Unified Denial

Into a Brave New World

"Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced."

This quote is spoken by Helmholtz during one of his meetings with Bernard as he expresses his frustrations with his writing. He feels concerned about not being able to write anything effective, that can carve itself deep enough into someone's mind to make an irrevocable impact and believes that the source of this issue is the society he is currently emerged in. He knows that whatever words he uses the environment he is a inhabitant of cannot give him the inspiration that he craves.

This quote expresses everything the New World State is afraid of, because it may only take a few words to throw their world back into the chaos that it once existed as. Words have many more capabilities than any other man made thing has. It can disrupt the universal happiness that World Controllers work so hard to maintain and keep functioning like a well-oiled machine. A single word can make your heart drop to the ground or make you fight to contain a smile. Words are everything the New World State is afraid of which is why they chose pretty little phrases to feed children while they sleep and let them believe those words are their own so they are no longer at risk of truly attempting to come up with their own that may alter the New World beyond repair. Words have the power to shake and crumble and destroy all the foundations the New World State is built upon.

Warning: Your Brain is being Monitored

You’re being watched. Don’t look around like that, it’s suspicious. They’re watching you everywhere you go. They know where you go, where you live, what you look like, what you buy, what you eat, and your personal relationships. All of them. Though what do you expect? You leave trails wherever you go. Bits and pieces that you leave behind link up to an entire web that is your life. You’re like Hansel and Gretel leaving crumbs of data behind for the cybernetic crows to eagerly eat up. However, they are not after you, so they say, they only follow you to see if you’ll lead them to the wicked witch’s candy house, if you only lead them back home, you’ll be completely fine.

Though we must remember that in doing this, they are completely ignoring the Fourth Amendment which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the government’s excuse for this is to fight terrorism. It sounds reasonable enough, but in looking at this through a dystopian lens, we must remember, that in all dystopian novels, a world starts out like ours, and how citizens so overwhelmed with terror and fear are willing to go along with everything the government says, even when it may seem a little shady and when someone finally does realize this, oops too late you’ve found yourself in a dystopian novel. Is that not what is happening now? Internet monitoring has been enforced, the people protest, and the government’s excuse is to protect everyone from something they’ve feared since September 11th. Terrorism. So of course that gives them a written pass utilize PRISM, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) special mass electronic surveillance mining program, also known as the little fly on the wall watching your every move.

Another aspect of a dystopia that should be brought in at the mention of government surveillance is how we’re all just as wired up as our computers and phones and any other bits of technology we can get our hands on. Just two decades ago the government would not have been able to pull up as much information on you as they can now. Why? because you’ve become part of the system. Each atom of your body has been split and converted into computer coding. Your computer is your brain and your phone is what keeps the blood pumping through your veins, or should I say wires. How does it feel to know how every bit of your being can be seen with just a few keyboard strokes and a click of the mouse?

Now let’s take the focus off government surveillance for a moment and focus back on the effects of our internet addiction and how it all adds up to one big dystopian picture. How do you function when you’re offline? Is high speed internet making you impatient on how slowly people move in the waking world? Ever feel like fast forwarding past a lecture? I’ll even admit sometimes when I’m writing or drawing without the use of a computer, whenever I mess up I feel the need to press on Ctrl Z before realizing that that isn’t at all possible and I’ll have t settle for an eraser. Our entire lives are lived on the internet and on our phones, some more than others, but let’s admit do you even have a planner anymore? Do you know your best friend’s number by heart? Truthfully how long can you last without your phone when it has all your contacts, your schedule, and most importantly, the internet? How long can you stay without a bit of technology before becoming bored? Books, what’s that? No need to worry about books being banned when no one reads. No need to restrict information when no one looks for it despite having it literally right at your fingertips. We are clearly moving towards one day waking up in a dystopia.

So which dystopia are we moving towards? Will it be Huxley’s or Orwell’s? Brave New World or 1984? We have easy, one click access to happiness, maybe a movie or a video clip of a cat playing the piano to help us forget the day’s hardships. Sound like soma to you? There’s a government approved fly sticking to every page of the web, and there’s always that snitch of a little birdie that likes to sing to select government officials. Big brother is watching. There’s been much speculation that we are moving more towards a Brave New World society. I personally think we will find ourselves standing at a point where the Brave New World and 1984 societies converge. What an interesting unexplored terror that will be. Set your alarm, because next time you wake up, you might be in the latest dystopian novel. I wonder if this one will be a best seller.


Florence + the Machine - Blinding by Interregnum00

"Blinding" by Florence and the Machine

This song is all about dreaming the even if you were to listen to simply an instrumental version, you would get the same that same dreamy feel the song is trying to convey. The first two lines of the song connect directly to brave new world, “Seems that I have been held, in some dreaming state, a tourist in the waking world, never quite awake”. When you think about it the citizens of the New World State isn’t ever awake because of their soma usage and their years of social conditioning keeping them completely blind to the world that they’re “living” in. The section, “a tourist in the waking world” reflects how little the citizens are ever in a “awake” they’re always in some dreamy daze, they’re tourists in the waking world, and the world to which they take their “soma holiday” is their home because it is where they are happiest and have the urge to go there when they are distressed, or showing any kind of emotion that they do not want.

“No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world” despite the “girl” portion this quote relates to John because of how since he was younger, his mother told him about the New World State and how great it was so John allowed himself to fantasize about that world, it allowed him to be his escape from the loneliness of the reservation. To a young who had no one, someone who was always trapped in solitude, a world where no one was ever lonely seem overwhelmingly tempting and to a young boy who always felt sadness in his heart, a world where sadness was no longer a word, he couldn’t help but dream about it. But we know of course that John is “in love with the wrong world” and he’ll see soon. But imagine his joy when Bernard found him, when Bernard told him he was taking him back to the New World State; imagine his array of emotions as he cries out “Oh wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! brave new world that has such people in it”. Now imagine his great displeasure as those words are shoved back down his throat for him to choke on. His dreamlike euphoria does not last long before he is faced with the cold realities of the New World State. It’s time to wake up, John.

“And I could hear the thunder and see the lightning crack, all around the world was waking, I never could go back. Cause all the walls of dreaming, they were torn wide open and finally it seemed that the spell was broken” of course John can never go back to his previous fantasies about the New World now that he was faced with all the thunder and lightning of reality. The dream like illusions he had surrounded himself with were not simply pulled open, rather they were torn open in an abrupt manner without any warning whatsoever.

The song and the lyrics tell the story of someone who had surrounded themselves with illusions and false hope only to be shaken awake and thrown out of bed to face the cold waters of the actual realities that they live in, all their illusions and hopes shattered to pieces. Whether it’s about growing up, or having a situation similar to John’s where you’re suddenly faced reality after a lifetime of pretending. Some stay in this dreamlike state like many of the New World State citizens, however, some are like John and are in for a rude awakening.

“Whether ‘tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them…”

The times John references Hamlet, are usually the times he wishes to express dissatisfaction with the New World State, which is unsurprising because throughout the entirety of Hamlet, Hamlet is usually expressing his dissatisfaction with his life particularly with this quote. However the context of this quote being used by John is somewhat different from when Hamlet first says it, at the time at least. During this quote John is expressing how the New World State has taken away suffering altogether, thus eliminating the question of “to be or not to be”. The people of the New World have taken the easy way out and refuse to acknowledge the existence of pain and suffering no matter how much one would try to expose them, the only turn their heads and take a gramme of somma because “a gramme is better than a damn”. This quote also reflects a certain irony that we are only aware of later in the text when John ponders this very question on whether his life is worth living after partaking in the orgy-porgy, and unlike Hamlet who decided to fight and accomplish his objective, John gave up and ultimately took his own life.

Genetically Modified....What?

There are people who hide from the word GMO, but do they know why? Some just don't care, but do they know why they should? To put it simply GMOs are genetically modified organisms, meaning it can be literally any organism whose genetic material has been altered using some sort of genetic engineering. However we've mostly heard GMOs in reference to genetically modified crops and genetically modified food. They are used to manipulate foods in a certain way usually in a way that makes crops produce bigger and more abundant products. Now this is a good thing right?

A lot of people like to say that we need GMOs to feed the world, when in reality more than one-third of the food produced in the world goes to waste. In the US alone, we throw away 96 billions of pounds of food every year, or 27 percent the total amount of food. The problem isn't the lack of food; it's the distribution of it, because clearly the places where all this food is going isn't being appreciated enough. So saying that GMOs are necessary for this reason alone, is a poor excuse to hide behind, it isn't any more realistic than keeping our food GMO free.

At the end of the day none of this may matter too many people. So why should you care? Here's why. When GM foods were first utilized the Drug Administration did not have any authority over approving or disapproving GMOs, meaning that it is untested and could possibly be unsafe. Only now there is research pointing towards weight gain, as well as liver and kidney problems because of GM corn. The reason for this could be that the gene splicing GM foods go through create new, artificial species that have not evolved the natural way, like non GM foods did. The result of this varies person to person, possibly one's body may not know how to react to this artificial food and will result in unexplained internal problems such as antibiotic resistance, likely because of all the antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals used for GMOs.

Though GM foods are not labeled, GMO free foods are and going by just that, you can easily assume that everything left unlabeled is are GM foods, the fact that people do not even know about the existence of these GMO free labels proves how far GMO usage has spread and how unnoticed it is by many people. The way to be noticed is to have GMO foods labeled so that people can become aware and educate themselves about GMOs and what they putting their bodies at risk to. If they don't care, that's just fine, such as how many smokers ignore the warning label on the cigarette pack even though they know it's there and what every drag brings them closer to, although the effects of smoking are more assured. Those who choose to ignore are addicts of their own making; addicts for ignorance. If they chose to ignore the labels fine, if they chose to seek out the GMO free labels, good for them. As long as people are made more aware and the choice is given to them, the existence GMOs is not as big of a threat. However, if more people choose to go against GMOs than not, and GMOs become scarcely practiced, so be it.

Into Our World

Imagine no organ shortages, no one dying from diseases like cancer because infected organs can be simply replaced with a new perfect fit. Imagine never having to learn a language by struggling over various books and language programs. Imagine everything you ever wanted to learn, everything you wanted to fix be done with a simple surgery. In Neal Shusterman’s Unwind, all of this has become possible. But what’s the price? Because yes, one problem has been solved, but this is a dystopian novel and therefore no problem can be solved without creating an even bigger one. So what’s the price? Oh nothing, just your first born, and your second, or possibly the third. Only the ones you don't want anymore. Unwinding. verb. the process of one, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, having their body parts harvested for later use, and being able to therefore live in a “divided state” all at the request of their parents. Such an impossible, heartless world where unwinding is widely accepted and commonly practiced and accepted with open arms. Even though people know deep down it isn't right and still turn a blind eye and encourage its practice. Welcome to the world of Conner Lassiter.

Hearing about the world before the Heartland War is one thing, but actually living, breathing, experiencing it is an entirely different thing. You don't notice the differences at first, but then you start noticing the differences between the world before and the world after the Second Civil War. The first difference I noticed was probably the last thing you would think I’d notice. It’s the subtle differences that make this world what it is. It’s the way parents look at their children, how any adult looks at anyone under the age of 18. Their is weariness sometimes, sure, but there’s a difference between looking at someone with slight insecurity and looking at them like they’re a ticking time bomb. The hospitals are filled and people are dying, the second thing that I took notice of. Sure people back in my world die, hospitals are still used for more than unwind transplants, but this world is riddled with diseases that can’t be cured, organs that sometimes don’t reach their destination on time, or at all for that matter. People in this world have to suffer through the ailments they have and are sometimes reduced to absolutely nothing but prayer. Don’t get me wrong, seeing all the sicknesses that are no problem in my world did trigger pity and sadness, but the cost for the easy fixes of unwinding is just far too high, people live and people die, that’s how it is. People here learn. People in my world learn, however there are other options, shortcuts, the result of people abusing unwinding for unnecessary things, like learning to play the piano without learning, just a someone else’s segment of brain and some new hands, improving at math tenfold overnight without looking at a single text book, younger eyes with just a one surgery and the life of someone else. This world is strangely an echo of the one where unwinding exists, it’s the same, but their high standards only get enforced with the promise that your life will be hell if you fall short rather than the promise that your end will be short. All I would change is increasing the encouragement in their medical field where they make pig hearts beat in humans, make aesthetic arms that can move at the owners command, and asthetic organs that function just as well, better even, than the original organs. I encourage everything that would prevent a teen from being yanked out of their beds while their parents watched on, to hear the words that void their rights, their parents’ love, and their lives.

Given Rather Than Taken

Wednesday, March 26th, 2-6pm

3090 Premiere Pkwy

Duluth, GA

The reason why the world we've had to live in now, a world where unwinding exists, is because this world, a few generations before our own world, got desperate, they got scared of the diseases and death, and they turned to their youth and found them obsolete, leading to the teen uprising, and ultimately finishing off with the Bill of Life, which we all know made unwinding a legal practice. I'm inviting my friends, Risa and Lev, as my fellow AWOLs, who've found ways to escape unwinding, hiding out until they turn 18 to be freed from Unwinding, to give a pint of blood in order to prove that people can be helped by using the traditional methods of willing blood and organ donations. This will also to show that we are more than willing to help the cause to save a few lives with every drop of blood without our lives been taken as a result. That we teens are capable of more than just destruction.

Works Cited

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. Print.

Timberg, Craig. "Key to Government’s Monitoring Power Lies in War, Technology."Washington Post. The Washington Post, 08 June 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

Parker-pope, Tara. "An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness." The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 June 2010. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

O'Brien, Robyn. "Nine Dirty Little Secrets About GMOs." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

Fetters, Aleisha. "Health Myth: Are GMOs Actually Bad for You?" Fox News. FOX News Network, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.