“Lacks literary value which is relevant to today’s contemporary multicultural society”
– Banned Books Week: Banned BOOKS in the Library
It is remarkable how the novels of the 20th century have often predicted the 21st with amazing accuracy. So many of the novels of Orwell, Bradbury, Vonnegut and Huxley were spot on. While the exact details may differ the general concepts are so often clairvoyant to the point of being spooky. I reread Brave New World by Aldous Huxley having maybe read it a long time ago. So many of the predictions have become reality. The social engineering, the control of people through pharmaceuticals, the engineering of humans, the disdain for truth and history, the censorship, the obsession with consumerism, the obsession with sex – the list is long.
Of course the novel is not Disney-approved so has been banned at times mostly for the notion of unlimited sex and the concept of a sort of “free-love” with an advocacy of people having many partners. No doubt that would wake up many boys in tenth grade English class but there is absolutely nothing graphic in the novel and that is maybe the one thing that has not become a reality – at least not in my circles. And everyone please remember: this is a novel and not a manual for how to live life.
While sex with many partners is perhaps not common today the pharmaceuticals are everywhere. The line below seems like it could be the marketing material for Prozac.
“And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should happen, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts.”
And then there is this concept of “universal happiness” at the expense of truth and beauty so necessary for our present consumerist society.
“Our Ford did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can’t.”
Of course if your comfort is beginning to wane in Brave New World there was a sort of virtual world called the Feelies. Here people could go just to get back to this sort of duped sense of happiness, perhaps a little bit like the new Metaverse.
“A lot of people think that the metaverse is about a place, but one definition of this is it’s about a time when basically immersive digital worlds become the primary way that we live our lives and spend our time,” Zuckerberg told Fridman. “I think that’s a reasonable construct.” – Mark Zuckerberg from businessinsider.com
The notion that the 1932 Brave New World “lacks literary value which is relevant to today’s contemporary multicultural society” is a pretty odd critique. I have a hard time thinking of themes and topics in the novel that are not relevant. Perhaps, this is why the brave schools have kids read and discuss this work. The main problem with having to write a paper on Brave New World is that there are too many relevant contemporary themes.