Life in Huxley’s Fictitious World State vs. Life in the U.S. Today
Write a paper that compares life as Huxley described it in the World State with life in the United States today. Include at least three of these aspects of life in your paper: Human life/ death, love and marriage, art (literature, film, architecture, etc), consumption of goods and services, use of drugs (including alcohol and tobacco), pleasure/ self indulgence, and religion. Come to a conclusion as to the accuracy of Huxley’s predictions. In comparison to life in the United State, life in the World State depicted by Huxley almost mirrors life in the modern world.
In the United States today, religion is held no where near as sacred as it has been in previous centuries, although it hasn’t been completely abolished as it was in the World State. Important aspects of literature such as Shakespeare’s Othello, Hamlet or Macbeth are barely even recognized in society today, which is true also in the World State. Also, the concept of marriage is no longer cherished nor is it held on to the way it used to be. In the World State, marriages do not exist because the Controllers do not want people to build relationships or attachments to people.
However in the United States today, marriages don’t last because of poor planning, unwillingness to change, or other factors. Even film today very closely resembles the “feelies” that Huxley wrote about. The storylines often mean nothing more to the audience than a sliver of entertainment and a short lasting fill to the void of sorrow they feel throughout their daily lives. In the World State,the feelies “mean a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience,” as Mustapha Mond states in Chapter 16 although the storyline is nonsense, much like movies today.
In the modern world of the United States, literature is taken for granted by the poorly educated youth. Unless you are majoring in literature or English, works such as Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Edgar Allen Poe are hardly even mentioned in classrooms around the United States. Elements of art today is no longer appreciated as they were in the past. Artforms such as literature, painting, film and architecture are not valued as they used to or should be. In the World State, some of these things do not even exist.
The forms of the few that do exist have been dumbed down to the point where they have no meaning, or make no sense. In the World State, the people have been conditioned to believe that death is a good thing. Since the people do not have relationships with each other the feeling of love does not exist. Mothers, fathers, daughters and sons are considered inhumane and immoral. Because of this, people do not mourn the deaths of any individual. In fact, children take trips to death centers and watch the sexagenarians die.
Even after death, the bodies are transported to a phosphorous recovery center for the bodies to be used for fuel later. In our modern world, people tend to care for each other more than they do in the World State. After someone dies, especially when they are related, someone can mourn for days or months. Sometimes, years can go by before someone can get over the death of a loved one. The use of drugs is imminent in both the World State and the United States. Whereas in the United States where drugs such as marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol are used, soma is used in the World State.
In the World State, people use soma to regain a joyful status and to keep them happy. When they are faced by a problem “or if ever by some unlucky chance such a crevice of time should yawn in the solid substance of their distractions, there is always soma, delicious soma”,as stated in chapter three, to relieve the anger or upset feelings they feel. In some ways, alcoholism and drug abuse in the United States is the same as the World State’s addiction to soma. People who are addicted to drugs tend to use them to escape the emotional toll life takes on them.
In the World State, if anyone feels even slightly upset or angry they take a soma or some form of it. Pleasure and self indulgence in the World State are satisfied with Solidarity Services. Solidarity Services replace religious ceremonies with strong sexual encounters. In essence, they are orgies that large groups of people take place in. This form of casual sexual intercourse can be seen in the United States in casual relationships which may be known as friends with benefits, one night stands or having “no strings attached”. The type of relationship here is a strictly physical relationship in which no emotions are shared.
This is very similar to life the way Huxley described it. In the world state that Huxley imagined, all things are “perfect”, only because they are conditioned to think this way. This dystopian society is very similar to the modern United States. Although there are still differences, such as the mourning of deaths in the United States and the lack of marriages in the World State, the United States isn’t very far away from becoming a modern Brave New World. Hopefully the citizens of this great nation will be able to hold on to the thin strands of humanity that we have left.