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The Dystopia Towards Which We Run

Phillip Mericle

Book Review of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Easton Press, 1978, 237 pp.
Brave New World is considered a landmark for its startling depiction of a dystopian science fiction future that is ruled not by oppression, but by pleasure. Published in 1932 by Aldous Huxley, this book became a classic esteemed in literary circles for its writing as much as its warning.

Huxley wrote not what he saw as fantasy, but as the fruits of seeds beginning to sprout in his own time. A future depicting man totally conquered by his appetites once may have seemed a work of fiction; now in the 21st century it seems inevitable.

Huxley's dystopian classic

Garden of earthly delights

This is Huxley’s dystopia: a world of seemingly paradisiacal pleasures that has entirely abandoned morality and any sense of nobler things. In this future Humanity has decisively traded dignity for empty gratification.

It all begins with convenience. Having children is inconvenient, as are the sacrifices of being a mother or father. The hardships and travail involved with raising children naturally pose threats to a society predicated on ease of comfort and enjoyment. To bypass this, and ensure a steady stream of quality controlled “citizens,” humans are born in labs, created in test-tubes to conform to society by design and conditioned from the beginning to love their place.

From birth the psychological conditioning begins, refined by amoral science to trap children in a mental prison from which they may never escape their whole lives, captives to brainwashing tactics and doomed to exist as mere consumers and sexual objects.

Hyper-sexuality is the “norm” in this world. Children are sexualized from a young age to lose any possible sense of modesty or reservation. Promiscuity is touted as normal, even “healthy.” Any child showing reluctance to engage in such acts is seen as a grave problem and sent away for special conditioning. Prior generations are viewed as incomprehensibly prudish to have “denied” children their “fun.”

As adults the citizens of Huxley’s world are endless consumers, conditioned to use and discard a stream of tawdry products. To save is to damage economic prosperity. To make or maintain things of quality is to impoverish the workplace.

Every relationship is vapid and mediocre, an endless flitting between superficial gossip and prurient indulgences. Orgies are substituted for religion, the only pathetic “height” to which this future man can aspire is found in the glorification of the flesh. All crosses have been cut to resemble T’s, a worshipful reference to Henry Ford’s Model-T, the beginning of mass production and the efficient, pleasure driven, materialist society of the future. Religion is mocked as the superstition of savages.

The novel’s Soma mirrors today’s “feel-good”
mentality intent on avoiding all pain

With the advances offered by a godless science, the man of the future lives in perfect health and youth until he is 60, giving him decades to enjoy the nearly endless torrent of fleshly delights. Finally, if any anxiety should surface to interfere with his pleasures, it is drowned out, deadened by a scientific “wonder drug” called Soma that leaves its user in a blissful stupor.

This is the Greatest Happiness principle applied and taken to its logical consequences: All that matters is the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest number of people. No God, no spirit, no soul, no concept of sin, no hardships; the natural virtues of sacrifice, delayed gratification or heroism are not permitted. Pain is heresy: All bow and debase themselves on the altar of their bellies-made-god.

Death to life

The inevitable byproduct of Huxley’s pleasure-world is a culture inimical to life itself.

One particularly abominable passage portrays what is called the “Malthusian Drill,” where girls are trained to instinctively, almost involuntarily, consume contraceptives at the slightest possibility of pregnancy. Any “mishap” is immediately aborted, and about 30% of girls are outright sterilized, made incapable of bearing life.

In this future monogamy is taboo. Dating the same person more than once is viewed by society with deep suspicion. Even the terms “mother” and “father” are considered obscene. Pleasure is viewed as existing for its own sake. The reader gets the impression that the denizens of Huxely’s World State are confused by the very idea of pregnancy, as if linking sexuality to childbearing was a bizarre, perhaps comical, contradiction of the way things “should” be.

Is Huxley’s world so different from ours?

This is the appalling future painted by Huxley in 1932. A world of the perpetually infantile: heedless of death, bound in the mental chains of conditioning, deliberately helpless, dependent on technological systems, and drowned in the pleasant oblivion of drugs, promiscuity and artificially generated music.

Huxley accurately foresaw a future
of man willingly enslaved

Now let us consider the world in which we live: a society that intentionally renders its adults psychologically infantile, helplessly dependent on technology, educated and trained to approve what society conditions them to approve and to disdain, slaves to their bodily appetites, drowning in endless drugs and medication, trained from youth to see not only sexual promiscuity but even sexual “identity” as an ultimate right.

Ours is a society that forces the sexualization of children, laughs at motherhood, is disturbed by sacrifice, and sees pleasure as the ultimate good. A world sterilizing its girls and boys with the transgender movement and discouraging families in the name of “overpopulation.” A people ruled by a One World State seeking to encompass the earth and ensure that all submit to the deadening numbness of man’s lowest nature.

Are Huxley’s predictions still science fiction?

Huxley saw in his day the cultural seeds of abomination. Analyzing the rebellious trends of the 1920s, he looked down the path the world was hurtling and penned this warning. If one were to paint a timeline between Huxley’s time and the age of Brave New World, one easily sees how we are well on our way – if not already there.

Perhaps what is worse is that Huxley himself seems to see no way to defeat the monster of his own making. The book ends with the suicide of the “savage,” the one man who tried and failed to stand against the ocean of debauchery.

There, but for the grace of God, go we.

And we, 90 years later, are doing everything we can to sever ourselves from God’s grace.

Aldous Huxley & his warning


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted July 24, 2023


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