Sunday, September 09, 2007

Brave New World

Brave New World
Aldous Huxley
Perennial Classics, 1998

This was a very interesting book. I cannot believe I had not read it sooner. My favorite book for a long time was 1984, Orwell and I remember right after I read that book I picked up Brave New World but for whatever reason did not get passed the second page. This time I devoured the book in just three days.

It is satirical, scientific, philisophical, psychological, and spiritual in content. The book hypothesizes what would happen in a world where babies were fertilized and hatched in a factory with precise chemical components to create a society that is 10% brilliant with the rest on varrying degrees below par in order to be fit for all the necessary tasks in society (trash collector, etc...). This means that nobody had parents so everyone belongs to everyone else. In this hypothetical world people do not experience intense emotions instead they are constantly popping a substance that has the depressent effect of alcohol + hallusinagin without the guilt and ill feelings the next day.

A young man who was raised in an indian reservation that survived in New Mexico free from the controlling totalitarianism of the rest of the world is brought back to his people in London to see what civilized living and civilized people are like. But as could be guessed that was a mess because the man had known Shakespear and God, he knew raging emotions, love, solotude. These things were not compatable with civilizations. There are many fabulous dialogues along the way but finally he is granted leave to an abandoned place not far from London where he could start a new life as a hermit growing and hunting for his survival. But people discover him and taunt him.
The last few pages are tragic and I wont give it away. But it is a good book to get you thinking about how much any of us can uphold individual values and beliefs and the power of group think. Huxleys explanation of the value of religion through one character, a government leader, that people turn to learn of God in old age when people realize their weakness, they become listless and lose comfort. In the Brave New World people are made to be happy all the time. They are always comfortable and have no fears, even of death. Because of this they never need God. They never have need to seek something greater then themselves. They are comfortable and have everything they ever wanted when they want it. These people never have intense feelings of love, suffering, isolation, anger. Essencially they live a numb and shallow life without need.
I wonder if many people in States and other parts of the world do not seek God because they too live shallow lives seeking happiness, living in comfort, getting everything they want when they want it without sacrifice, and essencially being their own God, the center of their own universe, meeting only their own pleasures are very much the same as the people in this book. I wonder....
All the more reason I want to experience both great highs and lows in this life. I want to enjoy art and I want to know what it is to go without an essencial need every now and then. But mostly I want to make sure I never live chasing my own happiness, putting myself on the throne that is reserved for God. I will not serve myself or anyone else but God. Read the book!

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