Commentary on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Part 3
By Alan Mercer
From the statements attributed to Huxley in the introduction, it’s clear to me that Huxley’s fear at the time was of the people living naturally and thinking for themselves in an unplanned world.
Another example of this is his last novel, Island (1962) which the introduction describes as a story about stabilizing “population growth” and the creation of “mutual adoption clubs” to replace the family.
I think that readers of Plato’s Republic and Brave New World will be able to recognize similar themes. The “ruling oligarchy”–a term that Huxley uses in his letter to George Orwell–is motivated to pursue this type of “utopia” from an obsessive drive for control and domination.
I think the elite’s motivation for biological control over other human beings is alien to the majority of us. However, this appears to be the reason for decades of constant propaganda about population and resources; and also for the promotion of cultural changes that attack family and morality.
In addition to reading Huxley’s letter to Orwell, readers may be interested in listening to Huxley’s presentation at Berkeley, and to his 1958 interview with Mike Wallace. Was Huxley sincerely warning about a totalitarian system or was he part of a promotional campaign?
Because of cultural propaganda, it’s possible that many people automatically associate Huxley’s interest in psychedelics with a benign desire for freedom and self-empowerment. A drug might have some benefits if used in the right way, but can a drug make us free? It’s clear that this idea contradicts the purpose of drug use in his novel. The use of drugs described in Brave New World is a totalitarian method for disempowerment, for making human beings love and adapt to their servitude.
In the Foreword to Brave New World (1946), Huxley writes:
This really revolutionary revolution is to be achieved, not in the external world, but in the souls and flesh of human beings. . . . Sade regarded himself as the apostle of the truly revolutionary revolution, beyond mere politics and economics . . . “
Huxley says the same thing about de Sade in his letter to George Orwell.
Continuing with the Foreword to Brave New World:
. . . —the revolution of individual men, women and children, whose bodies were henceforward to become the common sexual property of all [applies to women in Plato’s Republic] and whose minds were to be purged of all the natural decencies . . .
. . . Sade was a lunatic . . . The people who govern the Brave New World may not be sane . . . ; but they are not mad men . . . It is in order to achieve stability that they carry out, by scientific means, the ultimate, personal, really revolutionary revolution.
In this passage, he is hinting at a fuller explanation of one of the themes of his novel, and that is the use of cultural hyper-sexualization as a tool for the transformation and reprogramming of our minds and attitudes. Part of the reason for this is to help us accept our servitude, but also to degrade our previous status as spiritual beings, and to break up the family so that we are fully atomized and economically dependent on the State, as well as emotionally subject to whatever religious system it establishes.
Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
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