Thursday, May 3, 2007

Brave New World

For the analytical paper I chose to do Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. I know many of you have probably read this book before, but I would like to share a part of my paper that refelcts what it means to be human according to Huxley's novel.

First, to explain the book a bit, the "State" has decided to exert power over reproduction by engineering millions of human embryos via test tubes, etc. The Centre they are created in also conditions them as they grow upwith such means that are similar to continous brain-washing. Tarter Esch (one of my sources) puts it that these humans are "mangled from conception onwards...they've been pressed, shaped, molded, cut, bottled, and packaged at every state of their development (more like manufacure)." Even as adults they are being manipulated by the state, but at this point, their existence has already been determined for them both physically and almost mentally. Ultimately, the novel shows that these humans are created and controlled by the state, and are not even given a chance to live their own lives. (Their is A LOT more to it, but you'll just have to read to find out:)

My point in all this is...what is imporant to discuss when analyzing dehumanization, especially when considering this phenomenon of a cyborg culture, is what it means to be human. Tarter Esch believes "the notion of freedom is central to the notion of what it means to be human" and "if to be human is to be a free, independent, individual, rational and autonomous and creative being, then the humans of the Brave New World are clearly under attack, nearly defeated." Tarter Esch holds a strong point in relation to Huxley's novel because there are instances that discuss freedom and the human being. For example, one of the characters Bernard Marx wonders what it would be like "if I were free-not enslaved by my conditioning" (Huxley 91).

And it's not only the conditioning that takes away these created human beings' freedom,' it's the technologically manufactured products, such as soma, that puts civilization in unthinking and uncaring states. In perspective, John, the only character in the novel that the reader sees as "naturally" birthed and completely against this form of society, tries to dispose of the drug and "free" the people who are slaves to it. However, the world Huxley has presented is, as another of my sources James Schellenberg describes, a society with "a state of mind...that puts happiness into a materialistic paradigm, and them uses it as a method of control, justifed as what people want." John in the novel opposes this notion and thinks as human, it is wrong to get "rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it" and that everyone has "the right to be happy" (Huxley 238-240).

These are just some of the ideas from my paper that discuss how this particular author sort of represents his idea on what it means to be human. (Like I said before, there's a lot more to it!) Freedom, moreover, was an aspect Professor Ganyard said many of our papers brought up on the issue of what it means to be human, and my paper was one of them so here I presented a bit more on that idea.

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