Novelist and essayist Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894 in Godalming, in the county of Surrey, England which included his father, Leonard Huxley, a prominent literary man and his grandfather was T. H. Huxley, a biologist who led the battle on behalf of the Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis. He once almost quit school because of a eye disease but Aldous went and studied at Oxford, lived mainly in Italy in the 1920’s, (where he met and befriended D. H. Lawrence) and moved to California in 1937 with is wife Maria Nys.
His early writing included poetry, short stories, and literary journalism, but his reputation was made with his satirical novels Crome Yellow (1921) and Antic Hay. His later writing became more mystical in character, as in Eyeless in Gaza and Time Must Have a Stop, while Island is an optimistic Utopia. He also experimented with drugs. The two essays about his mescaline adventures are The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, nicely chronicled through letter correspondences during the time in Moksha. The title of Doors of Perception, lifted from poet William Blake, inspired rock singer Jim Morrison to name his group “The Doors.
Then in 1963 Huxley with his wife by his side ingested a dose of mescaline while on his deathbed. Aldous Huxley s, Brave New World shows humanity, that an obsession with a utopia, as they world they live in, will come with great cost and is near impossible as he shows that the problem is knowledge destroys value of life. As man has progressed through the ages, there has been, essentially, one purpose. That purpose is to arrive at a utopian society, where everyone is happy, disease is nonexistent, and strife, anger, or sadness are unheard of. Only happiness exists.
But when confronted with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, we come to realize that this is not, in fact, what the human soul really craves. In fact, Utopian societies are much worse than those of today. In a utopian society, the individual, who among others composes the society, is lost in the melting pot of semblance and world of uninterest. He uses his knowledge of science along with his imagination to show society how a utopia would be. All through life everyone tries to obtain a world in which one can live with enjoyment, equality, fairness, and happiness.
Many great writers have created utopian worlds that the reader can consider and explore. To create a perfect place compels the writer to write novels that deal with utopia. People see them selves in a place where it is fun and enjoyable. Writers see today’s world not as the “good place”. The world today has many wars, diseases, and world wide hunger. It takes many steps to produce a utopian world and is why creating a Utopia is no easy task. Other type of world that is opposite of utopia is dystopia.
Dystopia is a place where in literary meaning would be a, “bad place”. Huxley s satire shows us that any topia that is in your mind at first always has its flaws and is sure to be a dystopia in reality. In Brave New World, he takes the individuality and has made happiness and enjoyment of life in to an artificial feeling with the constant presence of soma. This satire of modern civilization would only set the stage for the future, though Huxley had no idea of the events which his book would predict, he plays with the idea of having a utopia. A utopia is a perfect place in which everything is right. But to get there is close to impossible. The only way is to give up your humanity.
As Granville Hicks said, This is a pretty horrid picture Mr. Huxley paints, and he can be sure that any of us, after reading his book, will think twice before taking steps that might bring about such a calamity. (Granville 233). Freedom is what make people humans and in this world you must give of your freedom of choice and let someone else run everything. Some people would jump at the chance to be in a place were all you do is work, eat, and have sex, but would you give up your feelings. He proposes that sleep teaching ,other wise known as hypnopaedia, is the answer and to put people in a group in which they will do separate activities and different jobs then other groups to run the world.
Everyone is taught to love who they are and love what they do. No one gets pregnant. There is no war and nobody gets old. You just die when its your time, usually somehwhere in your sixties. This utopia Huxley has created is nothing more than a mechanical world. No one feels and there is no memories. Our whole lives are based on the fact that there will be memories. Even if we die someone we hope will live on to tell the story but in this society memories aren t real and history never happened.
The value of life and living is not a factor anymore because there is always more of you. The reason being because science has taken part in which human error has occurred. Or more simply stated that there are no defects because of science. Science changes everything and the key to science is knowledge. As David Daiches stated, The problem of what to do with new Knowledge has always presented itself to the writer after a burst of philosophical or scientific activity The early novels of Aldous Huxley are obsessed with this problem. Knowledge destroys value (Daiches 149).
Time goes by and people adapt to fit the world. The way to do this is through science and Huxley tells you the story of a place which adapted to extreme conditions and the result is this utopia. Though people know that a utopia would change the race of humanity some people would give it up to have that since of happiness. Huxley was a person who thought of these issues which plague humanities mind. Thoughts of inner peace and peace with one one another. Francis Wyndham stated, Brave New World may well prove to be Mr. Huxley s most lasting book.
Purely satirical and brilliantly prophetic, it is the last destructive work by an essentially destructive writer (Wyndham 265). In the words of Peter E. Firchow who stated, According to Huxley one of the most ominous portents of the American Way of Life is that it embraces a large class of the people who do not want to be cultured ,are not interested in the higher life. For these people existence on the lower, animal levels is perfectly satisfactory. Given food, drink, the company of their fellows, sexual enjoyment, and plenty of noisy distractions from without, they are happy (Firchow 456).
Huxley s mind has a key part in the interpertation of this utopia. He uses so many points and opens your mind up to so many different possibilities that you aren t sure what to think about. Peter Quennell said it best when he said, What next? But to this question Mr. Huxley does not pretend to propose an answer (Quennell 254). Huxley fills his work with questions like this to challenge your mind and show you were reality could head. In a society of today where there is so much devastation, sex, violence, and drugs Huxley s utopia is not possible.
To change people to what you want could never happen because in reality people will see that a choice to be in a perfect society you must not have those human instincts. In a place where reactions are never argumentative and people never fight you could have this place, but there is a way. The key to this is knowledge. Knowledge made it able to build people as you like them and to train them. Knowledge is how things change, but it destroys the human side of things slowly, which can lead to disaster. We as a people posse a will to learn and gain intelligence then interpret it.
No other animal can do this. In a society where knowledge is taken away and you learn what they want you to learn you never progress and your human side is taken away from you. So people must use their knowledge the right way or that s when disasters happen. In a place that Mr. Huxley has intended to be a utopia is in reality a dystopia. This reality to any human would be devastation for everything that people have worked for. People want to be free. People want to feel happiness and sadness. They want the chance to feel and without that you have nothing.