Science as the Main Tool of Control in the World State of Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World represents the most perfect social system with minimum deviation probability. The system itself is based on consumerism which reduces any human activity to consumption of various material goods which leads to full satisfaction of society’s needs. Science is considered to be the fundamental power controlling this system as it has reached significant progress by the beginning of the narration. However, the most essential scientific achievements in the novel have been mostly focused on the implementation of total control over the citizens of the World State, and also over all spheres of their lives.
Science in Huxley’s novel promoted the establishment of society comprised of people being unequal but evenly satisfied with their existence. This has been made possible by the introduction of ectogenesis allowing child-bearing to be synthesized as well as prenatal and postnatal human development to be brought under control. However, as “wordless conditioning is crude and wholesale” and it “cannot bring home the finer distinctions, cannot inculcate the more complex courses of behavior” it was decided to introduce an additional source of scientific manipulation – hypnopædia (Huxley 21). As a result, all the necessary behavioral and thinking patterns being in the State’s best interest were put into people’s minds.
Science has also impacted religion since its original concepts were effectively excised from the consciousness of the populace (Scott). The technological course of mankind development has replaced spiritual beliefs of society with material ones. As a matter of fact, belief in God was replaced with belief in technologies while all the original religious habits were perverted and converted into promiscuous sexual intercourses and mass consumption of drugs (soma) inducing a state of euphoria and inner detachment in individuals. Having the opportunity of satisfying its basic needs society consolidated one of the most essential dogmas of the World State: “God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness” (Huxley 159).
Similarly to other dystopias, the World State’s political system is presented by a totalitarian regime which, in its turn, is closely connected with science as well. World Controllers use conventional methods of bringing society under control for implementing their power including compulsion, violence, and ubiquitous propaganda, but the actual realization of this power is executed, again, by means of technologies. Explicit form of violence takes place at an early age: from the very birth all infants of the State are put to tortures with electric shocks and loud noise which results in development of “instinctive hatred of books and flowers” that are considered to be potentially dangerous for stability of the whole society (Huxley 17). Later on, mediate form of violence is executed expressed by hypnopædia, or sleep teaching, and soma, a synthetic drug intended to bring people to euphoria and absolute satisfaction.
Thus, science in Brave New World is considered to be the instrument that helps to eradicate those qualities from humans that could provoke the process of societal collapse. People of The World State are deprived of physical as well as moral freedom being conditioned strictly yet before their birth. The illusion of happiness being generated artificially and by violent force leads to total obedience from the direction of society and guarantees firmness of the foundations proclaimed in the motto of the World State: “COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY” (Huxley 5).
Huxley, A. Brave New World, Penguin Books, 1975. IDPH, www.idph.com.br/conteudos/ebooks/BraveNewWorld.pdf.
Kass, Leon R. “Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932).” First Things 101, March, 2000, pp. 51-52, www.firstthings.com/article/2000/03/aldous-huxleybrave-new-world.
Orwell, George. “Review of “WE” by E.I. Zamyatin.” Tribune, 4 Jan. 1946, www.orwell.ru/library/reviews/zamyatin/english/e_zamy.
Scott, Emmet. “Orwell, Huxley and the Emerging Totalitarianism.” New English Review, May 2013, www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/138161/sec_id/138161.