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(Both the Pokémon fanfic and the Huxley novel of this title point to this Headscratcher page.)

For The Book:

  • What's so horrible about this society? It's certainly not perfect, but dystopian? Really? Everyone seems happy, and if you aren't then you get to spend all your time with similar people on an island of your choice.
    • The idea is that it is horrible because no-one is allowed to be individuals. There is a loss of True Art (and writers hate loss of True Art), and you are unable to feel any trials and thus grow from them. Plus it is kinda implied that those islands are kinda like the 'showers' in those 'camps' if you know what I mean...
    • Everyone's life is based around sex. They do that as young children. They replaced God with Ford. Technology is used to repress. People are injected with alcohol to stunt growth, and the entire society revolves around essentially pre-conditioned slaves. And society's entertainment consists of Soma and sex. Finally, people are bred to revolve around materialism, and it's a dictatorship. Basically, it's only great if you are an Alpha or Beta, and you're as superficial as the people in the story. And, need I remind you, everyone was happy in The Giver too, and that is a definite dystopia.
      • People are stuck in predetermined castes, the idea of free thought is pretty much gone, and the idea of morality appears to have kicked the bucket as well. And the worst part? The people did it to themselves.
        • It's easy to miss, but, according to a line of dialogue in the story, rape is apparently both legal and socially acceptable, as, since "Everyone belongs to everyone else", it means that you are the common sexual property of all society, and have no right to say no (at least for any length of time). If you persist, it's perfectly okay to force you.
          • I wonder if the society would even understand the concept of rape. If everyone believes that they belong to everyone else, than the idea that you might resist another's advances must be completely alien.
          • I wondered about this while reading the book too! But at the same time, it certainly seems like people are allowed to reject others without any retribution. (I'd find a quote but I'm too lazy... egh...) They've just been conditioned to be willing to do it. Although I'm personally confused about the scene with Lenina (was she sexually harassing/trying to rape John? Or was John attacking her and calling her a whore and such unjustifiably? Though I'm personally leaning toward the former, I guess...)
        • People LIKE the society in Brave New World. They like having soma and free love, and there are no real responsibilities.
          • And so did the people in Airstrip One like the society, and Big Brother, in 1984, or else. Just because a society likes their world doesn't mean it's right. Not to mention, no free will and a caste system.
          • They like those things because they were programmed to; had everyone not been influenced by hypnopaedic conditioning, they wouldn't be content in the superficial lives they lead. If you are essentially brainwashed into liking something, do you REALLY like it?
    • Just because you or I wouldn't want to live there and we find their cultural norms disturbing doesn't make it immoral. If the general population is sincerely happy and getting everything they value, than there's no problem. It's up for interpretation, though, whether the people there are truly happy. If they're all walking around smiling with repressed malaise, than the word 'dystopia' becomes more accurate.
      • I think the key point is not that people are "getting everything they value", but that they value those things because they were trained to do so from early age. And of course, there's that whole part where they actively manipulate fetuses to make them stupider on purpose. Not cool.
      • And they're only "sincerely happy" because every time something bad happens to them, or they even think about something bad, they mainline Soma.
    • I've always felt like the book's society isn't so much a dystopia as a deconstruction of utopia as a scientific goal (dystopia is technically a deconstruction, but in most dystopian stories utopia isn't even the goal). It's not describing a world where people are being maliciously crushed or oppressed, but just taking the question "how do you use technology and science to solve society's problems," tempering that question with the harsh assumptions of sociology and materialism as a philosophy, and then running with it. People up until Brave New World had been fond of imagining a future scientific utopia as all Crystal Spires and Togas; Huxley was showing how, if you take what we actually know about science and human nature and apply that to building such a utopia, the result wouldn't be a bunch of neo-philosophers flying around on jetpacks, but a culture we'd find grotesquely alien. But then again, we've been shaped by our society to think of it as normal, so we naturally would be horrified by a culture that so blithely disregards all our ideals and morals. A Viking warrior thrown into the present day might find our society similarly grotesque and lacking in the ideals and morals that he holds as absolute.
  • If the people in Brave New World don't have age-related frailty and disease, why do they still die when they're old?
    • To make way for the next generation. They almost certainly have the technology to avert it if the controllers thought that was a good idea, but if they do it goes the same way as labor-saving technology.
  • They may disagree about whether it's worth it, but all of the characters seem to accept that maintaining a society where people are happy and comfortable requires sacrificing everything else that people might value. Is it so hard to imagine that people could be happy and pursue science, philosophy, and art?
    • Given individuality is key in pursuing science, philosophy and art... not really. In this utopia, the only kind of science, philosophy and art that can be pursued is the "mass-produced" kind. But it's obvious this sort of philosophy is useless, this kind of art is barely art(more like a craft) and this sort of science (government-funded and focused on goals instead of discovery) would make Carl Sagan cry.
  • In the Island experiment, everyone was an Alpha citzen and all the islanders considered themselves above tasks for the lower classes, and things went downhill … and fast. However, wasn't that experiment already doomed to fail even before it began? I kept thinking: all Alpha citizens are conditioned since birth to behave like exactly like that, relishing their inteligence while priding themselves as above those of the lower classes, even if those jobs needed to be done.
    • Pretty much. Mond had mentioned that there was a huge archive of labor-saving devices not in use because it would render a good bulk of the population effectively unemployed, right? They should have started with their standard ratio of classes on Cyprus and then experimented with adding those inventions to the society and determining what the new optimum ratio would be, with the eventual goal of applying it to the world at large.
    • Bear in mind that some (not all) of those setting up the "experiment" would have been ...keen to see it fail.
  • Why is this book often compared to 1984? It's disproportionate: Brave New World is a Utopian wet dream compared to that.
    • Because both books are well-known examples of dystopias (or at least, Brave New World was meant as a the first question on this page and its answers, they explore that idea more thoroughly than this question warrants). Also, it could be that most people can't list too many dystopic novels off the top of their head (usually getting no further than Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451, so...yeah.)
    • It also makes for a handy alpha and omega with the political themes of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Oceania's ruling party, as represented by O'Brien, is motivated by petty sadism and controls its people through fear. The controllers of Brave New World, as represented by Mustapha Mond, are motivated by genuinely good intentions and control their people through happiness. Put together, they show how two entirely opposite philosophies and goals can each give rise to its own brand of dystopia.
      • Also observe their attitudes toward sex. One form of tyranny (demonstrated in Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Giver) attempts to suppress human sexuality entirely, to destroy the concept of a biological family and/or a loving marriage, replacing it with a fidelity only to the collective. The other form of tyranny, demonstrated in Brave New World, attempts to control the people by rendering sexuality frivolous. People numb their emotions because they are emotionally stunted, and they can never form a real connection with their lovers. Each man and woman is interchangeable in their minds. In both cases, the two most powerful drives, religion and sexuality, are either co-opted into the tyrant's agenda or destroyed. The tyrant doesn't want any motivations competing with serving the tyranny.
  • Why do World State inhabitants have last names? Those seem to be a relic from the past that there's no reason for the World State to preserve, considering its offensive connotation of the family institution.
    • Ah, that's a very good question, but my belief is that it's to differentiate people who have the same first name. That was actually the original purpose of surnames.
    • The surnames in the book are mostly from 18th-20th century history. Possibly the World State was attempting to commemorate certain approved historical figures (and perhaps also converting them to icons having little connection to historical reality, much as they did with "Our Ford").
  • The Epsilons, who are at the bottom of the gene pool, are called 'semi-morons'. What are full morons then?
    • Full morons are literally too retarded to be of any value- even Epsilons need to be able to understand orders. Moron in this case referred to a real kind of mental disability, rather than just the insult now, which is from that anyway (imbecile and idiot were also medical terms once before they became used simply as insults).
  • So, the Epsilons are supposedly needed because someone has to do the dirty work and labor-saving gadgets are supposedly not implemented because then the Epsilons get bored. Why wouldn't they just implement the labor-saving gadgets and make fewer Epsilons?
    • More gadgets and devices and dropping out Epsilons might also affect other people in various ways in a socioeconomic chain-reaction. This culture wants consumerism. More mouths wanting more food needing more employed food makers needing more employed advertisers triggering desire for more food, etc. They don't feel the need to stop people from being engaged in labor, so they don't need many labor-saving devices.
    • Epsilons also create a bigger population that Alphas and Betas can feel superior to, which means more effective marketing (helping drive the above point) and helping them fit into their own niches better.
    • Basically, anyone above Epsilons can feel better knowing that at least s/he isn't Epsilon and there for has better job and life. Epsilons, on the other hand, are "semi-morons" and do not realize that they are basically genetically engineered Butt Monkeys for everyone else. This helps to keep everyone else happy. Epsilons can be made to do everything nasty nobody else wants and they feel better since they don't have to do it, there is someone lower that has to do it and since they are too stupid to realize they can say no (whatever reaction this could cause is a different matter) they will do it. In the book, there's a mention of an experiment on Cyprus about a fully-automated society composed of all-Alphas. It collapsed.
    • And Epsilons are engineered to take pride in the fact that without them, the society would collapse in very short order.
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