Neglected Review #3: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Neglected Review #3: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

?But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

It seems like a pointless exercise to write a review on this widely popular dystopian classic that has been analyzed to the point of no return and has been required reading for most high-school students over the many decades since its publication in 1932 (unfortunately, I was not provided this luxury). Not to mention, a lot of the story details have escaped my memory but I clearly recall being fascinated by the sociological ideas presented in the novel  along with Huxley's accurate depiction of advanced technology and its negative effect on future human civilization. He was simply, ahead of his time.

Even though the novel is prone to heavy doses of pedantic discourses (especially during lengthy conversations between Mustapha Mond and the Savage) and the characters themselves are often perceived as caricatures (then again, one could argue that this is intentional since individuality has been eradicated from society) for Huxley to use irony, satire and even allegory to express his ideas, this narrative approach does not diminish the novel's power to engage the reader to think critically about a wide range of important issues that are still, if not, more relevant today than ever. Technology is moving at such a rapid pace and can be dangerous in influencing the way people think and conduct themselves; the media has become such a dominant force in most cultures and social conditioning  is becoming an all too real concept. In Huxley's futuristic society, a hallucinogenic drug named "soma" is used to control the masses and numb people into a state of complacency; they become slaves to the system. At one point, Mond explains that "unorthodoxy" is dangerous because it strikes at the heart of society itself so in order to achieve stability, individual identity must be squashed out. A scary premonition but one that is all too plausible with the influence of technology and the media. False consciousness tends to distract people from the reality of their situation. For me, the most interesting approach to the novel is from a sociological perspective. I've barely scratched the surface of this complex work--the concept of free will vs. predestination along with the contrast between Marxist and capitalist ideologies deserves a much thorough analysis.

On a side note, I was fascinated to learn that on his death bed, Aldous Huxley requested that he be given LSD to ease the pain--an ingenious idea!

- Technologies R Us
The USA Today reports on The Dumbest Generation and presents a sort of counterargument. The basic concern is whether social networking sites like Facebook are making Generation Y students 'dumb', or whether such practices are simply (and complexly)...

- Native Son By Richard Wright
?Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed...It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality.? A piercing sociological and psychological character study, very few novels...

- Top Ten Tuesday: All-time Favorite Books From The Past 3 Years
It's been a while since I've participated in the Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is far too enticing to pass up. At first, I thought that they meant to list your top 10 favorite books published within...

- Animal Farm By George Orwell
?The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.? I might be late getting around to finally reading George Orwell's Animal Farm but at the same...

- A History Book Like No Other (review)
In this unique book, Five Epochs of Civilization, William McGaughey adopts a radical style that portrays world history in an entirely new light. Due to the conservative nature of history writing, most history books are a mere rehash of earlier works....