Community, Identity, and Stability
Brave New World
"Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!" The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. "You really know where you are. For the first time in history." He quoted the planetary motto. "Community, Identity, Stability." Grand words. "If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved."
Dystopian literature is described as a fiction that presents a negative view of the future of society and humankind. Characteristics of a Dystopian Society includes individualism being restricted and considered bad, a figurehead or concept being worshiped by the citizens of the society, and citizens living in a dehumanized state(Dystopian Literature Primer). Dystopian protagonist such as John from Brave New World , who is an outsider of the civilized world, often feel trapped and is struggling to escape, believes that something is terribly wrong with this kind of society, and helps the audience recognize the negative aspects of the dystopian world through his perspective. These characteristics of a dystopian society may have been only a imagination in the past. However, as many generation passed, these characteristics eventually came to existence and can be seen in the world we live in today.
Our world can be viewed as dystopian due to lack of privacy. One of the characterization of a dystopian society is lack of freedom and this applies to us today. The advances of the internet and the introduction of the Patriot Act for example, made our life considerably easier for law enforcement officials. The FBI can freely search our email, telephone, and financial records without permission or order from a court. Our internet activities are meticulously tracked by third parties, and security cameras are everywhere that track our every movement (io9). Also, cell phones nowadays have tracking devices applied. Without knowing, people can track our everyday life through GPS, which restricts our freedom while also putting us in danger to crimes. These examples of restrictions of freedom and individuality makes our world today a dystopian.
We live in a dystopian world due to how factory is run. The idea that humans could be automated and made to work as machines on assembly lines characterizes our world as a dystopian and makes us look completely inhuman (io9). Workers in these factories are often overworked, underpaid, and suffer from complete alienation (io9). They may not even know what they are producing because each person is doing only one specific work for hours. This is similar to those in Brave New World where many identical workers are created, not born, to make them work on a single thing in order to make the factory more productive. Factory workers today are being treated like one group of identical people.
Example of a dystopian world can be seen in China. China’s one child policy prohibits its citizens from having more than one child per family. This government control over its citizens is restricting their freedom to have as many children as they want. China wants to control their population, but by doing so, they are trying to control everything its people do.
It was widely believed that technological advancement would continue improving living conditions in an almost utopian way. Great technological achievements, progress in medicine and a greater sense of social responsibility gave rise to the idea that, for the first time in history, war, disease and poverty were all soluble problems. But technology did not turn into that science-fiction dream of curing disease and ending world hunger. Instead it became a tool to observe and control people. Rather than saving humanity from misery, technology would allow violence to be performed on a greater and more efficient scale. Some many have been developed in order to enhance our lives, they are exacerbating the problems modern societies face. Technology is being used to monitor and track people indiscriminately.
Just the way the use of technology is common in both Brave New World and today’s world, the instinct to push away troubles is present in both. The trend for people to self-medicate to escape the tedium, issues and pain of real life makes the today’s world dystopian. The demand for soma is a demand for something that will allow them to escape reality, absolving them of any need or motivation to actively try to change their reality. It is symptomatic of a world in which the citizens take no responsibility for the state of their world and its future. There is no questioning, analysing, critiquing and working proactively and creatively to change it. It's the same in this day and age - people complain about life, but in the end choose to avoid it, through such as mindless entertainment, rather than do something to change it.
Most dystopian works present a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through one or more types of controls such as corporate and bureaucratic controls. These controls and other improvements may have helped our society to improve dramatically, they should be limited to certain amounts in order to not lead our society to a more dystopian society like the one presented in Brave New World.
Iron Maiden - Brave New World by Numiz
John the Savage
The song is called “Brave New World” and sung by Iron Maiden. This song fits beautifully with themes of Brave New World because it shows the perspective and feelings of John. "Lost my love, lost my life/In this garden of fear"(Iron Maiden). This line refers to Lenina who in the beginning looked innocent and pure. However, he says he lost his love and life when he realized her wants for sex, which is immoral to him, leading his fire for love to die.
"I have seen many things/In a lifetime alone/Mother love is no more/Bring this savage back home "(Iron Maiden). The Savage, he himself a child of the Brave New World born by his mother in the wilderness, has seen a lot of life and of misery and mistakes of civilization. His mother dies shortly after John and his mother arrive at "Brave New World" and she immediately falls back into usual behavior of BNW, especially taking drugs to drop out of the cruel real life.
"Wilderness house of pain/Makes no sense of it all/Close my mind dull this brain/Messiah before/his fall/What you see is not real/Those who know will not tell/All is lost sold your soul/In this brave new world" (Iron Maiden). John soon discovers the real wilderness is civilization. He is considered some sort of messiahs, but his mind rebels against this thought. He also gets the impression that there is some sort of elite cast ruling the world knowing the truth about it's flaws but willingly accepting it.
"Dragon Kings Dying Queens/Where is salvation now/Lost my life lost my dreams/Rip the bones from my flesh/Silent screams laughing here/Dying to tell you the truth/You are planned you are damned/In this Brave new world " (Iron Maiden). John flees and finds shelter in a forgotten lighthouse, where he discovers pain as a way out of his misery. When he is found he commits suicide, hence "Dying to tell you the truth".
John’s purpose of quoting this line from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” speech is to make the point that the World State has just taken an easy way out. Instead of taking stance against the hardships and sufferings, they abolished them altogether, so they never need to ponder the calamities of life the way Hamlet does here. He is also trying to argue that this civilization should be free from the prison of illusion. He makes the point that it is better to feel pain and learn from the mistakes. He puts emphasis on the importance of suffering in life and opposing your problems than getting rid of them all together. This shows how it is crucial to experience both the good and the bad so that you know what you are feeling and going through. Without bad, you would not know what is good. However, this does not only refer to the society, but also his eventual suicide, which is why this quotation fits for use in this scene of the book. This speech that’s quoted essentially debates John’s suicide just the way the speech was spoken by Hamlet in foreshadowing his death. This speech is significant within the play Hamlet because the time that this speech was given was very crucial moment in deciding whether to suffer or just free from the problems by ending his life.
Taking a Stance against GMOs
GMOs are plants or animals whose cells have been inserted with a gene from an unrelated species in order to take on specific characteristics. For example, plants might be genetically engineered to develop a resistance against insects or to increase nutrients. GMOs undergo a form of gene therapy under lab conditions whereby segments of DNA are spliced, rearranged or removed altogether (USA TODAY). GMOs might have increased sustainability, but it should be abolished in order to prevent unpredictable potential health risks.
“The number one health concern over GM technology is its capacity to create new allergens in our food supply. Allergic reactions typically are brought on by proteins. Nearly every transfer of genetic material from one host into a new one results in the creation of novel proteins”(care2). This means this type of engineering might either increase the allergen already present or insert a new allergen into the old allergen, thus creating worse and brand new allergens we've never before known. This would greatly put one’s health in danger.
“Genetic engineers rely heavily on antibiotics to guide experiments. Not all host cells will take up foreign genes, so engineers attach a trait for a particular type of antibiotic resistance to the gene they introduce into host cells. After they’ve introduced the gene into the cells, they douse all the cells with the antibiotic to see which ones survive. The surviving cells are antibiotic-resistant, and therefore engineers know they have taken up the foreign gene” (care2). The use of antibiotics would be great temporarily, but in the long run, it can potentially lead to the creation of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The use of these antibiotics to be phased out of the process of making GM foods. The development of new antibiotic-resistant viruses can seriously put one’s health at risk more than before.
“The majority of GM crops in cultivation are engineered to contain a gene for pesticide resistance. Most are “Roundup Ready,” meaning they can be sprayed with Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide Roundup without being harmed. The idea is that if the crop itself is immune to Roundup, you can spray it to kill any weeds endangering the plant without worrying about harming your crop” (care2). It has been said that Glyphosate is linked to numerous health problems in animal studies, among them birth defects, reproductive damage, cancer and endocrine disruption.“DNA is complex, and we have yet to understand all the potential complex interactions. The potential hazards are difficult to predict and identify immediately. Additionally, the United States regulatory system is set up to deal with problems occurring with GM foods only after they occur. But what if, instead, we invoked the precautionary principle, an international agreement that calls for intelligent caution when it comes to new science and technologies?” (care2). We need to start to protect ourselves by resisting GMO foods. whenever possible and choose to eat organic foods.
John the Savage
Friday, March 7th, 11am-2pm
Brave New World - Iron Maiden Songs Lyrics Song Lyric. "Brave New World - Iron Maiden Songs Lyrics Song Lyric." Poemhunter.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.
Dystopian Literature Primer. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Forget the 'Hunger Games': Dystopia Is Alive and Well in America | The Nation." Forget the 'Hunger Games': Dystopia Is Alive and Well in America | The Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. Print.
Network, Jolie Lee. "What You Need to Know about GMOs." USA Today. Gannett, 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 07 Mar. 2014.
"Why Modern Society Would Appear Completely Dystopian to a Visitor from the past."Io9. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.