Will Society End Up like Aldous Huxley’s Science Fiction Novel?

I was resistant to the western canon of literature as a youth. Much of it was required reading in school.  But, because I was a rebel or had a general non-interest in reading, it escaped me.  What a difference few decades make!  A voraciuos reader now, I find books like Aldous Huxley’s science fiction novel Brave New World, fascinating!

This futuristic (cautionary) tale of a dystopian (or) utopian society, depending on your perspective, is prophetic in many ways. There can be an argument made for both sides. The book describes a world free of war, disease, violence, grief, mental disease, alcohol and drug addiction.  Brave-new-worldThe trade-off is a genetically produced society without monogamous love, family, spiritualism or individual freedoms.  Ambition and creativity are frowned upon and extinguished.  No personal identity (really) as  you are born into a pre-destined class system to do your life’s work. Sometimes you cant help but think, this smacks of Marxism!

Discovering Huxley

I sort of backed into reading Brave New World through my research and development on origins and history of the counterculture movement. Huxley has been called the “spiritual father” of the hippie movement.  Aldous Huxley’s science fiction novel was published in 1932, but he wrote another one in 1954 which became essential reading for the 60’s counterculture movement.

It is titled “The Doors of Perception”. (Can you guess which rock band got their name from that?) It chronicled Huxley’s 1953 experience on the “psychedelic” natural substance mescaline. He would continue ingesting psychedelics (including LSD) all the way up to his death November 22, 1963 (same day and 3 hrs after The John F. Kennedy assassination).

A Prophetic Novel

Purchasing the novel today, you will receive both “Brave New World” (1932) and “Brave New World Revisited”(1958). The latter touching on his views,  reflections and prophecies of the original novel.  Many times he makes heavily biased critiques & comparisons to “1984” by George Orwell (one of his colleagues).  World overpopulation, drugs, advertising, politics, dictators, brainwashing and other very controversial topics are discussed and how they will affect the future of mankind. Words of warning from his view in 1958.

Brave New World encourages us to keep a close check on our individual freedoms, autonomy and free will. Make sure we are in control of them. Although this tale is melodramatic and an almost unbelievable fantasy,  it unveils the bleak side of World Control (and/or) dictatorship versus democracy and freedoms we take for granted daily.  Would it be enough to spark the idealists, poets and artists of the early 60’s to drop out and try a sustainable society of their own?  Yes, I think Aldous Huxley’s science fiction and other potent literature, music and art of the period had a great influence on what became the counterculture.

Will Society End Up Like a Brave New World?

Many people you query will say, it’s already here!  I’ve heard it. Well, I think thats a nice sentiment (if not an exaggeration) on their part.  Even though (since Brave New World) we have discovered cloning and test tube babies, it is doubtful things will ever reach the scale and magnitude of the fictional World State’s Hatchery and Conditioning Centre.  A baby factory where new borns are brought up with no family ties or values and conditioned by state behaviorist technicians.  After thorough brainwashing as youths,  they’re integrated into  predestined jobs and class system. It’s not in harmony with what I call “The Way of the World” or Natures Way.

It is a very humbling experience being human. Part of that is because we make mistakes and (hopefully) learn from them. How is one to learn and experience life if everything were perfect?  And is that life worth living?  It paints a bland,  gray and uneventful existence to me. Aldous Huxley’s science fiction novel comes off dystopian,  evil and corrupt but the society of a Brave New World will never know. They weren’t condtioned that way, so it’s utopia to them.

Important Links You May Enjoy:

Brave New World: A Masterful Critique of Hippy Dreams and Scientistic Hubris

Brave New World Cartoon

Aldous Huxley Bio

 

 


3 Responses to “Will Society End Up like Aldous Huxley’s Science Fiction Novel?”

  1. eric albronda says:

    When I was 8 years old my Father A PROFESSOR AT
    UCSF Medical School took me to a lecture by Aldus Huxley at the medical school–not knowing who he
    was I did not want to go but did—
    his concluding remarks were genius —
    “maximize your potential” was it and this has
    stuck with me all these years -My father was a
    shrink and so later on many of my friends went to him for letters as they were getting drafted–one of my friends?? spent all of his time with my father telling him what I, eric was doing as far as drugs namely psychedelics—so my father came home one day and said we needed to talk but it was delicate as he was not able to tell me who said these things due to the laws of confidentiality–
    At any rate I was very cocky at the time and told him of Huxley, Leary , Ran Das and Owsley –he started laughing and as it turns out he taught Leary and Alpert ( ram das )at the school as they were residents there in the early sixties–suffice to say my father was very interested in the psyvchedelic experience but did not try acid or other things fearing he might do what some of his friends did and leave their families in search of the free love that was everywhere—–
    Back to Huxley–in his book “island” the first
    words are ” pay attention-pay attention” which as simple as the phrase is it is packed with meaning-
    Also the Doors took their name from Huxley’s
    Doors of Perception which he coined from his experience with psychedelics.
    So Huxley was hugely important in preparing those lucky enough to understand him in what was to come mainly the sixties conscience revolution including music—I am ever so thankful my father made me attend this now famous lecture when I was so young.
    I feel I owe a great deal to this great thinker.
    for the record Aldus came from a family of upper crust British scientist’s and they did not
    appreciate his excursions in mind altering
    substances.
    he was shunned from the scientific community and also British society–
    Thank God for his genius as it swayed a whole generation to become more than they ever could be
    without his ans other great thinkers.
    Huxley is truly the “Man” of my conscience.
    my email for discussion
    eric@finestplanet.com

    • Sent Jumpin' says:

      I’m telling you (even at 8) seeing and hearing the man, must have been an experience. Sheer genius yes, but everything i’ve read he was charming engaging and warm. It must have been daunting to meet him though (especially if you had read ANYTHING by him).

      He can wax genius superbly and loose you in a second…if your not careful. I’m reading DOORS now and plan to pick up Island soon after. Thanks for the “first words”…intriguing. and yours…”Huxley is truly the MAN of my conscience” just perfect.

      I’m so into Huxley lately.

    • Sent Jumpin' says:

      You know i got so into the substance of this email I forgot to say – what a great and relative anecdote to this article. Great story man, thank you!

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