I picked up Huxley’s Brave New World again after forgetting to finish it for about half a year. Is it a problem when I read Brave New World, my immediate reaction is: well, this isn’t so bad?
Transhumanism. Focusing on the present. Skepticism towards art and culture. That pretty much summarizes my current beliefs about the world. My ethics are surprisingly aligned with the government of Brave New World. Huxley allegedly criticizes the notion of a government controlling its populace by making them happy to the point they don’t really care about their personal freedom. Personally, that seems alright with me. If I were happy, why would I care about if I was free or not? I thought the point of freedom was to attain happiness.
Bernard allegedly feels alienated being part of a industrial capitalist complex where utility is upheld as the highest virtue. That seems about right to me. He feels alienated from the system in which he is a part of. He tries to make sense of his alienation by creating a moral hierarchy between what he believes in and what the rest of the people in his world believe in. He does not view utility as a virtue, and therefore he does not feel at home in his society. He tries to make sense of what he believes when the rest of the world follows another set of virtues altogether.
A part of me gets him. I’ve always felt alienated from the world before. But, I think I’ve learned to accept that I should grow up from my difference and conform to what society expects of me. Everyone wants to be a rebel, but who wants to be a rebel? There’s not much point in believe something other than what the society around you wants to believe. Doing so causes a great amount of unhappiness, and no one wants that. Bernard seems to be looking for something more than happiness, which is why he avoids the use of soma. But I’m convinced there’s nothing else worth pursuing in the world other than happiness. I haven’t finished the book quite yet, so I don’t know how it ends, but I wonder if he’ll make the same realization. It would certainly make my life easier.
If anything, when Bernard rejects soma he seems to be, if anything, an aesthetic rejection. Doing so amounts to upholding soma into a political ideology, but would you consider the use of drugs to be a political ideology to be any more than you reject the image of poverty?
I was thinking today – sex is very much related to our conception of masculinity and femininity, but sex has very little to do with human nature. Animals have a lot of sex, and animals don’t have a sense of self-consciousness that views sex in another dimension. the experience is one-dimensional to them. In a similar vein, we also pursue one-dimensionality within our structure of gender because it is through opposites we affirm our identity of the singular. Through heteronormative structuralism, we can separate the world into individuals who are alike us and others. Sexuality adds another aspect of dimensionality by introducing another lens to reaffirm the singular.
I keep on coming back to this idea that the world way we can understand ourselves in life is through others. Schopenhauer is literally wrong when he says that the essence of the universe could be found through looking inwards. In the last couple of months, I have become more and more convinced that the essence of the universe is found within in the invisible strings that ground our sense of relationships as oppose to our individual identities. It is only though others there is the one in the same way that there cannot be existence without absence or Jay-Z without Beyoncé.
Is it so bad that Brave New World is a product of a Modern American realism? If there is no freedom, then there is no need to worry. If there is no suffering, there is no need to want anything more. Like sheep who only need to continue to contribute to society in order to take place in a happy society, sheep are at peace. There is no need to want anything when you are a sheep. Reality is pleasant. Contributions are necessary. There is no need for awareness of the world beyond. There is no need for a liberal arts education. All that exists is contribution and happiness. All that needs to exist is contribution and happiness.