The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Brave New World

Sex is solely for pleasure and should be explored with consenting individuals. Men and women reason using preconcieved notions. Pregnancy should be wholly chosen by the women. Live for the present. Planned obsolescence. Follow your desires.

No, actually I'm not talking about this culture. If you see connections with today, well that's your concern, not mine.

So, if you ever look at my side bar, you noticed I've been reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It's a fascinating read. It's only 170 pages, so it's quick.

I'm about half done with it, and I wanted to show you around this Brave New World; it's bizarre.

The book begins with a group of teenagers, Alpha males, touring the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center. This is where all men are made. No, they are no longer born of women; in fact, "viviporous" births are quite disgusting--that's what animals do. Instead, they are genetically designed and mass produced, batches of identical twins, twelve to seventeen thousand at a time thus far. They are tended to by female Betas. You see everyone is genetically determined to be in one of about five castes: Alpha plus and minus, Beta plus and minus, Gamma plus and minus, Delta plus and minus, Epsilon plus and minus.

But, they are not simply manufactured, then grown. They are conditioned using "Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning"; you may remember Pavlov's dogs? With genetic makeup determing their physical appearance, intelligence, etc., conditioning determines what they think, via hypnopaedia: as these clones grow up they are subjected to repetitive phrases during their sleep. It becomes their own thoughts and reasons.

Among these:

"Progress is lovely" repeated 500 times, once a week, during ages 13 to 17.
"Everyone belongs to everyone else. We can't do without anyone. Even Epsilons are useful. We coundn't do without Epsilons." Epsilons, the lowest caste, are made for menial labor, mindless work; they're basically drones.

In one conversation, an Alpha male and female discuss cremation:

"Fine to think we can go on being socially useful even after we're dead. Making plants grow."

"Fine," she agreed. "But queer that Alphas and Betas won't make any more plants grow than those nasty little Gammas and Deltas and Epsilons down there."

"All men are physico-chemically equal"...

Another hypnopaedic phrase. And he reasons, "We couldn't do without Epsilons." Of course, she agrees; she was fed the same phrase 130,000 times.

Thus by age eighteen, you have fully functioning persons, each genetically and mentally bred, predetermined to accomplish certain tasks.

This couple enjoys an evening of romance, serenaded by "Synthetic Music":

They were inside, here and now....they might have been twin embryos gently rocking together on the waves of a bottled ocean of blood-surrogate.

Blood-surrogate...that's romantic.

But don't be misled, things aren't always so wonderful. But they have state-sanctioned drugs for bad days. Soma. It makes the past disappear. They have plenty of hypnopaedic phrases to provide good reasons for using soma:

"A gramme in time, saves nine."
"One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments."
"A gramme is always better than a damn."
"I take a gramme and only am."

So, when bad events occur, out with the soma. It makes them aware of and subject only to their infantile impulses--a norm all should conform to.

"Adults intellectually and during working hours," he went on. "Infants where feelings and desire are concerned....It suddenly struck me the other day...that it might be possible to be an adult all the time."

"I don't understand"...

"I know you don't. And that's why we went to bed together yesterday--like infants--instead of being adults and waiting."

"But it was fun...wasn't it?"

Later, his boss hears of his adult inclinations:

"Alphas are so conditioned that they do not have to be infantile in their emotional behavior. But that is all the more reason for their making a special effort to conform. It is their duty to be infantile, even against their inclination."

But, relationships difficulties are never an issue. Marital problems, never a care (of course, if they are: soma). No one marries because "everyone belongs to everone else." Abortions and purgatives and birth control are readily available. STDs are eliminated. So why not sleep around? Sex isn't for reproduction, they have scientists to manufacture people. So it is solely for pleasure, and with anyone who agrees. Children are encouraged to explore with each other; it's quaint and cute.

Huxley wrote this in 1932.

Some years later, C.S. Lewis, of Chronicles fame, wrote a book called The Abolition of Man. It had informed my reading of Brave New World in a providential way. I recommend the book, though I had to read it twice and still cannot clearly articulate his conclusion. Still, it is, as I understand it, this: If a day comes when scientists have observed Nature long enough to be able to fully manipulate it, then Nature at that moment will be their master. These scientists will determine the minds and genes of men based on nothing more than their own desires and impulses--natural causes--which may be influenced by nothing more than that bad food causing them heartburn or indigestion.

It would be my hope, were I the current project, that the scientist upon designing and determining my fate would have Alka-Seltzer or Pepcid Complete at his disposal.