Thursday, May 9. 2013
“There’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears – that’s what soma is.”
“But the tears are necessary!”
“Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn’t there something in that?” he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. “Quite apart from God – though of course God would be a reason for it. Isn’t there something in living dangerously?”
“There’s a great deal in it,” the Controller replied. “Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.”
“What?” questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.
“It’s one of the conditions of perfect health. That’s why we’ve made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.”
“Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences.”
“But I like the inconveniences.”
“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”
“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,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
The debate between Mustapha Mond and John in Chapter 17 (preceded immediately by Chapter 16’s thoughtful discussion between Mond and Helmholtz Watson) represents the ideological core of Brave New World – the clash of ideas that was most important to Huxley. It’s more complicated than it appears at first blush, where John appears to be in the right (as a stand-in for “us”) and Mond appears to be in the wrong. While it’s true John takes “our” side – seek challenges, even if it means taking risks or living dangerously! – Mond expresses the views we might have shared had we been similarly conditioned.
In other words, it’s worth evaluating both arguments rather than summarily rejecting one (or even rooting for one), even though it’s clear that Huxley values John’s viewpoint more.
The characters argue about the virtues and downsides of faith, civilization, and inconvenience. Their arguments are eloquent, cite evidence, and deal with one another fairly. And in the end, the characters are unable to convince one another of the virtues of their respective sides. (Mond, in fact, seems to have been deeply similar to John until he decided to pursue a different life, thereby placing himself on the opposite side. This, of course, makes him fundamentally dissimilar to the Savage.)
Instead, Mond concedes the right to suffer to John and lets him go on his way.
It’s somewhat surprising that the scene does not conclude with a defeat, agreement, or surrender. But that is how it ends. Your task, then, is to evaluate the philosophical arguments each man makes fairly – based on the evidence we see throughout Brave New World – and to declare a winner: Whose philosophy ultimately makes more sense?
The usual caveats from last week – a minimum (that means floor) of three full pages, with at least five paragraphs, written in MLA format and using evidence from the text – apply.
What doesn’t apply is the thesis structure; this is a more free-flowing paper than usual. You should still have an overarching idea; otherwise, the paper is chaos. But the idea is something akin to an assessment of, say, a film review; you’re making a positive recommendation of someone’s world-view, which means giving us a fairly comprehensive examination of it.
Chapters 16 and 17 appear after the jump. You will still need page numbers in your citations, but this removes the need for you to retype your evidence. Just copy, paste, and go!
For this post, written feedback for at least two of your peers is required! Congratulate them, praise them, ask them questions...reach out! There’s no comment limit for this thread, so if you feel like talking to your peers, follow your instincts! Check your work to see if someone left feedback for you, and start conversations with your readers – and classmates!
Finally, please remember to nominate two of your peers for their excellent work.
The due dates for the respective components of the assignment are as follows:
+ Your main post is due to both the blog and Turnitin.com by 11:59pm on Sunday, May 12th.
+ Your feedback and nominations are due by 11:59pm on Monday, May 13th.
As always, write well, think well…and good luck.
The room into which the three were ushered was the Controller’s study.
“His Fordship will be down in a moment.” The Gamma butler left them to themselves.
Helmholtz laughed aloud.
“It’s more like a caffeine-solution party than a trial,” he said, and let himself fall into the most luxurious of the pneumatic arm-chairs. “Cheer up, Bernard,” he added, catching sight of his friend’s green unhappy face. But Bernard would not be cheered; without answering, without even looking at Helmholtz, he went and sat down on the most uncomfortable chair in the room, carefully chosen in the obscure hope of somehow deprecating the wrath of the higher powers.
The Savage meanwhile wandered restlessly round the room, peering with a vague superficial inquisitiveness at the books in the shelves, at the sound-track rolls and reading machine bobbins in their numbered pigeon-holes. On the table under the window lay a massive volume bound in limp black leather-surrogate, and stamped with large golden T's. He picked it up and opened it. MY LIFE AND WORK, BY OUR FORD. The book had been published at Detroit by the Society for the Propagation of Fordian Knowledge. Idly he turned the pages, read a sentence here, a paragraph there, and had just come to the conclusion that the book didn't interest him, when the door opened, and the Resident World Controller for Western Europe walked briskly into the room.
Mustapha Mond shook hands with all three of them; but it was to the Savage that he addressed himself. “So you don’t much like civilization, Mr. Savage,” he said.
The Savage looked at him. He had been prepared to lie, to bluster, to remain sullenly unresponsive; but, reassured by the good-humoured intelligence of the Controller’s face, he decided to tell the truth, straightforwardly. “No.” He shook his head.
Bernard started and looked horrified. What would the Controller think? To be labelled as the friend of a man who said that he didn’t like civilization – said it openly and, of all people, to the Controller – it was terrible. “But, John,” he began. A look from Mustapha Mond reduced him to an abject silence.
“Of course,” the Savage went on to admit, “there are some very nice things. All that music in the air, for instance…”
“Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about my ears and sometimes voices.”
The Savage’s face lit up with a sudden pleasure. “Have you read it too?” he asked. “I thought nobody knew about that book here, in England.”
“Almost nobody. I’m one of the very few. It’s prohibited, you see. But as I make the laws here, I can also break them. With impunity, Mr. Marx,” he added, turning to Bernard. “Which I’m afraid you can’t do.”
Bernard sank into a yet more hopeless misery.
“But why is it prohibited?” asked the Savage. In the excitement of meeting a man who had read Shakespeare he had momentarily forgotten everything else.
The Controller shrugged his shoulders. “Because it’s old; that’s the chief reason. We haven’t any use for old things here.”
“Even when they’re beautiful?”
“Particularly when they’re beautiful. Beauty’s attractive, and we don’t want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones.”
“But the new ones are so stupid and horrible. Those plays, where there’s nothing but helicopters flying about and you feel the people kissing.” He made a grimace. “Goats and monkeys!” Only in Othello’s word could he find an adequate vehicle for his contempt and hatred.
“Nice tame animals, anyhow,” the Controller murmured parenthetically.
“Why don’t you let them see Othello instead?”
“I’ve told you; it’s old. Besides, they couldn’t understand it.”
Yes, that was true. He remembered how Helmholtz had laughed at Romeo and Juliet. “Well then,” he said, after a pause, “something new that’s like Othello, and that they could understand.”
“That’s what we’ve all been wanting to write,” said Helmholtz, breaking a long silence.
“And it’s what you never will write,” said the Controller. “Because, if it were really like Othello nobody could understand it, however new it might be. And if were new, it couldn’t possibly be like Othello.”
“Yes, why not?” Helmholtz repeated. He too was forgetting the unpleasant realities of the situation. Green with anxiety and apprehension, only Bernard remembered them; the others ignored him. “Why not?”
“Because our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers without steel – and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. 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 strongly 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. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty, Mr. Savage. Liberty!” He laughed. “Expecting Deltas to know what liberty is! And now expecting them to understand Othello! My good boy!”
The Savage was silent for a little. “All the same,” he insisted obstinately, “Othello’s good, Othello’s better than those feelies.”
“Of course it is,” the Controller agreed. “But that’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.”
“But they don’t mean anything.”
“They mean themselves; they mean a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience.”
“But they’re…they’re told by an idiot.”
The Controller laughed. “You’re not being very polite to your friend, Mr. Watson. One of our most distinguished Emotional Engineers…”
“But he’s right,” said Helmholtz gloomily. “Because it is idiotic. Writing when there’s nothing to say…”
“Precisely. But that requires the most enormous ingenuity. You’re making flivvers out of the absolute minimum of
steel – works of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation.”
The Savage shook his head. “It all seems to me quite horrible.”
“Of course it does. 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.”
“I suppose not,” said the Savage after a silence. “But need it be quite so bad as those twins?” He passed his hand over his eyes as though he were trying to wipe away the remembered image of those long rows of identical midgets at the assembling tables, those queued-up twin-herds at the entrance to the Brentford monorail station, those human maggots swarming round Linda’s bed of death, the endlessly repeated face of his assailants. He looked at his bandaged left hand and shuddered. “Horrible!”
“But how useful! I see you don’t like our Bokanovsky Groups; but, I assure you, they’re the foundation on which everything else is built. They’re the gyroscope that stabilizes the rocket plane of state on its unswerving course.” The deep voice thrillingly vibrated; the gesticulating hand implied all space and the onrush of the irresistible machine. Mustapha Mond’s oratory was almost up to synthetic standards.
“I was wondering,” said the Savage, “why you had them at all – seeing that you can get whatever you want out of those bottles. Why don’t you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you’re about it?”
Mustapha Mond laughed. “Because we have no wish to have our throats cut,” he answered. “We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn’t fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas – that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!” he repeated.
The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully.
“It’s an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work – go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized – but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren’t sacrifices; they’re the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he’s got to run. He can’t help himself; he’s foredoomed. Even after decanting, he’s still inside a bottle – an invisible bottle of infantile and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course,” the Controller meditatively continued, “goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It’s obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing.”
“What was that?” asked the Savage.
Mustapha Mond smiled. “Well, you can call it an experiment in rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn’t properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen.”
The Savage sighed, profoundly.
“The optimum population," said Mustapha Mond, "is modelled on the iceberg – eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above.”
“And they’re happy below the water line?”
“Happier than above it. Happier than your friend here, for example.” He pointed.
“In spite of that awful work?”
“Awful? They don’t find it so. On the contrary, they like it. It’s light, it’s childishly simple. No strain on the mind or the muscles. Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for? True,” he added, “they might ask for shorter hours. And of course we could give them shorter hours. Technically, it would be perfectly simple to reduce all lower-caste working hours to three or four a day. But would they be any the happier for that? No, they wouldn’t. The experiment was tried, more than a century and a half ago. The whole of Ireland was put on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large increase in the consumption of soma; that was all. Those three and a half hours of extra leisure were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt constrained to take a holiday from them. The Inventions Office is stuffed with plans for labour-saving processes. Thousands of them.” Mustapha Mond made a lavish gesture. “And why don’t we put them into execution? For the sake of the labourers; it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure. It’s the same with agriculture. We could synthesize every morsel of food, if we wanted to. But we don’t. We prefer to keep a third of the population on the land. For their own sakes – because it takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory. Besides, we have our stability to think of. We don’t want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. That’s another reason why we’re so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science.”
Science? The Savage frowned. He knew the word. But what it exactly signified he could not say. Shakespeare and the old men of the pueblo had never mentioned science, and from Linda he had only gathered the vaguest hints: science was something you made helicopters with, some thing that caused you to laugh at the Corn Dances, something that prevented you from being wrinkled and losing your teeth. He made a desperate effort to take the Controller’s meaning.
“Yes,” Mustapha Mond was saying, “that’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.”
“What?” said Helmholtz, in astonishment. “But we’re always saying that science is everything. It’s a hypnopedic platitude.”
“Three times a week between thirteen and seventeen,” put in Bernard.
“And all the science propaganda we do at the College…”
“Yes; but what sort of science?” asked Mustapha Mond sarcastically. “You’ve had no scientific training, so you can’t judge. I was a pretty good physicist in my time. Too good – good enough to realize that all our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody’s allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn’t be added to except by special permission from the head cook. I’m the head cook now. But I was an inquisitive young scullion once. I started doing a bit of cooking on my own. Unorthodox cooking, illicit cooking. A bit of real science, in fact.” He was silent.
“What happened?” asked Helmholtz Watson.
The Controller sighed. “Very nearly what’s going to happen to you young men. I was on the point of being sent to an island.”
The words galvanized Bernard into violent and unseemly activity. “Send me to an island?” He jumped up, ran across the room, and stood gesticulating in front of the Controller. “You can’t send me. I haven’t done anything. lt was the others. I swear it was the others.” He pointed accusingly to Helmholtz and the Savage. “Oh, please don’t send me to Iceland. I promise I’ll do what I ought to do. Give me another chance. Please give me another chance.” The tears began to flow. “I tell you, it’s their fault,” he sobbed. “And not to Iceland. Oh please, your fordship, please…” And in a paroxysm of abjection he threw himself on his knees before the Controller. Mustapha Mond tried to make him get up; but Bernard persisted in his grovelling; the stream of words poured out inexhaustibly. In the end the Controller had to ring for his fourth secretary.
“Bring three men,” he ordered, “and take Mr. Marx into a bedroom. Give him a good soma vaporization and then put him to bed and leave him.”
The fourth secretary went out and returned with three green-uniformed twin footmen. Still shouting and sobbing. Bernard was carried out.
“One would think he was going to have his throat cut,” said the Controller, as the door closed. “Whereas, if he had the smallest sense, he’d understand that his punishment is really a reward. He’s being sent to an island. That’s to say, he’s being sent to a place where he’ll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community life. All the people who aren’t satisfied with orthodoxy, who’ve got independent ideas of their own. Every one, in a word, who’s any one. I almost envy you, Mr. Watson.”
Helmholtz laughed. “Then why aren’t you on an island yourself?”
“Because, finally, I preferred this,” the Controller answered. “I was given the choice: to be sent to an island, where I could have got on with my pure science, or to be taken on to the Controllers’ Council with the prospect of succeeding in due course to an actual Controllership. I chose this and let the science go.” After a little silence, “Sometimes,” he added, “I rather regret the science. Happiness is a hard master – particularly other people’s happiness. A much harder master, if one isn’t conditioned to accept it unquestioningly, than truth.” He sighed, fell silent again, then continued in a brisker tone, “Well, duty’s duty. One can’t consult one’s own preference. I’m interested in truth, I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history. China’s was hopelessly insecure by comparison; even the primitive matriarchies weren’t steadier than we are. Thanks, l repeat, to science. But we can’t allow science to undo its own good work. That’s why we so carefully limit the scope of its researches – that’s why I almost got sent to an island. We don’t allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged. It’s curious,” he went on after a little pause, “to read what people in the time of Our Ford used to write about scientific progress. They seemed to have imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can’t. And, of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered. Still, in spite of everything, unrestricted scientific research was still permitted. People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years’ War. That made them change their tune all right. What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? That was when science first began to be controlled – after the Nine Years’ War. People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We’ve gone on controlling ever since. It hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it, Mr. Watson – paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.”
“But you didn’t go to an island,” said the Savage, breaking a long silence.
The Controller smiled. “That’s how I paid. By choosing to serve happiness. Other people’s – not mine. It’s lucky,” he added, after a pause, “that there are such a lot of islands in the world. I don’t know what we should do without them. Put you all in the lethal chamber, I suppose. By the way, Mr. Watson, would you like a tropical climate? The Marquesas, for example; or Samoa? Or something rather more bracing?”
Helmholtz rose from his pneumatic chair. “I should like a thoroughly bad climate,” he answered. “I believe one would write better if the climate were bad. If there were a lot of wind and storms, for example…”
The Controller nodded his approbation. “I like your spirit, Mr. Watson. I like it very much indeed. As much as I officially disapprove of it.” He smiled. “What about the Falkland Islands?”
“Yes, I think that will do,” Helmholtz answered. “And now, if you don’t mind, I’ll go and see how poor Bernard’s getting on.”
“Art, science – you seem to have paid a fairly high price for your happiness,” said the Savage, when they were alone. “Anything else?”
“Well, religion, of course,” replied the Controller. “There used to be something called God – before the Nine Years' War. But I was forgetting; you know all about God, I suppose.”
“Well…” The Savage hesitated. He would have liked to say something about solitude, about night, about the mesa lying pale under the moon, about the precipice, the plunge into shadowy darkness, about death. He would have liked to speak; but there were no words. Not even in Shakespeare.
The Controller, meanwhile, had crossed to the other side of the room and was unlocking a large safe set into the wall between the bookshelves. The heavy door swung open. Rummaging in the darkness within, “It’s a subject,” he said, “that has always had a great interest for me.” He pulled out a thick black volume. “You’ve never read this, for example.”
The Savage took it. “The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments,” he read aloud from the title-page.
“Nor this.” It was a small book and had lost its cover.
“The Imitation of Christ.”
“Nor this.” He handed out another volume.
“The Varieties of Religious Experience. By William James.”
“And I’ve got plenty more,” Mustapha Mond continued, resuming his seat. “A whole collection of pornographic old books. God in the safe and Ford on the shelves.” He pointed with a laugh to his avowed library – to the shelves of books, the rack full of reading-machine bobbins and sound-track rolls.
“But if you know about God, why don’t you tell them?” asked the Savage indignantly. “Why don’t you give them these books about God?”
“For the same reason as we don’t give them Othello: they’re old; they’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now.”
“But God doesn’t change.”
“Men do, though.”
“What difference does that make?”
“All the difference in the world,” said Mustapha Mond. He got up again and walked to the safe. “There was a man called Cardinal Newman,” he said. “A cardinal,” he exclaimed parenthetically, “was a kind of Arch-Community Songster.”
“‘I Pandulph, of fair Milan, cardinal.’ I’ve read about them in Shakespeare.”
“Of course you have. Well, as I was saying, there was a man called Cardinal Newman. Ah, here’s the book.” He pulled it out. “And while I’m about it I’ll take this one too. It’s by a man called Maine de Biran. He was a philosopher, if you know what that was.”
“A man who dreams of fewer things than there are in heaven and earth,” said the Savage promptly.
“Quite so. I’ll read you one of the things he did dream of in a moment. Meanwhile, listen to what this old Arch-Community-Songster said.” He opened the book at the place marked by a slip of paper and began to read. “‘We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God’s property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way – to depend on no one – to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man – that it is an unnatural state – will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …’” Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. “Take this, for example,” he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: “‘A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false – a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.’” Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. “One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn’t dream about was this” (he waved his hand), “us, the modern world. ‘You can only be independent of God while you’ve got youth and prosperity; independence won’t take you safely to the end.’ Well, we’ve now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. ‘The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.’ But there aren’t any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? Of consolation, when we have soma? Of something immovable, when there is the social order?”
“Then you think there is no God?”
“No, I think there quite probably is one.”
Mustapha Mond checked him. “But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In premodern times he manifested himself as the being that’s described in these books. Now…”
“How does he manifest himself now?” asked the Savage.
“Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren’t there at all.”
“That’s your fault.”
“Call it the fault of civilization. God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That’s why I have to keep these books locked up in the safe. They’re smut. People would be shocked if…”
The Savage interrupted him. “But isn’t it natural to feel there’s a God?”
“You might as well ask if it’s natural to do up one’s trousers with zippers,” said the Controller sarcastically. “You remind me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct. As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons–that’s philosophy. People believe in God because they’ve been conditioned to.”
“But all the same,” insisted the Savage, “it is natural to believe in God when you’re alone – quite alone, in the night, thinking about death…”
“But people never are alone now,” said Mustapha Mond. “We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it’s almost impossible for them ever to have it.”
The Savage nodded gloomily. At Malpais he had suffered because they had shut him out from the communal activities of the pueblo, in civilized London he was suffering because he could never escape from those communal activities, never be quietly alone.
“Do you remember that bit in King Lear?” said the Savage at last. “‘The gods are just and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us; the dark and vicious place where thee he got cost him his eyes,’ and Edmund answers–you remember, he’s wounded, he’s dying – ‘Thou hast spoken right; ‘tis true. The wheel has come full circle; I am here.’ What about that now? Doesn’t there seem to be a God managing things, punishing, rewarding?”
“Well, does there?” questioned the Controller in his turn. “You can indulge in any number of pleasant vices with a freemartin and run no risks of having your eyes put out by your son’s mistress. ‘The wheel has come full circle; I am here.’ But where would Edmund be nowadays? Sitting in a pneumatic chair, with his arm round a girl’s waist, sucking away at his sex-hormone chewing-gum and looking at the feelies. The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; Providence takes its cue from men.”
“Are you sure?” asked the Savage. “Are you quite sure that the Edmund in that pneumatic chair hasn’t been just as heavily punished as the Edmund who’s wounded and bleeding to death? The gods are just. Haven’t they used his pleasant vices as an instrument to degrade him?”
“Degrade him from what position? As a happy, hard-working, goods-consuming citizen he’s perfect. Of course, if you choose some other standard than ours, then perhaps you might say he was degraded. But you’ve got to stick to one set of postulates. You can’t play Electro-magnetic Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.”
“But value dwells not in particular will,” said the Savage. “It holds his estimate and dignity as well wherein ‘tis precious of itself as in the prizer.”
“Come, come,” protested Mustapha Mond, “that’s going rather far, isn’t it?”
“If you allowed yourselves to think of God, you wouldn’t allow yourselves to be degraded by pleasant vices. You’d have a reason for bearing things patiently, for doing things with courage. I’ve seen it with the Indians.”
“l’m sure you have,” said Mustapha Mond. “But then we aren’t Indians. There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant. And as for doing things – Ford forbid that he should get the idea into his head. It would upset the whole social order if men started doing things on their own.”
“What about self-denial, then? If you had a God, you’d have a reason for self-denial.”
“But industrial civilization is only possible when there’s no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning.”
“You’d have a reason for chastity!” said the Savage, blushing a little as he spoke the words.
“But chastity means passion, chastity means neurasthenia. And passion and neurasthenia mean instability. And instability means the end of civilization. You can’t have a lasting civilization without plenty of pleasant vices.”
“But God’s the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic. If you had a God…”
“My dear young friend,” said Mustapha Mond, “civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended–there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren’t any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There’s no such thing as a divided allegiance; you’re so conditioned that you can’t help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren’t any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears–that’s what soma is.”
“But the tears are necessary. Don’t you remember what Othello said? ‘If after every tempest came such calms, may the winds blow till they have wakened death.’ There’s a story one of the old Indians used to tell us, about the Girl of Mátaski. The young men who wanted to marry her had to do a morning’s hoeing in her garden. It seemed easy; but there were flies and mosquitoes, magic ones. Most of the young men simply couldn’t stand the biting and stinging. But the one that could–he got the girl.”
“Charming! But in civilized countries,” said the Controller, “you can have girls without hoeing for them, and there aren’t any flies or mosquitoes to sting you. We got rid of them all centuries ago.”
The Savage nodded, frowning. “You got rid of them. Yes, that’s just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether ‘tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them…but you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy.”
He was suddenly silent, thinking of his mother. In her room on the thirty-seventh floor, Linda had floated in a sea of singing lights and perfumed caresses–floated away, out of space, out of time, out of the prison of her memories, her habits, her aged and bloated body. And Tomakin, ex-Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, Tomakin was still on holiday–on holiday from humiliation and pain, in a world where he could not hear those words, that derisive laughter, could not see that hideous face, feel those moist and flabby arms round his neck, in a beautiful world …
“What you need,” the Savage went on, “is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here.”
(“Twelve and a half million dollars,” Henry Foster had protested when the Savage told him that. “Twelve and a half million–that’s what the new Conditioning Centre cost. Not a cent less.”)
“Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn’t there something in that?” he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. “Quite apart from God–though of course God would be a reason for it. Isn’t there something in living dangerously?”
“There’s a great deal in it,” the Controller replied. “Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.”
“What?” questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.
“It’s one of the conditions of perfect health. That’s why we’ve made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.”
“Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences.”
“But I like the inconveniences.”
“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”
“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,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m 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.” There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.
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What was the World I was Dreaming of
The world has destroyed the very thing that human race have been given from the Almighty – humanity. Life is never this complicated yet easy for people to live in. There are so many choices out there for people to evaluate and ultimately make a decision on how to pursue the life they want. “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”(Huxley), John the savage says. The society is a big melting pot. Only so many people out there claim to pursue a life with risk and danger. The rest seek comfort, pleasure, and convenience. It's hard to balance the star chart. Seeking the greater comfort and security may shorten the identity and enlightenment part. Choosing to love may lessen the ability to stay true to oneself. Through the journey of Siddhartha, one learns the ultimate happiness can only be achieved by the ultimate suffering, hence to live dangerously.
Sneaking back at the first blog After You... one may find this quote right above the main thread,“exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn’t there something in that? Isn’t there something in living dangerously?”(Huxley). Indeed, why do people crave after “pleasure, comfort and convenience” instead of “ danger, excitement, and adventure”? Whenever someone says she is going to volunteer at Compton, people gasp or look worried. Apparently, the place displays significant danger to outsider's physical safety. Yet, looking at Harper High School, Compton is just another inner city. People needs danger to know safety. Therefore living dangerously may just grant certain amount of safety in one's life. At least there is the egg shell before something amazing is about to happen. Every creation presents its own potential danger. But nothing has stopped human to create, build, and live.
"We are face to face with our destiny and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage. For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out." (Theodore Roosevelt) – stole from Searching for Former Clarity
If one wants to accomplish something badly, even with the Great Wall in front of her, she would take it down. After all, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (Coelho). Living dangerously does not imply that one needs to fight alone. The world maybe ugly but the sun still rise from the east every single day. There is always hope before one falls back to the easy way of living. It's natural to feel there is a God. And God has not permitted us to live easily. “Pain is demands to be felt” ( Green). That's where the complicated life come in – to choose between stand up for one's ambition or falls back to the conventional way of living that the society promotes. The way to seek enlightenment starts with one single step to seek oneself. Siddhartha understands perfectly what he can do: think, wait and fast. Identity comes in before one can really seek wisdom. If one cannot possibly know what she wants for herself, how can she possibly know what the wold wants, what life wants her to do. It's all interconnected. The way to reach enlightenment is to seek what one truly wants, hence the identity part, at the same time put oneself at risk, hence the security part which also proves the point to live dangerously is to reach enlightenment and complete the full circle.
At one point, Brave New World demonstrate the hopeless of human race; one cannot simply single-handed to remain true to oneself because of the pressure from society. The endings of 1984 and Brave New World are rather similar in some strange way. Both Huxley and Orwell want to highlight the empty future that the world would soon become. And they both argue if the only way to prevent what will happen that's already happening is to disturb the universe and live dangerously with courage.
“The greatest hazard of all – losing one’s self – can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed” (Sören Kierkegaard) – stole from Stealing Happy Hour
Slipping away from living every moment fulfilled, the girl who is writing this blog is about to burn out. Yet, she tries her best get back on. The world has frustrated her and pushed her into one dark corner with its ugliest. Trying to earn everything by one's own hand is hard. Yet, “I'd rather be myself, Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly”(Huxley). If take a soma really solve all the problem in the world, the world would be full of drug addicts. The physical things people worry about are present. When talk about soul and knowledge and God, one fades away. The dollar sign matters. What would matter more if one's already lost one's soul? It's slipping away already and it will be gone soon if everyone just tries to live with comfort, pleasure and convenience. Books would soon be put into the safe. And the things that are put on the shelves would soon replace by technology or any other sort of media. Living dangerously is not about wander off for a impulsive decision but to reform the world back into what God has intended, to make a difference, to make things cost enough for tears.
Happy ending doesn't exist except in Disney. After all, it's the happiest place in earth. Siddhartha ends up alone with a run-away son. Macbeth ends up losing everything he has fought for, good or bad. Beowulf after finish all his obligation, dies alone. Jan Rodricks is the last man standing on earth. Winston is pulled apart by the world. John goes for the “straight and fast” way before he betrays himself again. And yet, they have all chosen to live dangerously. Not for a heart tearing ending but for the broken universe, for their personal legends, for the people they would leave behind, and for the readers to understand at least one thing: as the great Shakespeare has said "The fault,.., is not in our stars,But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
You're always so deep and thoughtful when you write.
It's incredible that you can always find the right quotes to fit well the prompt and almost always post first.
I love how you are always so determined as "Slipping away from living every moment fulfilled, the girl who is writing this blog is about to burn out. Yet, she tries her best get back on."
I agree "Living dangerously is not about wander off for a impulsive decision but to reform the world back into what God has intended, to make a difference, to make things cost enough for tears."
Again, great blog Katie.
I lve the way you format your blog and everything you include in your blog links together so smoothly. Great job on stealing quotes from Feraco haha.
Not gonna lie - I'm flat-out astonished you caught that reference in the first blog. Nobody notices that one.
Katie, you never fail to impress me. Nice job yet again.
Hey Katie, this is the first time ive read something of yours sand I really enjoyed this, I thought it was well organized. And interesting. You did a great job.
There is never a limit to what a person wants. People tend to continuously want more than what they have, like a child wanting the next newest toy. However, there are people who take action and work for it to earn those desires, and there are people who stay in their bubble, living comfortably and just live without it. In most cases, people choose to live comfortably, rather than take the challenge and risk failing. But what if people got what they wanted without having to go through difficulties to earn it? Then everyone would be living comfortably. No one will have to suffer, and everyone gets what they want while enjoying themselves. Isn't that great? Even then, so many people have rejected that ideal. It's just humane for people to think that they have to work to earn something.
Even now, people don't accept any free offers or needs. Whenever a person offers another person that chance to borrow money, their initial reaction is to reject the offer and say, "Thanks, but it's okay." Isn't it just easier to take the money, pay the person back when they can, and live on comfortably? It's not easy, because then people may feel bad to have done it, taking advantage of another person. But the person offered to allow it for one moment, and people still say no. In a world where everyone wants comfort, any person would take the offer, but in exchange, they lose something more than just the money. They lose what it means to care about one another. People have selfish thoughts, but no person is willing to make selfish actions.
However, in a world of comfort, any sign of dissatisfaction would be eliminated, or something else would replace it. When a person is unpleasant, "...there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering." (Huxley 238) In today's society, it's no different than taking drugs or drinking a lot in order to escape one's troubles. But where is the value in getting rid of all the troubles if a person doesn't learn to grow from it? In the end, they won't learn from it, and a similar problem will occur, only to take some substance to make it disappear. No growth made, and no progress; only comfort.
The people who chose to live comfortably never end up learning to grow. Instead, they are happy with their life, only to live as much as they think. That seems nice, but when everyone chooses to live like that, will anyone care anymore? Someone will come and offer you money to borrow, and without hesitation, the person takes the money, only to return the money later. There is no care. No more values are made. This life has gotten rid of all its trouble, without having to learn from it. "You got rid of them. Yes, that's just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it...It's too easy." (Huxley 238) The price to live comfortably is to stop growing.
However, the price to be humane and grow is to live unhappy. People are always changing, and continuing to grow. Thus people are unhappy. In this life, there is always inconvenience. "But I like the inconveniences." (Huxley 240) This life lives in value and care for not just oneself but to others as well. There is meaning in action, and every action made is a mystery. People grow to learn how to be happy again. These kind of people take risks, shed tears, and find newer experiences than before; leaving their bubble and pursuing further. That's how people should be. There shouldn't be a thing called comfort because then there is no mystery left and people begin to lose the meaning of what it means to care for each other. When people ask to borrow money, there is more meaning in it to go out of someone's way to reach out to on another.
Nothing in life should be easy. If people falter, they learn from it. If people succeed, they earned it. In a world where there are no problems, people lose thought about others, and take actions to satisfy themselves. People lose their star, and are no longer humane. It's like living life with no meaning. Instead, take that star, and make something out if it. Live even if it means being unhappy, because being unhappy can make a person more of a person than just being happy.
Joseph I totally agree with you! "People who live comfortably end up never learning how to grow". Your blog post makes perfect sense. a person only living in his or her comfort zone will never know what the things out side his or her comfort zone has to offer for them thus never letting them experience new things for them selfs.
Myth/Sci-Fi – Period 6
11 May 2013
Where I Come From
Chapter 16 and 17 of Brave New World introduce two conflicting philosophies about the rapid modernization and industrialization of society. One philosophy, represented by John the Savage, argues for the preservation of current standards of morality in order to preserve humanity. The other, represented by Mustapha Mond, argues for the acceptance of new standards of morality in order to contribute to social stability.
Although readers are inclined to side with John, there is plenty of merit in Mond’s viewpoint when juxtaposed with the prevalence of conditioning in the World State. As he states, people in the World State are “so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave” (Huxley 220). This conditioning brings to mind the Stanford prison experiments, which quickly became chaotic once the fake guards assumed the roles they were taught to assume, despite having little training. Had the researchers used similar methods of conditioning to that employed in the World State, the results would have been even more disastrous, which reveals the huge effect such conditioning could have on people. John speaks from a time that couldn’t keep up with the modernization of technology, sticking to such concepts as nobility and heroism in a time when there are no longer any situations needing nobility or heroism. His morals are antiquated, the morals from the society the readers come from. However, in the society of Brave New World, morals are different. It’s important to note that the readers’ society once legalized segregation and permitted racism, but no longer does. The World State can thus be viewed upon as a further advancement of morals. There isn’t religion because religion “isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness” (234). People turn to religion for matters out of their own hands. The great mysteries of life they attribute to a divine figure, because that is all they can do to try to understand those mysteries. In the World State, soma takes away the need to contemplate those mysteries. It’s easier to avoid struggles, because adversity threatens the status quo. One can progress after overcoming adversity, but one can also keep things as they are by preventing adversity.
The key factor in maintaining the World State, according to Mond, is the prioritization of stability over virtue, using happiness. Conditioning is used for this purpose, for happiness “is a hard master…if one isn’t conditioned to accept it unquestioningly” (227). Through the use of soma, the World State is able to keep its citizens in check. As long as they feel happy, they do not question the flaws of their society. John’s notion of society, with its ups and downs, simply cannot hold against the option of permanent happiness. His viewpoint stems from the importance of sacrifice in the community he grew up in, so it comes from his own conditioning. What the World State has become is a perversion of what the Founding Fathers sought after. Even Jefferson, who published the idea that all men are born equal, looked to the Roman Republic because it was stable. Aristotle argued that the goal of a polis was eudaimonia, or well-being of the community. Putting aside his treatment of corrupted government (as the World State evidently did), it is clear that stability was the goal for many early thinkers. Thus, Mond is not completely incorrect. As for the religious discussion, a stable society does indeed prevent the need for God. African slaves first turned to Christianity to help them cope with their lives. The citizens of the World State do not have the need to develop coping skills, so they do not have the need to turn to a God, especially since soma is “Christianity without tears” (238). There is “youth and prosperity,” so no one feels the need to reflect upon their younger years because they are forever young (233).
Mond’s argument is further justified by the lack of politics in the World State. At least in America, pluralist democracy currently dominates. Dissenting opinions are encouraged for the health of the society. However, in Brave New World, there is only one government with one viewpoint. In such a society, majoritarianism dominates. Even if Mond acknowledges that John’s ideas are noteworthy, he has numbers to back up his own argument. John’s philosophy belongs to but a few in the society. Those who support Mond far outnumber those who would side with John. Therefore, in the context of the story, Mond’s argument defeats John’s. It would thus seem as though the World State is completely different from modern society, but in letting John be unhappy Mond is actually supporting pluralism, just sending dissenting opinions far away from the people.
Some may argue that the violent passion surrogate points to a flaw in the argument. If soma and conditioning truly led to a stable and happy society, then theoretically there shouldn’t be any more passion. Thus, John should have targeted the V.P.S rather than the soma, because the emotions the V.P.S invokes could lead to a large-scale rebellion. However, soma is more intended as a substitute for coping than it is an escape from emotions. Humans are naturally emotional creatures. Synthesizing violent emotion only further removes humans from recognizing the power of those emotions, thus ensuring the stability of the community. Huxley has, in conclusion, set up a very convincing argument for the possibility of society becoming the World State. His warning against consumerism and rapid advancements in technology seems ever more severe because Mond’s argument makes more sense than John’s. In a sense, he implies that readers can only be like John and resist using morality rather than practicality, and he pleads for the readers to do so.
Good job! I'm glad you sided with Mond just like I did, it just makes more sense to side with him than with John. You always write really good blogs and I'm glad I put in the effort to finding them every week. Keep up the good work!
- Will Perez
I enjoyed reading your blog even though it was one of the first blogs that I was able to read at the time. I sort of formatted my blog similar to yours haha.
Your blog flowed really nicely! It was nice to see how you supported your argument with in-depth explanations. Good job on your post!
I agree that your blog flows nicely but I seem to feel the opposite. I feel Mustapha Mond is hypocritical. Anyways, great job on another great blog!
Very well written and interesting, because you discuss both sides of the argument and then coming up with a decision. I totally agree that in a stable world God is not needed because people are already satisfied with everything. Nice post!
your blog is well written,
plus i like your analysis
I like your post a lot. I thought I flowed and it was well organized.
Imagine a world where there is no pain, misery, or sadness. There only exists happiness. Ideally, this is considered the "perfect world". Nobody would have to worry about finding a job, getting the girl or even dying. Everything is given on a silver platter. This world is appealing compared to a world where there exist disease, death, and failure. It is natural for people to want happiness and comfort, it is what they work for throughout their lives. That is why when asked which world is preferred, the one where happiness exists is the one that is always chosen.
In this a Brave New World, people don't have to "live through a long time-interval of consciousness of a desire and it's fulfillment." (Huxley 45). If they want something, such as a lover, it is immediately given to them. If there is something that bothers them they can take soma which is a drug that " cures ten gloomy sentiments" (Huxley 54). There isn't any unnecessary suffering. People live their lives indulging in pleasure. There isn't any need to work hard or try to get a raise because they have been conditioned to enjoy what they are doing. This seems to be an utopia but, there are sacrifices that are necessary in maintaining this world.
Art and science don't exist in this perfect world. In order to maintain the utopia it is necessary to sacrifice these things. A pretty hefty price because these are the bases of creating individuality. Without them everyone is identical to one another, a "Twin after twin" (Huxley 201). A society that doesn't allow people to develop their passion leads to having lifeless and emotionless puppets. When someone has passion for something, they strive to achieve it and make themselves better at it. This is unnecessary in this utopia because people have been conditioned to enjoy the one thing they are suppose to be good at. They don't have the motivation to try to improve themselves. It may seem like a big price, but not really for people in this world. They enjoy their status and don't want to move up. What they do makes them happy and there is no need to change any of that. This world has eliminated the people's feelings of dissatisfaction with their life. Whatever their job is, they are perfectly happy to do it.
Now, there is science in this world, but it is controlled science. Instead of the unrestrained science where people can test the boundaries and try to discover the truth it is restricted. "Our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody’s allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn’t be added to" (Huxley 225). The only science that is allowed are the ones that are deemed necessary. This is fine considering that most people are consent with following whatever directions that are given. They don't feel the need to explore other areas of science. Everything is taken care of by certain people. They don't have to worry about discovering anything. They can just go and indulge in pleasure.
However, art and science isn't the only thing that needs to be sacrificed. There is also religion. The belief in a God who helps people maintain hope in their is incomprehensible for this world. Religion for some people is used so they won't feel lonely when they are near the end of their life. Other times it is to help them to not fear death. This isn't necessary for the citizens of Brave New World because for them, there is no need to be afraid of death. They have been death conditioned to the point where they except it happily and move on with their lives. The citizens don't even feel lonely because " We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it’s almost impossible for them ever to have it" (Huxley 235). By doing all of this, it isn't necessary for God. The people don't have to worry about being afraid of death or loneliness. Everything is perfect in their world.
What helps maintain the happiness in this world is the drug which is taken like candy, Soma. This drug helps make it easier for people to live their life. If they ever encounter a problem, they can just take a soma holiday, "a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology" (Huxley 54). Instead of dealing with their problems, they just take a drug and they don't have to worry about it. This drug ruins the people's growth and maturity. Instead of learning to deal with their problems and becoming a better person they run away from it. This is what their society has conditioned them to do when facing a problem. Even though this prevents them from growing as individuals, they have an easy way to escape and not deal with their problems. In reality many people would rather run away from their problems then taking them head on. This is what every citizen gets to do in the World State. It can also be said that this is what most people would want to do.
So this world that is considered perfect isn't really perfect at all. There are many faults, such as the loss of individuality and identity. Yet, it is something that people want. It is natural for people to want comfort and happiness. A world where their isn't disease and people can be with whoever they want sounds great. People won't have to worry about getting sick or getting heartbroken. They get the pleasure without having to deal with the pain. Hence, the loss of art, science, etc. isn't that big of a loss to some people. They will trade everything if they could live their entire life filled with pleasure. Especially if they could live their life without inconveniences. So when John says "the tears are necessary" (Huxley 238) they aren't really. Tears are only necessary for affirming the humanity in people, not the happiness.
I like how you started out your argument with a counterargument.
I also like your conclusion, which contained a counterargument again, showing you looked at both ends of the spectrum.
"So when John says 'the tears are necessary' (Huxley 238) they aren't really. Tears are only necessary for affirming the humanity in people, not the happiness."
I found this part to be quite interesting. After reading these two sentences, I realized it was pretty true.
But I'm just wondering when we have the right to human nature, don't we also have access to happiness since being human is what makes us whole?
Thanks for the great read!
First of all, thank you for reading my blog and commenting. Now regarding your question, yes, we do have access to happiness but what can be defined as being human? For example, if a man views that having a lot of money is his main source of happiness, does he have the right to steal money? It is for his happiness after all. Therefore, just because we have access to happiness, doesn't mean we are necessary human when we try to gain it. Another example could be in regards to abortion. As humans we have the right to do whatever we want to our body. However does that mean we have the right to end a life, just so we can maintain our happiness and by doing so are we even still considered human? In the end, we do have the right to happiness but it doesn't necessarily mean we are considered human in pursing it.
Hopefully this answered your question. Thanks again for reading my post.
Woah on that counter beginning. It totally caught me off guard and made me want to read more. Amazing post and great job!
Myth/Sci-Fi - Period 2
12 May 2013
Tears Flood the Land of Stability
Anthrax bombs were hurtling down, flashing meteors burrowing deep into the earth’s surface. All of a sudden, nothing mattered more than one’s life. Just a couple of seconds ago, a few people were gathering around under a tree, admiring the ripe green hills in the distance. They gazed in awe at their surroundings, wondering what other magnificent discovery would be unearthed other than the proven fact that they were standing on the wondrous sphere of the Earth instead of a box. And “boom”! It finally struck those individuals that safety was of the utmost priority, and they felt their lives were utterly meaningless at that exact moment as they realized they were so focused on digging up “beauty and truth” that they absolutely overlooked “happiness and comfort” (Huxley 288). They rushed back home to find their families gone. Their loved ones were so alarmed that human affections must go when it came to such an urgent hour as this. They found themselves alone, in bleak solitude, with no one to hold on to as the gloom of the Nine Years’ War was descending upon them.
The truth was there was no way out. The truth was painful as the facts were so vibrant that it burned their minds. The world turning upside-down in only a blink of an eye was too much to bear. It was cruel for the citizens to find themselves dealing with such an ordeal with no one to cling on to, except for God. And even with the hope from GOD, even though they knew “God doesn’t change” (231), suffering still ate at their hearts as hope, alone, was incapable of fully eradicating terrors. Only in their dreams were they able to find comfort from the dystopian world enveloping them. It was only through their dreams that they could feel truly secure.
And it was only through taking in soma, “Christianity without tears” (238) that they could live in “eternity” (154). Life was quickly prolonged as one pranced around in the midst of happiness during soma holidays. Finally, the people could be their “own masters” (232). They no longer feared death as soma “prolonged” their lives, and they became apathetic to living lives in which life could be lost any moment, thanks to death conditioning. The elderly used to “turn to religion” due to the “fear of death and of what comes after death” (232), but with the World State’s success in preserving “youth and prosperity” (233), God was no longer necessary. Since “people never are alone now”, it was in reality “impossible” for them to contemplate of God in the nonexistent “solitude” (235). They would never again have to experience the feeling of abandonment because there would be no such thing as “mother, monogamy, romance” (41).
Every single person’s life would be so much more stable. No intense fear. No “feeling strongly […] in hopeless individual isolation” (41) as “every one belongs to every one else” (40) now. There would be no more risks involved in being an individual; everyone would be uniform in his or her own caste, and even those who were unable to fit in were sent to islands as a punishment that was “really a reward” (227). Instead of having a “narrow channeling of impulse and energy” (40), World State citizens could open themselves up to a broader range of possibilities towards “happiness” by engaging in the “feelies and the scent organ” (220) rather than being engrossed in the tragic emotion-flooded Othello in which the ugly truths of the past were unveiled. Murder attempts would never take place again as the “Violent Passion Surrogate” would satisfy one’s “fear and rage” (239). Thereby, war and tragedy vanished altogether.
The invention of soma, the feelies, and the Violent Passion Surrogate brought a sort of redemption from the horrors of the Nine Years’ War. It was utterly the most glamorous type of life anyone could wish for. Risks, fear, failure, and solitude were grazed away. One would never have to worry about whether one was fit for one’s job because one would be conditioned to love one’s job, the job one was destined for. It would never have occurred to Epsilons that they were making “sacrifices” since the “sacrifices” are the “line of least resistance” (232). Science would cease to be a threat, and in its place would be a stable society where unhappiness was an unknown.
What more could anyone wish for when one’s pursuit of happiness was unnecessary as one’s path in joy was already mapped out for one since the beginning by the Predestinators? In a society governed by traumatized feelings World State citizens have begotten since the Nine Years’ War, it was quite normal for the disillusioned to quickly shift from valuing “comfort and happiness” over “truth and beauty” in search for a “quiet life” (Huxley 228).
Incapable of accepting the endless possibilities that may have sprouted were the Epsilons faced with a chance to become anything greater than the way they were at the present due to their being “foredoomed” (222), it was indeed quite sensible for the World State citizens to not live dangerously. In part, this was because they “cannot” live dangerously. They would always be able to retain their job posts, thus safely maintaining “COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY” (3), vital elements in preserving the wellbeing of the World State citizens.
The citizens were genuinely secure, but the costs for “happiness” were too immense. “High art” was sacrificed for “happiness” (220), self-degradation came with “happiness” as the citizens “allow [themselves] to be degraded by pleasant vices” (236), and “courage” (236) was ultimately blown into thin air. True feelings were replaced by the “Violent Passion Surrogate”, so none would have to “live dangerously” (239). Soma ridded the need to bear “things patiently” (236) as Linda merely had to take soma pills to free herself from the stress that overwhelmed her at the Savage Reservation. In a world conquered by false sensations of happiness, produced by the feelies and the V.P.S. to eliminate “inconveniences” (240), life became much more stagnant as everyone was too equal emotion-wise. Without the presence of inconveniences, the citizens were never faced with any actual trouble. Thereby, they had no real sense as to what convenience or happiness was.
When one is stripped of one’s natural feelings and ability to react in certain situations, one has lost one’s identity. A person is no longer a unique individual without having a character of his or her own. By over-valuing security, the World State had limited its citizen’s potentials. The risk-takers were virtually extinct as risk-taking could not lend them a better opportunities or positions. They were to be stuck where they were and to act in unison with those of the same class, similar to commodity products manufactured on Ford’s production line. Thus, societal progress would never prevail as ambitions risk-takers embodied in seeking better lives were suppressed by conditioning. Gammas would never discover the honor of being Alphas.
In short, by not “living dangerously”, the World State citizens trapped themselves with the danger of their own ignorance, cowardice, and lack of identity. They were their own enemies as they allowed for the destruction of their souls.
They were no longer human.
Yah I agree the truth is painful and i like the wonderful uses of your quotes in the blog.
I always admire your skill of embedding the quotes so fluently into your analysis.
Indeed, I agree with your point of view. It reminds me of the "unknown unknown", "known unknown" & " Known known" thingy that Feraco talked about. How could one possibly know how to take a risk if one has no idea what risk is. On the other sense, is risk something that exists in our instinct. Do we instinctively know something is wrong? For example, Helmholtz.
Just playing the devil here. Why is " identity" so important that we rather to risk everything else we crave after to achieve it?
Thank your for the comments.
Man, more thinking, but your questions are good for stimulating the mind
As for your first question, "On the other sense, is risk something that exists in our instinct. Do we instinctively know something is wrong? For example, Helmholtz."
Since we aren't conditioned to act in a certain way or predestined for only a certain job, we'll find risk-taking necessary to take our lives up to another level. And when we put effort into achieving our goals through risk-taking, we'll appreciate what we have more, thus resulting in our being more happy with our lives. So I guess risk "is something that exists in our instinct" for us.
But in Helmholtz's case, since he lived in a society where ideas of taking risks were pretty much nonexistent due to conditioning, I'd say risk-taking is not a natural instinct for him. The reason why he takes risks is because he wasn't properly conditioned (had too much "mental excess"), and it was his being an outcast that made him contemplate more over his life, which caused him to realize there wasn't much meaning in life. If he were the same as all the others in his caste (every other Alpha), he wouldn't even think about taking risks since he was already perfectly normal (there is no room for improvement, so the purpose of taking risks to improve is no longer necessary).
As for your second question, "Why is 'identity' so important that we rather to risk everything else we crave after to achieve it?"
What's the use of what "we crave after" (happiness) when we don't have to put any effort into getting those things. If we all had what we wanted easily like the World State citizens, we would all be the same. No one would be different. No one would be unique when the purpose of life is supposed to be finding one's identity and working hard to obtain it so that we'll be able to leave our mark on earth.
And that's why you, Katie, the determined gal you are, "Slipping away from living every moment fulfilled, the girl who is writing this blog is about to burn out. Yet, she tries her best get back on."
We work so hard to find why we are here and to find what makes us us.
hey victoria! wow your writing is just so amazing! i love reading your blogs, every thing you write is done so well. your structure is solid, your integration of quotes and all of what you have to say really intrigues me. good job and keep doing what you do!
Thank you for the feedback and compliments.
This week's blog post was more difficult to compose for me (took a lot of time and brain juice) since we had to find quotes from those two chapters (specifically). Nonetheless, it gave me another chance to reflect on what we've learnt and to make new discoveries.
While I agree with most of your points especially the point where avoiding danger makes them not human, there, of course, is always a cost. Like you mentioned the cost was human ideals, and to a certain extent, the human heart.
However after the 9 years war, society seemingly surrendered in order to gain stability and security. I'm noting saying it's the right choice, but I understand the choice.
I agree with your blog in the fact that the truth is painful. Great Job!
They say that people should make the most of their lives, live them to the fullest possible to get the full worth out of it all. Yet sometimes the circumstances of living can raise a fence to how far a person is allowed to reach. In the world of Brave New World, it is just so, with society’s people organized into castes, their lives directed on a single, definite path even before they take their first steps. By the end of the book, Mustapha Mond, a World Controller of the State, and John, the savage, are arguing over this system, whether it is worth to give up comfort for a life free of restraint. Mond argues in favor of the system in place, finding it much more convenient and easy to live in than anything else, while John takes a side opposite, vouching for a life he can choose for himself. Ultimately though, John seems to have come away with the stronger case; while he may not have actually won the dispute, he was able to make finer points. With a life guided solely by the person’s own choices, he is able to choose how he wants to live considering the lack of restraints, which also allows him to decide whether he lives dangerously or safely.
In doing anything by the harder, less convenient way, a person gains a higher sense of accomplishment in that he was skilled and capable enough to accomplish the task. In Brand New World, nearly all processes have been shortened, simplified, things that “in the past you could only accomplish… by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training”. Additionally, there is soma, the wonder drug, so called “Christianity without tears,” which can be used should conflict arise even in the people’s comfortable lives. All of their work is nearly mechanical, such as Lenina’s job to inoculate the fetuses in the test tubes of certain diseases: she simply drops some serum inside, no longer having to wait until the fetus fully matures and giving it a shot. Something so important that used to be handled with the utmost care is reduced to mindless work, shown when Lenina loses track of whether she has already vaccinated a certain test tube or not. In doing the process the harder, longer way, a person draws greater satisfaction out of his work, feeling as though he has actually contributed towards something. Here however, we see how the simplified, easy method can make work seem like a bore, as though the work done does not really do anything. In the end, the people get very little out of what they have worked on.
Furthermore, with a world that sets no bounds on your path, a person also gains the ability to choose. There is one fatal flaw to Mond’s reasoning, and that is even without the comforts of the system in place in the World State, people can still live a good, safe life from the choices they make. The system is highly dependent on the people of the lower caste base, who are “so conditioned that [they] can’t help doing what [they] ought to do”. They did not have the ability to choose this lifestyle; rather, it was forced upon them. Without the growth stunting, without the confinements of the system of the World State, how far could these people have gone in life? It is a question that cannot be answered though, for the fact that they never even had the chance to choose for themselves. With the world that John advocates for, one that allows a person to live as he chooses, people can decide for themselves how they want their lives to go. Through their choices, they define their own path as dangerous or not. It allows the individual to live. Should the person decide to live a risky lifestyle, so be it; at least he was able to choose the way he wanted to live.
Lastly, in a world that has no restrictions, a person is not limited by anything he does not choose to be, in that unless he himself does not have the willpower, there is little or nothing to stop him. With the castes put in place in the World State, a person may try to reach as far as he can but finds himself trapped in by the caste walls. “Nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic” or anything great with the way the State is run, allowing only select groups to rise up. Even then, these higher groups are limited to certain jobs and lifestyles. Taking a look at Bernard, it can be seen the consequences of thinking differently than the rest of the people in his caste; his thoughts are kept to himself and limited. The others like him are sent of to islands, where the rest of society can ignore them. The people of the World State are left limited in both expansion and thought, without any means of escaping the caste they are born into and if higher thought is allowed, it cannot deviate from the norm. It reduces people to being cogs in a machine, rather than creating whole new machines themselves, turning them into parts of a whole instead of a single individual. In this world, it is expected for the people to blend in and fit in.
In living life free of chains, a person is capable of trying to reach whatever he should desire. Without anything in their ways, the sky is much larger for them, giving them more places to aspire for, more things to try for. For the World State, while the confines safely cage the people from extreme harm and hurt, it also limits the lengths they could go. Their life paths decided before they even take their first breaths, not much room is left for them to make choices. To accept the dangers of leaving the cage, one takes on many risks, as well as many more opportunities to reach higher than ever before. Even then, should they decide to live quietly and safely, they may choose to do that as well, even without the World State’s system. Freeing the people allows for so much more, whether they choose to live meekly or dangerously.
Woops. *Brave New World
Was thinking about the band Brand New.
Your post had some interesting points to it but I feel like you could've gone more in depth in to your explanation as to why the evidence supports the side your taking. Also that I couldn't really tell which side you were on until the middle of your blog. Just some food for thought, good luck and good work.
Hey Jessica, I think that the way you write is very sophisticated. The sentence flow is amazing. I really liked this line because it is so true. "In living life free of chains, a person is capable of trying to reach whatever he should desire."
Myth/Sci-Fi, Period 6
11 May 2013
Society’s norm of always wanting to live dangerously now seems like the only human thing to do. The mistake society makes and learns from is what makes society grow. The savage starts talking about reading books like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and how it has shaped his moral codes. While talking to Mustapha Mond he admits he likes l reading books. However Mustapha Mond retorts that “It’s prohibited you see. But as I make the laws here, I can also break them. With impunity, Mr. Marx”(Huxley, 219). With this John, the Savage, still seems to disregard the law and continue reading his favorite books which helped to raise him, since his mother was always drunk or high and his father refused to be a father to his child.
To begin with it is understood that John, the Savage, would want to live dangerously because being naturally conceived and having a mother and father made him an outcast in this society. This Brave New World society is almost like robots because these different people cannot think for themselves because they are brainwashed and not allowed to think outside the realm of their designated caste. John brings up the question, “Why don’t you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you’re about it?” (Huxley, 222). Mond responds with, “Because we have no wish to have our throats cut…We believe in happiness and stability” (Huxley, 222). This backwards mentality which Mond portrays, is clearly hypocritical and society grows with taking risks.
Sure the good, the bad, and ugly have come from the idea of living dangerously but this is
how society has grown. After 9/11 the security has increased in the United States, teaching
this country that not everybody can be trusted. This country needs to protect the rights of people and provide jobs for people. Economy is what drives this society, so risk taking is highly encouraged, which is similar to John’s view of living dangerously. Additionally, many of society’s high class today, have to take risks in order to survive in this difficult economy.
Life should be unpredictable and one should ultimately be allowed to change his or her status. In Brave New World, Mustapha Mond is allowed to break the rules because he makes some of the rules. The Controller mentions that, “…the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art” (Huxley, 220). Is sacrificing high art really the key to stability and at what cost?
Society today would be in a state of chaos without high art. Technology and society’s ambitions would be completely behind. The desire for progress would go down. The United States would not be as successful as it is right now. People like Mr. Feraco would not be around and society would be in a state of dystopia. Ambition and the sense of growth would be lost. Sure society would be stable in the sense of everybody playing a role in society but at what cost?
John’s sensibility and morality bring depth to his character. This makes Mustapha Mond and the Controller seem very tyrannical and robotic. They do not want society to be held with the burden of greed and desire, so they would sacrifice art for the sake of stability. The future of society in itself would be held by Alpha’s if society followed this mentality. Sure greed and desire does lead to our downfall, but s does fear. When John desires to be with Lenina and she throws herself at him, he stops her. He believes in only sleeping or being with one person, while people in this world cannot show love to only one person. They must be faithful to only the Controller. This is another way how John goes against all the principles of this world. Lenina
loves both John and Bernard in different ways. She cannot stay faithful to just one of them and
the idea of staying faithful to one person is forbidden. Lenina is afraid of what the World State would do to her. The fact that John had a mother and he could not save her from her drug use really made him felt helpless, so the fact that he could not save her really made him angry. John objected taking soma and trying to drown away his worries. Additionally his mother Linda did not fit in because she mothered a child and she could not get her love Tomakin, the father of John, to love her. John’s ideas and father came from books. This is what helps society progress today.
The United States values books, but with technology, the value of books has gone down. Today many students try to get around with sparknotes to get the grade needed. Students would do anything to follow their ambitions. Many of them in the long run do end up progressing society as known today. This is obviously why John’s objections to society is correct.
In lives of teenagers today, we are not interested in being brainwashed even though it may seem so with the technological advances we have. Sure the Google Glass and apple products would try to advance to a point where the technologies can think for the people, but society would not let that brainwash them. Society has voted for democracy and certain freedoms so they would not allow any machine, or tyrants take over them.
John does represent the general public’s view of society, however the ideas Mustapha Mond puts out make sense, but he is so hypocritical because he does not follow the laws he makes. This leads to dystopia because if a high level official expects people to follow laws he does not even follow, society would not take him seriously. In addition, John argues for being able to create art and shifting through different castes. For example, a Gamma can become a Beta and so on. This would balance out society. Why would people not want this? After all this
would also lead to the same message of stability. Life is better with being able to live on the edge. Without danger, their would be danger, which would also lead to chaos in the long run.
Everybody chooses their way to live, whether they choose to live safe/comfortable or choose to live with risk. Many people make that decision while doing things too, whether they want to play it safe or go full out for it. Many people will choose to live it safe and comfortable because it’s easier and less stressful. They also choose to live that way because living it safe and comfortable means that they don’t have to deal with everyday things like drama. What many people don’t know about living such a comfortable life is that they are just going to stay in the box and not be exposed to something more than they are capable of seeing. Staying in that kind of life traps the person inside their world and not exposes the person to different parts of life that others don’t see everyday.
Performing arts is a good example of not living it comfortably. Activities such as dance, colorguard and gymnastics don’t let you live such a luxury life but push you to the maximum limit. These activities give you the opportunity to grow and expose you to things such as injury, emotions and accomplishment. For a good example, in a competition for colorguard and gymnastics if you want to get the good points, you have to perform in the maximum difficulty. This means that you have to compete with complex and difficult work that would take many hours to accomplish, and also you do have to execute the work well to get even more points. This brings many good points about not living comfortably, because you put yourself in danger doing difficult work that you have the potential of injuring yourself. Also, it exposes you to pushing your body to the limit and thus putting a lot of accomplishment in the person themself. The way it is given is that you get to grow more pushing yourself to above the limit.
There are times where people just want to take the easy way out of situations and take the easy life. Everybody wants the ease of something like working hard, avoiding problems, and also living it comfortably. But on earth, people can't avoid the difficulty of the things that happen, they can't press the easy button and get out of it. "Christianity without tears— that’s what soma is." (Huxley, 238) , life is not something someone could just throw it away just by avoiding the problem. They have to take it the hard way out, because the easy way is not a way to go for it, it doesn’t teach you anything. The problem has to be fixed and it can't be avoided by letting the person ease up upon it. Also, people have to work hard for what they have and pursue through the problem. They learn from their problem by suffering through the dangers of it. It is not possible to just leave out of nowhere and take everything the easy way especially by cheating.
In Brave New World, soma just prevents the people from choosing to live the hard way. Soma is the drug that make all things end, and when someone can’t handle something like John’s mother how she can’t get over her problems. It’s an obstacle within an obstacle that creates a giant wall and holds the person down, making them think that there are easy ways around it instead of climbing it up. John is not the type to handle these kinds of situation, he is full of human, “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.” (Huxley), he still has the freedom to choose what he wants to do and if he wants to choose the easy way out or the hard way out of it. The people who didn’t take soma and go to the “new world” are the people at the savage reservation. They know how to live and they know that they can’t live comfortably, but pursue through the hardships especially keep with the things they have. These people live with what they have and though it seems uncivilized, they have been expose to something harder and not having to live the easy life for it. Living such a dangerous life and an uncomfortable one without soma is what the people at the savage reservation can do.
Life cannot always be lived easy. It’s a difficult process, it can be easy or hard. The main reason life cannot be lived comfortably is because people grow from what they are exposed to and to fight beyond the limit. If life were lived easy, people wouldn’t be exposed to things and when new things come, they won’t be use to it. God made life difficult for a reason, God made it so that we would pursue through life and not let the bad things have an affect on us.
“if you wanted to drown you could,but you don’t because finally after all the struggle and all the years, you don’t want to anymore, you’ve simply had enough of drowning
and you want to live"- David Whyte, The true love
I liked how you used performing arts as an example. While these activities are strenuous, they do "give you the opportunity to grow and expose you to things such as injury, emotions and accomplishment."
And it is when we are pushed to the "maximum limit" that we develop our own identities. It is when we take risks, rather than live comfortably, that we find endless possibilities and opportunities in making the best of our lives. This is how we find life's meaning.
I agree "[People] learn from their problem by suffering through the dangers of it. It is not possible to just leave out of nowhere and take everything the easy way especially by cheating." The only way for us to grow and develop as individuals is by taking risks and failing, which in turn strengthens us.
"God made life difficult for a reason, God made it so that we would pursue through life and not let the bad things have an affect on us."
This is one of my favorite sentences. If life weren't so hard, we wouldn't be able to appreciate God's mercy and grace.
Brian i understand were your coming from. people at times just want to take the easy way out, I know I do at times which is not a good thing but it is how i function at times and i need to brake that ritual. Your right life can not always be lived easy.
I thought it was interesting how you used performing arts as an example of not living it comfortably, it seemed like a strange correlation at first but it ultimately makes sense.
Myth/Sci – Fi – Period 6
12 May 2013
In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, two of his main characters, John and Mustapha Mond, present two very conflicting philosophies. John, the Savage unused to life in the World State, posits that unhappiness is necessary, that tears are necessary because otherwise people are missing out on the aspects of life that were meant to be experienced. Mond, a World Controller responsible for the World State, argues the opposite – that there is no point in risking being unhappy and unsafe when soma makes it even easier to be happy and safe. Huxley, through his diction and the way he creates his scene, places Mond in a negative light, urging his audience to embrace John’s philosophy. However, in terms of human survival, Mustapha Mond’s point that enjoying oneself in the World State is easier than finding discomfort is much more sensible than John’s point.
When derived to the core, John’s argument consists of wanting to be unhappy and wanting to hurt. This sort of behavior is prohibited in the World State for a reason – it is unhealthy and the desire for it displays signs of insanity, something which contains the ability to threaten the stability of the carefully crafted society the World Controllers drool over. Moreover, when thought about from a logical stand point, it is obvious that it is not sensible in the slightest to pursue a life devoid of joy and full of pain and suffering. When John exclaims that “the tears are necessary” he is openly telling Mustapha Mond and the readers that he believes pain is crucial part of life (Huxley). He believes this because he thinks pain will prompt the people to progress and learn from their mistakes. However, in a society where stability is part of its motto, uncontrolled and unchecked progress by the masses, not the government, would threaten all of society. John, being from the New Mexico Savage Reservation, does not understand or accept neither the World State nor its motto and has not lived according to it for any significant amount of his life. It is obvious that John cannot offer real input on how the World State should be ran because he is unfamiliar with its workings and has not really been completely submerged in it. John’s approach to living life is not fit for the World State and is not nearly as sensible as Mond’s approach.
The stance that Mustapha Mond assumes when debating how to run the World State with John is logical and has evidence to back it up. Through the invention of and consumption of the drug soma, it has been made possible to always be happy and high without the negative effects that contemporary drugs carry. In addition, the amount of leisure time available to the citizens of the World State has made modern problems such as hating one’s job non-existent. Through the various, complicated forms of golf and other social events like the feelies there not only is no desire for tears but there is no opportunity for them because the citizens are so engulfed in enjoying their activities that the concept of sadness never even occurs to them. The introduction of depression and the negative emotions would disturb the well-established routine that every World State member is so used to and would start the upheaval of the society the World Controllers worked so hard to cultivate. Moreover, it has been proven in studies by people as famous as Sigmund Freud and lesser known scientists such Lee Berk that positive attitudes accompanied with the presence of laughter is very healthy; it has been shown that positive behavior facilitates the production of endorphins which helps combat various bacteria and viruses. This evidence is real, adding to the pool of evidence backing up Mond’s philosophy. Mustapha Mond correctly fears the introduction of sadness to society because it is so threatening to stability.
The side effect of living dangerously is progress. John advocates for living dangerously because he wants progress, he wants society to move forward from the Shakespeare-banning state they are currently trapped in. Mond, on the other hand, believes that progress would upset the identity, stability, and community of the World State. It is obvious that Mond’s philosophy is more sensible because it allows the World State’s citizens to survive. There are a few individuals introduced to Huxley’s readers that stick out from the average citizen – John, Bernard, and Helmholtz. These three exemplify the philosophy that promotes living dangerously. However, we see that because they risked not being safe, Bernard and Helmholtz are banished from the World State and John, the main advocate, who Huxley himself even names The Savage, for this philosophy, commits suicide. This proves how unhealthy and irresponsible John’s proposed philosophy is. It is easy to tell that Mond’s philosophy is more sensible because the characters that Huxley chooses to represent living dangerously are irreparably damaged that do not fit into their society.
Huxley presents his readers with a difficult debate between two of his main characters. He tries to persuade his audience to embrace John’s philosophy but he backfires with the choice of its representatives. By using unstable characters that the audience pities, Huxley effectively digs himself into a hole that he is unable to climb out of. The philosophy that World Controller Mustapha Mond argues for is much more believable, logical, and persuasive than John’s philosophy.
Great job on your blog this week. It was refreshing to read a blog that supported Mond's argument. My favorite part of the entire blog was when you mentioned the three characters that wanted to "live dangerously." I personally didn't make the connection that the three characters suffered from their want of living dangerously until I read your blog. It was eye opening and the entire blog flowed nicely. Good job.
I really liked reading your post this week even though I do not completely agree with you. Mond does not follow his own policies. He has read the so called "Forbidden" books too. I agree with you that sadness threatens stability. When we feel sad, we are unstable ourselves. It is being unstable that allows us to grow. I think that was a really interesting connection with the 3 characters. Could you explain more about Huxley digging himself into a hole?
I loved the way you constructed your blog because it was easy to understand your points and arguments thanks to the organization. And I think this blog would've been over the top had you cited more sources from the book to defend the points you mentioned.
Hey William, I agree with a lot of your viewpoints, such as how we need to live dangerously to progress, and I thought your post was organized and easy to understand.
This post made me laugh with how critical you seem of Huxley. Is it a sign that we are in danger of becoming like the World State when we nod along with Mond's reasoning rather than gagging at Huxley's satire? Anyways, I can see how Huxley might've dug himself a hole since he also regrets the ending he wrote.
These Inconveniences Are Worth It
Everybody has a choice in life, they can choose to always take the shortcut and to live without any risks or they can choose to push themselves and make something out of life. It may be easier to just live comfortably without any of the problematic “inconveniences.” However, the people that choose to live that lifestyle will never feel satisfied and will always want more, they will feel as if something is missing from their life. Risks and fears and inconveniences are vital in life because it makes life worth it. When someone overcomes their fears or worries, it helps them to grow and blossom into a wise and knowledgeable person. In Brave New World, John the Savage and Mustapha Mond argue whether it is better to live life comfortably without any inconveniences or if those inconveniences are important in order to grow. Even though John was not come out victorious with his argument, his beliefs are true. One needs to live a life full of inconveniences in order to have freedom and to mature as a human being.
In life, there will always be inconveniences, this world isn’t perfect. However hard those problems may be some times, one can learn from it and learn to be joyful again. In Brave New World, the people aren’t exposed to danger and stress thus making them less human. Instead, they are filled with, “Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage” (239). They don’t have to experience fear or pain or hope, the V.P.S. does it for them, and without any inconveniences. They aren’t fully human because they don’t feel normal human emotions that shape and make humans who they are. Without it, there wouldn’t be airplanes and computers and air condition because in order for those to be made, there had to have been inconveniences. The citizens in Brave New World live comfortably without any inconveniences which make them live in a stagnant and immobile society. They will never have the longing for pain and hope because they have always lived happily and easily without the core components of what makes humanity flourish and develop. The citizens of the World State do not have their identity or independence anymore because they no longer have human emotions that are needed for them to be individuals.
It is hard to resist taking the easy way out or the shortcut to happiness and a stress-free life, but choosing that would be hindering someone’s chances of living a content and fulfilled life. It may be hard for high school students to actually pick up a book and read it due to laziness or time management and the lure of sparknotes and online summaries. The mentality nowadays is “Why should I read it when I know the summary’s online?” This type of mindset that many teenagers have are very hazardous to the future because it makes humanity lazy and always wanting to live easily and comfortably without any actual hard work or determination. It festers with the way future generations think: they should only take the easy way out even when it comes to learning and education. In Brave New World, John points out to Mustapha Mond that he has gotten rid of everything that is uncomfortable and hard to endure in order for their society to function the way they want it to. The World State gets “rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. [They] just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy” (238). When everything is already laid out and portioned for the citizens, they have nothing to yearn for anymore. They don’t need to work hard to complete their goals and achieve their dream because everything has already been done for them. It is a toxic and poisonous society in which its citizens have nothing left to live for and to look forward to because there’s nothing left that they don’t have.
Whenever they do have inconveniences and problems, however, the citizens of the World State turn to a powerful drug that gives them a temporary break, it is called soma. Soma allows them to deviate from their life difficulties and problems because “a gramme is better than a damn” (54). The people crave for it and they consume it constantly to escape from daily troubles and stressors. However, soma doesn’t actually solve anything; it just gives them a holiday from the current situation. Soma cannot solve problems, if anything; it creates even more problems because soma slows down the progress of the World State. If they have problems, soma is there to give them a holiday from the facts, to calm [their] anger, to reconcile [them] to [their] enemies, to make [them] patient and long-suffering" (238). In today’s society, soma can be similar to taking drugs and drinking strong alcohol to escape from life’s inconveniences. However, this creates even more problems for them because they are not solving their first problem just escaping from it for a little while. There is no point in delaying life’s troubles instead of tackling it head on. If people continue to consume drugs and alcohol like they do with soma in Brave New World, the world would be a dangerous place to live in. It is worth it to handle the problem rather to escape from it because it makes people grow and learn from their past mistakes.
The world isn’t perfect and it certainly isn’t easy. Everyone has “inconveniences” that they have to go through and live with day by day. But, ultimately, these inconveniences and problems shapes who people are and who they will become in the future. Without it, humanity would never grow and it would remain the same and unchanging for many years. Risks and fears form our identity and it is what gives life meaning and importance in the end of it all. These inconveniences make life worth living.
Karin, I can see that your three points align with your thesis statement. It is all about how to learn from life, I totally agree with you. Problem is, you keep saying that they were inconveniences. If only that word was replaced with something that sounded more pleasant. But overall, this whole paper really grabbed my attention.
P. S. I would replace inconveniences with experiences because if someone had no experience, then that someone would not be able to go on ahead to the next step.
Throughout the second half of the book “Brave New World”, Huxley fails to define where his perspective on the issue truly lies. The book swings between Mustapha Mond and John the Savage’s distinctive extremes of their points of view on society. Although Mond’s argument of how the control of happiness is ultimately something that he worked to acquire is convincing, John’s point of view on how society confines happiness in the first place is a more accurate description of the dynamics of society. Society is ultimately the overarching idea in “Brave New World” since it heavily states the status of societal influence. Mond’s belief on society is ultimately flawed because it defines the society he created for himself rather than the true nature of society. John, coming from the reservation, becomes engulfed in the Mond’s society and feels both sides, societal freedom versus control.
John underscores his belief on individualism of the people in society, something that Mond aims to eliminate. When John realized the death of his own individualism, he kills himself. John urges that complete happiness in itself is a punishment since people are only given the things they want and are not able to understand disappointment. What makes John’s argument so much more compelling is his experience in the reservation in contrast to the society he moves into. John is able to distinguish the differences and perceive the pros and cons of both societies. John himself is open to what the World State has to offer; in fact, he admits that it has its perks. Yet, he is unconvinced that the World State’s benefits outweigh the lack of individual freedom; the thing he believes is the defining factor in happiness. John also ties religion into his argument noting that “God doesn’t change, but men do” (Huxley, 231).
The dynamic nature of individuals prevents Mond’s logic from being capable of keepings control of society. John also believes that the human nature to believe in something prevents them from being in full control of Mond; stating that it is “natural to feel there’s a God” (234), something Mond aims to eliminate. Even when he is introduced to Soma, John stated that “eternity was in our lips and eyes” (252), describing his dismay of how Soma takes away from one’s life and therefore shortens it. While Mond proposes a contradictory statement of how it extends one life metaphorically. When happiness is a constant, it becomes mediocre.
Mond’s belief that society created its own definition of happiness and therefore everyone is happy in that respect is ultimately flawed. It does not take into account the variables of the human dynamics I stated earlier. All he believes in is “happiness and stability” (222) Mond’s overarching belief is to retain social stability by all means. Mond believes that taking everything away and making man unable to experience sadness is how happiness is acquired. Raw emotions and sadness are what he believes to be the downfall of societal stability and therefore he must eliminate it.
Through their conversation, John the Savage constantly attacks Mond’s flawed belief with religion and the natural way humans have to believe in something and not nothing, however, Mond aims to make people be inspired by nothing to prevent them from believing anything in the first place; he wants them to literally believe nothing. His root in the belief of nothingness isn’t even followed by Mond himself through his confession that he himself reads the things he outlawed claiming that he doesn’t need to follow his own rules. Indeed Mond makes a valid point, but his belief is generally linked with the society that Orwell creates in “1984” and John’s argument is to consider the Winstons of the world; something that Mond blatantly misses.
Huxley creates the perfect juxtaposition of the societal viewpoints through John the Savage and Mustapha Mond. It’s sort of ironic how the two argue about their views on society when they themselves lack the consideration of the midpoint of their two extremes. Both John and Mond are correct in their own regards, but they fail to achieve common ground under a natural society since both their societies are from opposite extremes. Yet, John seems to be more concise with the way he portrays his view on society. His view and argument are contrasted to the society Mond creates; it’s Huxley’s Venn diagram of societal views with the two sides being the natural versus the artificial.
Huxley concludes “Brave New World” without a concrete side taken. Without reasonable mention, John’s position supersedes Mond’s position on society purely because of John natural background and exposure. They are two pretty similar people; both being raised without conditioning and with a sophisticated love for things like Shakespeare. Yet, John’s opinion is able to take into consideration the different angles of society, while Mond takes a centralized view of his own.
John is ultimately the epitome of transitioning societal views because of his exposure to the societal extremities. The World State locks society in a static position that strips away individualistic practices; something John’s argument fights for. John’s intensity in his belief is what kills him in the end since he is unable to cope with himself succumbing to the pressure of the world. John himself is the perfect example of how flawed Mond’s societal view is. John model’s exactly what happens when freedom is mixed with the static society; it ends up like oil and water. They don’t mix.
I really liked and agreed with your concluding paragraph. Society does not mix with freedom well.
I really liked your blog, especially the part how you said both the ideals of a free and static society and complete opposites. Like how you said they are both "oil and water. They don't mix." Great connection and good post.
It was slightly confusing at the beginning to see who you are defending. I too liked the ending, using that basic chemistry knowledge. Nice work!
I also found your post to be somewhat confusing, but it's probably because Mr. Feraco wanted us to avoid the thesis structure. I liked the many ideas you incorporated though, so good job!
Alex, I had you in class last year and I read some of the things that you wrote for Mrs. Moore. Your writing has improved tremendously, and I think you wrote a strong, well-supported essay. Nice job!
Has Humanity been lost or is it finally being found?
Humanity has never been a perfect race. History books, the Bible and even the memories of others can tell of a time when humanity was at its worst. Why, after 2000 years on this planet do humans suffer starvation? Why is it that humans can travel to moon but cannot get along with each other? As a race, humans have come far. The internet unites people in a way that has never been conceived in history. Yet there are still problems that have to be addressed. There is a short scene in the book, Brave New World where two characters, John and Mustafa Mond, discuss two philosophies on how the world should be.
Mond is a man in high power. He has influence over all of Western Europe in the World State. His view is that things must stay the same in order to preserve happiness. Mond places personal happiness above all else. The World State Citizens are brainwashed to the point where, “they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get” (Huxley 220). People are better off not knowing things because that knowledge only brings them pain. By staying ignorant of old works, the people are ensured to love what they do. This is a society that has eliminated all pain. They have made the shift “from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness” (Huxley 228). The world state is about individual happiness, but there is no eternity there.
Happiness is manufactured to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness. For example, when babies are born they are created for their jobs. Alphas are conditioned from birth that they are the best and have the most potential. While Elipsons are taught they should be grateful they are not Alphas. Their lives are all that they know. There are no wasted potential or false dreams. Now this all sounds like the ideal world. No one is alone. No one grows old. Everyone is constantly entertained. No one is sad. No one misses the dead. However, According to John, no one is truly alive.
John is from a very different world. His world has everything the world state has a very different philosophy from Mond. John believes in God. He believes that one needs pain in order to appreciate the finer things in life. John told Mond; “If you allowed yourselves to think of God, you wouldn’t allow yourselves to be degraded by pleasant vices” because he sees that there is more to life than the artificial one in the state (Huxley 236). To John, the idea false happiness is repulsive. Drugs only last so long, John knows this. The people are not living there; they are just taking up space. John believes that there is more to life than that. People should work for what they love and what they need.
One must work for what is truly important. The hardships in our lives lead us to something more. John is angry with the current would because they, “[Got] rid of everything unpleasant” rather than “learning to put up with it” (Huxley 238). The biggest problem that John has is the World’s inability to adapt and grow. Whenever a problem arises with a person, they take a drug to save themselves the pain. This temporary happiness helps them to escape their own realties. While Mond argues that soma is “Christianity without the tears”, John believes that “tears are necessary” (Huxley 238).
Humans need to suffer in order to grow.
What is so bad about tears? Why is it so bad to have them? Tears show weakness. They show that a person is so moved by an event or another person, that their emotions move their very body. A crying person is completely open. Their many walls are torn down because they show their true selves. Tears say more than words ever could. They show the fear of not being good enough, the sorrow at losing a loved one or the joy that true humor brings. No one in the world state cries their world is filled with emotionless connections. Lenina does not care for Bernard but for what he can do for her physically. Ultimately for them, it is the individual above the rest.
The world state is full of individuals without identities. They live their lives the way because they were told to. “People are happy” because they do not know any better. They do what they are told, nothing more, and nothing less (Huxley 220). No one leaves anything significant or memorable behind. They do not live meaningful lives. They follow their own selfish desires and really lack the emotional connections necessary for live. Linda shuns her own son because she is ashamed. She feels real genuine love, not the drug or false happiness. She lacks the ability to appreciate the very love in front of her that she so desperately needs.
Her society has taught her to pursue what she wants, not what she needs.
Mond is an advocate of this society but even he does not follow his own philosophy. He “breaks his own rules” and reads forbidden books such as Shakespeare and the Bible (Huxley 218). His philosophy is effective, most people in the World State are happy. Yet, their lives are empty. Even the controller looks for more to life. Efficiency is not always the answer. Meaning lays in the journey not the destination.
John’s philosophy is a call to live a true meaningful life. One that can be remembered for centuries after, like the legacy Shakespeare left behind. While Mond believes that one should make the most of their life. They should pursue passion and do whatever they can to please themselves. Mond’s philosophy is efficient but it is not life. One is not living when every detail of their lives have already been planned out from birth.
John’s philosophy makes sense because even though it entails pain and some suffering, it entails a true chance at life.
I like the Idea how you use history and incorporate it into your blog
Very nice. I love history and I'm glad you incorporated it into your blog!
Two thinkers with polar attitudes toward the best society clash in the last few chapters of Brave New World. Mond advocates the current society established in this novel, or subjecting the citizens to immense pleasure in order to pacify the potential intellectual thinking that core civilization elements such as religion and literature present. This dystopia also eliminates distinction and unique identities, sucking out the human characteristics from the people from both the biological and mental standpoint. Meanwhile, John values the traditional concepts that existed before the transition into the current society, or the same elements that Mond is against. However, John’s organic and intellectual attitude exposes the irony and weaknesses of Brave New World’s shallow society, ultimately reflecting his logical philosophy that surpasses Mond’s.
John expresses his discontent with Mond’s approach to an automatically-run World State that transcends the organic beliefs of the people, demonstrating his wish to re-incorporate the elements that society restricted. Mond argues that religious thinking is unnecessary in this society, describing that God is “in the safe and Ford on the shelves,” emphasizing the society’s goal in banning the religious texts and advocating Ford’s principles of automation (231). In centering the society’s vision on Ford’s basic production ideologies, the World State degrades mankind in favor of mechanizing humanity in a way that humans seem artificially produced from factories. John’s stance makes more sense because of how humanity values highly its genuine philosophies versus Mond’s ideals of downgrading the people to a level similar to products of an industry.
John also reflects his contempt with how shallow and unfulfilling society has become, believing that sacrificing human potential is a terrible price to pay for stability. He compares the World State to that of Shakespeare’s Othello, in which one “can’t make flivvers without steel – and [one] can’t make tragedies without social instability,” demonstrating the elimination of many different ideas and concepts in an otherwise diverse range of thoughts propelling a wide variety of distinct works of art (220). His example shows the price for removing instability from society – a narrower and shallower range of art, reflecting the destruction of human potential and expansion in these works. Helmholtz’s discontent with his current writing before moving to the islands also stems from the fact that society removes all of these different subjects such as adversity, hardship, instability, and conflict in the first place, further exemplifying his unfulfilled life as a writer and his inability to broaden his profession under the World State’s conditions. John expresses that potential is integral to humanity, and ultimately his ideals make more sense because they permit genuine progress and fulfillment.
The young radical exposes how artificial the World
State’s happiness is and reflects Mond’s irony in his goals. The World State controls its people through inflicting pleasure, which leads to shallow happiness; infinite, but not genuine. It is artificial in the sense that the people don’t really feel content with their roles due to society’s removal of organic aspects of civilization that allow for genuine gratification, such as classic writing and art. Mond states that “being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misery,” reflecting that the World State has eliminated the distinct rewarding feeling from society through outlawing conditions such as adversity that provide depth to happiness (221). The people in the World State live unsatisfied lives because the constant artificial pleasure produces no fulfillment at all for society. Through prohibiting these aspects that make contentment genuine, the irony presents itself as Mond refuses to allow a more fulfilling happiness to exist yet the World State itself strives to make everyone as happy as possible. This ultimately makes John’s ideology more logical and easier to follow.
John strives for a society that is similar to reality and a pre-World State, while Mond stresses the importance of how the World State itself operates. Mond advocates the removal of the elements that could potentially danger humanity, yet John wishes these aspects to return in order to make genuine happiness possible. John argues for strong, compelling beliefs such as religion and similar philosophies to provide depth in society, yet Mond sacrifices these ideals to create a smooth and stable society. Yet the irony and flaws in Mond’s ideologies ultimately make John’s thinking superior in terms of making sense.
I really liked your diction. It helped your post stand out to me. And I agree with almost everything that you said although I think John's stance makes more sense to us because of how we are conditioned.
I agree with Kevin's post above me. Your essay flows incredibly well. It makes it an easy read that took me all the way to the bottom without any breaks. Great work!
I agree, your post really made sense and it flowed really well. I like how you went back and forth in your conclusion about the different views of John and Mustapha Mond before tying it all together and choosing one. Nice post!
Oh wow, I really like this post. I completely agree with how the World State system seems to degrade people to a subhuman level. Actually, I'm pretty sure I agree with all of your points. Very nice work, Warren!
Warren, that was a really good post, i couldn't stop reading because it flowed so well! the way you integrated the quotes were simply amazing!
Really good post, Warren. I enjoyed reading it throughout.
It's very interesting how you say that John has the better ideology, while Huxley makes it seem that Mond ultimately wins the battle, even though he supports John point of view.
It might just be the difference in the way our society works and how the future society of the World State works. While I do agree with your points, perhaps the people of the World State want the "fake" happiness because that's all they've known, and to actually go search for "real" happiness, which in turn has the risk of loss, is not ingrained into their system. But still, the World State very much so does have a fake happiness, and the citizens are being fooled, however they seem willing to even put on the blindfold.
Like everyone above me I think you did such a great job with this! I love how you took information from Mustapha and John and how you finished off with your point of view! Great job!
There are two ways the society can be controlled, either limiting the living environment to a total socialist style of ruling or allowing its citizens to live a nonconformity life, granting happiness to the entire population. Even though either way would work perfectly according to its structure, but the preferences differ among each citizen according to their living style. In Chapters 16 and 17, the author Aldous Huxley uses Characters John and Mustapha Mond illustrate the two types of ideas being processed in the society that only contains happiness. In my point of view, I favor John’s concept of thoughts, probably because of the way it fits in the society I live in today.
Started out in chapter 16, john and Mustapha Mond were arguing about literature, both of agreed with a similar concept on how Shakespeare or old literature brings passion and feeling within its writing, but the part they argue differently is either if the society should allow its citizens to read books like this. John claims that he would rather let the citizens read more about Shakespeare because it would demonstrate to the population what true affection and love actually is. He also states that the World State’s style of controlling the population would cause the citizens to ill fated and revolting, due to the lack of understanding of what the meaning of life actually is. In the other hand, Mond does not agree with allowing old literature in the society because it contains emotion and passion which should not be allowed nor understand. Mond believes that if the society that he controls contains emotion, the citizens would have a better understanding of what love is, causing birth to be delivered naturally instead of in a industrial form. Once emotion gets into the citizens, the behaviors within the society would change dramatically, causing the methods to control the population to become harder. “Because our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers without steel – and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get.”(Huxley 220) John’s idea towards this particular subject would benefit the society more than Mond. If emotion was granted in the society, people would learn to appreciate the benefits the government is allowing them to take, happiness is not always obtained through physical enjoyment, instead most of the happiest moments are the little things that touches ones emotion, causing them to feel the spark of enjoyment within them.
Later on in chapter 16, John question’s Mond about creating every human being equally, making them all alpha’s, elites of the society and the same social ranking. John believes that every human being should be created equally; he does not see the point of why people should be created in different social classes, having the difference in life style and personal intelligence. John has a feeling of unfairness within him, and decides to question Mond. Mond gave him an explanation and example of this scenario John questions. Starting with the job’s each class performs, “Alphas can be completely socialized – but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren’t sacrifices; they’re the line of least resistance.” (Huxley 222) the classes would not interchange and have the willingness to help each other out, they believe in their own superiority within their own class, due to the programs they were set to function in that certain way. After Mond’s explanation of the class differentiation, he told John an example he did back in A.F 473. When they combined twenty thousand alphas together in a certain island, and “Within six years they were having a first-class civil war.” (Huxley 223) As always Mond does everything for the stability of the society, regardless of the deeper meanings of what life could potentially be for each and every one of his citizens. John on the other hand believe that stability is not as important as sounds, instead he believes equality is more important within the environment they live in. No matter what one decides he or she would do with their own lives, they should at least get the chance to be created equally without certain criteria’s they have to complete.
After the human experience and philosophical arguments, John and Mond moved to another topic to discuss, religion. Religion is one of the bigger threats that could affect Mond’s style of ruling, but John truly believes that religion is an important factor in ones life. Mond started out by arguing the potential threat religion could bring to his state of rulings. Within religion, death, old age, and the threat of loss are brought up constantly in a negative tone, even though death could be an essential point that transition’s one to a better state, such as heaven, but the citizens who are living in the world state already believes that they are living in a form of paradise. John soon replies Mond with “Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn’t there something in that?” he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. “Quite apart from God–though of course God would be a reason for it. Isn’t there something in living dangerously?” (Huxley 239) John quickly backs his argument up by stating that he believes that if the world state believes in God, people would not feel ashamed by their role in the society, since they all have one goal in life, which is to honor and praise their God, eventually leading up to the same solution, heaven. The difference between John’s argument and Mond’s are very similar, they both agree that they believe in a form of God, but in order for Mond to successfully reign his power, he had to utilize soma, which he says is “Christianity without Tears.” (Huxley 238) John has a more adventurous mind of thinking; he has passion towards each and every citizen, wanting the good of every citizen without thinking for himself the fear of danger.
Both John and Mond have their legitimate stance on their personal preference towards their ideas, none of them are wrong according to their examples and explanation, since they have their own reasons towards such action. While Mond’s ideas are more conservative and John’s thoughts are more dangerous, they are both leading to an ultimate solution, which is for the better of the society they live in. John’s arguments could possibly lead the population into chaos, but with his passion and emotional input in his thoughts, it is the more superior one out of the two.
Hi James. I agree with your belief that John's philosophy is better than Mond's. Just to expand on your last sentence, I would like to add that human life is meant to be somewhat chaotic. Although chaos has a negative connotation, the unpredictable nature of chaos often makes life more exciting and meaningful. Nice job!
12 May 2013
What's Right and What's Wrong
"God in the safe and Ford on the shelves." (Huxley 231)
In chapters sixteen and seventeen, Mustapha Mond and John have two different thoughts of what is right and what is wrong. This reader tends to agree with John because he is the character in the story that most people in today’s society can relate to. Mustapha is known to be the “villain.” What John tends to feel in the story is what people in our society think is right. John knows that the society he lives in is totally ignorant and not truthful. He believes that what people are teaching their young kids is wrong and that’s why he wants to leave the place he is living right now. He wants to go back to another civilization, where he grew up and which he knew. Civilization that is referred to as “savage civilization.” John then finds out what he knew all along. That the virtues and faith he believed in were the closest thing to the truth. John was an outcast because what he did and believed in such as the knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays which he could quote word by word, was banned from this society.
Sometimes in modern society or in a “brave new worlds society,” it is good to be an outcast like John. John was shunned but it did not faze him at all. He took what he believed in and ran with it. John was different from all the rest of the people in the novel, and that is what made him unique. Even though John killed himself at the end of the story, he did not live in fear because he held fast in his principles, he was true to himself and followed what he wanted to do and believed in, with no regrets. John was not comfortable with his life so he changed it. Unlike most people nowadays, he did not live in fear. Everyone in the world is different. There are no two people on the face of the earth who are exactly identical. Each person wants something different out of life. There are people who know what they believe in, they know what they want and know how to accomplish their goals in life. Others don’t have the strength or courage to fight for what they believe in. That separates the go getters from the people who are mere bystanders or followers .
“We can't allow science to undo its own good work.” (Huxley 227)
Science should never go backwards. In today’s planet, Science always seems to go forward and never goes on reverse. There are always new inventions being made every day because of Science. This played a big role in “A Brave New Worlds” modern society. Science never went backward. It always kept on moving forward. How do you think so many babies were cloned and made from just one egg? People though that the science that created the new inventions in “A Brave New World’s” society was actually helping them become better people, but actually it was crippling them from the inside and blinding them from reality. The Director made every one believe there was no God and that all the new and improved inventions that created different classes of peoples helped the society and made it a better place.
People everyday try to make the world a better place from cops and firefighters to bankers and pharmacists. They frequently do, but at there are times when it could be too little too late. Everybody everywhere tries to please one another by trying to do the right thing, or just by doing something to fit in. It is a very well known fact that peer pressure can be very strong to people my age ( older and mostly younger). Everyone who loved in “A Brave New World’s” society followed what they were told. They didn’t believe in a God anymore. Instead, they had the director. They were not allowed to have babies the natural way anymore, so they just listened to what they were told and just cloned to reproduce.
Even if everyone seemed to be happy in the society of “ A Brave New World,” it was just all an illusion, thanks to the Soma. To be quite honest life had no meaning in “A Brave New World.” People were just existing, not living life as it should be lived, and as we know it. Every day was the same ritual for everybody in that society. You get up have an orgy, take some drugs then go back to bed.
"The Gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; providence takes its cue from men." (Huxley 236)
Nobody believed in God anymore except John, and that said something about him. John stood up for what he believed in and even when everybody else believed there was no God, nor that all of Shakespeare’s plays were stupid and dumb. John did not given in and stuck it out. He did what he wanted and resisted what he did not believe in. In the end, it was his downfall which lead to his death.
In conclusion, I do believe people should stick to their principles and what they believe in even if it leads to their downfall. This is called integrity, which Webster defines as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” If you don’t believe in anything what is there to live for?
Nice blog. i agree that people should stick to their principles and what they believe in even if it leads to their downfall. Good JOb
Claiming the Right to Be Unhappy
In a Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, we see an overreaching debate on how life truly should be. There is Mond, the controller who believes in a bland life of stability, and then there is John, who believes that there is something in loss that makes living that much more worth it. Both their arguments are worth looking into, because both of them bring up great points. Why live in a world full of hardship when a person can avoid it and be perfectly content? One could go through day to day life without consequences, and always have a decent smile on their face. But then again, if hardship is taken from life, then there is no appreciation of the beauty. There would be nothing to make life special.
Mond has every reason to have the opinion that he does. He is avoiding unhappiness at the cost of happiness. Mond has seen pure beauty, and yet “You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We've sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead." (Huxley, 220) He realizes that the great things in life are in fact great. But, even though there is greatness in happiness and beauty, it comes at the cost of harm and ugliness. That just so happens to be too large of a cost. Suffering should be avoided on all costs. In Mond’s mind there is really no harm in taking the badness out of life. He is doing society a service by keeping their lives perfectly tolerable.
The production of happiness must be muffled in the World State’s society. "[Science is] another item in the cost of stability. It isn't only art that's incompatible with happiness; it's also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled." Growth cannot happen in this society because if science creates another item that will make society “happier,” it could bring beauty into the world, and hence instability. The purpose of inventing is to make life even better than it already is. With life already at a sufficient and stable pace, there is no need to change the system with the advancement of new science.
Science isn’t the only thing that is ripped from the hands of society, but also the ability to love or even comprehend religion. Mond believes there very well could be a God but, “God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That's why I have to keep these books locked up in the safe. They're smut” (234.) God is too unstable. He causes wars, and there is a need for devotion. The civilization has no need to focus on anything larger than their average day lives. If there were to be a God, he would “manifest himself as an absence; as though he weren't there at all” (234.) Mond believes that this Brave New World simply cannot mesh with God. The machinery, death conditioning, and soma are the replacement of God. There is no need for meaning in religion when life is simply fine without it.
John is a completely different story. He believes that Mond’s world is backwards. John wants a world where happiness is earned, and he does go through hardship to make happiness even that much greater. John sees soma and the VPS as inferior to real living. John “like[s] the inconveniences” (240) that life has to offer. Inconveniences give meaning. They lead to passion, and passion is what people live for. John believes that if life is only lived to be stable and content, then there is no point in living. John claim[s] the right to be unhappy” (240) because by claiming that right he gains so much more than the negatives. He wants to live in a colorful world where there is real happiness, not “surrogate” happiness.
One of the most important things to John is how Mond’s Brave New World could lack such beauty like Shakespeare. He wants to be able to learn, and express himself through the magic of words, and yet there is no meaning in the civilized world. He is the savage, and yet none of the civilized world knows such awe and knowledge of Shakespeare. The words of Shakespeare are not just words, they are feelings. They can bring tears to eyes, or just pure joy. John wants the world to see such artistry.
God is everything to John. His religion helps him to feel as though he is worth something. It comforts him when he is alone, and it helps him to feel strong and empowered. His thoughts are that it is “natural to feel there's a God?” (234) The World State is not natural at all, with its conveyer belt of bottled embryos, soma to fill in for their empty lives, passionless sex, and no God. John wants a natural world, or a world that makes sense. The fact that there is an absence of God truly shows to him the damage that this society has done to itself. They killed everything that was important to humans, and created a whole new race of artificial drones. John cannot seem to fathom this world, because the people have become nonhuman.
Both Mond and John point out very understandable views. Mond is concerned about his current world. He sees no problems at all. Everyone is just fine. It doesn’t matter to him the morality of his world because there is none anymore. All of what John loves is simply mandatory sacrifices to make a perfect world. He believes he is perfectly justified. John on the other hand is disgusted by the Brave New World, because all the sacrifices made for a “perfect” world have made it a horrendous dystopia. Everything that he had ever cared about is gone, and no one sees eye to eye with him. Mond seems to be much more organized in his views because he has analyzed his views many times, and has perfected them. John was forced into the world abruptly and is horrified. Neither one of them won the argument, but John seems to win over the reader. The readers of this book are on his side because his views mesh with ours. People in this society cannot imagine a world where feelings are destroyed. People cherish them too much to let them go, just as John did. People also claim the right to be unhappy, and that is why John truly wins in his defense.
Hi Emily. You did a good job analyzing the opposing viewpoints of John and Mond. The evidence you provided is both valid and specific. Also, you are right when you wrote that readers of Brave New World would generally support John's argument. A life without suffering would simply be too unnatural. Nice post!
I must agree that John wins over the reader, because John is much related to our current state.
Although Mond's world makes sense, it is a dystopia because it destroys all human values.
Thanks for a great read! I really like how your blog flowed seamlessly, and there were no awkward pauses or breaks. Also, you did a good job of defending your position with claims that are strong. I was really impressed by all of your ideas too.
you have a great point of view when approaching your concept
The difference between the young and old, even in a society like the World State, lies in devotion. The debate between Mond and the Savage reflects just that. The Savage devotes himself to beauty and the truth while Mond devotes himself to happiness. While in an ideal situation, John’s notions for pain are optimal, Mond’s philosophy is more adaptive to a situation where humans are imperfect. Though truth and beauty are worthy pursuits, people lack the need to pursue them without a perfect set of circumstances. Though John’s notion for pain could indeed lead to a more true happiness, John’s dreams would still be more successful in the World State’s environment than John’s ideal state for humanity
John’s ideals for truth, and the pain that comes with it, fit only a society that can actively exemplify the arts. In our world, this has only existed in a sliver of time, between post-industrial and modern era. The everyman has either been too much time either trying to survive or consuming things for temporary satisfaction. Even if John is right, Mond’s philosophy would be more successful in implementing them. The ideals of the United States, established by the founding fathers have been constantly lost by its citizens, with only the wealthiest of citizens who would pursue high art. The only way for people to truly seek something is for it to be taken from them. Mond is, in a sense, a parent of the children in the world. Even though he seeks only the happiness of his children, Mond is giving them a guarantee, a safety net. Some of his children will evidently be satisfied with what they are given, but a few, like Benard, like Helmholtz, are free to pursue their true interests, secluded from the society that inhibits their potential. John’s philosophy is derived from a promise of happiness, something that humans are not very capable of understanding. As seen by Walter Mischel’s marshmallow experiment, humans will take what is in front of them when they are unsure of what is coming next. Truth and art are luxuries, things that humans want, not what they need. “Civilization has absolutely no need for nobility or heroism,” it needs only the house its inhabitants, properly feeding and clothing them (Huxley 237)
The only way for luxuries to become vaunted is if the necessities are taken care of. For example, the Brahmin’s society, from which Siddhartha leaves, has seemingly everything that a person would need for happiness, especially for the prince among Brahmins. Only with the existence of this society does Siddhartha feel unsatisfied with this undeserved comfort. The Savage can only evaluate what is best for man after comparisons with the past. Siddhartha can only assure a path to enlightenment by being disillusioned of the Buddha’s methods of teaching. Civilization pursues stability. Individuals pursue enlightenment.
The argument can be roughly downsized to whether good of the few should outweigh those of the many. The argument has been repeated across many platforms, from capitalism versus communism to Siddhartha. During his visit with Gotama, Siddhartha questions whether Gotama is right to give his teachings when they would not lead Gotama’s pupils to enlightenment. Gotama response, whether these pupils are better where they are now, takes the consideration that the people been taken to new heights with his guidance: "May you reach your goal! But tell me, have you seen my gathering of holy men, my many brothers who have sworn allegiance to the teachings? Do you think, O Samana from afar, that it would be better for all these to relinquish the teachings and to return to the life of the world and desires" (Hesse 28)? Mond takes on a similar role as a world controller, giving people happiness in place of the truth and the high arts. Although the controlled happiness of the population does force a ceiling on the society, the people as a whole have risen, whereas John’s philosophy for the retention of truth only truly benefits the few. True, the road to enlightenment Siddhartha embarks on is truly inspiring. But even with his journey, he is only able to (as far as we can tell) guide one person to it. John is unable to break the mold, committing suicide in his exile. While the outcome of Mond’s philosophy, as it stands in the world state, leads to a dystopia, it ultimately serves as a better guide to what humanity truly wants.
John’s ideas are, in an ideal situation, better than Mond’s. However, civilizations, both our current one and the World State’s, are not run by its philosophers, but by its practitioners. Humans are trained to seek beauty and truth, but they are instinctually inclined to seek happiness. It is why the World State is such a believable dystopia, but it is also why Mond’s philosophy is a better fit for humanity. By giving humanity what it wants, Mond’s philosophy opens up the possibilities for new wants for those who wish to pursue them while satisfying those lacking ambitions. Mond is the parent to John’s child. He, though through construed means, fosters an environment for John’s type of ambition to foster. There is no use for the pain when happiness is not known to follow. Only when people know manufactured happiness will they know what true happiness feels like. Only then will those like John, those like Siddhartha, ever embark on their journeys. John and Mond’s philosophies are different means to the same end. The latter’s implementation would be more effective because it forces man to fight for what it truly wants. Sometimes humans don’t know what they have until it’s gone.
Hey, it's me again.
Yup..there are only many people I want to comment on.
"Civilization pursues stability. Individuals pursue enlightenment.:
Interesting point there. I found myself agreeing with you without much of my own opinion. That is bad(for me at least)...
I don't have much constructive to say. So, good job on this week's blog, Matt.
Thank you for the exceptional good read.
I believe that in this argument between the controller and the savage, the savage, despite many of his points being struck down by the controller, is the one who is right. This is because though the controller fights the savage’s points with his own logic, his logic is not credible due to the fact that his points are based on assumption rather than proven conclusions. Rather than proving his points, the controller references past events such as the alpha island long ago. The controller sees events once and assumes it is true. There is no trial and error to back his logic. His fear of failure is what causes him to stick with the current government. It works, so why change it.
Unlike the controller’s logic and reason, which is not backed by extensive trial and error, the savage’s points are. The points he made about art and religion and beauty were all pursued for thousands of years. They were used for a reason. Had they really been so detrimental to society as the controller stated, they would have been surely cast away. Religion, books, and beauty all existed and were pursued for a reason, which is that they were meaningful. To say people don’t want old things anymore because new things keep the world moving is not logical at all. If the controller wanted the people to be truly happy, then he would allow them to have a say in what they will or will not like. By conditioning the people, the controller is not allowing this choice to happen. By doing this, there will be no one to even question his way of thinking, making his society innately flawed. One individual cannot determine happiness; rather, happiness is different for everybody.
Do despite how eloquent and composed the controller’s language is, when it comes down to the logic behind his mask, there is none. There is nothing to back his argument other than the fear of his society failing and falling into what he would call chaos. The savage’s argument, though it may seem like a life of suffering, is what is truly logical. The more important argument he makes is that the people should have a choice. A life with a choice is what is truly happy. A life where everything is planned out in front of you is not.
By limiting what the people in Brave New World’s society want; the controller is not making the people happy, but rather lowering the standard of the people in his country. He deprives the people of that choice of happiness and almost forces it upon them. Like the savage said, he chose use his right to suffer. But this right isn’t provided to the people because they don’t recognize suffering. Everything has been preplanned for all of them. So by allowing the savage to claim such a right, the controller is unable to do anything about it. It is beyond his control.
Nice blog, Michael, but I think you should acknowledge the fact that most of the people enjoy living in Mond's world. It's an interesting thought - try seeing things from their perspective.
The Ideal Life
Throughout Brave New World, it’s a philosophy about which belief is ultimately right or wrong. In chapter 17, The Savage said that art and science, we pay a high price for happiness. John argues that the people should believe in what they want and not be degraded for believing in religion if they so choose to. Mond responds to John with different opinion. Mond says that believing in religion and choosing what we should believe in is basically degrading. He believes that believing in God will eventually bring unhappiness upon whoever chooses to believe.
Now the question “Whose philosophy ultimately makes more sense?” is just another opinion. Just like John and Mond debating about which belief is right, everything depends on what religion and belief we are raised with. To my understanding, John’s philosophy makes more sense when it is compared with Mond. Believing in God and science should not be a price we should pay to have happiness. Happiness has nothing to do with believing in God because believing in something does not make the human race happy. Being happy is a feeling that everyone should feel on their own. That is where Mond is flawed.
“The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; Providence takes its cue from men.” (17.35)
Mond believes that humans are programmed to believe a certain thing that they were built for. Because Soma is created, they, the controllers believe that religion is not needed. In this time, Soma is a technology, its being transformed into a religion. Because of this creation a lot of others believe that religion is no longer needed as it will only bring unhappiness and dread.
In favoring John’s idea of not being degraded by believing in any religion being chosen, no one would be in classes and separated. In this state of mind John is freer than Mond because Mond is stuck believing the fact that taking Soma will fundamentally take every worries away. Believing Soma will fix mostly anything that comes to mind is a pretty dangerous thought.
“Christianity without tears – that’s what Soma is.” (17.47)
As proven with what Mond stated. Soma has become a thing that replaces Christianity except it shows no pain and no disappointment. As Mond argues that some things must be sacrificed to create happiness and stability that is why he chooses The World State. He believes that World State creates stability and no disappointments will be possible.
In this novel that Huxley has written, loving something can eventually hurt us and that is what Mond is like. He is being hurt by what he believes so truly. Taking away religion and science and the ability to thing truly freely will create sadness in humanity. This is why John’s philosophy makes more sense. Happiness has nothing to do with what anyone believes in. Believing in religion, science, etc. has nothing to do with being happy.
In this case, even if John’s philosophy makes sense, it is still an opinion and none of them makes more sense more than the other. It all depends on what kind of background we come from. Even maintaining order by hypnopaedia and soma is evidentially wrong and believing in religion; science is right, happiness is only found by smiling and not caring about what is wrong or right. Even if one is right or better than the other, choosing what we believe in is all up to ourselves. There is no wrong or right, none makes more sense over the other. Only the one that you live by is the one that makes most sense.
Our Own Heaven
There are both types of people in this world. There are people that crave the thrill of danger. They take any chance they have to risk their lives just for that rush of adrenaline. There are also people who are paranoid and suspicious of everything that goes on around them. They stick to their own routines and shy away from any sort of danger. But those are the extremes. Most people find themselves somewhere in the middle, slightly leaning towards one side or the other. People tend to avoid danger because they are afraid of the consequences; they’re afraid of the physical injuries, mental injuries, the emotional breakdowns, death, and the inability to deal with it.
As I was browsing through YouTube, I came across a comment under the video “Zack Hemsey – “The Way (Instrumental).”
“I came here because I realized that sometimes the things we desire in our life become bigger than life itself. /All humans have desires. Shelter, food, sex, money, power, and everytime one of these is achieved we move on to the next. But it takes a special kind of person to realize that none of those things are meaningful independently. Most humans strive to gain whatever it is which makes them happy, but we never fully realize what true happiness really is. /Much Love.”
I found this comment so fitting. We allow our desires to dictate our lives more often than never, and we do it without realizing it. And the second to last line is what stood out to me. Who is Mustapha Mond to tell John, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.” (Huxley 240) Happiness is defined by the individual. The World State forces conformity unto its people. The idea of happiness is a single perspective that is shared by every person in the World State and Mond is trying to do the same with John.
Mustapha Mond takes on the view of what everybody wants. Mond promotes what everybody desires. It’s a trick. He tells us what we want to hear. It’s the equivalent to telling a friend he/she’ll fine on a test that he/she knows nothing about. It’s temporary happiness and comfort. The World State, however, has managed to maintain and manage temporary happiness. They’ve been able to eliminate everything that brings any sort of pain or suffering. They’ve created the medicine/drug Soma. These are the people that constantly abuse drugs, and resort to alcohol to avoid their problems. These are the people that only live in the present and disregard the future. The World State is the perfect fit for them. “Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.” (Huxley 234)
John Savage takes on the view of human nature. John promotes what we were put on Earth to do. There’s a part in all of us that understands John and supports him because that was how we were raised. We understand that no one and nothing is perfect, everybody makes mistakes, and life isn’t always fair. We understand what’s humane and what’s not. We understand grief. We understand that there’s nothing we can do about what’s already done. We “[claim] 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 tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” (Huxley 240)
John shares the same values that we all have. But John also shares the same weaknesses. His desires overwhelm his values. It happens too often to too many people. We are all guilty of ignoring our values just to pursue a worthless desire. Peer influence only pressures us into continuing our pursuit for our desires. This is why Huxley’s World State is a more likely future for us than Orwell’s Oceanian society. Similarities already exist between the World State and our society today.
Although Mustapha Mond says, “God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness.” (Huxley 234) The World State is their attempt at creating their own heaven. Life isn’t perfect, but heaven is. And when we reach our World State, we will be attempting to create our own heaven. We want what we can’t have. Nobody alive has ever experienced heaven. The World State prolongs what brings temporary happiness. It’s a shortcut; it’s cheating. It’s artificial happiness. If life truly is a test, going towards the path of the World State is cheating. And until we pass the test, we won’t experience a heaven. We get there by listening to what we need to hear and doing what we need to do (John), not what we want to hear and what we want to do (Mond).
hi, i liked your blog post. it was insightful and made me really understand where you were coming from. I liked how you included how you were browsing on youtube and made it totally fit. good job!
Kevin, i known you for quite a while now and i know that you've been a big fan of youtube, the way you research your music and your hobbies. I love the way you integrated youtube in this essay to make it more pleasant to read, and easier for readers to understand!
I liked the way you incorporated something from our time instead from a book. It makes it easier to understand and makes your post even better. Good Job!
I really liked your first paragraph because I completely agree that most of us only live in the middle of extreme and boring. I agree that John shares the same values that we do because we all want happiness but sometimes we don't even know what we want and what happiness is for us.
We come into this life kicking and screaming, and I’m pretty sure it’s not from excitement. It’s from fear and pain, but every day after that we are taught that those feelings are bad. That being happy is what is most important in life, which is generally true, but we forget the importance of both fear and pain. Both of these emotions are important in life because without them we wouldn’t learn the difference from right or wrong. We get our life lessons from our bad experiences. Without them, we cannot progress and we will miss the meaning of our lives in the constant desire to be happy. On top of missing out on the meaning of our lives, we will miss out on the opportunity to have a real relationship with our creator. A life without danger is a life not lived, and more importantly, a life without God.
Although fear, danger, and pain have been put into our lives with a purpose we still try to completely avoid it out of our desire to be happy. Pain makes us feel, makes us think, and makes us human. Without it we are numb. Without it we are ignorant. Some may say without it we are happy, but how are we to know what real happiness is when we haven’t experienced pain? We just can’t. God has a reason for everything bad and good and if we just believed in him we would find true happiness, “But God’s the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic. If you had a God…” (Huxley). God has a reason for everything. I’ve always been taught that a life without sadness is a life well lived, but that just never sits well with me. In my mind and heart I know that the way to truly live is to experience every pain, and to experience just compete happiness because God wouldn’t just create these things for no reason. We do need both, but we are blinded by our fears. John’s argument that we need to live dangerously is completely true. His desire for unhappiness may sound absurd, but it is sensible. His heart is filled with a desire to feel God’s presence and ultimately find the meaning of life. If he lives a life of no pain, he will never find it.
The society John ended up in was a society made for only content and absolutely no pain. They even train their citizens to feel no remorse when a loved one dies. This is what struck me the most and I wasn’t the only one whose buttons got pushed. John exploded on children who made fun of his mother when she was dying. This shows how that kind of society changes the people who live in it and quite frankly the meaning of life. Eliminating the questions that come with death makes God hide in the background. Death is the pathway between our lives and the meaning of why he put us here. John sees this and he mourns for his mother and feels the need for God in his life. He thinks about God and believes that it’s a normal thing, “But all the same,” insisted the Savage, “it is natural to believe in God when you’re alone – quite alone, in the night, thinking about death…” (Huxley). I find that in our lives we are conditioned to feel embarrassment when it comes to faith. People who don’t believe in the almighty make us feel inferior for our beliefs and this often leads to us hide God in the shadows of our lives. We need to feel the way John felt about thinking of God. We need to know its normal. We need God and everything that he created, including the danger he brings.
John’s way of living is how we all should want to live, but we don’t. He has this extreme desire for unhappiness because he feels it will lead him to faith and God. We need his way of thinking in our lives, “But I like the inconveniences” (Huxley). If we liked all the inconveniences in our lives we would never have problems because we’d like our problems. I’m not saying that we need to like our problems, but even if we just accept and learn from them we would make society that much better. Society has become so accustomed to seeing problems as bad, which leads people to ignore the problems in life to avoid the feeling of sadness and worries. Society strives for comfort when it really should be reaching for progress and success. People fear danger, but if we just live our lives the way god has planned we will experience everything and much more. John’s statement, “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” (Huxley) is so powerful. We should want all of those things, but we avoid all of those things out of our fear. Doing this does nothing but shelter us from the life we have been given. God doesn’t just give us problems because he feels like it. He has a purpose, and it is our job to understand and find the purpose of everything he throws our way. In order to do so we must look up to John and his belief in living our lives dangerously.
John’s views are different from everyone in his society, yet he still holds his beliefs. His faith in God and desire for both the bad and good in life is what we, ourselves, need to have. We need to not be so affected by the way others have made us feel and what they have taught us. Not all bad things in life should be avoided, we need to face them the way John had. He was living in a society that was so extreme that drove him to die for his beliefs. The society we live in is not nearly as strict, and we can live with out beliefs. People must open their eyes and fight for a life that isn’t lived in the fear of failure. Sometimes failure leads to success by allowing us to learn from it and us to build on what we learn. We never should stop short for comfort, we can’t let ourselves get used to living in a constant stable society with no pain or problems because it shelters us from what’s waiting for us out in the world. We need God, we need failures, we need sin, and progress. This requires us to relinquish our fear of being seen as different and allow ourselves to be “the savage.” John was the outcast, but sometimes it’s the outcast that we need to turn to. We might be surprised with what we can learn from the most unlikely people, and if we do learn from John we will find that we are very much the same. Living dangerously is the way to live.
Michelle, despite the messed up topic sentence of your third paragraph, your paper is easy to comprehend. By reading your paper, you look like a pretty religious person, therefore, I will not want to bother you about your religious thesis. I like how you try to persuade readers that living dangerously is the way to go than living safely; going in while risking losses. I am not saying I disagree with you, but it feels like an all-or-nothing type of situation. I mean you could at least take some precautions before you live "dangerously." The essay was a fun read because it kept me lively; it did not make me fall asleep.
End the Struggle
In chapters 16 and 17 of Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, the Savage and Mond argue over the value of having danger and true feelings over the simple bliss of ignorance and the feelies. And the base of their argument comes down to the idea of satisfying human desire. John, the Savage, claims that fighting to achieve those desires is the better solution for it gives meaning and value to those achievements. However Mond refutes that value and fighting are outdated means of satisfying human desire. In the before time some people would have to lose in order for others to win, but in the World State there is no fight to lose because everybody is a winner in the World State. A world where people are always happy is a significant improvement from the world where only a few people could be happy.
John “[doesn’t] much like civilization” (218) because he views things on a different standard, the old standard. To John “nothing costs enough” in the World State, but in fact the World State sacrificed much to gain stability. They “sacrificed the high art” (220) and “have the feelies and the scent organ instead” (220). And although “they don’t mean anything” (221), these meaningless things do the job that “slings and arrows” (238) could barely do and that is satisfying human desire. And as disturbing as that prospect sounds by the standards of contemporary society, the methods of the World State makes more sense. With V.P.S. Tybalt wouldn’t have to kill Mercutio, and with decanting Iago would’ve been made into a content Gamma instead of a discontent Beta. By replacing the old with Bokanovsky Groups, soma, and hypnopedia, the society gains peace, stability and happiness rather in exchange for knowledge they no longer need.
John continually defends that the people need to know about God. He explains that “if [the people] had God, [they’d] have a reason for self-denial” (236). But self-denial would be restraint in a society where “there really aren’t any temptations to resist” (237). John’s obsolete ideologies advocate restraint to obtain happiness in a world where happiness is found “two or three half-gramme tablets” (238). The values that were so prized and John so passionately defends are meaningless because the role of God has been replaced with “machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness” (234). And as desperately as John tries to fight the World State by trying to find compromises to include “something new that’s like Othello,” (219) so that the people can see the beauty of the past. But it’s futile for even people with the ability to write something like Othello, those authors have only ever been conditioned to write “when there’s nothing to say,” (221) and that’s good enough for the citizens of the World State. The idea of good enough sets the foundation for the lack of passion and the ignorance of the people of the World State.
Even Mond and John reflect the living a life that was just good enough. Mond, himself, was a “inquisitive young scullion once,” (225-226) and was nearly sent to an island for his unorthodoxy. But he settled for a life controlling the happiness of others, because it was good enough for him to know the truth at the price of his happiness. John’s happiness is achieved through unhappiness. Because John “[likes] the inconveniences” (240) by “claiming the right to be unhappy” (240) he finds happiness. His joy comes from the struggle of being happy. Instead of continuing the fight for people to be unhappy John settles to fight for his own unhappiness. It’s good enough that at least he can have what he’s so fervently wants. And since John is no longer tampering with the happiness of other people, Mond no longer debates with John about the past. The significance of this is in the fact that as Mond is responsible for other people’s happiness he is carrying out his duty by letting John be happy with unhappiness. As usual, everyone gets what they want.
Mond and John argue over how people should achieve happiness. John argues that through pain and struggle people would achieve a greater happiness. Mond counters by that society has progressed so far that such means are unnecessary. And though Mond does not deny that there is value and beauty in the old ways that John mentions, the philosophy of the World State is more sensible than the one that John argues because it provides universal happiness over selective happiness.
I agree that Mond's world is more advanced, but less natural like John's.
I liked how you also used shakespeare to represent John's society.
Over the Hill
On September 6 2008, Alex Honnold was the first to do a free-solo climb on the northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in just a few hours. To understand the risk in this situation, a free-solo climb is a climb that does not have any cables, ropes, or any safety gearing, meaning if he fell, well, he's probably dead. In addition Half Dome is 4737 feet high. By taking that risk Honnold became internationally recognized as one of the world's best climbers. However, he could have fell. In Aldonus Huxley's Brave New World, the final showdown in chapter 17 seeks to address the question of whether risk is worth it. John the Savage takes to the defense of risk, while Mustapha Mond champions the idea, which seemingly he doesn't want to believe, of risk is unnecessary. Both individuals make compelling arguments for their respective sides, and Mond, seemingly, comes out the victor. The idea that risks are useless to society is,honestly, absurd. However, risks are called risks for a reason. Risks require dire consequences in order to be known as risks, and sometimes the consequences will out weight the reward. Therefore, risk makes no sense because it goes against of what humans know, risking their survival in order to feel a thrill.
A risk is something which has a chance of loss, without the chance of losing it isn't risk. While the idea of taking chance is important, it ultimately is unnecessary. Therefore, risk can also be seen as greed, where one tries to much to advance, and forgetting how lucky, and how much they have, only to lose it all. That's the problem with risk. It's illogical, its primal, and to a certain extent it's pointless. Mustapha Mond believes that “men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time”. John takes this as a signal that Mond does believe risk is necessary to human survival. However John misinterprets adrenaline as risk. Adrenaline and risk is two different thing. When a person takes a risk, he feels adrenaline. Meanwhile adrenaline can be caused by many other sources that isn't risk, and, like Mond states, stimulated artificially. With such things as the Violent Passion Surrogate, people can get the adrenaline to survive without actually putting themselves in harms way, which is more logical than risking everything.
In the World State, risk is a danger, while conformity is safety. To take a risk in the World State is to essentially to break their entire system. Even though the World State is an oppressive government, that restricts people's freedoms, and even how they think. However the World State and its philosophies are so integrated into their citizen's mind, to introduce risk taking would be a huge mistake due to the fact that people in the State don't even understand what risk is because they have been reduced to the simplest of forms, where like mom, risk is unused and a taboo. The book shows Linda, a woman who was born and raised in the World State, and taught all the values of the World State. When she is left on her own in the savage reservation, she doesn't know how to act. Actually, she acts as if she was still in society, causing her to not be accept and to act in a poor fashion. The thing about risk is that it is unneeded in the society that Huxley has created with Brave New World. What need is it to be put in harms way when there is nothing which can be gained from it, no girl, no advancement, not even a try at happiness. When John tells the story of the Girl of Mataski, Mond replies simply, “you can have girls without hoeing for them, and there aren’t any flies or mosquitoes to sting you. We got rid of them all centuries ago”. Mond understands John's point of view, but he also understands that in a society like the World State, such things are rendered unnecessary, and what John seeks to reintroduce into the system could be a huge threat. The idea of exiling people to the islands reflect that idea. These people are considered “dangerous” to society, and in a sense they are. Their ideas, just the ideas of the World State in the beginning, can destroy the society, and subsequently do immense harm. Therefore, the World State has taken such precautions, and while they may not be right or even human, they survive with them. Risk in this case, has no place in society as it will create chaos and confusion between the citizens of the world state and cause problems which led to people like Linda.
Humans have come so far with their ability to think for themselves with it, they understand the things that are worthwhile, and the things not worthwhile. Human calculation has has created things which only could have been dreamed of. Risk helped with it. The World State holds Henry Ford in very high esteem. However Henry Ford took his own risks in order to get where he was. He used the assembly line to effectively create cars, however the assembly line was a risk. He also was known for paying his employees a higher wage than average in order fir his workers to reinvest the money back into his own cars. However, there is a time to take risks and a time to stop. Risks are the most effective when there is nothing to lose, in order words when there is nothing to risk. There is a certain point where risks become ineffective, and to the point of outright dumb. Technically there is no sense in risking anything, because any loss is too great, however the reward could be greater.
In all sense, risk has advanced humanity, and contributed greatly to society. There is nothing in society today or even in the distant future that points to risks being a bad thing. However, risks are illogical. They are a gamble, a enigma, a mystery. If a person wins a gamble, they propel themselves forward. If they lose one, they can lose everything. Just the idea of loss makes taking risks and challenges completely void. While John's philosophy is better, the take it slow and steady, be safe philosophy makes more sense, especially in the society which Brave New World takes place in. For while risks and challenges advance a society, in Brave New World, the World State is so advance that it has literally taken suffering and pain our of the equation, even if at the cost of its own citizen's individuality. Taking a risk in such a society would be foolish or even impossible, because what is there to risk, when everything is in front of them?
Your post was really good. I thought your arguments were solid. Although I do not agree with you. I think taking risks is taking a chance to live. The people in the world state have their lives completely figured out from birth. They live, the die and their chemicals are used by factories. By risking to do something, you leave your own legacy behind.
Look at love. One takes a risk when they declare their true feelings for another person. A husband risks everything when they devote themselves to their wife. That devotion leads to a worthwhile life.
When we stop taking chances, we stop living.
Are the people who think differently than you or I necessary to our society?
Really nice job
Life without rule’s and laws would just led up too an anarchy state within any civilization. Without law and order, criminal activity would just lead to even bigger conflicts and outcomes later down the line. No one expects to be entirely free, because at all points in life we must maintain our civil attitudes towards events, people, and things.
I can’t imagine my life without a “Sincere System of authority” because I believe that our safety is supported by the justice system around us. It keeps humanity in order and those in fear and those almost out of control, in control. In Mond’s situation I don’t believe that we as Americans should go to that extreme in which he describes in the “Brave new world.”
Children being decanted from tubes and supported by chemical drugs is completely wrong. Reality is, we are metaphorically being controlled in a similar way but not entirely. From Dorm rooms to older retirement homes, we are being controlled by the way society affects us.
I ultimately believe if we live without responsibility and the life of a savage, we would all be equal and out imagination will not be any different from the stranger to our left or right. Our family and friends will most likely have the same knowledge as us because of how we are all basically created equal.
But the way mond describes it is almost more practical then I would necessarily believe because I want myself to be able to come to my more practical senses rather then going based off of judgment.
There are only a couple of negative things that I would find myself coming up with is how we might all be overrun someday by living the way Mond wants it to be lived.
What I mean to say is that, life would be more productive living a sensible life because of how we will have had develop stages in the way our characteristics are formed. I believe that a more considerate state of mind would be living it in Monds, because of how it explained in the book that no lower caste ever looks or dreams of being any higher because they don’t know what It is like to be up on the top. There is approximately no reason to hate at all.
Being at the top on the other hand will bring so many more issues because of how you will already have a develop status on what life has thrown at you. Whether you’re a guppies feeding of your parents success or trying to develop something for yourself at all costs.
So the main issue here is being in the middle of both, You never actually have to deal with all the problems that the rich have nor do you have to worry about being stranded or will have to worry about dying any time soon.
I see you're constantly developing a stronger and stronger voice as the year progresses! Your writing has also improved, great work.
I read your blog a few weeks back, and I wasn't very pleased with what you wrote.
You came back this week and really produces something that is better! Keep up the good work, Adrian!
Your posts are getting better and more in depth, Adrian!
Your analysis on the standard of living the Mond's world is very interesting because you point out many of the flaws of living in such a society
As much as John’s ideals represent humanity and quintessential “goodness,” his arguments falter before that of Mond’s. Despite gaining the reader’s sympathy by defending humanity’s right to freedom, John is unable to disprove Mond’s justification of his societal structure. This is because the very basis of his argument stems from the fact that happiness can only be truly felt upon juxtaposition with sadness; that since the World State is too “perfect,” human beings are stripped away of their individuality and lose their freedom. The final clash is ultimately a battle between freedom and happiness; John believes that life draws its meaning from being able to experience both success and failures while Mond emphasizes that eliminating failure optimizes the process of attaining happiness. Ultimately, Mond’s justification of maintaining his society prevails because John is unable to prove that the World State is immoral and its efficiency is a testament of its success.
John asserts that failure is the premise by which happiness can truly be felt; Mond doesn’t refute this claim but instead offers an optimal resolution which is ingesting violent passionate surrogates to experience all the adrenaline effects without any of the consequences. This effectively nullifies John’s claim because violent passionate surrogates provide all the same stimulating effects as “murdering Desdemona” while having none of the inconveniences as repercussions. Philosophically, Mond and John agree that frequent adrenaline is needed to stimulate humans but in implementation, Mond’s VPS utilization is much more efficient than John’s advocacy of freedom; in the most objective sense, Mond has found a way to improve John’s idea and this is what makes his method more effective. Readers tend to sympathize with John because they know John is standing up for the ideals that they themselves advocate but understanding the perspective of a World State citizen reveals that there is absolutely no need to suffer the inconveniences of having committed the true, adrenaline-inducing act; in other words, the violent passionate surrogate substitutions have no drawbacks compared to any real situations, as artificial as they seem.
Mond’s argument further triumphs over John’s because all of the beneficial components of John’s claims have already been accomplished by Mond. John claims the right to be unhappy because he believes that the freedom to fail constitutes humanity but through an objective perspective, John’s argument is fallacious since failure is inevitably a setback and there is absolutely no benefit that failure can produce that can’t be artificially reproduced by World State technologies. By defending humanity’s freedom for unhappiness, John advocates for nothing more than the right to pain and such an action is foolish since it serves no purpose than to unnecessarily complicate the situation, leading to instability. John implies that such imperfections are what makes people “human” but as far as the World State is concerned, he has no credibility to make such a bigoted judgment against the World State. If anything, since John is the idiosyncratic being in the World State, he would be the person perceived as non-human through the World State’s eyes since he is the one that is abnormal. Readers of the novel assume that John has more “humanity” than the people of the World State only because John’s life parallels theirs but in reality, the definition of what makes one humane belongs to the domineering society, which in this case is the World State. In conclusion, as far as Mond is concerned, John can continue to denounce the World State people as inhumane but ultimately, his accusations have no credibility; just because a society does not share the values and culture an archaic playwright writes about doesn’t mean it is inhumane.
John also defends the right to read literature and history but his claim is nullified since Mond refutes by saying that with nothing more to achieve, there is absolutely no use of history and literature than to incite pervasive thoughts. The very purpose of documenting history has been for mankind to learn upon its past mistakes; modern day politicians frequently justify their policies by citing a similar successful one in the past and so history provides a means for progression. However, the World State cannot progress any further since it has achieved complete perfection. John’s home at the Savage Reservation may rely on history and literature to progress since it is much more primitive than the World State but ultimately, the resources John protects only allows him to achieve what the World State has already achieved. Thus from Mond’s perspective, asking for literature and history is merely providing citizens with unnecessary, dangerous knowledge. John implies that the World State’s happiness is false since the citizens are ignorant to hide behind truths through soma but ultimately, his argument fails because happiness is all the same, regardless of how it is achieved. Analogous to entropy in thermodynamics, happiness can be similarly perceived as a state function in which the path that is taken is independent of the outcome. Thus, it ultimately doesn’t matter whether the World State’s happiness is “false” since happiness is achieved in the outcome.
Without any impelling arguments against the World State’s customs, John is unable to prove that the World State is in any way horrifying. He justifies that pain must be necessary in order for success to be amplified but the World State has already accounted for that through the use of violent passion surrogates. Furthermore, he defends the right to have access to literature and history yet, their very uses do nothing more than reveal horrifying and pervasive thoughts. As much as John perceives the World State has inhumane, his opinion alone does not give him the credibility against a society that outnumbers him and his people. In the end, John fervently stands up to his ideals but he ultimately does nothing more than ask Mond for permission to degrade himself with unhappiness.
You did a great job in realizing that the philosophy argument is not for our society, but the World State's. Doing so separates us from our personal bias towards those with similar ideals. Though I would argue that the essay does seem to drag, the essential points come through in the end.
The Ideal World
Both John and Mond’s ideology of how a world should operate are both right in their own minds. Mond has been conditioned in Brave New World’s type of society, so it makes him view certain actions in his society as normal, doing the right thing, proper and that nothing is wrong with it. However for John who lives in a totally different society, or rather civilization, has read books from Shakespeare, like Othello and Romeo and Juliet. This gives him an idea of how the world is and how it was perceived by people in the past. John has also learned the customs of the people who live on the reservations, completely opposite from Mond’s world. With both of them living in completely different worlds, this causes them to believe in totally different ideals.
John and Mond’s conversation can be compared to an argument between two different forms of government. Democracy and Communism are the two main forms of government where their ideas are very different. People who have lived in a democratic society believe that their form of government is the best and should be the only way for people to be free and able to function well. But the people who have lived in a communist society believe their form of government is the best. With so many differences, it makes it hard to convince the other society that their form of government is better. John’s society would be more similar to democracy, where people have the freedom to do anything. While, Mond’s society is similar to communism, where people are brainwashed to the fullest. With this it shows that John’s ideology is similar to our ideology, showing how we will always side with people with the same ideas and ideology as ourselves.
Despite Mond saying how people are able to get rid of their inconveniences and difficulties, John on the other hand wants them. John even outright states, “I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin” (Huxley 240). Each thing he says has a meaning behind it. John hopes for a God, because he wants the ability to believe in something higher, mightier and greater than himself. He craves poetry to see the metaphorical and symbolic beauty in everything in life. He demands danger for the experience and the adrenaline that rushes throughout his body when he is encounters fear. He desires freedom, because with freedom he is able to do all the things that he chooses to accomplish and has the freedom and choice to be unhappy when he is sad. He longs for goodness, because it represents faith in humanity, where there is almost no such thing in this horrid place he has encountered. He lusts to sin, because sin is knowledge, like the forbidden fruit the serpent offers Eve in the Garden of Eden. Mond, on the other hand, believes that each of the statements that John has made is unhappiness, according to his upbringing.
Mond is somewhat contradicting himself, because he explains how he had the freedom to choose between the island or becoming the Controller at end of chapter 16. He is somewhat like a God in the eyes of the people in the World State, showing that he has the power to send them to the island whenever he chooses to. He himself wants knowledge, which in turn is sin, because he as a former scientist loves science. When he inspects a biology paper, we are able to tell that he likes the paper, but he still hesitantly discards the paper like trash. Additionally he contradicts himself, because he once was absorbed by the truth. Mond believes "Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it… because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.”(Huxley 228). The thing is happiness is not an object, it isn't something that you can easily buy or let go of something precious for it. In Mond’s case he lets go of his hobby of science, where he could have chosen to be in an island of potential freedom, to become the world controller, where he must dictate over the people with control, who gives others happiness. This may sound nice and all, but the thing is, what is true happiness in the World State? There is still the status quo and the fact there are so many people in the World State where they believe they are happy. Even though at times they feel discomfort, they can easily take soma to get rid of such discomfort.
Pretty much, John believes that with discomfort and unhappiness people are able to learn from such experience and are able to motivate themselves to do better to avoid such discomfort and unhappiness. He believe humans are able to adapt to whatever condition that is set to them. While Mond actually somewhat is the same as John he was given a choice where he was able to choose what he wanted to do, giving him the freedom to be free or stay stuck in the continuous cycle set by the World State. John’s ideology in my opinion is far better and greater than Mond’s even though I would be facing hardships and unhappiness. But with this it allows us people to be able to grow and learn from these experiences. Making us what we are, humans.
After reading your blog, I was thoroughly delighted with the way you compared John's view to a democratic while Mond's to a communist. It was very interesting and provided a new perspective. I also agreed with what you said about people siding with other people who hold the same beliefs. It is true and it is also the reason why it is easier for us to agree with John's argument. My other favorite part in your post was when you analyzed Mond's character. Great job!
I also find it interesting when you compared John's idea to a democratic government and Mond's idea to communism. That was an interesting comparison. You're right; John claims every right to be unhappy and to believe in god and to believe in so many other things. In Mond's society, everyone is controlled and conditioned to believe one set of values.
i honestly liked the way you used different tones of voice through out your writting and had many depictions of what you believe is right for us.~! Good Good GoooooD
I love how you actually compared it to some contemporary examples like the governments we have in current day. It just adds more power to your writing than if you were to draw on abstractions.
12 May 2013
The Price to Pay
“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Pleasure is a strange thing, not much is needed to obtain it. Just a dose of soma or a click onto the internet is needed to access an endless supply of pleasure. Happiness is much harder to obtain, it requires the correct combination of sacrifice and diligence to contain even the slightest bit of happiness. That being said, pleasure seems much more acceptable for a society because as Huxley says in Brave New World, “happiness is never grand.”
“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, we are happy when we are growing.” -William Butler Yeats
Passion, which creates experience, is proportional to happiness, but to eliminate any instability that may be possibly to their society the World State removes passion. This hampers the amount of experience each member within the society may have which creates a stun in the growth humanity, maintaining the human soul in an infant state. With this infant soul when face with anything related to real instability each citizen becomes unprepared to face reality. They are being trained to only live in an elusive world that in no way holds truth to reality at all.
“That strong mother doesn't tell her cub, Son, stay weak so the wolves can get you. She says, Toughen up, this is reality we are living in.” -Lauryn Hill
By removing themselves from the danger of reality, the society within the World State has forgotten how to show nobility in times of quarrel. While Mustapha Mond, the Controller responds by stating a longer version of the phrase “everyone belongs to everyone,” therefore making the “symptoms of political inefficacity” improbable, he forgets the possibilities of natural disasters that scars cities for years. Even if the society’s science holds the ability to manipulate the weather and prevent such natural disasters from occurring around their cities, because they follow the idea that “sometimes even science must be treated as an enemy,” they will never be prepared to face the danger that comes from space. Rather the people in the society will be contempt with staying with an illusion called safety until the sun expands and becomes a red giant placing the Earth at risk of being consumed.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” -Mark Zuckerberg
Taking risks and learning from the mistakes you make from them are necessary to grow, but taking one unplanned without preparation is foolish. Helmholtz Watson understands this concept well. When placed under the pressure of entering a new world Helmholtz recalls his reason for going to the island in the first place and calmly states “I believe one would write better if the climate were bad. If there were a lot of winds and storms, for example…” Accepting the danger of going into a new world and remaining calm enough to recall his purpose, Helmholtz shows us how to living in a life where danger may occur daily: staying calm, remembering the reasons for acting and planning ahead. Showing these traits Helmholtz receives the approbation of the Controller.
“We are either in the process of resisting God's truth or in the process of being shaped and molded by his truth.” -Charles Stanley
With all statements said and done, only the question of God’s will remains. God “manifest himself as an absence; as though he weren’t there at all.” This statement holds true today, although many people still preach God’s teachings there is a large awareness of his absence. To fill this void, the present has placed science and the internet in its place. The World State choose another object to fill this void, “Christianity without tears,” soma.
Placing pleasure to fill in the void of humanity within societies souls is a terrible thing done, but this is seen both today and in the World State. Knowing this, Huxley created a fake Eden to make a cry of hope. The most sensible hope of the two choices, us to reach for happiness and not to fall into the sweet temptation we call pleasure.
Shall we open Huxley’s box?
I really liked how you connected the book to your story. Great job man
Overall I liked your post. The quotes were very entertaining and I enjoyed the comparison of the World State to a "fake Eden." I think it's too late but Mr. Feraco wanted us to put page number citations. You might want to keep that in mind for the next post. Good job!
In a world where conflict and distress do not exist, the idea of willingly enduring the hardships of the natural world seems obscure. From the perspective of one living in the New World State, there is no rational reason to choose a life without all the luxuries available. To go without soma, to never go to the feelies, to sit and think rather than go out and consume – ludicrous! Why would one choose to age, to suffer emotionally, to live an imperfect lifestyle? It just doesn’t make sense; while we may feel inclined to agree with John the Savage’s opinions, one must also try to see things from a different perspective…
Once one looks past the taboo practices of this brave new world, they may be surprised to discover that things aren’t so bad after all. While the daily routines of the New World State’s people may seem obscure to us, it’s not really anything too horrible. While we may be disgusted by things such as the Bokanovsky process, we must remember that such things are done merely to create a “better” world. Yes, while it may be disgusting, we must acknowledge that it’s merely “for the greater good.” While the New World State may be a sick and twisted dystopia to us, from another perspective, it’s the perfect world.
Rather than staring at a phone for hours on end, the people of the New World State go to the feelies. When they’re not doing that, they’re on soma, when they’re not doing that, they’re out having sex. There is no time to be wasted; you’re constantly moving and consuming, day in and day out. Your life is as enjoyable as it could possibly be – there’s no reason to complain – you’re perfectly content. So, when confronted with opposing viewpoints, those that question your way of life and label you “inhuman,” you cannot help but disagree. You’re simply doing what you know and you don’t see any reason to change.
While life may lack depth – there are no more strong emotions, bonds with people, or beliefs to uphold – this is no reason for the people of the brave new world to be unhappy. They go through their entire lives without any of these things, and they live it without regrets. Nobody yearns for these things – there is no need for such things. Someone like John would try to convince you that your life lacks meaning. They’d argue that life’s problems bring out the beauty in life – that a life without suffering is not a life fully lived. While both viewpoints provide valid arguments, one must consider this: “Why would someone from the New World State see the value in suffering?” The fact of the matter is, they wouldn’t.
No matter how “human” you are, no matter how much you value your emotions, you’ll never be able to convince a citizen of the New World State that there is beauty in suffering. They simply would not see the logic in your argument. It’s not a matter of them being ignorant, but rather because suggesting to choose an imperfect life would be no different than simply saying “add more inconveniences to your life.” Immediately, your argument is invalid. Period.
Considering both perspectives, there is no argument that the lifestyle of a New World State citizen is preferable to that of a “normal” person. Sure, while some aspects of this way of life may seem taboo, strange, or just downright disgusting, when asked to revert to normality, there is no real reason to do such a thing. Nature is inconvenient and naturally, people want things to be as convenient as possible. – Just try convincing someone you know to give up the use of their cell phone for a day. Odds are you probably won’t find a willing contestant. Once you’ve grown accustomed to this society’s culture, you’ll see no reason to change – though your way of life may disturb others, it may be completely “normal” to you.
Rather than asking yourself “is Mustapha Mond right or is John the Savage?” ask yourself “how easily could I conform to another society’s culture?” Essentially, this is what we’re asking ourselves when we ponder the first question. Naturally, we’re inclined to side with John the Savage, so from the start, we’ve created bias against Mustapha Mond. Once one tries to see things from the other perspective, they may find (to their surprise), that the people of the New World State actually live pretty enjoyable lives.
While this brave new world may seem odd and eerie to people like ourselves, one must be truly arrogant not to acknowledge the fact that a life of “forced happiness” isn’t entirely that bad. In fact, to argue the opposite is to announce that you prefer suffering over happiness. Ludicrous! – or, at the very least, strange.
Unless you’ve been raised (“conditioned”) to hold the same beliefs as John has, then you’ll never be convinced to believe the same as him. If you’ve been conditioned to be inhuman, you’ll never truly be human – it simply wouldn’t be in your nature. Once you’ve been accustomed to instant satisfaction and perpetual happiness, it’ll be impossible for you to ever see the value – the humanity – in suffering.
James, I totally love how I can sort of see some voice shining through your essay. Also, I agree on how at this point, the people of the World State simply wouldn't be able to see any value in suffering from the way they live.
I totally agree with you on the politician's influence to our society; they have to power to make changes in our life. Good job.
Pain. Sorrow. Misery. Darkness. What if all these dreadful emotions were permanently removed from the world? All that is left would be joy, happiness, pleasure, and bliss. It would be the life everyone had ever hoped for. In this case, the philosophy of Mustapha Mond is compelling yet righteous in every way to protect the interests of the World State and the individuals in all social castes.
In Brave New World, the lives of the World State citizens are conditioned depending on their hierarchical castes: Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Epsilon. Although John the Savage's argument may be proven to be more just and humane, the world, in Mustapha Mond's eyes, needs to be conditioned so that "Alphas...do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance" (Huxley 222). Because each of these social castes are conditioned differently, they are told to love what they will do for the rest of their lives. In order for the World State to accomplish its goals of "COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY," individuality is absolutely prohibited (Huxley 3). Uniformity in each social caste is the norm, and anything out of place is a violation to the well-being of this "perfect world." Mustapha Mond's philosophy may limit the World State citizens from establishing their own likes and dislikes, but with the Bokanovsky's Process and the way the Caste System is conditioned, the restricted actions of each caste is defined as happiness and prosperity for these citizens.
This perfect world that Mustapha Mond has supported has transcended to the point where new standards are needed to ensure the social stability of the World State. The present and the future are the only time periods that are of any importance to these people, not the past. Othello may be a beautiful tragedy that should be known to all in the World State, but in the end, "Beauty's attractive, and we don't want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones" (Huxley 219). In order to progress and dominate, the lagging past must be sacrificed, even if they are a part of our history. Besides, as the Controller stated, "you can't make tragedies without social instability" (Huxley 220). If the World State were to share tragedies like Romeo and Juliet or Othello to its citizens, these works would just influence social instability, which is not needed. Thus, happiness is achieved when the old is erased from history and order is in session.
Mustapha Mond's argument in siding with the World State as it is today is further implemented in the overall happiness of the people. In order for happiness and pleasure to be in place, pain, sorrow, and darkness must be eradicated. John the Savage may be correct in honoring the full extent of emotions of the citizens, but it is the "Universal happiness [that] keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't....Anything for a quiet life" (Huxley 228). The perfect world where happiness and pleasure are ruled is hard to pass up. However, knowing the truth about a person who is not who he or she seems to be is one sign of a society slowly heading towards social instability, which is why it must be destroyed. Happiness and everything that one may need has its price. It may be more than what is bargained for, but all in all, it is worth it for the preservation of the World State.
Everything was building up to the Nine Years' War because truth and beauty were allowed to roam freely. However, after the Nine Years' War, "People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then...it's been very good for happiness" (Huxley 228). Because happiness is favored over pain, sorrow, truth, and beauty, one of the many sacrifices must be science. Science allows the citizens of the World State to have creativity and individuality, which is why science is looked upon as an enemy to the World State. The only science that is allowed is controlled science, which does not violate the stability of the society. Instead, it is used to increase the level of happiness of the World State citizens because of the Bokanovsky's Process, and the soma pills. Science is a big sacrifice for the happiness of the people, but if the World State did not control science, there would constantly be a Nine Years' War.
As proven by Mustapha Mond in his argument, religion is one of the sacrifices we need to make to ensure the quality happiness every caste will receive. The need for God, as John the Savage has repeatedly supported, is ridiculous because who needs sin and self-denial when you have soma? The pill is designed to take away all the unpleasant feelings that may occur in the citizens' lives. Whenever an Epsilon or any caste member needs a vacation from reality, soma is the answer, not religion. Unpleasant feelings would be eliminated because "there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering" (Huxley 238). Mustapha Mond's thinking is to the point and understandable as anyone would be able to obtain a "Holiday in Goa" as depicted in Outsourced. All one would have to do is "swallow two or three half-gramme tablets" (Huxley 238).
John the Savage may have a point in trying to save the old things from being forgotten, but happiness will ultimately win at any cost. Even if the World State citizens had to sacrifice religion, science, and individuality for happiness, they would eventually enjoy life without knowing there was more than soma and the feelies. Everything would be better off without truth and beauty because in the end, the easy path is always the most desirable, and the most desirable choices are always the ones with a catch.
Great job in laying out your argument so smoothly! I wrote my blog with almost the exact same ideas as yours and I definitely agree with your argument that the easiest path is often the most desirable one. You also integrated your quotes so seamlessly. Keep up the great work!
Great job in laying out your argument so smoothly! I wrote my blog with almost the exact same ideas as yours and I definitely agree with your argument that the easiest path is often the most desirable one. You also integrated your quotes so seamlessly. Keep up the great work!
Happiness through Unhappiness
Within the final few chapters of Brave New World, Huxley puts forth the two major conflicting ideals within his novel- John the Savage’s ideal and Mustapha Mond’s ideal. John believes that people should have the ability to suffer, which helps them understand what true happiness is, while Mond believes that in order to achieve happiness, a society must be stable at the cost of giving up individuality. John argues that these individualities are what make a person who they are and are necessary though. Both sides have seemingly valid points, but my own opinion causes me to agree with John, ultimately leaving Mond and his totalitarian beliefs alone.
Mond believes that a society without high art, a form of self-expression, causes:
[A] stable world. 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… (Huxley 220)
With the sacrifice of people’s individuality, this creates a seemingly “perfect” society in which people are always happy and do not know of sadness. John disagrees though. John “[claims] the right to be unhappy” (240) because through struggle and failure, one becomes more self-aware and then grows as a person, moving closer to enlightenment. This struggle is needed within society in order to teach its citizens what meaningful happiness is, not the happiness provided which is empty and has no true value behind it, much like the difference between the “feelies” and Shakespeare.
Mond also argues that the Bokanovsky groups are completely necessary within society. These groups are created and conditioned so people can never want what they cannot have. These groups have been trained to fit their niche within society, leaving them characterless and predestined. John feels that this ruins who people are. This process limits the potential people have and create and unfair society in which no one can advance from one social group to the next; which in itself creates stagnation and a static society. These people should be allowed to live life according to how they should, not through what a program has determined for you. John makes sense when he fights that a person should not be predestined, and that he or she should be able to be an alpha. Mond argues that if a society were to be filled with alphas, then there would be too many alphas competing for top jobs and that this competition would lead to instability, ruining the world he has tried to control. The fault lies within his ideal of stability equaling happiness. People should have the personal right to be instable, because through this instability within oneself, leads to character, or the true value of oneself. When John exclaims that he wants:
… 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. (240)
He shows that he wants these pains to prove once more how suffering leads to the idea that people will realize how truly happy they are to not have pains such as his. That they should feel blessed and appreciative, instead of ignorant and blissful of suffering. When one has suffered and made it through their suffering, that is when they truly realize how precious life itself is and not to take it for granted much like how the citizens of this society do.
Finally, Mond claims that religion had been the ultimate source of instability, that this idea of a God leads to much conflict amongst one another and creates pain when people do not understand how certain tragedies unfold, whether or not God is to be blamed. Mond claims that the ideas of Christianity are outdated and do not lead to enlightenment, but rather the opposite. John states that even on his forbidden island, people naturally accepted religion, something that had occurred naturally to them and had not been introduced, and the idea of a God because it creates much positive force, such as faith. This faith had kept the islanders happy- happiness filled with the appreciation of a penultimate being watching over them. This faith allowed the natives to surmount any painful obstacles put forth in front of them and brought joy to them when good things happened, always believing that a God had sent forth his grace.
John believes that instability leads to characterization while a religion helps people endure which leads to true happiness. This instability, such as disease and other pain, makes people appreciate life much more than they currently do, while religion instills faith within others, this faith allows people to keep progressing and to try to accomplish more. All of this leads to characterization because it shapes who people truly are, instead of being predestined by a chemical process created by a totalitarian leader which strips people away of their character. John believes that people should be given a choice to be who they want to, and not be programmed to fit a mold. Mond disagrees and simply believes that happiness can only be achieved with stability and the lack of unhappiness. Unhappiness is the bane of his society and would lead to instability, making people restless and uneasy. But it is much the opposite, exactly what John has tried to prove, therefore making his ideology the more logical and “correct”.
I like your point about how only with unhappiness can we truly appreciate true happiness. However that thought got me thinking about what defines "true" happiness. Does "true" happiness differ from "untrue" happiness? If so, does it matter? Your ideas were so great and you've left me pondering these questions since. Keep it up!
I like your point about how only with unhappiness can we truly appreciate true happiness. However that thought got me thinking about what defines "true" happiness. Does "true" happiness differ from "untrue" happiness? If so, does it matter? Your ideas were so great and you've left me pondering these questions since. Keep it up!
A life worth living is one that contains trial and error. In order to attain true satisfaction, people need to experience both pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Life loses its meaning when people know exactly what will happen in the future. An exciting life often involves risk-taking. John wishes to live dangerously, and he has valid reasons for doing so. There is more to life than just being happy. Being occasionally unhappy allows us to understand true happiness and to appreciate the beauty of life. In the World State, people experience an artificial happiness, one that is ultimately meaningless. Mustapha Mond fails to recognize that the elimination of misery is damaging to society. John, on the other hand, knows that constant happiness severely hurts the World State, and he believes that people should experience both the ups and downs of life. This belief is more sensible than Mond’s philosophy of forcing people to feel permanently happy.
In Brave New World, two types of happiness are called into question. One of them is the choice to pursue a passion, such as Mond’s past desire to be a scientist. This type of happiness hurts the World State, because it allows people to distinguish themselves as individuals. It destroys the World State’s objective to maintain a uniform identity. People who pursue their interests and threaten society’s stability are sent to an island. Mond was once on the verge of being sent to an island, but he avoided this exile by “choosing to serve [other people’s] happiness” (Huxley 229). This is the second type of happiness that is discussed in Brave New World. It is an artificial emotion that does not have significant meaning. People attain this type of happiness by acting on impulse and by valuing trivialities. They do not feel the need to make progress, because they are satisfied by what they already have. Science, art, and religion become unimportant, while feelies, scent organs, and orgy porgies reflect the meaning of life.
The first type of happiness, which results from having the freedom to make progress, motivates people to take control of their own lives. John prefers this type of happiness, since it allows for the possibility of risk-taking. The other type of happiness, the one that is based on trivial matters, can be easily maintained through the use of soma. John is sensible to believe that it is worthwhile to experience misery, because being unhappy can help people improve their ability to make the right decisions. As a result, people know that they are making progress when they learn from past errors. The mistakes people make can be unpleasant, but they ultimately support the idea that “tears are necessary” (Huxley 238). There is no point living a life in which there is endless joy. People should understand that suffering will give them a better sense of what true happiness feels like.
True happiness can be attained by accomplishing a task that has the possibility of failing. In the World State, people almost always succeed. They succeed in their careers, because they are physically and mentally engineered to be good at their jobs. They can succeed in their relationships, because “every one belongs to every one else” (Huxley 40). Their lives are fairly meaningless, because they never experience genuine satisfaction from overcoming hardships. Satisfaction is mainly attained through leisure activities that do not pose any risks. People are no longer truly human, because they are incapable of feeling proud about their own lives. Life in the World State contrasts greatly with life in the distant past, when people were forced to deal with difficulties. The idea of medieval knights fighting for their honor would simply be ridiculous to a society that rarely witnesses violence. Also, there was often limited social stability during medieval times, as well as during other time periods throughout history. Human progress has often relied on determination and perseverance. Instead of focusing on making progress, the World State is overly concerned with maintaining social stability. Its method for maintaining stability involves getting “rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it” (Huxley 238). John’s disgust towards the World State’s preference of eliminating misery exemplifies the natural human desire to deal with problems. Being unmotivated to overcome difficulties would contradict human nature.
As John’s foil, Mond makes the mistake of thinking that people are better off avoiding obstacles at all costs. Although he is the Resident World Controller for Western Europe, he doesn’t seem qualified to hold so much power. He fears that giving people the power to pursue their passions will ultimately destroy society. This fear demonstrates that Mond is too narrow-minded in his thinking. He believes that art and science must be sacrificed in order to maintain stability in the World State. However, it is possible to achieve social stability when people are given the chance to become artists and scientists. People who are given the opportunity to pursue their passions would usually feel satisfied with their lives. This satisfaction wouldn’t result in any major threat to social stability. Even if there is a threat, it wouldn’t completely ruin life in the World State. People would be focused on pursuing their interests rather than attempting to change the social structure. In addition, Mond states that “God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness,” and he falsely assumes that people would be incapable of distinguishing between religion and technology (Huxley 234). There are plenty of people today who know that religion does not always correlate with their surroundings. Consequently, they mainly view religion as a means to instill hope in their lives, rather than a means to explain everything that exists.
John’s preference of living dangerously makes more sense than Mond’s preference of never taking risks. Life is too precious to be wasted through the pursuance of easily attainable satisfaction. People need to have problems to grapple with if they wish to have meaningful lives.
I agree with what you said about true satisfaction. Life is more than just being happy. If we were to predict what life is going to be like, there would be no point in living the life. I agree with most of the points you made in your post. Life would be too dull if we are just known to one emotion. Thanks for the great read!
Good job, it was a good read. i agree with a lot of your points.
I agree with most of your opinions. Life is short and precious; we need to take risks to make our life more meaningful. Thanks for the good read.
Mustapha Mond’s philosophies shape a tree of the society based on the community, identity, and stability. Within the branches of that tree, countless fruits are formed and growth; those juicy fruits are not only tasty but also addictive that pull people down into the swamp of happiness and joy. However, below that tree, there are the science, art and religion that made of the earth for the tree. The society Mond achieved is similar to the heaven, yet close enough to be called as hell. John argues for beauty of classical literature, moral, and religion that are necessary for current society. However, John and Mond can never reach a conclusion, just like the debate on materialism that never has the correct answer; Mond and John based on different belief therefore resulted different solutions. Mond’s world, World State, and John’s world, “our” society, contradict in the same way Mond and John contradict personally because both of them are neither correct nor wrong.
Mond’s society of stability is an extremely effective and reasonable when we view the value of human in a broad perspective. Mond’s society does not have any factor that separates a person from others since there is no longer a family. "Everyone belongs to everyone else," (Huxley 40) this structure of society eliminates the concepts of self and others. Because when each relationship one holds has the equal importance even compared to himself, benefiting others will be the same thing as benefiting himself. The absent of selfish resulting by eliminating family will actually improves society’s stability since people will not focus on fighting against each other for saving limited resources. The result also eliminated the necessity of the work for each individual’s future and family; thus, instead of focusing on benefiting themselves, people will start to focus on benefiting on the society. The reason why people will not become lazy is because of the huge emptiness that comes when people have nothing to do. “Those three and a half hours of extra leisure were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt constrained to take a holiday from them.” (224) It is true that working makes one fulfill his life; therefore, instead of wasting one’s life, one would always tend to spend their time on doing something meaningful. When people are tired about entertainment, working would give them some extra sense of joy. Each person are adapt for each specific job, “Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren’t sacrifices; they’re the line of least resistance.” (245) president of the United States is not suitable for cleaning my house, and a floor cleaner is not suitable for work of organizing the country. Mond’s society is logical, yet sounds like the ideal society Karl Marx pointed out, although Marx’s society would never work in the current society effectively. Huxley’s attempt on building this world is to regard that ideal society as if it is already been formed, if World State could deal with each individual effectively, it is reasonable for Mond to give up his science and step onto the society of happiness.
In the other hand, John’s arguments are made from individual’s perspective. At least for now, in this generation, some people would still desire to read, to feel, and to create the art of the literature, and science. And personally I believe only hardship and challenge would make one strong, and only polite and behave would make one noble. Since john is standing on our society’s side, it is obvious to see that john has some certain degree of vigilance. Religions are needed when one encountered a hardship and overwhelmed by the challenge. If we assume World State has absolutely no hardship or challenge, and in fact most of them are eliminated by soma, them religion might be unnecessary for that society. Of course that is almost impossible when we are facing on an actual world, and that is probably the reason why citizens from World States does not believe that while John who comes from savage reservation believes on it. In our current society, John’s world are necessary for keeping our mental stability within our mind. But if we are talking about Huxley’s ideal society, then we do not need it at all.
The difference between John and Mond’s point of view are the perspective and assumptions. Mond, of course, is a more mature character in the novel, and he believes on certain things that can benefit most of citizens. He counts the majority, but John does not. John focus one a more specific point about one’s desire and academic will of pursuing that sense of beauty. Therefore his point are mainly deal with some points for what we lost.
As for no time to finish the blog, I do believe Mond holds a more significant point of view on the society if it is possible to form such an ideal society; however i personally don't believe that would work, so I will stand on John's side.
Hi, I really liked the metaphor you made about how society is like a tree. It really made me interested in what you had to say! Loved all your points.
Myth/Sci-fi Period 6
12 May 2013
The Right To Unhappiness
Finding the balance between humanity and stability is a challenge. John’s point of view supports a society that is humane, and Mond has created a society with stability. The argument here is whose argument makes more sense. Since this philosophical argument is based on sense, Mond’s civilization (although inhumane) technically makes more sense.
John’s humane society is based on the world of Shakespeare, a old and “outdated” world that nobody else can comprehend. In this old Othellian society, emotions are felt and desire brings out the true nature of humanity. It is a society where everyone is an Alpha.
“A society of Alphas couldn’t fail to be unstable and miserable. … It’s an
absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to
do Epsilon Semi-Moron work – go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can
be completely socialized – but only on condition that you make them do Alpha
The fact that everyone is an Alpha will bring about chaos. Because someone’s got to do the dirty work, Alphas would be humiliated to do any work lower than their rank in society. Like Othello, John also values the Bible which is also prohibited because it is “outdated”. In contrary to John’s argument about God’s reason for heroism and nobility, those “are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like [Mond’s], nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise”(237). Unstable conditions like war, desire, and love must be present for there to be a demand for heroism. In this society, there are no wars, desires, and actual love. This lack of human nature abolishes the need for a God to even exist. Since the civilized people can possibly become unhappy at times, they invented Christianity without tears (soma) to completely avoid human unstability.
John feels the need for danger and risk in which this society does not actually have. In his society, “tears are necessary … the young men who wanted to marry [the Girl of Mátaski] had to do a morning’s hoeing in her garden. It seemed easy; but there were flies and mosquitoes, magic ones. Most of the young men simply couldn’t stand the biting and stinging. But the one that could–he got the girl”(238). Like the modern society, men had gone through great lengths to pursue happiness. This feeling of love brought about risk and danger. These human emotions are depleted in Mond’s world, because everyone belongs to each other. Jealousy, anger, fear, and hatred are all unpleasant emotions. This world got “rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it”(238). Although inhumane, it was proven to be stable.
Mond had the choice to be sent to a savage island, but he chose to become the controller instead. He gave up science (the search for truth) to pursue happiness. Mond is interested in truth, but believes that “truth’s a menace … [there is no] point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around [him]” Science was then limited, because happiness was priority. The troubled people paid for happiness by giving up truth and beauty. Scientific research obtained the World State’s stability through technology. They then limit science, because too much of it would bring out truth, which would cause instability.
The people of the World State simply do not understand John’s savage society. Why would anyone turn down happiness for instability? The World State had created the “perfect” society. With all their modifications,
“[t]he 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 strongly 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” (220).
Although Othello is much more beautiful than the feelies, nobody would understand what is going on, because the people cannot share any of the same feelings with Othello. With every unstable aspect of human nature abolished, the only thing people would understand are the feelies. The kids are death-conditioned, parentless, loveless, and free of desire. All of these are what makes humans so human. If any part of human nature comes about, they have a final line of defense which is soma.
John could only support his arguments with emotions of savage humans. Humanity is naturally senseless. It is difficult to analyze what falling in love feels like. Wild human urges drives people to commit crimes, fight for love, and generally cause trouble. John would win the debate if it was a debate questioning whether or not the World State is humane. Mond’s society may not be moral, but it ultimately is more efficient. After all, humans cannot truly determine what is right or wrong, because humans are taught what humans generally think is right and wrong through ancestors and religion.
Hi Albert! You are right about a lot of things. The world Mond runs is much more efficient than what John's pursuing. However, it's mainly a sense on whether it's better to be humane or live in a stable, inhumane society.
I understand how Mond is giving up truth in exchange for stability. But I also have to agree with John's ideas of humane morals. People are entwined by these two choices.
My opinion would be to choose John's side, but I do understand how Mond made his choice as well.
Myth/Sci-Fi – 2
12 May 2013
“There was no pain. No fear, no doubt, 'til they pulled me out of heaven.” - Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
As I scrolled through the blogs I smiled at the idea of suffering for personal gain. I wonder how many of us would even know the word suffering if we were born into this society. None of us would even understand suffering. We wouldn't know pain. It's interesting that the main idea that we forget is that in Mond's world, we will never know that feeling. In this society, “The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get” (Huxley 220). The idea of having to work for what you gain is foolish, because it's made to be foolish, the same way we are told to “suffer for what we want” and that the world where “It’s too easy” is foolish (Huxley 238). We spend time looking for the inconveniences, but is the trade between identity, community, stability, and truth and beauty really worth it?
I can't help but resonate with the words of Mond, and that his ideas are one's that are ultimately for the “progress” of the masses. First, we have to define what exactly progress is. This book takes progress and slaps on a whole new meaning to it. Its definition becomes one not of an ever-changing world, where people need to suffer to figure out how to live better, but one where stability is progress, and the idea of old living is immediately thrown out. Some will think that the Mond's world is staggered, and the idea of stopping science from going past what it needs to go past is something that avoids truth, but where is the need in truth? Civilization has decided that “..truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent” , and that ultimately, truth, and science's progress, has become ultimately unnecessary for happiness to occur (Huxley 227). There's no need for truth, and therefore progress is changed to become something of stability. They progress through stability. The stabler society is, the more they progress.
With stability comes the loss of beauty. The loss of individuality and the loss of what used to be called “identity”. It's an interesting of a double-edged sword. The motto tells us the importance of identity, but where has the identity gone? Of course individuality is extremely important to people in the 21st century. We must have our individuality, and don't let anybody else tell you anything different! Everyone is special in there own way, but if everyone's special, is anybody really special? We emphasize the idea of individuality but what does it mean? Sure we can have a watered down philosophy, and the dictionaries can define it as “the particular character, or aggregate of qualities, that distinguishes one person or thing from others;sole and personal nature”, but Mond and the World State define individuality as something much bigger. It's the individual World State. The individual state that takes it's individuals as a whole. Though we fear the idea of losing identity, we commiserate with those like us. We like people to have similar tastes. We join groups and clubs to find places we belong, places where being an individual is just foolish. The World State is more consistent with identity than we are, and it's more than a scary thought, so as we are “conditioned” to do, we run to the idea of individuality, without a sound idea in mind of what we are saying.
So comes the community. It's interesting, because as a community we always want change, we're striving towards a brave new world, without even knowing it. We look for new ways to make life easier, we're comfortable with governments and organizations and businesses controlling what we do, say, and act upon. So why is the community afraid of the portrayal that is brought out in this book? We run to the old, but we can't even live in that world. Nothing could be new, because if it were new, it couldn’t possibly be like Othello” (Huxley 220). Why does our community search for such hypocritical ideals, and bash those that have so much reason? Is it fear of perfection? Is it fear of the idea that we will never have that world, so we rationalize our own? There's so many reasons for why we must hate the world that scares us. Call it dystopia. Yell at it for not being like our own. But as we slowly inch towards the comfort of a society where suffering is slowly becoming dull, where people can and will be getting through school regardless of how well they do, and a world where suffering is something that infomercials and governments are wanting to stop, are we really any better? Of course we aren't, but we won't admit it. In a hundred years so many fewer people will even bat an eye to the idea of letting a same sex couple marry. The same way we do with race.
Progress must one day halt, or change. We must one day stop the idea that suffering is necessary. We'll just keep fighting ourselves. Our suffering isn't something that's necessary. It's something we've been conditioned to think is necessary. The same way we're conditioned to think that adults are always right. The same way we are conditioned to believe that we have to live our lives differently, just to not be like everyone else. Truth and beauty are a worthy sacrifice, because we will never know sacrifice again. We will only know happiness. The only thing we would know is pure bliss. So it's a toss up between happiness with pain, or pure happiness. The answer is simple, we're just already conditioned to avoid it.
Very interesting post. I see how we will always relate to John's ideals more than Mond's because of the world we live in and how we are conditioned to respond.
I agree that most people don't really understand what they are saying when stating something. Like how people may think Mond's world is immoral or inhumane. I think it is. But in the eyes of that world, it's normal. And that's what's truly scary.
The part I agree most is that we don't really have a choice on what we want. We are already conditioned to come to one answer. We wouldn't be comfortable with any other answer. Great post and read!
You had a very interesting post which made me start to agree with some of your points. Nice job.
In Brave New World, Mustapha Mond and John, the savage, present two completely different philosophies of the world they live in. Mond, the controller of the world, suggests that happiness and stability are the most important thing in a society even at the cost of freedom and truth. In contrast, John, the outcast who lived in the Reservation, argues that people need to experience pain and have beliefs in order to grow and live an enjoyable life. He defies constant amusement and sees it as a degrading barrier to spirituality. Comparing to these incompatible ideas of controlling the world, I agree with John because people need to undergo hardships and obstacles instead of taking somas to achieve a more fulfilled life.
John is excessively influenced by Shakespeare's works. When John talks to Mond, he is interested to find a person who understands his values and is familiar with Shakespeare's books. John suggests that people in the brave new world are living meaningless lives because they have no real feelings for one another. He suggests them to read Shakespeare's books and understand the values of love. However, Mond rejects his point of view adamantly and explains that old things are prohibited in this world, especially Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies because they invoke instability and cause sadness to the people. Furthermore, Mond defends himself by declaring that in this society everyone is "blissfully ignorant" and that's the most important value (Huxley). Mond is afraid that if the citizens of the brave new world understand the value of literatures and have passions for the things they love, they will not follow the rules of the World States and quit taking somas to maintain their happiness.
Mond continues his conversation of the philosophy of the brave new world. John suggests that people should have faith in God, but Mond responds that God belongs to the old world, additionally, God is obsolete in their lives. According to Mond's view, people only turn to God when their unhappiness and suffering from diseases and tragedies take control of their physical world. But in this current world, those vexations do not exist in people's lives; thus, God is not necessary to exist. In contrast, John thinks that it's natural to believe in God. He insists that believing in God allows people to bear through the tragedies of life. He sees self-denial and suffering as a road to a virtuous life, whereas Mond believes happiness as the pinnacle of human life. Self denial is too tortuous and it's not as efficient as soma because soma is "Christianity without tears" (Huxley). As the controller of the brave new world, Mond only cares about the happiness and comfort of the people because this is a perfect way to keep the society stable. On the other hand, John cares more about the freedom and beauty of living. He thinks that a worthwhile life needs danger and suffering in order to feel fulfilled.
Mustapha Mond promotes an ignorant and meaningless life because people lack the freedom of speech and religion to enjoy their lives. They are basically created as tools to keep the brave new world stable and safe. They have undergone inhuman experiments to limit their intelligence and physical appearance in order to serve the Alphas. Whereas John's views are more similar to ours' views. People should have the freedom to live freely and act normally.
In Brave New World, both Mond and John demonstrate their different views of the world. Huxley poses a choice between happiness and freedom. Happiness represents the loss of freedom and self; freedom may lead to suffering, death, and misery. In my point of view, John's philosophy makes more sense because his view fits the society I live in.
I really like your unique way of analyzing the topic. I especially like your ending where you explain the consequences of both happiness and suffering! Good Post!
This book is like a soma. It was refreshing and gratifying to read because John is a person I can easily relate to. Many might consider John the oddball or the conspiracist, but to me, John is the only normal person in that society, a society where the government controls the people and their thoughts. It makes me sick to see a government that makes all these crazy laws on love and re-population. John also understands how crazy the government is. "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.”(17. 240) John wants something more than to be controlled, and to the other controllers that's an absurd idea.
The similarities of this book to our government can be made. Call me different because I am. Call me an outsider because that's who I've always been. Call me a savage because I don't adhere to what the government wants me to be. Everyday I see propaganda shoved down our throats that are supposed to equal our happiness, but is it really happiness? For me I look up to God and know that I will not, and shall not be controlled for one second by mainstream media. John also didn’t want to be controlled by the government.
Like John I have lived a majority of my life outside of this so called "New World." I've always been moving around to places and have kept myself isolated. Being the outsider always gives huge insight to what the norm is in a city. In Huxley's novel, the drug soma is a big influence in their world. It's a universal drug that allows a person to have instant gratification. The main word is gratification or happiness. However this happiness is fake, just a figment in your subconscious that is subdued with the drug. This drug is the ideals of the controllers, and I believe that this same drug is being used by our government.
Look at everything around you today. It's materialistic and temporary. John realizes this with the controllers of the new world. They use soma, weird orgies, and other scientific things to satisfy one's need. They manipulate people into happiness, and that's exactly what our government is doing to us. Every item we see on a daily basis can provide temporary happiness. Imagine getting a Big Mac meal from McDonalds. Sure it provides satisfaction for a while, but in the end you're left wanting more. These feelings create greed, which in turn can turn into obsession, and then like an egg under pressure, you just crack. Like a druggie lingering for his last pill, you realize that you're at your last straw, but too late to make a change.
I believe in John's philosophy to do what he knows is right and to have many experiences because only through those things, do you truly know what is right and wrong. As an outsider, you see these things that other people don't see, because they are blinded by their own government. If there is one thing to take from this novel, it’s to be more aware and freely make your choices. Only you should determine how to live your life, not the government or anyone else. So I ask myself and to the others living in a controlled environment, are you ready to make your move?
Myth/Sci-Fi, Period 6
12 May 2013
A Savage's Philosophy
Throughout the readings in Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen in Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, the debate between World Controller Mustapha Mond and Mr. Savage - John - took place in his advantage, where he can “make the laws here, [and] also break them” (219). What if this debate had taken place in John’s homeland, or rather in today’s current setting, where there may be people who only enjoy their given pleasures, but also where there is no such thing as soma since drugs similar to it give side-effects? To simplify both of their arguments, John pursues for humanity to be more animalistic, where emotions exist, but Mond advocates that people should live more machine-like. John’s philosophy makes more sense because it strives for the precious things humans come to long for: God, poetry, real danger, freedom, goodness, and sin, but this comes with “...the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind” (240). After all, it is best to face reality than to run away from it; escape is futile when reality is the only destination in every digression.
John’s first point in his hatred of Mond’s current civilization is that feelies are shown instead of high art like Othello. Mond points out that it is beautiful and old, therefore, it is a blasphemy to society (220). What does not make sense is why not let people experience this beautiful, yet old art? These “feelies” are written by some idiot, and even the World Controller agrees (221). Why must people be left under the dark with no knowledge of liberty? Why must people stay stupid? To be controlled and have no liberty for far more better goals just for the sake of stability is not the best sacrifice to make. This feels like living under the same world as Winston’s, in 1984. Stability can always be compromised as there are people like Bernard Marx and Helmholtz who can not conform with society’s standards. Just for the sake of stability, Mond brings up the fact that real science disrupts it because real science brings change to conformity. This “danger” that they face everyday may even be their own demise; probably even one of the people that was exiled in an island could even fight back this system of government. Chaos will strike them in this way or in the future since life is brought with some form of disorder. Life can not be made constant as the World State is trying to live on by. One can not just live and then die; something has to happen in their life.
Mond has another point to counter John’s logic, his evidence from the “Cyprus experiment” (223). He says that the experiment took place on an island inhabited with no one but twenty-two Alphas. This statement itself brings the hope for an independent government to ashes. First of all, these are people that they made and conditioned. For far more better results for the experiment, they should have had an island of random “inferiorities” that they did not make, not a set of people that they have conditioned, and see what they would do. The World Controllers should have had a reenactment of how the Unites States of America was founded. Plus, these Alphas were only taught this way, they did not know other ways have existed. Chaos may occur in random circumstances, and random moments occur in life.
Mond then points out to John that people have only believed that there was God to begin with was because it all started from the threat of loss, or other negative emotions. Either that or people were conditioned to believe in God through other people’s beliefs and that God is absent at this time of age when everyone is in paradise with soma (233-234). Although John says it is “natural to feel there’s a God,” things do happen even if there is no belief in God. Why would the citizens of the World State even take soma in the first place? Although he may not be up to it, Mustapha Mond always had the chance to advocate that God does exist, even when he himself believes that God exist. Mond also gave out an incompatible response, that God is absent. Well, what is he absent for? Threats of loss happen to everyone all over the world, even Bernard Marx, and yet, he does not believe in God. He believes in another God, the World Controller, and he hopes for him to let him stay in the World State. God really is not needed, but despair is still there. No matter how many grammes of soma one takes, despair is still there. In life, at least someone has to have some kind of despair for the other person to not have that kind of despair.
Throughout Mond’s and the other World Controllers’ actions, the idea of stability is questioned. Adults cannot always be taken care by their parents, they have to grow up and be better role-models for the future generations. It is sad to see them still being raised in their nests; if they have not taken wing and fly out there to make a new home, they would be viewed as the same as the mentally ill. To just throw away people they have taken care of because they do not conform with the norms is just wrong, they will still be there even in their memories. As Mond puts it, “happiness is never granted” (221). This happens when people do not know misery and happiness itself. To not know any of these feelings anymore only puts a human as a machine; a thing. Throwing away the feelings and emotions to be a machine is like throwing life away. When concerns are not compared as right or wrong, it would just be considered only a matter; nothing more, nothing less. It is like living in the perfect utopia, which also has another Greek meaning, “no world.” People may have “the right to be unhappy” (240), but they have these rights. When they do not relinquish it, they are living their lives.
The debate between Mustapha Mond and John the Savage towards the end of Huxley’s Brave New World boils down to what kind of life is better for mankind. John’s argument naturally sounds better to readers because it is the lifestyle that they are currently leading. Mond’s stance, however, is more pragmatic because it accounts for the perspective of the most underrepresented people in our world: the impoverished.
In an ideal world where the rock bottom is a result of lack of effort on an individual’s part, John’s approach to life is the just and righteous one. Unfortunately, the real world does not function that way – people are born into poverty and strife. It is easy for those of us in the first world with our daily struggle in deciding between fried chicken or fried rice for dinner to forget that there is a whole other world where people do not have such a luxury. In these third world countries, people know nothing but the struggle for survival. Stories about places like America and England are blown out of proportion and these fantasy places give hope to these people for better days.
The World State is by no means an ideal solution to this inequality. In fact it by no means equalizes anyone in terms of status. What it does do is allow people to be happy with what they have. From our point of view, this happiness is not worth the sacrifice because it is an illusion, but for people who would otherwise spend their time on Earth in misery, this is a blessing. When questioned about his motives for controlling the World the way he does, Mond states that “happiness is a hard master – particularly other people’s happiness … one can’t consult one’s own preference” (Huxley 227). Mond understands where John is coming from because he himself was once there; the difference is that Mond has now surpassed that level of thinking. He sees past the wants and desires of himself and people like him and gets at what people of all kinds need. The caste system of the World State induces inequality but the conditioning and sheltering by the Controllers makes the inequality irrelevant.
What it boils down to is that John desires the lessons that can only be truly derived through hardship. As he puts it himself, “the tears are necessary” because their flowing is a sign of pain and struggle which in turn supposedly teach a person some valuable lesson (Huxley 238). These lessons make the next obstacle easier to overcome and the lessons from that obstacle helps one ease into the next. Happiness is constantly chased but never truly achieved. If the power to allow people to have the end prize their entire life is only to give up the chance for hard lessons, then it is only logical for one to choose the former. Again, the World State removes the need for these lessons by teaching everyone all they need to know at birth through hypnopaedic conditioning and supplying the consequence free drug soma should any unforeseen inconveniences appear.
The argument that Mond offers up gains even more credibility by discrediting John’s, who is contending the necessity of religion is due to faith. This leads Mond to make the deeply cynical but truthful argument that “people believe in God because they’ve been conditioned to believe in God” (Huxley 235). His statement brings out the naivette and ignorance in John’s statement. There is no sensible purpose in blindly putting one’s hope and faith into some “perfect” deity if the world that one lives in remains vastly not perfect. In spite of this, John continues to argue for blind, loyal faith. Mond’s argument at this point takes off as one realizes the deep truth in Mond’s statement. At the moment, religion gives people hope because that is what it has traditionally functioned to do and what people expect it do. This, however, is subject to change simply by removing this mindset and replacing it with something else. Such replacements become especially meaningful when they serve their intended purpose without the negative consequences of their predecessors.
A fundamental difference between John and Mond’s lifestyles is that John’s has no limit to the amount of happiness he can achieve while Mond can only be so happy. The catch is that John must work and toil for his happiness and may never be able to achieve the even the limited amount that Mond can enjoy. At the end of their debate, Mond summarizes John’s argument as the “right to be unhappy” (Huxley 240). This of course is more accurately phrased as the right to pursue happiness with the potential of sweet success and utter failure. When one approaches this from the individual’s perspective, one cannot help but feel the injustice being done towards John and his society’s desire for “stability” crushing his hopes and dreams; however, when one broadens their horizons and considers all of the people in the world, it becomes selfish to keep the happiness contained in one segment of the population.
Life appears to be such a struggle for human beings because it always has been a struggle. Should the technological capabilities of the World State be achieved, Mond and his philosophy would be the winner. Those of us who have known nothing but the first world cannot truly comprehend how difficult life must be for those whose day to day existence is limited to gathering food and finding clean water. The caste system may still leave people in “poor” conditions but the difference then would be that they would be ignorant to the poorness and be able to achieve some form of happiness, however true or false that may be.
The destruction of the man we know today may not be for the worst. Even in the World State, there must exist those like Mond who consciously choose to continue society's path. I argue that Mond still retains the potential that John mentions for happiness, even when he chooses to imbue fake emotions to the citizens.
Once again I have been out done by Matt Lam who takes my argument to the next level. Guess there was more to see.
Is that first statement meant to be read cynically? As in it's good that we're going to disappear?
Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World
Neil Young once sang, “it’s better to burn out than fade away.” In the minds of many young people everywhere (and apparently to Kurt Cobain), this roughly translates to living recklessly and freely, without any concern for the consequences. But as we bathe ourselves in the ecstasy of our fulfilled desires, what purpose and meaning have we fulfilled? That candle that lies deep within ourselves—that burning flame, what keeps it burning? When we have satisfied our appetites, we look around for more, only to discover that there is nothing else that we have to satisfy us. There is nothing else that can because our stomachs are already filled. We may eat more and more for the sake of eating, but where is the substance, our nutrients? Neil Young’s simple approach to music has kindled the hearts of everywhere, but his message of freedom is something to take heed to. What Young wanted was not for us to be drunk on life, but rather to be proud of what we do and manage ourselves so that we may live freely and prosperously to achieve our human spirit.
There comes a time when we wish to halt and appreciate what surrounds us; to lie in the fields and look up at the afternoon blue sky and be given inspiration from the heavens and be mused. We’d want to look at ourselves then, and see the gaps in our lives
and be pushed to fill them, or at the very least, narrow them. There is a struggle to experience, a battle to be fought; and it is through these battles that we find our sense of substance and self-worthiness in our everyday lives.
In a sense, we enjoy the pain and claim “the right to be unhappy” because we know there is a reward to be given when we overcome our struggles. (Huxley 240) This joy of pain, our acceptance to it, does not make us masochists at all, as Mustapha Mond and others in the World State would believe. It does, however, make us ignorant of pain and determined to achieve what is needed to reach our personal nirvana. We “want real danger, [we] want freedom, [we] want goodness. [We] want sin,” because it gives us a moral sense of pride, something that we have the right to be proud of because we smothered what was brought down upon us; and proved to the world that we are here, strong as ever and waiting to smother some more. (Huxley 240)
We like to say to ourselves and others (pathetically) that mistakes are what make us human, often saying such things in times of trouble and error. But to those who follow such things, they cannot see what truly lies underneath, something that should be more apparent and spoken of. What makes us human are not the mistakes, errors, or sins we commit, but the act of overcoming them morally and justifiably. “On no account brood
over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean,” as Aldous Huxley has said in his foreword of Brave New World. (Huxley vii)
John the Savage in Brave New World is supposed to be our embodiment of our human nature and subsistence. He is our guardian, a fortress for what is left of humanity, and – if we are to be judged by our livelihood—is one of the last humans on Earth. He defends the arts, science, and religion, for they are canvases that we paint our struggles, desires, and passions on; they are some of things that make us human. “Art, science—you seem to have paid a fairly high price for your happiness,” he says, commenting on the World State’s excessive indulgence. (Huxley 230) We are creatures of intelligence and reason, and we tend to be more realistic than romantic, but at times we cheer for the struggling battles and glorify ourselves for overcoming them. We bask in our own art, and we appreciate it because it kindles our hearts and instills the hope we need to achieve our human spirit. Ultimately, it is important to preserve the arts, the sciences, and the many philosophies and religions of the world. As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as super-intelligent beings bent on the verge of greatness, we all have to keep in mind that there is always something bigger than us; whether it be an idea, celestial beings superior to us, or the whole entire universe.
Pitt falls and jagged rocks are inconvenient for one’s journey, but where is the fun in walking a clear, straight path? We “like the inconvenience the inconveniences,” and we “abolish [not] the slings and arrows.” (Huxley 238) We live dangerously, gambling ourselves to hit gold. How must we obtain what needs to be obtained without making sacrifices in this world of ours? We simply cannot, and even if we could how free would we really be? How human are we really are? Freedom implies that we are be able to do what we do because a battle has been fought and won. If there are no struggles, no pain, so suffering, are we really free? One must overcome, one must conquer. One must cry and laugh. One must love and cherish. Sin will run amok, but there is a light to be shined. As we walk among the shadows and temptations that beckon, our eyes shall be fixed upon all that glitters in the dark. In the meantime, we will follow Neil Young’s advice and “keep on rockin’ in the free world.”
Wow, a very well thought out post! It's was great especially how you connected with music, very strong quote in the beginning. I really like the intro in general because it was just a great way of starting your post. Great use is metaphors, I give you a thumbs up!
In Chapter 16 and 17 in the book Brave New World, you see conflicting philosophies shared between the two characters, John the Savage and Mustapha Mond. John the Savage thinks that we should keep the current standards of morality in order to maintain stability within humanity. Mustapha Mond thinks that we should accept new methods in our society. I think that John the Savage’s philosophy wins this argument because you can easily see that the people in Brave New World are much happier with their current state and it would be utter chaos to even try to change how they run their lives.
Naturally, people would prefer the life that grants whatever is desired. It is natural for people to pick this even though many sacrifices would need to be made to have this kind of life. In this world, the system would give people anything they want on a silver platter. People never have to feel pain if they live in this kind of society. If people start to feel down or upset all they have to do is take soma and it “cures ten gloomy sentiments" (Huxley 54). In Brave New World, people don’t know what it is like to be denied their desires. Also, they all live pretty happy lives so I think that they shouldn’t change their lifestyles. For example, the people don’t have to worry about going through life without necessities.
Not only are people without the burdens of providing necessities in their lives, they need not worry about keeping or raising a family or even having to dedicate oneself to another person. In the society of Brave New World, people are free to sleep with anyone. In fact, it is quite encouraged. You would actually be looked at awkwardly and suspiciously if you only have one partner. According to this book, everyone belongs to everyone. Also, in this society, you don’t have to dedicate yourself to family people because you have none. Having a family in this society is considered really odd and is frowned upon. You are considered a free person and you don’t have to be loyal to anyone.
Also, in this society everyone has a place of their own. They are born to take a certain role with predetermined tasks before they are even born. It makes the society much more stable and run much smoother. Everyone will just do their jobs everyday and nothing else. No one will try to step out of line or get distracted by something else. For example, the people in this society are conditioned to like and dislike certain things since a very young age. This way there aren’t a million people trying to get one job and there will be less conflict. If people thought independently, that can cause chaos and plenty of problems. Also, since people are doing what they are supposed to do and nothing else, this makes everyone happy. They are unaware that they have far more potential. They are all happy and content with their lives which is good perspective.
In conclusion, John the Savage’s philosophy is the winner in the argument with Mustapha Mond. John the Savage’s philosophy of society keeping its ideas to maintain morality not only keeps the people happy, but also keeps the society stable and prevents any occurrences of chaos.
Life is full of ups and downs
Simple as it sounds, there is no shortcut in life. Even when people choose to take the shortcuts, they don’t realize the consequences of the choice they made. Indeed, people grow as they experience pain and hardships. How would they know what to choose next time if they hadn’t suffered? In Brave New World, Huxley presents two characters, John the savage and Mustapha the controller of the World State, to discuss which of the two conflicting philosophies ultimately more accurately defines life. While Mustapha claims that people in the World State “prefer to do things comfortably,” John argues that “real danger” adds more meaning to life (Huxley 240).
No matter where people live, there will always be problems that people have to deal with and face in their lifetime. Even in the World State, Mustapha admits that “unpleasant” things happen. The only thing that sets apart the citizens in the World State from other people is that “there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering” (Huxley 238). Soma is like a drug that allows people to forget their troubles and escape from their responsibilities. Escaping from the reality does not solve the problems but instead makes the problems worse. The existence of inconveniences is to teach people life lessons and help them grow both internally and externally. However, in a society where people are conditioned to take somas, they will never learn the real value of happiness until they deal with the inconveniences that happen in life. Only after enduring through pain will people truly treasure what they have and value the good times.
Loss of individualism is a consequence of living comfortably in the World State, where happiness is valued above everything else. People “are so conditioned that [they] can’t help doing what [they] ought to do” and thus giving themselves no choice but to live in a life that does not belong to them. The ultimate goal in the World State is to promote political stability through happiness, an emotion that’s given to the people. Is it true happiness that people feel or is it just a temporary thing? True happiness comes from within; people have to work for what they need. If everything is handed to a person, he or she will not learn from the hardships one has to go through in order to accomplish a task. The hardships push people beyond their limits and teach them to become better people. Since the people from the World State lose their abilities to think for themselves, they also give up the chance to grow.
Although Mustapha prefers a world with comfort, he still feels the need to have “Violent Passion Surrogate,” a treatment that is “the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage.” (Huxley 239). This is replacement of hardships, but this does not make up for the lessons people learn from enduring through fear. In making of such a system, Mustapha admits that the people cannot be fully exposed to only happiness. Pain is a necessary emotion that people have to cope with in order to make them human. In the World State, people live in a society where progress is not being made because everyone is comfortable with what they have. John, on the hand, knows that there’s much more to life than just happiness. The ability to choose what’s best for oneself is what the people need in order to grow.
In the context of the book, John’s philosophy makes more sense. Mustapha, the controller of the World State, believes that political stability can only be achieved by eliminating any inconveniences that prevent people to feel happy. By breaking the rules of the World State, he acknowledges that there’s much more to life than just comfort. He reads Shakespeare works and the Bible to look for more than just the happiness has to offer him in life. The system may be effective in promoting a stable community but people are living meaningless lives. They don’t challenge themselves to become better people. They don’t go out of their bubbles to find the true meaning of life.
I like your title and introduction. It made me want to read the whole thing. Overall, good job at defending your points and beliefs. Great post!
Michaele F. Corbisiero
Mythology to Science Fiction 2
14 May 2013
The Blindness of Western Civilization
In Brave New World, by George Orwell, John the Savage and Mustapha Mond debate on what an ideal society should be like. John argued that individuality will create stability, while Mond argued that taking away certain things from the people led to a more stable society. Stability and happiness should both be achieved through the regulation of the people, by taking away unnecessary things - society will be more efficient.
North Korea and countries where the people are subjects to the government are normally made out to be “evil” by Western culture - especially the United States. While there are many inhumane and unjust things being done in North Korea, studies have shown that things aren’t as bad as Western media depicts it to be. Certain citizens are allowed to leave the country, and a soldier who was loyal to the North Korean army, “Was rewarded with trips to Eastern Europe.” (Scheulke, www.CNN.com) Americans and other western civilizations naturally belittle North Korea and their way of life because of the preconceived idea that American democracy is how every nation should be governed. The government and way of life in America is very unique, and some may say that it is the best. While it may seem to be superior over other governments, the democracy in the United States is not for everyone. Culturally, it is impossible to satisfy other nations who are so accustomed to their way of life. Why force a system upon people who don’t want it? In essence, isn’t forcing others to live under the same circumstance as the United States virtually defying the concept of democracy as a whole? The people of North Korea have accepted their authority, and relatively happy. “Minus a few obvious differences, it could have been a scene from another part of Asia. Everyone looked relaxed and happy. People were swimming, sunbathing and playing ball games.” (www.CNN.com) North Korea, in a sense, is like Mustapha Mond’s society. The North Korean officials deprive the citizens of many things - history, global awareness, technology - but the people have accepted the society, and they are happy. The North Korean citizens are unaware of what Western life is like, and that way of life may not make sense to them.
The debate between Mustapha Mond and John the Savage leads to issue of what a society is willing to give up in search of an ideal society. Many are unwilling to pay the price of stability, but once the price has been paid - they will reap the benefits. The idea of paying a price is a main theme in The Monkey’s Paw, W. W. Jacobs’ short story reveals how many have desires, but don’t realize the price they have to pay. Mr. and Mrs. White, the main characters of the story, ask for things that must be paid for, and once they realize that the price they have to pay outweighs the benefits of their desires, they give up their wish. Although, Mond’s society is deprived of things that are unnecessary for progress and happiness, and the benefit of stability is worth it. “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.” (Karl Marx) Therefore, by cutting out many things, the people of the society are left happy.
“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.” (Huxley, 242)
Happiness is chosen over what is known as high art because the price is worth it. The citizens don’t even realize they’re missing out on the high art. Taking away the old literature, and the high art, is justified through society’s happiness and stability.
Mustapha’s ideal society involves citizens who are repressed of certain things, but don’t even realize they’re being deprived of them. This same situation is seen in George Orwell’s 1984, with the proles. The proles are the people of Oceania who are in poor conditions, but they’ve been trained to love who they are and what they do. Proles lack the knowledge to want more, and by doing so they are happy. Mustapha’s society is happy without knowing what they’re missing out on, but that’s okay because they are happy. “Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can’t.” (Huxley, 250) Another things that Mustapha mentioned was society’s progress, and how the high art would inhibit the people from progressing. The reason Shakespeare and the other historical arts are banned is, “Because it’s old; that’s the chief reason. We haven’t any use for old things here.” (241) Without an idea of what old art was like, creativity would be greater. It’s like having a completely blank canvas with only your brain as a factor for the art piece. Old art gives people an idea of what art should be like, and artists typically base their work off of previous artists. This can be seen through literature and the repetition of certain sentence structure, or rhetorical devices. This can also be seen through music and the redundant rhythms that are used in today’s records. If people don’t old works that influence them, it would lead to greater creativity and more progress.
Progress, stability, and happiness are the three main components of Mustapha Mond’s society, and they are the things that are most stressed when ruling. All three things are very important, but they do come at a cost. The cost of keeping the high arts from the people, but all great things come at a cost. A great philosopher once said, “It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” (Confucius) A stable, happy society is a good thing, therefore it comes at a cost. The cost Mustapha is willing to pay, the cost everybody should be willing to pay.
Near the end of Brave New World, there is a face-off between John and Mustapha Mond, both whose ideologies represent opposite sides of the spectrum. Mond believes the most important things are happiness and stability, and it is all right to sacrifice individuality, freedom, art, religion, and ignoring the truth if it means to stay happy. John, the Savage, wants a world that is not “perfect”; he wants “God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” (240), and in the World State where happiness is all that matters, John is willing to sacrifice happiness and safety if it means he can have those things. He would rather live a dangerous but meaningful life than a happy life that is ultimately meaningless and hollow. Although the Savage is viewed as an alien and an outcast by the World State, we find ourselves agreeing with John’s words and find ourselves clinging onto him, in the same way that we clung onto Winston in 1984, for they are the only ones we feel we can connect to in a world so different from ours.
One thing that has been erased from Brave New World’s society is religion. Mustapha Mond argues there is no need for God because people turn to religion during hardships and times of discomfort, but in a world without both of those, God is no longer necessary. But in the off chance that there is discomfort, God has been replaced with soma, for soma is “Christianity without tears” (238). The fact that God is “in the safe and Ford on the shelves” (231) shows that the people no longer care for religion; in fact most people probably don’t even know what God is. Instead, Ford has almost taken the spot of where God used to be; even the year count has changed from the birth of Christ to “after Ford”.
The World State’s strive for happiness and stability has also taken its toll on literature and stories. Helmholtz hopes to be banished from the World State because he believes there is nothing to write about; the World State is too stagnate and too sterile. Stories are usually written about hardships and suffering such as war and conflict. But in a world without suffering, war, hardships and conflict, Helmholtz finds his writing ultimately meaningless, for the main sources of inspiration for stories are gone. He hopes to be banished to an island with poor climate because he “believe[s] one would write better if the climate were bad. If there were a lot of wind and storms, for example…” (229), for there are much more interesting things to write about in a place where there are inconveniences, discomfort, and hardships; his writing will become more meaningful.
Similarly, video games become less meaningful when you abuse cheat codes and make it easy for yourself by taking away the inconveniences. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you have the option to use console commands, which are similar to cheat codes in that you can type commands for infinite health, give you items, and more. By abusing the console commands, the game becomes easier, but it also becomes meaningless. When a dragon shows up and you are unable to kill it, you can just open up console commands and set your health to 9999999, thus making you invincible. Console commands are similar to soma in that it can be an escape to your problems. Instead of confronting the dragon, you give yourself infinite health as a way to escape your problem. You eliminate hardship and suffering, but you also eliminate the joy and value of defeating the dragon. When another dragon comes again, you wouldn’t have learned anything from your previous encounter because you made yourself invincible; you still wouldn’t be able to kill the dragon without abusing the console commands again. Instead of advancing and learn how to confront the dragon, you take the easy way out, much like the people of the World State abuse soma and take the easy way out. They do not learn from their problems, which is why the World State and human advancement stagnates.
Ultimately, Mustapha Mond believes that it is worth sacrificing things that make us an individual if it means to bring happiness and stability. But living a life like this is ultimately meaningless, for there is nothing that makes you unique; you have sacrificed everything that makes you an individual, all for hollow happiness and comfort. One sperm and egg can produce 96 identical people, and we become more like mass produced objects rolling off a factory rather than actual, individual humans. You avoid inconveniences and problems by taking soma instead of learning to deal with it, and you do not learn, but instead stagnate. John is “claiming the right to be unhappy...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 tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind” (240) because this is the price he is willing to pay if it means to live a meaningful life.
Each part is neatly cut out, each measurement precisely scaled, and each piece is designed to fit together. Every piece has a role, its importance ranges from being the main source of power to something as small as an operating button. Without the wheels the car cannot move, without the engine the car cannot be powered, and without the steering wheel the car cannot be controlled. The big pieces of a puzzle may be essential, but the smaller pieces can be even more crucial than the bigger pieces. The door knob allows people to go in and out car in a safe manner, the side mirrors help prevent car accidents, and the air bag shields people from a harmful accident. These big and small pieces work together to make up the whole car itself. Over the years people has tried to make cars safer, faster, and better. Similar to how the World State was established to be a more advanced civilization that identifies with “COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY” (Huxley 3). So what makes humans of the World State different from machines?
The civilization Mond describes sounds like a perfect society, where everyone is content with their lives. In reality, the people are not truly happy, their feelings and understanding of happiness is at the bare minimum because they are so heavily conditioned on what they are limited to know. Therefore, they only feel a sense of satisfaction, because they are limited in what they want and what they need. The people will probably never truly understand happiness because like Mond said, “happiness is hard to master” (Huxley 227). People are too heavily dependent on somas that they forgot what emotions and true feelings are, because somas have ultimately erased this aspect of being a human. Without sadness, anger, greed, selfishness, and evil, true happiness just doesn’t exist. How would people know how being fortunate feels like without having a taste of being unfortunate? Well, happiness work the same way; how would people know how true happiness feel like without suffering first? At first glance, the World State may appear to be a perfect society where everyone is happy, but under all these perfections are flaws.
Everyone is controlled just like how robots are programmed to do. Every time someone takes soma, they become less human. Soma is like the oil for a car, it powers people to sustain what they are designed to do. Like robots, people are conditioned at a very early age – when they are eggs – to be selected into different ranks. It all depend on luck, someone else is predetermining someone else’s destiny. This kind of process is taking away an aspect of what being a human is, which is individuality. The ability to make choices is what shapes humans into unique and beautiful individuals. Humans can’t be humans without their own uniqueness, free will, and decision-making. Without being nurture in an environment where people can make decisions or develop their character, people cannot be humans. Instead, there will only be robots, machines controlled to build a stable community. It may have been easier for the World State to make everyone to have similar values, beliefs, and conditioning, because these are the sacrifices they made to have stability. “Art, science – [they] seem to have paid a fairly high price for [their] happiness” and it is a choice that they made for a stable society (Huxley 230). The cost was their individuality as humans, making them no different from machines. People are conditioned to certain ranks, certain jobs, and certain beliefs just like how each part of the car are created for certain areas of the car. These differently conditioned people may be similar to a mass production of programmed robots; however they do serve as important pieces of creating a stable community where “everyone works for everyone else" and “[everyone] can’t do without anyone” (Huxley 74).
In many aspects, Mond proves his point that God is not needed in a perfect society where there is an endless supply of “happiness”. The World State has already achieved stability and a cooperative community through the manipulation of conditioning and happiness. The people of World State have paid a high price to live in a society where there is an endless supply of happiness. However, is there meaning in living in a society where everything is perfect? Is it worth living when parts of being human have been eliminated? In a society where people don’t even know what suffering is would they truly know what it means to live to the fullest? It is all satisfaction. People will never treasure their lives like how the children are conditioned to be indifferent about death. Even if people try to find enlightenment such as Helmholtz, it would be quite impossible because as mentioned before, people do not know how it feels to suffer. In Siddhartha, Siddhartha was able to reach enlightenment because his sufferings led him there. However, people from World State will never understand this process. Similar to how they will never understand the Bible or Shakespearian works, because not only are they old, people from World State cannot relate themselves to it. To be human is to take advantage of the disadvantages and live a meaningful life. However, People from World State has eliminated all disadvantages like pain, suffering, poverty, famine, and evil, so people are never able to grow as a person or even a human. They are never able to learn from their mistake or form an unbreakable bond. It is all part of a human to explore every aspect of being human, even the con side.
In conclusion, John’s belief is more reliable because being human is all about acknowledging all the bad and good points of being a human. Never see disadvantages as an evil side, but manipulate it and use it as an advantage. Living as a human is surpassing the thought that happiness is also part of suffering and that hope is what leads people to happiness during the worst times. Just like how John said being human is “claiming the right to be unhappy” (Huxley 240).
Myth to Sci/Fi – Period 2
28 May 2013
People have to sacrifice in order to obtain more. Regardless of what, sometimes that’s just how the world works. Some rid themselves of peace for risk, others rid themselves of individuality to reach a sense of security. It’s something dangerous that humans exercise, but it’s still done, even to this day. It’s worth the risk of sacrificing something for another thing; in a way, it can be seen as “an eye for an eye.” Although that thought is pessimistic, it’s the very notion that all organisms on earth face, whether they want to or not.
Mustapha Mond is quite the character. His theories and ideas are although radical, sensible. He fully understands the nature of his choices, and the consequences that comes with them. Interestingly enough, he whole-heartily does what he needs to maintain his perfect world. In his eyes, he sacrifices what he enjoys in order preserve the happiness of others. Mond decided to remove his happiness for others, “that how I paid. By choosing to serve happiness. Other people’s – not mine. It’s lucky”; what he did was a self-righteous act that benefits others (229). Mond realizes his intention and it seems as though the Savage is confused. Some things need to be offered in order to achieve something higher. It’s a calling in life; it’s something humans have been doing for the past century and are continuing. Without sacrifice, the world wouldn’t be in the state it is now. The world wouldn’t have the technology required to become what it is. Without that sacrifice, we would still be in a world where there would be so much to do but nothing to do it.
In Mustapha’s mind, art, religion, and science, although important, produces pain and suffering that is detrimental to the society. During his argument with John, Mond admits that works of Shakespeare are indeed good works, but the fact that they involve hopelessness and defeat, prevents him from showing the world. It’s the very reason why he wants to rid society of such materials. Mustapha, a lover of science, admits that “Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled” (225). Science is dangerous because it allows the growth and development of society which will overrule the current status of the world. But because the world is already free from pain, people shouldn’t have to aim for something more that will bring pain. There are certain ways science has helped the citizens of the world. People look forever young. People are free from pain. Most importantly, people are free from death. Mond realizes “men turn to religion as they advance in years” but where is God in the younger days (232)? People don’t feel the need to believe in religion because death isn’t present at the moment. He believes art, science, and religion are irrelevant because people don’t need to be happy.
The Savage, however, sees it differently. John wants to feel unhappy because he believes that is what every man should have in life. He wants to feel pain and suffering. He claims that these hindrances are what helps an individual grow and develop as a person. Although true, people also grow learning to make the right choices. John assumes it’s a required step to feel pain to grow, but is it really? Humans prefer taking the route to success without enduring failure because it is easy and simple. People shouldn’t have to feel the need to experience pain, failure, and suffering in order to understand what they’re doing. So when John is “claiming the right to be unhappy”, John is asking to experience hardship, something that Mustapha believes is unnecessary (240).
In the end, I believe that Mustapha Mond’s philosophies make more sense than that of John the Savage. In order to achieve serendipity, one must make sacrifices. In Mond’s point of view, these sacrifices include art, science, and religion. He acknowledges that literary works of art of Shakespeare are great, but plays such as Othello and Romeo and Juliet, have been proven to be detrimental to society. Although science has improved the caste system of society, Mustapha Mond ultimately claims it to be dangerous because it encourages growth and growth is always accompanied by pain. Finally Mond see’s religion as irrelevant to society, because there is no longer any need to fear death. He notices that only when people are near death, does religion come into play. Therefore I agree with Mustapha Mond’s views and philosophies ultimately make more sense.
Did you write multiple posts over the last two days, or did you already have them written and you forgot to post them? If it's the former, wow you're getting them done pretty quickly. Not bad, but it shows a bit in your writing since this post rambles at times and feels colloquial.
I enjoy how you choose Mond's side, the sacrifices definitely outweigh the costs and I am pleased that you see that. I also resonate with the fact that there is a grace in the eradication of religion, and it's a fair point to make.
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