Brave New World by Aldous HuxleyBrave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider.
James Dacre: are we living Brave New World's nightmare future?
Sign up for our newsletters! Few of Huxley's predictions have proven to be perfectly accurate, yet many aspects of the Utopia of Brave New World feel uncomfortably like our world. Talk about the book as a prophetic vision of the future. Which aspects of the book did you find most disturbing? Which hit closest to home?
The novel was written in The time at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century is simply the start of many scientific discoveries. At that time, the greatest minds worked, such as Einstein, Rutherford, Heisenberg, de Broglie, and others. Space and quantum mechanics became popular studies, and neurons were discovered. Medicine developed rapidly. Moreover, only now, having seen the date the book was written, have we understood the special charm of the novel. This is not just fiction, but such a way to look into the future.
In this dystopian novel first published in , Huxley foretold many technological advances—including test-tube babies, immersive entertainment systems, and sleep-learning. The World State in which the novel takes place has been engineered by its leaders to be devoid of strong emotions, passion, and longterm personal relationships. Here, children are manufactured, not born. Once created, they are conditioned, intellectually and physically, to mature into adults who will satisfy the strictures of predetermined caste roles. The novel has been listed as one of the top English-language books of the 20th century.
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A ldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in in the shadow of the first world war , the Wall Street Crash and a devastating flu virus that had claimed millions of lives. The Treaty of Versailles had carved out a new Europe, while electricity, the automobile, production lines, new mass media and aeroplanes were changing the world. England was in the grip of a depression, but science and technology promised a better future: a world where disease, drudgery and poverty might no longer exist. Very few writers were bold enough to challenge this naive optimism but in Brave New World, Huxley certainly did; now his work, adapted by Dawn King for the stage and premiering at Royal and Derngate, Northampton, challenges audiences to do the same. Huxley was concerned with those who had little say in their society, who were at the mercy of an all-powerful elite. His idea of the helpless masses is still a common theme in our own popular culture — just think of The Hunger Games, Insurgent, Black Mirror, Humans, Utopia.
Huxley's utilitarian society seeks the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. Happiness is stability and emotional equilibrium in people's lives rather than things that we might associate with happiness, such as achievement, advancement, love, and beauty. Instead, the greatest happiness comes through scientific and social conditioning that makes each person content with who they are and what they do. Why does Mustapha Mond insist that science must be constrained in the same way that art and religion are? Society must restrict science because too much scientific progress can result in social instability.