Book Review: Brave New World


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

Motorcycles

Motorcycles have always been really cool to me, but I’ve never had the inclination nor the confidence to jump on and start riding. Recently I decided to throw caution to the wind (literally and figuratively) and learn how to ride, and I was starting from the bottom. I had never been on a motorcycle before, and I’ve used a clutch twice in my life in a car. I had no idea what i was doing. So I decided to take a riding course at Sheridan where they teach everything from turning it on to emergency stopping (and also got M2 that way). One of best friends was looking to get rid of his Kawasaki Ninja 500R so I bought it and now I’m riding all the time. It’s a lot easier than it looks too. The picture is of my bike sitting in my driveway.

What got me into motorcycles? Well there have been a lot of reasons, but a couple stand out. 1: The book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. It’s a philosophy text centred on a motorcycle trip Pirsig takes with his son. This author followed up this with another book called Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. Both these books are amazing, offering a very unique way of looking at the world. I suggest reading ‘Motorcycle Maintenance’ if you have the chance! 2: The mini series The Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. This series documents a trip on motorcycles around the world (from england east to the edge of russia, then from alaska to new york). The entire trip is done on motorcycles. It’s an amazing DVD series and it’s another I suggest everyone watch. The boys followed that series up with The Long Way Down with the same premise except the trip is from Scotland to South Africa. Great DVDs.