a regime of mortification of the flesh and self- flagellation . Unfortunately, being a celebrity now, she is constantly harassed by the paparazzi . Finally, after a video of him autoflagelándose, the visitors arrive in greater quantities, among them Lenina, and it succumbs to an orgy of sex and soma. The next morning, pressed by pain, remorse and despair, he committed suicide.

In other issues, the book attacks the production of online assembly as humiliating, the liberation of sexual morality as an affront to love and family , the use of slogans , the concept of a centralized government, and the use of Science to control the thoughts and actions of people. Huxley attacks the consumerist and capitalist society : in the novel, the legendary founder of the society was Henry Ford , the carmaker and creator of the assembly line system, in fact Ford is the god of this society. The letter T (a reference to Ford’s Model T ) has replaced the Christian Cross as a quasi-religious symbol.

The book ‘s title is a quotation from Miranda in Act V of the play The Tempest by Shakespeare , when she first meets other people different from his father. John the Savage is a strong fan of Shakespeare, which places him in a higher rank than most of Huxley’s dystopian humanity. Like most of the artistic past and cultural achievements, Shakespeare’s works are archived and unknown in this society except for the world’s controllers.

Characters

From the Fordian society

  • Archi, singer of the community, a semi-religious figure based in Canterbury
  • Assistant Director of Predestination
  • Darwin Bonaparte, a paparazzo of the Producing Society of Films.
  • Fanny Crowne, friend of Lenina
  • Lenina Crowne , Beta-plus and genetic worker
  • Thomas, director of London’s Central Farming
  • Henry Foster, administrator of the Cultivation and current companion of Lenina
  • Benito Hoover, an Alpha-plus friend of Lenina.
  • Miss Keate, Director of High Technology of Glass and Cement
  • Bernard Marx , Alpha-plus, psychologist
  • Mustafa Mond , world auditor in Western Europe
  • Helmholtz Watson, emotional engineer writing press. He is a friend of Bernard Marx and one of the few who understands him.
  • Participants of the solidarity service: Morgana Rothschild, Herbert Bakunin, Fifi Bradlaugh, Jim Bokanovsky, Clara Deterding (the group’s president), Joanna Diesel, Sarojini Engels, Tom Kawaguchi.

From the reservation of Malpais

  • John the Savage , son of Linda and Thomas, the director of central cultivation in London.
  • Linda, John’s mother, former Beta-less embryonic engineer in London
  • Reserve guard, an Alpha-less administrator
  • Kiakimé, loved by John
  • Kothlu, married to Kiakimé
  • Old Mitsima instructs John about indigenous popular traditions
  • Palowhitwa
  • Popé, lover of Linda detested by John

Historical characters

These are characters contemporary to the novel, who are referred to as fundamental to the development of the society described

  • Henry Ford , central figure in world society.
  • Sigmund Freud , whose name is misinterpreted as a pseudonym of Ford: “… when he wrote about psychology”.
  • Reuben Rabinovich, a supposed child of the twentieth century from which the hypnopedia was invented .

The world state

History

The calendar of the world state has the year 1908 as the start, as this is the year in which the first Ford Model T was made . Its dates are denominated as aF (before Ford) and dF (after Ford). The War of the Nine Years that cites the novel happened in the year 141 of its calendar, that corresponds with the year 2049 of the Christian Era. Supposedly, it was a war that affected most of the planet, would arise in Europe and caused great damage, caused by the chemical weapons used in it.

The war led to a collapse in the world economy, and world leaders decided to deal with catastrophes by imposing new technologies in all the territories of the planet. This decision provoked a great resistance, reason why they decided a change of policy, initiating a pacific campaign, creating the World State, in which everything was censored that was not convenient to the state to him: closed museums, eliminated literature, destruction of monuments. ..

At the time of history, the World State is fully established and almost all citizens of the Earth are under its absolute control.

Political geography

The entire planet is unified as a single world state, governed by 10 global controllers, established in several key cities. There are few isolated areas as ‘wild reserves’, including parts of New Mexico, South America, Samoa, and a group of islands off the coast of New Guinea. A conversation between John and Western Europe’s global controller, Mustafa Mond , reveals further details of the political geography of the World State.

Mond explains that areas that have very few resources or languish in very austere climates are not “civilized” by the government, and with low economic resources. As a consequence these areas remain as reserves and local life continues. Some islands such as Iceland and the Falklands , have been reserved for citizens of the world state that does not fit into the normal social life.

Population

The two billion people of the world state are rigidly divided into five classes or castes. The society is controlled by the alphas and their subordinates, betas. Below, in descending order mentally and intelligently are the gammas, deltas and epsilons. Each caste is further divided into “more” and “less”. At the pinnacle of society are alpha-double-plus, destined to be the future scientists and administrators of the world. People of different castes are conditioned to be happy in their own way and do not resent each other. However, at the same time, all members of society are taught repetitively with the idea that all are equally important in society. Citizens of the world state enjoy racial harmony throughout the planet. Although England is populated mostly by Caucasians, the population also contains substantial ethnic proportions. When John visits the electrical products factory in London, John sees blacks and blacks working together. The only “amorio” (sort of film of maximum definition) described is carried out by a black actor and a white actress. The Crop Director describes how babies are grown regardless of ethnicity, so whites and blacks are grown at the central London breeding farm.

Technology

Life in the world state is dominated by a very advanced technology, which influences all aspects of life. Sport, a pillar of the world state consists of several games developed using high technology artifacts, to keep factories occupied. Games like surface tennis , and electromagnetic golf are the biggest distractions for all levels of society. It is forbidden to create a new game that does not have at least one artifact more than the game that has already been created, since it is necessary to encourage consumption.

Another key aspect of entertainment are “love affairs” a high-tech version of the films. Film users (called Sensitive Cinema) place their hands on the metal knobs on the edges of the chair’s arms, allowing them to feel the physical sensations of the actors onscreen. Other high-tech entertainment gadgets appear bluntly in the book, including synthetic music boxes, essence organs (musical instruments that combine music with pleasing aromas), colored organs (combine music with bright light), and television.

Transportation technology is also highly advanced. The main form of urban transport is the helicopter, with variations including expensive “taxicopters” and “sportsmen”. For the lower castes, the high speed monorail is used to go to the rural area. At the level, they use rocket planes , whose color indicates their destination.

In breeding and conditioning centers, advanced technology is used in the creation of new embryos. In addition to high-tech laboratory equipment, hatcheries have machines to condition heat-packed embryos, sudden movements and diseases, allowing them to perform their predestined tasks in specific climates. Children already born are exposed in the conditioning centers to a variety of advanced devices that help to mold them into their predetermined roles. In the early chapters, Delta children are trained to hate the field and books in a process that uses horns and electrocution. Hypnopedia is performed using speakers installed in the beds.

Other aspects of life are heavily influenced by advanced technology. Most clothing is made from fine and synthetic materials such as acetate and viscose. Men shave with electrolytic razors and consume chewing gum with sex hormones. Citizens can relax using massage machines and the ubiquitous “soma” (the novel reveals that although it is ingested as a tablet, it can also be vaporized to form an anesthetic cloud, as when John throws tablets out the window).

Interpretation

It has been affirmed by several literary critics , and supported by Aldous Huxley himself , that the book, in addition to satirizar the development of the contemporary society, marks a suicidal perspective on the future of the same. In the novel, the Reserve (which is associated with the past, and everything it contains as misery and disease) and the world society (which represents the future) are united in the protagonist : John the Savage . In a metaphorical sense, this union could represent the present, insofar as John is neither part of the past nor the future of past or future societies.

It seems to have very clear philosophical symbolisms in the struggle between the truth, and the fiction in which each one can live, or we are supposed to live most of us all. It is clear the parallelism with the myth of the cavern of Plato , in which people are happy, although it is slave, without freedom in the prison of its own mind. The film The Matrix used several ideas from A Happy World , where one lives in a completely unreal world. This subject is also treated, although to a lesser extent, in the film The Thirteenth Floor . Given these data, it should be noted that Huxley considered himself an anarchist , which would explain part of his vision of life especially in the political sphere, although in the eyes of the libertarian movement of that time a heterodox or if you will, contradictory.

Satire of the society of the 1930s

As a way of underlining similarities in this fictional dystopia and its own contemporary culture, Huxley incorporates several astute satirical references to such entities as the Church of England (referred to as a community song), the BBC or the British tabloid the Daily Mirror ( “the Delta Mirror” ), the ” the Christian Science Monitor ” ( “the Science Monitor Fordian ‘), Henry Ford , George Bernard Shaw and Sigmund Freud . The center of propaganda London Brave New World is on Fleet Street , the traditional home of the British press, and spokesman pseudo-religious community is in Canterbury , where he is a cleric leader of the current Anglican Church.

The characters of Huxley are given names taken from important individuals in the past of the World State. For example, Bernard Marx refers to Bernard Shaw (one of the few uncensored writers of antiquity) and Karl Marx . Because the World State represents values ​​from opposing ideologies within the political spectrum, some of these names combine capitalism and communism , indicating that, for Huxley, ‘extremes touch’. Thus, female characters named Polly Trotsky and Morgana Rothschild are mentioned .

  • Henry Foster draws a parallel with William Foster , an American Communist who took the presidency in 1924, 1928 and 1932, all around the time of the publication of the book. Within these references are the following:
  • Lenina Crowne: refers to the monarchy or the monarchical government and Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Revolution of 1917 , a radical overthrow of a monarchy.
  • Mustafa Mond: The head of local society is named by a particularly modernistic couple, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Sir Alfred Mond . The former was a leader who untied Turkey from its Islamic roots and the latter was the head of the Imperial Chemical Industries, a leader in modern labor relations.
  • Helmholtz Watson is a reference to Herman Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, German physician, physiologist and psychophysicist, and John Broadus Watson, American psychologist and founder of behaviorism.

Two characters are named after fascists and contemporary industrialists:

  • Primo Mellon combines Miguel Primo de Rivera , the Spanish dictator who foresaw Francisco Franco , and Andrew W. Mellon , an industrialist philanthropist.
  • Benito Hoover joins the fascist leader Benito Mussolini and Herbert Hoover , president of the United States at the beginning of the 20th century .

In addition, there are references to the authors of the Communist Manifesto :

  • Bernard Marx is an obvious reference to Karl Marx .
  • Sarojini Engels is a reference to Friedrich Engels , developer of dialectical materialism and co-founder of communism . The first name is a reference to Sarojini Naidu , a Hindu and contemporary political leader of Gandhi.

Other minor characters who take their names from scientists, political leaders and industrialists:

  • Fifi Bradlaugh by Charles Bradlaugh , a British political activist and atheist.
  • Herbert Bakunin by Mikhail Bakunin , Impeller of the anarchist movement.
  • Clara Deterding by Henri Deterding , president of the Royal Dutch / Shell oil company .
  • Joanna Diesel by Rudolf Diesel , inventor of the diesel engine
  • Darwin Bonaparte combines the scientist Charles Darwin with some of the two emperors of the Bonaparte dynasty
  • George Edzel is a reference to Edsel Ford , the only son of Henry Ford and president of the Ford Motor Company from 1919 to 1943.
  • Polly Trotsky is a reference to Lev Trotsky , the Russian revolutionary and Marxist theorist.

In the daily life presented in the work, the word “Ford” is used in place of the word “Lord”, as an allusion to God, in English, rather than “Oh my God!” Oh, my Lord!), The characters repeat: “Oh, my Ford!” (“Oh, my Ford!”). On the other hand, the contraceptive method used in the novel is called “Malthusian exercises,” which makes obvious allusion to the so-called father of demography: Thomas Robert Malthus .

Influences

One of Aldous Huxley’s greatest contemporary influences can be traced in the thinking of the transhumanist intellectual , novelist and essayist Michel Houellebecq , particularly in his most important work, The Elementary Particles , in which he devotes himself and his older brother, Julian Huxley , Whole chapter: “Julian and Aldous”; Throughout the same the characters debate and channel the author’s thoughts, highlighting the importance of the dystopia of the Huxley in order to understand contemporary society and the unattainable ideology that would be implying their current and almost complete secularization :

“Aldous Huxley was an optimist, like his brother …” he said with a sort of disgust. The metaphysical mutation that originated materialism and modern science had two great consequences: rationalism and individualism. Huxley’s mistake was to misjudge the balance of forces between the two consequences. More specifically, his mistake was to underestimate the increase in individualism produced by the growing awareness of death. From individualism arise freedom, the feeling of the self, the need to distinguish and surpass others. In a rational society like the one described by A happy world , the struggle can be attenuated. Economic competition, a metaphor for the domination of space, has no raison d’être in a rich society, which controls economic flows. Sexual competition, a metaphor for the domination of time through procreation, has no raison d’être in a society in which sex and procreation are perfectly separated; But Huxley forgets to take individualism into account. He failed to understand that sex, once dissociated from procreation, subsists not as a principle of pleasure but as a principle of narcissistic differentiation; So is the desire for riches. Why has the Swedish Social-Democratic model never been able to replace the liberal model? Why has it never been applied to the field of sexual satisfaction? Because the metaphysical mutation operated by modern science leads to individualization, vanity, hatred and desire. In itself, desire, unlike pleasure, is a source of suffering, hatred and unhappiness. This was known and taught by all philosophers: not only Buddhists or Christians, but all philosophers worthy of such a name. The solution of the Utopians, from Plato to Huxley through Fourier, is to extinguish the desire and suffering that provokes the immediate satisfaction of the desire. At the opposite extreme, the erotic-advertising society in which we live strives to organize desire, to increase desire in unprecedented proportions, while maintaining satisfaction in the private sphere. For society to function, for the continuation of competition, desire has to grow, spread and devour the lives of men. 1

Cultural impact

Other works after A Happy World have taken names and ideas from the novel:

  • In the movie Demolition Man , the protagonist is called Lenina Huxley, by Lenina Crowne and Aldous Huxley.
  • The song «Soma», written by Julian Casablancas , of the rock group The Strokes , is possibly inspired by the use of soma: the drug given by the government of the novel to the inhabitants, the first words of the song say so To Spanish): “Soma is what they would take when difficult times opened their eyes; They would see the pain in a different way. “
  • The group of heavy metal British Iron Maiden was inspired by the novel by Huxley for his twelfth album, entitled homonymously Brave New World .
  • Marilyn Manson’s third album , titled Mechanical Animals , deals with the despair of a man in a world very similar to the one proposed by Huxley, this alpha man is in search of that soma that in the end ends up being an induced, temporary and false happiness. The song that most clearly reflects this is called “Coma white” where Manson changes the word sum by comma. The booklet and the CD itself have the image of the “coma” tablet.
  • The English singer Richard Ashcroft , who made his name with his rock band The Verve , includes in his solo album Alone with everybody an item titled “Brave New World”.
  • The Spanish musical group Girasoules , in his disc Happy World was inspired in the popular novel of Huxley among other books of science fiction. Some songs on the disc have lyrics with references very close to the plot of “A happy world”, like the song “Last train” or the homonymous one to the disc.
  • The British heavy metal band Motörhead also plays a song by that name.
  • The German heavy metal band Iron Savior was the first to refer to the work of Huxley, before Iron Maiden or Mötorhead on their first album in 1997.
  • The German thrash metal band Tankard makes reference to the novel, in the subject «Grave New World», of the disc “The Tankard”.
  • The band of thrash metal Sepultura interprets a look from “the savages” towards the happy world in the letter of the subject “Slave New World”, of his disc Chaos AD
  • In the song “I am”, of the hip hop group La Tecnika , the novel is named.
  • The film The Island , directed in 2005 by Michael Bay, reflects a society very similar to the one of happy world (human beings incubated and conditioned from the birth to belong to a caste: alphas, deltas, etc.), although limited to a technology Center. Curiously, Huxley has another novel called The Island, but the plot of the film is much closer to A Happy World than to that other book.
  • The Mexican progressive rock group Chac Mool on their album Nadie in particular presents a piece called exactly A Happy World and speaks clearly of the contents of the book, although with some small differences: It refers to the beginning of the song to the “Green Alpha” , Which do not appear in the novel. Also instead of mentioning the drug “Soma”, they mention another called “Mandy”.

“The island” and “A happy world”

There are different elements in common between The Island and A Happy World , used with different connotations in each one:

The island A happy world
Drugs used for lighting and self-discovery. Drugs used to manage and control the masses.
Children living in groups so as not to have to endure the neuroses of their parents. Children living in a group to eliminate individuality.
States of trance to increase learning. States of trance to install doctrines.
Assisted reproduction (artificial insemination of low technology). Assisted reproduction (babies high tech test tube).
Natural methods of contraception, expressive sex. Artificial universal contraception, sex without meaning.
Dangerous ascent to a temple, as spiritual preparation. Succession of violent passion.
Parrots trained to pronounce uplifting slogans. Ubiquitous speakers.

Adaptations

The first translation into Spanish was made by Luys Santa Marina for the publisher Luis Miracle in 1935, in his collection Centauro. This translation was the reference in Spanish until the one made for Plaza & Janés in 1980 by Ramón Hernández.

  • Brave New World (radio) CBS Radio Workshop (January 27 and February 3, 1956)
  • Brave New World (TV), (1980)
  • Schöne Neue Welt (Musical Rock) Roland Meier / Stefan Wurz, Kulturhaus Osterfeld Pforzheim, Germany (1994)
  • Brave New World (telefilm) (1998) 2
  • Brave New World (adaptation to theater) Brendon Burns, Solent Peoples Theater (2003)
  • Schöne Neue Welt (Musical) GRIPS Theater Berlin, Germany (2006)
  • A happy world (radio) National Radio of Spain (2013) 3

References

  1. Back to top↑ Michel Houellebecq, The elementary particles , Editorial Anagrama, 1999 (1998), pp. 161-162
  2. Back to top↑ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145600/ Brave New World (1998) TV
  3. Back to top↑ « ‘ A happy world’, by Aldous Huxley, new sound fiction of Radio Nacional de España» . Rtve.es June 20, 2013 . Retrieved on December 1, 2013 .