I just finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and overall I recommend it as a very interesting and thought inducing read. It would be from under the same category as 1984 by George Orwell, but more in the direction as the movie GATTICA. It tells the story of a few central characters, living in the near future. Society has become highly controlled and conditioned, where from the beginning, and I mean the BEGINNING of your life, you are warped, molded, and pushed into a pre-determined life. But don’t take this in the wrong way, because 99% of the people in this society absolutely love their lives. They’re happy at their jobs, they have carefree lives. People have carefree (and disease free) sex, with no repercussions. Some of the women are sterilized from birth, some take potent birth control treatment. There are no longer the ‘mother’ and the ‘father.’ Society raises children in a highly controlled environment.
The backbone of the whole process seems to be the idea of sleep conditioning, that is, they play recordings for people in their sleep of basic rules for living. This is where they learn to not care about sex, to not want a father or a mother, to not create lasting attachment of any kind to other people, to not be scared of death, and to do the jobs they are pre-destined to do.
The people are even divided into classes based on the hormones they were allowed as a fetus. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon. The Alphas do the most important work, e.g. writer for newspaper, the Epsilons do the most mundane work, e.g. cab driver. As fetuses straight through to adolescents, the process conditions you to be perfect for whatever class you’ve been given. It’s really amazing how perfect the society is, and how well they are able to keep this ‘machine’ going.
Of course, there are the people who do not accept the way society is, or feel odd in its rules, enter one of our main characters Bernard Marx (I know…Marx), who does not accept the ‘program’ and ends up destroying his social credibility. This entails visiting ‘the old world’ and meeting ‘savages’ and then bringing one back to his home. The whole story is a very interesting look at where our society might take us, and has a completely different take on it than my favorite story of all time, 1984 (Please read that book).
As you may see on the cover of the book, there is another book inside called Brave New World Revisited also by Aldous Huxley, which is a reflection on what Brave New World predicted and what came true. I have NOT read this yet, but I will in the future…..
NEXT BOOK: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury