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Honors Reading Quotes (Brave New World)

“...fertility is merely a nuisance. One fertile ovary in twelve hundred-that would really be quite sufficient for our purposes. But we want to have a good choice. And of course one must always have an enormous margin of safety. So we allow as many as thirty per cent of the female embryos to develop normally...Which brings us at last,” continued Mr. Foster, ‘out of the realm of mere slavish imitation of nature into the much more interesting world of human invention.’...’We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future .’ He was going to say ‘future World controllers’...Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels. Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays. By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold. They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miner and acetate silk spinners and steel workers. Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies. “We condition them to thrive on heat,” concluded Mr. Foster. “Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it.” (Huxley 11-13).

This passage explains the preconditioning of humans ensuring the social dominance of a group of people. What may only be described as an oligarchy, the Alphas are in control of every aspect of their subordinates lives (Betas, Deltas, Epsilons, etc) from birth to death. Becoming apparent soon after this passage, Alphas show that the key to social oppression is the psyche of masses. The Alphas use prenatal techniques to stagnate others’ intelligence, such as limiting oxygen levels before birth or introducing trace amounts of alcohol into the artificial womb, resulting in inhibited cognitive development. The Alphas knowingly deviate from natural evolution, producing beings that, rather than being fit for the natural world, are physiologically incapable of questioning the injustice that has befallen them. This passage is important because their has been no historical upheaval that has overcome such indomitable opposition. The Alphas realize that brute force cannot prevent the masses’ revolution, only the masses’ ignorance to their own oppression can.

““All men are physico-chemically equal,” said Henry sententiously. “Besides, even Epsilons perform indispensable services.”

“Even an Epsilon .” Lenina suddenly remembered an occasion when, as a little girl at school, she had woken up in the middle of the night and become aware, for the first time, of the whispering that had haunted all her sleeps. She saw again the beam of moonlight, the row of small white beds; heard once more the soft, soft voice that said (the words were there, unforgotten, unforgettable after so many night-long repetitions): “Every one works for every one else. We can’t do without any one. Even Epsilons are useful. We couldn’t do without Epsilons. Every one works for every one else. We can’t do without any one .” Lenina remembered her first shock of fear and surprise; her speculations through half a wakeful hour; and then, under the influence of those endless repetitions, the gradual soothing of her mind, the soothing, the smoothing, the stealthy creeping of sleep..“I suppose Epsilons don’t really mind being Epsilons,” she said aloud.” (Huxley 50).

This passage shows that even Alphas are conditioned to be complacent with their role in society. Because for Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Epsilons alike “sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.” (Huxley 34). In infancy, all members of the society are exposed to what is known as “hypnopedia.” A derivation of hypnotherapy, hypnopedia exposes infants to the essentials to live in this society. Hypnopedia attempts to instill an individual’s precognitive acceptance of their role in the society. “Every one belongs to every one else” is ubiquitous in the novel. The indispensability of this practice, the strength of its results can be seen here: “The students nodded, emphatically agreeing with a statement which upwards of sixty-two thousand repetitions in the dark had made them accept, not merely as true, but as axiomatic, self-evident, utterly indisputable.” (Huxley 29). It is important because it demonstrates a universal justification (universal in that it allows for both the higher and lower class to accept their respective positions) that allows the higher and lower class to accept their roles.

““I know. But that’s all the more reason for severity. His intellectual eminence carries with it corresponding moral responsibilities. The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray. It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted. Consider the matter dispassionately, Mr. Foster, and you will see that no offense is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behavior. Murder kills only the individual-and, after all, what is an individual?” With a sweeping gesture he indicated the rows of microscopes, the test-tubes, the incubators. “We can make a new one with the greatest ease-as many as we like. Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itself. Yes, at Society itself,” he repeated.” (Huxley 100).

This passage shows how the rulers handle those whom threaten the vacuous minds of their subordinates. In a sense, they imply that in order to insure the continuity of the this social structure, they must stifle (to a certain extent) all those whom live under them. Even the most intelligent and creative must not realize the atrocities being created, the alternative life style that offers all a chance for obtaining wealth and happiness. The passage is important because it shows how much the leaders value the society, and that individuals may need to be sacrificed if they compromise the integrity of the group. I’m quite sure that murder is suggested to solve this crime against their way of life. The supremacy of the group over an individual is a thought provoking subject on its own; the fact that this passage shows that a society like this would murder a man who has only the capacity to alter the society yields even more to think about.

“ “...civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended-there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren’t any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There’s no such thing as a divided allegiance; you’re

so conditioned that you can’t help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren’t any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your mortality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears-that’s what soma is.” ” (Huxley 161-162).

This passage is essentially a summary of the conditions of living in this new world. It may be inferred from this passage that individual suffering arises from intra-group and inter- group conflicts. This is important because after identifying this issue that the world controllers deemed solvable, they attempted to remedy the situation. They did so by dissolving any strong relationships between people; this required a major alteration in social structure. The family was abolished, and sexual relationship with any given individual was to be trivial and ephemeral. According to the author, this eliminated all contention. In case any began to arise, the euphoria inducing drug soma was to be used. This seems to result in humanity becoming addicted to pleasure by means of following the social rules (this path seemed supreme because individuals were psychologically incapable of finding another route). A world free of suffering and disappointment is successfully created.

I enjoyed the book very much. I enjoyed the fact that Huxley had rulers used almost diametrically opposite means to achieve the same ends as Orwell in 1984 (while Orwell inculcated a sense of total war and thus unquestioned obedience to authority in the minds of the people, Huxley eliminated conflict altogether). I was inspired to be more wary of authoritative power and the social norms that exist today, properly questioning change typically eradicates that which leads society in a poor direction. The only flagrant flaw I found was that Huxley neglected to discuss the way in which this social structure was put in place. Although details about the current structure were revealed by characters and therefore it wouldn’t be reasonable to have a character discuss such a matter and would be inconsistent for the explanation to come through another medium. I found this something primarily left out in 1984 as well. I certainly would recommend this book to others because I found it stimulating by both the expansive vocabulary and the ideas it invoked.