What I’m Reading: Brave New World


Rather than write a comprehensive review or plot synopsis, which I’m sure has been done many times, I’m just going to offer up a couple of thoughts that were stimulated by the book.

Brave New World is set in a Utopian future where morality of any kind is heavily discouraged. The author, Aldous Huxley, sets the stage with such a heavy hand that the effect is rather satirical at moments. For example, police wear porcine masks, monogamy is frowned upon to such a degree that it can be reported to the authorities, and the idea of marriage, fatherhood, and motherhood is considered shocking and obscene.

Some of this is obviously commentary on the communist manifesto, by Karl Marx, which proposes the idea that families should be non-existent and children should be raised by the state. Brave New World explores this idea, sometimes taking it to extremes that seem farcical. Or do they?

The further I consider the idea the more I begin to believe that Huxley was rather prescient. Though Brave New World was published in 1932 it is predictive of a society today where certain segments mock the idea of marriage, where monogamy is ridiculed, and alternative lifestyles promoted as laudable.

Of course, Huxley was not the first prophet to predict such an environment. The prophet Isaiah says the following in the Old Testament verse (Isaiah 5:20):

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

As society continues its decline toward the ‘Utopian’ ideals that Huxley describes, we’ll suffer the consequences of the break down of the family unit, which is the bedrock of a moral, sound, and thriving society.

In Huxley’s book, John the Savage, who resists the Brave New World, ends up succumbing to its temptations and can’t live with the shame. The others who don’t fit in are sent off to island exile where they can pursue their heretical thinking without upsetting and endangering the society of brain-washed drones pursuing their lifestyles of consumption, promiscuity, and sedation.

-Joel Jenkins
Author of Weird Action & Adventure Fiction


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