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September book: Brave New World

Discussion in 'Books' started by Kampf Trinker, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Kampf Trinker

    Kampf Trinker
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    Huxley's Utopian future is our book for this month. Have at it.
     
    #1 Kampf Trinker, Sep 1, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  2. CanisDirus

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    The big take-away from this novel, for me, is just the tone. You've got all of the city folk not even naturally-breeding, taking a mood-altering opiate and literally given castes as soon as they 'hatch'. The weirdest part for me was how there's bred into castes and trained for jobs from birth, and how even if you're a second-class caste or even lower you don't care because hell, you're eating, your more basal intellect and body needs are met and hey, there's always some Soma! It's spine-tingling terrifying thinking of how the frameworks for such a world were pitted, plotted and made into shape by lawmaking Alphas and Betas and finally something they never out-right highlight in the book; they still need ovaries and sperm to produce their population, and a man can provide a relatively limitless supply of sperm compared to the limited number of eggs in a female human's ovary, the simplest solution would seem to be to make most of their male population sterile, but what do they do? Make only 30% of their female population fertile and make the rest sterile and androgynous with a slight "tendency to grow beards."

    To place this again into perspective, only 30% of all women are permitted to fully develop sexually, but all men are. All men are allowed to develop normally and enjoy their manhood to the fullest, but almost no women are — 70% of the female population have had so much of their femininity removed, they're not even referred to as "female" but as "freemartins", which is a term for a female cow who grows in the womb with a bull twin, and ends up getting some of his chord blood in her body via the placental exchange, thus making her a masculine, sterile heifer. The World State's ideal version (possibly made through trial and error, which is a whole other terror in and of itself) of a perfectly stable society is one where women only make up 15% of the population, and all males are permitted to be born whole but 70% of females must be born mutilated and the equivalent of castrated. It's only female fertility they vilify, not male, and only women's bodies that are treated as a threat to stability and must be restrained; we know that women are drilled to take contraceptives, but we never see any indication that men are drilled to use condoms. This isn't some open-minded, civilized, advanced land of sexual liberation; it's just another society where female sexuality is regarded as disgusting and dangerous, like so many before it, except they have the technology to better guard against it. Oh, brave new world, where the threat of woman has finally been neutralized! But hey, fuck whomever you want! Free love and hangover-free drugs for all!
     
  3. CanisDirus

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    I wish we got to see more Rez's. They were probably the most fascinating parts of the book.
     
  4. Kampf Trinker

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    I love this book. Last time I read it was in high school, not very much of a different perspective reading it ten years later. I only read it as science fiction though. Huxley really believed that this is where society is heading, but I just don't see the relevance. You could take the points about religion dying out, sex losing all taboo, and most importantly people becoming increasingly dependent on an ever increasing abundance of distractions and escapism solutions. Still, the picture of this society just isn't right. All totalitarian regimes meet resistance and have to use terror to suppress them. There's no exception to this in history, and I don't think there will be an exception in the future. That's why I think 1984 was an extremely relevant and very important book while this was one I just loved to read. We've seen 1984 like scenarios happen, haven't really seen A New Brave World. I don't think modern America or the modern west has anything to with either book any more than (insert president) is like Adolf Hitler. People love their dystopian comparisons though.

    Of course, the way people are conditioned in this book would never work. Sleep suggestions, no matter how often they are repeated simply aren't that effective across the board. I think Huxley can be forgiven for this as the field of psychology wasn't very advanced at the time it was written. People were just beginning to understand certain aspects, a more comprehensive understanding didn't really take off until post WW2. Still, it's an awesome idea. A society where each is perfectly conditioned for each role. I wasn't nearly as disgusted with the world as the author intended. Partially perhaps because I don't believe it's realistic. I would certainly never want to live there, but then again it's not nearly as awful as some regimes history has created... or you could argue it's even worse since it's perfectly set up to exist in perpetuity.

    Canis - The society did not treat female sexuality as disgusting and dangerous, quite the opposite. It treated natural breeding as disgusting and dangerous. That's why the women were sterilized. It had nothing to do with sexism. You could argue the book is sexist because all the alphas we meet are males and all the females are betas, although there's very few characters overall and it's never explicitly stated that a caste necessitates a certain gender (we learn that for sure deltas and epsilons are both genders). Regardless, the book has nothing to do with sexism and that's not the point Huxley was trying to make. The men in the books, and non-sterile women have just as little desire for natural children as the sterilized women. It was simply a means to a dead end, not a distaste for female sexuality. Well, none of sexuality in the book qualifies as normal anyway. I think making the epsilons functionally retarded midgets is much more cruel, but they're none the bitter about it either.
     
  5. CanisDirus

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    I'm less for the sexism angle and just how incredibly dystopian this society, you're just an interchangeable 'gear in the machine' in this society.
     
  6. Crown Royal

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    I do think this is a better and more brilliant novel than Ninteen Eighty-Four. Between this or Stranger In A Strange Land probably the best sci-fi novel ever written. To think this was written in the early 1930's before many medical and technological booms.... Huxley is definetly a thinking man's author who obviously wanted to smash some taboos, sexual and otherwise.

    I don't think there can ever be a Utopian society. Distopian? Yes. Because we are not a species meant to last OR be in harmony. We're constantly bored with whatever we have and too many have utter intolerance to those who are different (like the novel's main character and how he is treated with scorn simply for being a small in stature "Alpha").

    Mankind is not cut out for Utopia, too many want to burn the world with their beliefs. People who think sex is dirty/wrong and attacking those with different beliefs is right. We'll always think the grass in greener on the other side, no matter how good or bad or our life is. That's why rich people call being poor "The simple life", how hilarious is that?
     
  7. Kampf Trinker

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    If John is the good guy he seems to idolize a more Shakespearean romance. Really though, what is so impressive about the science in the book? I ask because I've heard this kind of a lot and I'm just not seeing it. "Wow he came up with birth control pills!" Uh, no he didn't. He basically said they go do 'something' and they don't become pregnant. I mean come on, I thought of that. Teleporting machines. My invention too. Fuck Star Trek.

    Beyond that the psychology is bad, the industrial line had long since existed, and the rest of the 'science' in the book is a bunch of crap that would never work. Soma is basically a drug that makes you high and happy. Not really a Huxley invention either other than the name, which he actually stole as well.