Happiness Comes from Control

How Rules and Regulations Create Stability for Us

"'Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?' 'I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays.'" (Huxley 91)

This quote comes from a conversation between Lenina Crowne and Bernard Marx; they are on a date and Bernard starts to voice all of his doubts about society to Lenina while they are hovering above the ocean. Lenina doesn't understand why Bernard 1) would even question society, because aren't they all happy and get along with everyone else? and 2) why he thinks that something so appalling as nature and isolation is so appealing to him. This quote relates to Dystopian society because, in a Dystopian society, whether it be in Brave New World or even V for Vendetta, the people in charge make the citizens believe that they are happy and that everything is all right. Lenina actually believes she is free, only because the people in charge tell her that. Bernard, however, knows they are just conditioned to believe that, and that true freedom comes with being able to do what you want to do and not having all of your actions controlled and under surveillance by the government, as the citizens in their society are. This even applies to today, in North Korea for example, I'm sure the government conditions their citizens to believe that the rest of the world is evil and that their lives are full of happiness and everything that they need. This is what a Dystopian society is, the leaders stating that everything is perfect when in reality everything is messed up.

Similarities Between Today's Society and the "Civilized World."

Despite the fact that Brave New World is a fictional novel from the 1930's, a lot of the themes found in the book can be seen in modern society. Amazingly, Huxley had the ability to predict the future and accurately identify the direction in which society and science were going. He loosely predicted: the use of Genetic Engineering, the disintegration of basic morals, the need for human progress, and the desire to remain young and beautiful. Although our society has yet to reach to degree of declination depicted in his novel, sometimes one may presume that it is not that far off.

The first tie between our world and the one that Huxley has created can be seen in the very first chapter of his book: the use of Genetic Engineering. The novel opens to a very detailed description of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where humans are essentially built, cloned, and grown through Genetic Engineering. Although our world has not yet reached the point where there are no mothers and families in the world, the human race has started to toy with the ideas of cloning, genetically modifying, and basically mixing up genes to create humans. For example, in Brave New World, they build these humans with the characteristics that they want them to have; they change their intelligence and appearance to match their needs. According to this article found in the New York Times, our society is catching up to the Brave New World society; it says, "AN advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration is set to begin two days of meetings tomorrow to consider radical biological procedures that, if successful, would produce genetically modified human beings." (Darnovsky 1.) This does not mean that we will start using this technology immediately on humans, but the technology does exist if we ever want to start utilizing it, and at the rate our society is progressing, I believe that it is not far off.

The second similarity between our society and that of the one found in Brave New World, is the total disintegration of morality and self-respect. Some may believe that this is not something that important, but for me it is greatly significant. If we humans start to lose the sacredness, promise, and purity that is supposed to be found in marriage and sex, what's next? Hollywood and the media have turned sex into something that you should just do whenever and with whomever you want, and of course, it is your own decision to make, but what is that doing do us emotionally and mentally? Sex was never meant to be shared with more than one person, for me it is something sacred that belongs in marriage, and not those marriages you see in Hollywood that last maybe one year, I'm talking total and complete commitment. Saying "I do" to "Till death do us part" and meaning it. Of course I don't have much experience on the matter, being a seventeen year old in high school, but I can see that Huxley was trying to draw out a map of what our lives would look like if we continue the way we are going right now. The way of sleeping around, divorce, and the loss of love. In the society that he paints, love has long been a thing of the past, so has marriage and self-respect. When we as a society read this novel now, it is a common reaction to cringe and feel weirded-out by their sex lives and how no one cares about anyone else, and why is that? Because we know deep down that it is morally wrong, but what we must try to see is that Huxley has provided what will become of us if we are to continue living these loveless and immoral lives that we see on the TV.

The final connection we can see between our society and Brave New World's is the need and desire to remain young, beautiful, and free of disease. Old age and disease for the society found in Huxley's novel have become a thing of the past, no longer do they have to worry about the discomforts that come with old age, because there are procedures that exist to help them remain young and beautiful. Doesn't this sound a little familiar? Not only is this something that our world craves, it is something that we have already begun to try to fix. Today, "Doctors use it [botox] in small doses to treat health problems, including: Temporary smoothing of facial wrinkles and improving your appearance." (Botox 1.) That sounds exactly like what the people of Brave New World do to help them appear young and beautiful; they, of course, have it figured out more than we do at the moment, but science will keep pioneering and eventually find a way to make it work. But should it? I believe that is the essential question that Huxley is trying to point out. Shouldn't we let nature take its course? Beauty and youth are fleeting (although some may want to change that) and shallow, why must we try to achieve something that is meant to be fleeting and enjoy the wisdom and knowledge that comes with old age. What really matters here, shortening your life span so that you may remain young in appearance, or letting nature take it's course by growing old? The society in Brave New World have clearly decided this question, I believe it is time for us to decide for ourselves.

Lady GaGa - So Happy I Could Die

So Happy I Could Die

To represent what the society of Brave New World stands for, I chose the song "So Happy I Could Die" by Lady Gaga. Instead of coming from the perspective of John Savage or from a Dystopian point of view, this song really represents the lives of the characters who live in this messed up society, but who enjoy it and their ignorance. All they seem to care about is pleasure, fun, and sex. They don't pay attention to everything that's wrong with their society, they just care if they have their prescribed soma dose and that they are "happy." If they are troubled by anything, they don't face it and struggle with their problems, instead they just take a dose of soma so they don't have to think about it and so they can be "happy." This is exactly what this song is talking about, although a little vulgar, the ties between Lady Gaga's song and the society of Brave New World are undeniable. In the song all she talks about is partying and pleasing herself sexually; in Brave New World, the citizens are encouraged to party and to have sex all of the time. She also talks about drinking alcohol in the song, which could equivocate to taking soma pills in the book. In the song all of these things make her "happy," and if something bad happens to her then she says, "And when something falls out of place, I take my time, I put it back, I touch myself 'til I'm on track" just as in Brave New World: "And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcicle you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffereing." (Huxley 237-338) The song is similar to the book in that the song says that partying and sexual pleasure will cure your problems, similarly the society in Brave New World says that soma is the answer to all your problems, it in fact makes you, so happy you could die, which of course ties into the repeated line of the song, "So Happy I Could Die." Both of these things do not care about real human struggles; they treat them as if they are something to be laughed off and the solution to your problems is forgetting about them, which of course isn't a real solution at all.
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Shakespeare Investigation

In the last few days of John Savage's life in Brave New World, he appropriately quotes Shakespeare's Hamlet by pensively thinking, "Sleep. Perchance to dream... For in that sleep of death, what dreams?..." At first glance, it might seem as if these characters could never share anything in common just judging from the completely different worlds they both come from, but when you look at at what both character's have to deal with and what they both desire, the similarities start to line up. Primarily, we can see their first common circumstance through the infidelity and promiscuity of both of their mothers, and after this, the similarities keep adding on. In this specific allusion, John utilizes Hamlet's famous "To Be or Not To Be" speech when he ponders if it would be better to just escape this terrible "civilized" society by just killing himself since it seems that he cannot escape it even when he isolates himself. Just like Hamlet, John seems to have been handed an "outrageous fortune" by growing up with Indians who believe that he doesn't belong, coming to a society that he believes will be magnificent and instead being disgusted by their immoral ways, his mother's infidelity and death, and finally everyone treating him like a zoo animal to be stared at. Hamlet's fortune, although different in the details, largely resembles the misfortune of John, and just like John, he contemplates death to end all of his troubles. The one thing that holds both of them back is the contemplation and mystery of what might come after death and the fear that it will be worse than the troubles that they deal with in this world. That is the truth found in this quote, if it weren't for this fear, they would probably already have committed suicide. The difference comes in that Hamlet stayed strong enough to face his troubles in this world, whereas John tries to by isolating himself, but it seems that he cannot face his troubles as Hamlet did, and as a result, ends up actually committing suicide, despite the fear of what comes after death.

Are GMOs really beneficial to the human race?

In today's society, and especially in the society found in Brave New World, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are becoming more and more frequently used in science and agriculture. However, I believe that the use and practice of Genetic Engineering is unnatural and upsets the natural balance of the earth.

I can certainly see how GMOs can become necessary to the human race once we have already started to use them, but it is a vain dream of mine that wishes that the human race had never started to use them. They may supply more food for the population, but at what cost? According to an article, "Health effects of primary concern to safety assessors are production of new allergens, increased toxicity, decreased nutrition, and antibiotic resistance." (GMO: Harmful Effects 1.) At first glance, this laundry list of effects does not seem very relatable, but once you really think about what it is saying, it becomes easier to see why I do not stand for GMOs. For example, ponder a moment on the phrase "new allergens." Oh okay, pretty simple, so I'll start to become allergic to more things, big deal, it won't really effect me that much.. oh but that's where you are wrong. The types of allergies these GMOs create are allergies to everyday foods such as soybeans. " The only published human feeding study on GM foods ever conducted verified that portions of the gene inserted into GM soy ended up transferring into the DNA of human gut bacteria. Furthermore, the gene was stably integrated and it appeared to be producing its potentially allergenic protein. This means that years after people stop eating GM soy, they may still be exposed to its risky protein, which is being continuously produced within their intestines." (Smith 1.) Later in this same article, it is stated that these GM soybeans may also create different allergens and it cannot be predicted what kind of allergens it will create. If we continue to use GMOs at this rate, then one-hundred years from now, since the allergies become part of human DNA, no one will be able to eat anything without having an allergic reaction. Another reaction to GMOs that I would like to elaborate on is that of them causing humans to become resistance to anti-biotics. Let me say that again, humans are becoming resistant to anti-biotics because of GMOs. Medicine, what you take when you get the flu, shots, the medical care that can potentially save your life; all of these things would go out the window if we become immune to anti-biotics. No longer could we just calm our fevers and infections with anti-biotics, we would either have to try to stick it out, or die from our diseases. Even though people had to go through this process before we even had anit-biotics, that does not mean that our modernized society would be able to handle and accept that. Of course anti-biotics are not the only kind of medicine out there, but it is one of the major medicines that saves lives and prevents diseases. If scientists are willing to sacrifice these necessities to have more food, I don't suppose there is much I can do about it, but I can decided not to eat GMOs and to take a stance on them; my stance is that I do not agree with the usage of GMOs.

Katniss Everdeen in the Modern World

If Katniss Everdeen grew up in today's society, I believe that she would be growing up in a war zone in a third world country and that the United States would be the capitol. She would help out her community by hunting for food (if there is any), but at the same time be wondering why countired like the United States, who are so priviliged and able, don't help and aid the people in her community very much and in others like it across the world. In her own way, she would raise awareness of this issue by calling us out and telling us our wrongs and point out to us the injustice of this world, but that we don't just have to sit and watch the injustic happen, we can take action to prevent it.

Visit the Third World Countries of the World and See for Yourself

Saturday, May 31st, 10am

Third World Countries

Since you all refuse to help and aid these people who are suffering and in distress just because they are not like you, I urge you to come and see for yourself what humans, like you, are going through everyday. While you are at it, bring all of the food, water, and supplies that you can buy with you; the people of these countries need it more than you do. Live in their shoes for a day, maybe even a week, and at the end of it I'm sure you will be more inclined to help their situation, but don't just sit there and look at this invitation. Actually act on it. Do something for once.

Works Cited

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: HarperPerennial, 2006. Print.

Darnovsky, Marcy. "Genetically Modified Babies." The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

"Botox: MedlinePlus." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

"GMO: Harmful Effects." GMO: Harmful Effects. N.p., 2003. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

Smith, Jeffrey M. "Institute for Responsible Technology." - Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food Allergies—Genetically Engineered Soybeans. InstitueforResponsibleTechnology, May 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.