Brave New World / Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I first heard about this book in a digital culture class taught in the English department at my university. For the first half of the book I kept wondering WHY I had heard so much about it. However, as I began to understand what Huxley was doing with his characters, and the levels of complexity and detail contained in the interactions and relationships I started seeing why this book is considered a classic.
The questions of living with pain, sin, problems, and dirt are as important now as they were when the book was written. Britain is now approving certain cases for genetic modification in embryos and each year new patents for medicines that make aging more comfortable come rolling out. Without jumping into the frenzied pool of accusers who tend to start screaming of Orwellian destress and fear, I put forward this idea: at what point will our society realize that regardless of what new technologies we come out with there will always be pain and death in this life? Living is about death, as much as death is about living. Sin is required for learning, and learning is required for perfection. Salvation is possible only with a need for saving.
My favorite part of the book was "The Savage" John's conversation with the World Controller in which essentially the two hashed out issues on agency, suffering, happiness, joy, truth, beauty, science, and economics. Without this chapter I don't think I would recommend this book, but with it I feel like the story was well worth the time! As our society continues to "progress" I think the questions raised by Huxley continue to be essential. When will we learn what it means to really live? How can we rid ourselves of addiction and dissolution with reality and connect with other human beings in authentic and vulnerable ways? Brave New World is a great work of literature, and the mere fact that parts made me feel uncomfortable led me to avoid judging it by the surface level and dig deeper to what it really means to be human and what world view I want to support for my children.
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I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.