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Harpyja
8th May 2009, 05:57 PM
The "Not So Brave" New World: Challenging the BLTC's Criticism of Aldus Huxley's Novel Brave New World
huxley.net (http://www.huxley.net/), hosted by the BLTC

Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932, provides a prophetic perspective of the future of humanity and its government. The presiding government in the novel, the World State, holds an unsettling influence over it's citizens. This government does not control by force or intimidation but by subtle subversion of the wants and emotions of the individual. The very principles that have defined humanity for centuries - dignity, morals, values, and complex emotions - are dulled as much as naturally possible. Individuals are conditioned from birth to enjoy their status in the Caste System and are genetically engineered to further the purpose of industry. Characteristics that cannot be genetically engineered are subconsciously conditioned, from the womb and through childhood. The model of the nuclear family was abandoned, and the words "mother" and "father" became scatalogical. The people live a life of sexual promiscuity, of sex without love. Powerful emotions are rarely suffered and when they occur they are dulled through powerful medications, somas and half-grammes. The image is repulsive to anyone who values the freedom of the individual, the beauty of art, or the joy of love.

The BLTC Research organization has taken offense at Huxley's novel, calling it "one of the most bewitching and insidious works of literature ever written." According to their mission statement (http://www.bltc.com/), the BLTC was founded in 1995 to promote "paradise-engineering" and to "abolish the biological substrates of suffering." They claim that Huxley's agenda was to warn the world against "scientific utopianism," and that the novel is "ill-conceived futurology" and claim that his novel has "delayed research into paradise engineering for all sentient life." To argue that a single novel written almost seventy years in the past is single-handedly responsible for the lack of research into paradise engineering is beyond reason. Huxley's novel is not a warning against scientific utopianism, but a warning against industrial utopianism. The foundation of science - the search for truth and purpose - is disregarded. The human beings are produced on an assembly line, with knowledge obtained through science being the necessary tools to assemble them. To argue that Brave New World is a warning against a scientific utopianism is the equivalent of arguing that Fahrenheit 451 was a warning against the creation of fire-proof houses. In fact, the reverse argument could be made - that Brave New World is an argument against the proper management of industry that allows scientific discovery to continue and flourish.

The BTLC claims that Huxley's social outcasts are remnants of a different era, and that their happiness is not truly encoded at the genome level - that we view them as suffering only because we consider them to be suffering, and that since no one ever suffered them, they are only "ontological flights of fancy." Yet in order to reduce our chance of making mistakes we must take precautions against them. Mistakes will certainly be made even if one disregards the human aspect of the process. We cannot dismiss the warnings of dystopian literature as pure fiction any more than the designers of the Titanic could dismiss the possibility of icebergs.

Brave New World also details a society without the presence of Great Art. The BTLC claims that this means that Huxley was stating that with happiness, there cannot be great art. Nowhere in the book is this stated or implied. The same reason Great Art was stifiled was the same reason science and the search for truth was snuffed - it inspired emotions too great for the placated society to feel. Emotions lead to thoughts - thoughts lead to questions, where eventually one of those questions may be of the ethics of a utopia supported by human beings retarded with chemicals and trained to love their role with masochistic enthusiasm from the beginning of their lives.

The BTLC claims that we may only regard art within the context of our current social values. In one of their more offending quotes, the state that for this reason, "thus a (decaying) Oxbridge literary intelligentsia can celebrate, say, the wonderful cathartic experience offered by Greek tragedies - with their everyday tales of bestiality, cannibalism, rape and murder among the Greek gods. It's good to have one's baser appetites dressed up so intelligently." This statement is a direct insult to the art of literature - essentially nullifying any literature ever written that could possibly older than one generation. Under this reasoning, one could argue that "Sweet Low, Swing Chariot" loses its musical appeal because we no longer keep slaves in the United States, Moby Dick its dramatic tension because our society no longer depends on old-style whaling, and the Bible its meaning because the majority of the followers of its teachings no longer practice stoning criminals to death. It's a low brow, childish attempt to discredit conjecture by redefining the meaning and insulting the questioner.

In addition, in regards to the influence of economy in a utopian society, they claim that "our descendants may 'consume' software, genetic enhancements and designer drugs. But the future lies in bits and bytes, not as workers engaged in factory mass-production or cast as victims of a consumer society." Yet, isn't the basis of their happiness lie in genetic enhancements and designer drugs? Even a fantasy world of technology freedom from capitalism is never guaranteed - consider that in the online game World of Warcraft, there are people who are paid only $3 an hour to harvest gold for other players to buy online through companies (http://www.ski-epic.com/world_of_warcraft_guide/world_of_warcraft_gold_farming_controversy.html) with real money. To ignore the reality of capitalism is an exercise in futility. Where there is a way for one human being - or, for that manner, any living being in the history of the world, down to the meanest single-celled organism - to gain an advantage over another organism, it will occur, particularly if there is nothing to discourage him or her from doing so.

In conclusion, the huxley.net website is bunk and discredits a fantastic satiric author.

applecorped
8th May 2009, 06:26 PM
Obama, is that you?:rolleyes:

Harpyja
8th May 2009, 06:40 PM
Wouldn't my join date be January 2009 then? ;)

Apathia
8th May 2009, 07:18 PM
A gramme is still better than a damn.

Harpyja
8th May 2009, 07:25 PM
From what I heard, Ford's not doing so hot right now though, is he? ;)