Brave New World
A Dystopia By: Victoria Langstine
"Every one belongs to every one else" (Chapter 3 Huxley)
Dystopia: a society or place where imperfection is extreme. Huxley makes his point very clear in Brave New World of the contemporary issues presented throughout the novel; Test-tube babies, the absence of family and monogamy, the lack of action against a ruling elite, the lack of emotion, and the rise of technology, are a few examples. How, one might ask, does the society we live in today shown signs of being or becomming a dystopian society? Well, some characteristics can be seen today.
The most prominent characteristic of a dystopian society seen today is technology. Years ago, television series and children dreamed and imagined a futuristic society of cell phones, tablets, facetiming, and hovercrafts. Even though technology has not progressed so far to the creation of hovercrafts, the technology of today was considered way beyond reach perhaps 50 years ago. Technology has consumed the lives of many in our society. There are kids in elemetary school with cell phones and ipads that run faster than computers, and almost all work is done through computers and advanced machinery (CBSNews). Factories have become more efficient at the cost of real life humans' jobs. Soon enough, our society could be one of robots completing work for us as we just sit around and play disc golf such as the men in Brave New World. Technology in another sense would be the idea of GMOs and test-tube babies. People in our society have already used these advancing technologies like "Octo-mom," a woman who had a fertility doctor implant 12 embryos and ended up having 8 children. Many people disagree with the choices people such as the "Octo-mom" make. Technology and advances in science are good things, but as people of one society, we should be ready to draw a line at where technology is going too far. This becomes problematic because drawing a definite line is difficult when not everyon agrees where it should go. One more piece of evidence to show that we don't live in a perfect "utopian" society.
In Brave New World, it is seen that they have a different kind of "religion" that they follow. The idea of Henry Ford being the god-like figure is something that readers migtht be taken back by. Although religion is still an extremely prominent characteristic in society, some believe that Americans are becomming more and more distanced from religion. One in five Americans now have no religious affiliation (Kaleem). Tradition is in a way slowly dying from our society. Connected with religion, morals are changing with younger generations as we see many people not marrying and having children or laws of marriage evolving, especially with the recent years' debates over gay marriage. Evolution in society today is clearly seen. Perhaps society is feeling as if it can depend on itself rather than a god. Many turn to God to comfort for the unknown, and with advances in science and other knowledge, some are coming to a realization that there is something to explain the many things that society once thought unknown. Therefore, some may be turning to science rather than the belief in a god. Perhaps many don't see this as a characteristic of a dystopian society, but it is always changing, and it's almost about perspective.
Today worldwide, there are also issues such as war, disease, poverty, and many more. In Brave New World, there are no such things existing in the "civilized societies." There are countries who don't have opportunity to improve the conditions its people are living in, and there's crime and war all throughout the world. If today's society was anything like a Utopia, people wouldn't even know what these things were. Wars in the middle east with hundreds dying, terrorism, third-world countries unable to find food, clean water, or a life without life-threatening diseases.
Society has made many advances in the fields of science and technology and can be commended for that, however, these technological advances can negatively affect our society. Many can argue that society is a dystopia, and many would agree. People are turning away from religion to science, and issues such as war, illness, and death, will always be present. Society is a dystopia, and can arguably not be a utopia.
Uprsising - Muse
A debate has recently broken out within the last ten years over the use of GMOs. GMOs are genetically modified organisms. GMOs were introduced to food supply in the mid-1990s, and are present in most of the foods we consume today in the US (Institute for Responsible Technology). The debate has two sides; one claiming that they are immoral and dangerous to use, and the other that thinks they are more beneficial and not harmful for people to consume. Genetically modified organisms should be allowed to be used because they can be used to society's advantage by yielding large amount of crops and economically benefitting not only developed countries, but developing countries, also.
With the population of the world rapidly growing, ensuring an adequate food supply is something people worry about, and the use of GMOs can help ensure that we meet the needs of the large consuming population (Whitman). GMOs are pest resistant, disease resistant, and have herbicide, cold, and drought tolerance. Although one may look at these benefits and say it's not enough to overturn the immorality of "playing God," (Phillips) they may not understand the advantages GMOs are giving humanity. Currently, there are over 40 plants FDA approved for commercialization in the US (Whitman). Some examples are soy, cotton, corn, and foods such as breakfast cereals and vegetable oils have some percentage of GMOs in them (Whitman). GMOs may be more common than anyone ever thought. With the help of GMOs, crops are largely yielded and can be grown in conditions that naturally they wouldn't be able to. Why else would Americans be able to buy a perfect tomato in the middle of the winter? With the ability to slightly change the conditions under which plants grow, whether it be the season they're grown in or the fact that they can keep away bugs, the agriculture industry is seriously benefitting from it. Farmers before would have to go through a time-consuming process of spraying herbicides over their crops, which also causes environmental threats. With GMOs, plants can create their own herbicides without human having to (Whitman). This benefits farmers economically by not having to spend time or money on herbicides.
Scientific research is also trying to use GMOs to improve the issues of malnutrition in impoverished countries that rely on a single food item (Whitman). If nutrients could be put into rice, for example, then nutrient deficiencies could be reduced, and perhaps plants could be grown in the harsh conditions they wouldn't be allowed to grow before GMOs.
With the science of GMOs advancing so rapidly, and many people questioning its morality and benefits and safety to society, the debate about whether GMOs should be marked on packaging is also another factor. Should consumers be able to know what they're consuming? Of course, however the FDA states that "genetically modified foods are substantially equivalent to unmodified, 'natural,' foods, and are therefore not subject to FDA regulation" (Whitman). Many disagree with this statement and it makes sense because of the possible risks that many people fear concerning GMOs. GMOs should remain in use, however they should also be marked so people have the option to not consume them if they choose.
GMOs are currently being used in the US, and so far they have not affected people so negatively that they should not be used. GMOs are beneficial to the agriculture industry and for scientific research.