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Humanity and Nature in "Brave New World"


Throughout the novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley explores the relationship between humanity and the natural world, and to discuss the possibilities that humanity is losing its attachment to the natural world, and the consequences of this detachment. As cultural movements and the responder's context change, the society projected in Brave New World becomes a reality and the issues discussed within the book become increasingly pertinent.

Throughout the first chapter, the responder is introduced to the civilization as the Director continues to educate the students in Bokanovskification and the artificial, highly scientific world, immediately creating the impression they are oblivious to the natural world. This is intensified by the use of italics to communicate the students collective thoughts. Individuality and the inquisitive nature of the students has been removed, leaving them all to regurgitate the Directors lecture and depriving them of free thought, considered to be a natural process to the responder.

            The unnatural world of the city is continuously described with a sense of superiority and grandeur compared to the natural world. The opening description of Huxley's Brave New World illustrates a clinical, bleak world with towers of at least "thirty-four storeys". Throughout the novel, especially within the first six chapters, negative imagery is created using a scientific tone and scientific jargon. Natural description and important concepts to the responder such as family and marriage are established through the use of negative language and unnatural representation of the familiar natural world. While the inhabitants of Brave New World describe learning as a "labour of discovery", it is considered an essential component of maturing and human nature. "One of the boys...turned pale at the mere description and was on the point of being sick" upon hearing the negative definition of a home, considered to be an important part of the responders society and a emotional expression of human love and life. The scientific, unemotional descriptions of the civilized world are contrasted by the use of simple, yet passionate descriptions of John as "he threw the book on the floor...and began to cry."

            Onomatopoeia effectively creates aural imagery of the sterile "whizz, click" of a laboratory, working concurrently with the juxtaposition of the natural and unnatural world, producing an intense artificial landscape consisting of  "Centrifugal Bumble-puppy towers that gleamed between trees." Natural similes are also used to effectively illustrate the superiority of the human cities and create an unusual, conforming view of the artificial world. "Clouds appear to resemble the vague torsos of fabulous athletes" while the students are "like chickens drinking", mindlessly and automatically absorbing all the information presented to them, forcefully removed from their inquisitive nature through their social conditioning.

            Short and disjointed sentences are used throughout the text to reinforce the main concepts of the novel. Important concepts to both the composer and the responder such as "Time, Death and God" are expressed as short, simple sentences, maximizing the impact of the statements. The initial description of the Savage Reservation is spoken in a disjointed form, illustrating the rugged, uneven character of nature as well as the disgust for the natural world expressed by the society. The natural world of the Savage Reservation is described in long, flowing sentences using definite variable imagery as Bernard and Lenina travel "through forests, into the violet depth of canyons, over crag and peak", broken by the linear descriptions of the artificial fence that "marched on and on, irresistibly the straight line, the geometrical symbol triumphant human purpose."

             Throughout Brave New World, Huxley perverts and corrupts natural clichés to describe the artificial world of the society. The referral to reproduction creates a unique image of the civilized world, relating weak embryos to "rams wrapped in thermogene beget no lambs". This corruption of the natural world is also used to reference biology as a mechanical, controlled process. In an alteration of Darwinian evolution, reproductive cells are "exposed to eight minutes of hard x-rays...A few died; of the rest, the least susceptible divided in two." Similar to the perversion of Darwinian theory, the combination of natural clichés with mechanical imagery provides a detachment from the natural world. "The air was drowsy with the murmur of bees and helicopters" combines the natural spring cliché with the synthetic, detached character of the cities of civilization.

              Clichéd romantic imagery is littered throughout Brave New World, underlining the denial and corruption of human emotion and heightening the promiscuous and sexual nature of the text. Basic, sensational imagery of children "Naked in the warm June sunshine" creates an uncomfortable, yet natural world and sexual image, removing the responder from natural environment and into Brave New World. The use of roses as both negative and positive elements in various sections of the text outlines a very basic, unemotional version of romance. As emotions are considered to be a distraction to consumerism, romance in Brave New World remains purely sexual, removing the natural instinct of the population, detaching them further from the natural environment.

            Direct comparisons between Brave New World and the responder's world allows Huxley to explore the superiority of the futuristic civilization, but also the sacrifices the citizens unwittingly made. While Brave New World portrays a superficially beautiful and sexually free society by conquering both human instinct and nature, the responder is hesitant to accept this society due to its limitations and lack of true freedom, in a similar way to which John discards civilization. A direct reversal of values between the civilization and the Savage Reservation introduces the responder to Brave New World and moves them from the civilized world. Within civilization, it is considered natural to develop promiscuity at an early age, while in the Savage Reservation, which continues to uphold modern values, monogamy is socially and morally important.

            Beauty is considered as a superficial aspect of life within the new civilization, whereas within the Savage Reservation it is determined by emotion and intellect. This is explored with the comparison of the concept of ageing as Linda is introduced to the civilization. As Lenina is repulsed by Linda's appearance, she argues that "lots of people are old; theyre not like that", expressing the artificial confines of society as citizens are kept superficially young through the use of scientific stalling techniques. However, despite the prolonged youth, lifespan is "considerably impaired to sixty, and then, crack! the end." In contrast, the natural lives of the savages tends be long and fulfilling.

            Religious ceremonies in the civilization and the Savage Reservation are dramatically different, showing the contrast between social values. The civilisations Solidarity Service consists of the chanting of meaningless, sexual phrases such as orgy porgy and the use of soma. In comparison, the Savage Reservations passionate, sacrificial mass service connecting them to the natural by the use of "black snakes and brown and mottled" and varying drum rhythms, representing the rhythms of nature the savages were reliant on for survival.

            Allusions to several historical figures and civilisations are made throughout Brave New World. Many of these allusions consist of early communist leaders. References to Trotsky, Lenon, and Karl Marx are made through the characters Polly, Lenina and Bernard respectively, but the allusion to Helmholtz is the most obvious and meaningful. The historical figure Helmholtz believed in racial purity, while the fictional Helmholtz operates in similar manner, the Director of London, in charge in ensuring stability and caste purity throughout the society. Allusions to Pavlovs instinctive teaching techniques are commonly used in Brave New Worlds "Neo-Pavolovian era." This involves using Pavlov's system of punishment to discourage certain types of behaviour to condition the castes of children to function within their narrow section of society, removing natural and individual freedoms in order to create a simulated stability. References to Thomas Malthus, through the use of the Malthusian contraceptive belts, increases the concept of their society, that an increase in population outweighs the means of living.

            Revolutionary texts such as Kubla Khan and various Shakespearian plays are explored in Brave New World. Distortions of Coleridge's Kubla Khan sexual and passionate nature are expressed as the Controller delivers his speech about the emotional ways of "Mother, monogamy, romance." The direct quotations of Shakespeare through John heighten the passion of the human soul and act as warnings of extremist behaviour, as many Shakespearian plays, and Brave New World do.

            Ancient societies and religions are commonly alluded to in negative or sexual tones, such as the allusion to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Though Aphrodite is considered to be the goddess of the natural emotion of love, the use of the establishment the Aphroditaeum removes the natural beauty of Aphrodites character and replaces it with a strictly sexual connotation. Filthy, ancient allusions desolate the intellect and humanitys intensity in these historical eras, dismissing them as "spider-webs and they were Thebes and Babylon"

            However, the allusions to the ancient gods and mythology alerts the responder to a remainder of natural humanity and emotion as the ancient gods were considered to exist as extensions of human attributes, living as passionate families abundant with hate, envy and love. This can be related to the World Controller Mustapha Mond who exists as a human, yet remains more powerful and influential than any the citizens could ever become. This subtle, yet effective reference informs the responder that although the authority has tried to suppress nature and humanity, not everything natural can be conquered.

            The greatest link between humanity and nature in Brave New World is the existence of human instinct. Although the World Controllers tried to suppress all forms of human instinct, they acknowledge that it is an impossibility, and instead replaces the natural instincts. The use of pregnancy substitutions and drugs removes the necessity for emotions and natural instinct, maintaining social stability. Sexuality continues to be the only surviving human instinct within the society, though it is strictly controlled.

            Freedom of expression is prohibited, disallowing citizens from thinking, experiencing emotional contact or expressing their thoughts. The manufacture of synthetic music and emotional engineering eradicates any individuality of expression, constricting the society and limiting natural instinct to a mass produced and controlled impulse. Spiritual release which is essential to humanity in the form of religion or ceremony, is reduced to the Solidarity Service and the recitation of orgy porgy, replacing spiritual discharge with a meaningless sexual and drug induced gathering.

            Some human instinct remains in the society, confirming not all human nature can be suppressed. The formation of the civilization relied on the abuse of instinctual fear, using the threat of the Nine Years War to unite the people and offer them the superficially attractive, easy society of Brave New World. Linda survives the Savage Reservation relying solely on human instinct, despite her conditioning, which left her emotionally unprepared to survive a fulfilling and natural life. Discrimination and fear of the misunderstood is present in both societies, a natural reaction cultivated by the naivety of both the civilization and the Savage Reservation about each other. Though some aspects of human nature and instinctual behaviour remain, they tend to be negative, showing a minimal relationship with nature.

            Consumerism is the basis of society in Brave New World, and citizens function in a consumer driven mindset, programmed into them via social conditioning. The dating system of the civilization is based on the production of the Ford T-model, outlining the consumer driven mindset and the need of transport for social stability. Static descriptions of the world almost always include aural imagery of transport and the "hum of passing helicopters; and the deeper drone of the rocket planes." Nature was abused to compel them to consume transport, but this was withdrawn when it was discovered that the enjoyment of nature had no function in consumerism after the transport was consumed.

            Death in Brave New World is treated as a major industry. Diphosphorous pentoxide, found in the human body, is extracted and collected through cremation. "P2O5 used to go right out of circulation every time they cremated someone. Now they recover of ninety-eight per cent of it" describes a perverted form of recycling, reducing humanity to nothing but a consumer product. Consumption is also considered sensual, especially with the introduction of the feelies as entertainment. "As the last electric titillation died on the lips", emotion has been drained from the sexual experience and replaced with a principle of consumerism that is central to the society.

            The overwhelming abundance of consumption and consumerism warns the responder that nothing within the society lasts, unlike in nature where emotion and experience continue for eternity. The society becomes disposable, and the citizens can discard each other, whereas in the Savage Reservation life "lasts and lasts" like Linda's "beastly wool" relies on emotion, and the inhabitants cannot discard each other without sentiment.

            Civilisation in Brave New World has lost its attachment to nature and the basis of humanity, isolating the society from evocative, passionate lives.




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