City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: BNW, chapters 1-5

The squat grey building

“Can’t you see? Can’t you see?… Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!” (page 7) This is what the Director claims as he takes a group of young students through the hatching and conditioning center. During this tour, the D.H.C explains some of the values that society has embodied in this story. One is conformity through the Bokanovsky’s Process, one single embryo can hatch 96 identical twins, with some exceptions being in the tens of thousands. Embryos are placed in caste systems before they are even “born”, ranging from Alpha to Epsilon, everyone has a place. It is known as Identity, because in this society, ‘you really know where you are.’ You were made to a job that is fitting to your size, in this case, your caste. It’s influence even determines what color you wear as a member of your caste.

When we’re introduced to some of the characters in the story like Lenina, Bernard and Henry, it becomes clear that wearing uniform clothing and performing a specific job doesn’t make everyone a drone. Lenina is conflicted with her feelings about Henry Foster and how that reflects upon the society’s views on relationships that last for a significant amount of time. Here, sex is as casual as taking a walk in a park. They believed that monogamy and marriage were restrictions on which human nature will instinctively break. Lenina feels differently because she has only been with Henry Foster for the past four months. She believes in monogamous relationships, but she buries this passion by conforming to the hypnopaedic saying, “Everyone belong to everyone else”. Bernard is also another character in conflict (man vs society), for he seems more aware of his individuality than most. He doesn’t agree with the societal norm of sex, although he wishes he can get women as easily as his colleague Hemholtz. He doesn’t take the soma that everyone has in their pockets like mints. He is aware of the effects of hypnopaedic training (being a specialist in the field) and even is displeased at hearing other people repeat those sayings. He knows he doesn’t fit in and now wonders where he would, as does Hemholtz. “What the two men shared was the knowledge that they were individuals” (pg 67)

 

 

 

Manipulating Society through Processes of Cloning and Drugs

As I’ve read through the first five chapters of Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, there have been multiple instances as to how society is being managed by the higher-ups of their Caste system.  As mentioned in the first chapter, the Caste system is made up of the following: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon.  Alpha being the top rank of their hierarchical system, which includes the intelligent and ideal people.  Whereas Epsilon is the lowest of the Caste system, which includes the working people and the least intelligent.

The Director of the centre of a facility, leads a group of students to show them how things operate within the facility.  The students are exposed to various methods of cloning buds such as the Bokanovsky’s Process.  This process allows one fertilized egg to produce from 8 to 96 buds, all that will eventually become identical human beings.  The facility aims that after the buds go through all the processes, they are grown to like their position within the Caste system.

The way how the facility manages the social condition within their society, was exposed when the director showed his students a method called the, “Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning.” This is when nurses take a group of babies, and expose them to books and flowers.  Then they add a series of violent explosions, alarm bells, shrieking sirens, and to top it all off, an electric shock.  The D.H.C explains to the students, that this method will cause the babies to develop a hate for books and nature.

Mustapha Mond, is one of the ten world controllers.  He seems to have an understanding of the New world (A.F), and the old world (B.F.).  Mond mentioned a world that was filled with social chaos and that people were killing each other during the Nine Years’ War.  So there was a need for world control because there was so much destruction.  Mustapha also introduced us with the drug called soma, which is some form of hallucinogenic that will end the worries in the world and provide “stablility” to the society.  I suppose stability is necessary for a society such as theirs, given that there are some individuals such as Bernard, who seems to dislike being an Alpha and the drug soma.

Later on we are introduced to someone similar to Bernard who seems to dislike being an Alpha as well.  Bernard mentions that he feels like an outsider because his height is below the standards of a regular Alpha.  Due to this reason he is unable to fit in with others of his rank, and other Alphas seem to treat him differently.  The other person is named Helmholtz Watson, which appears to be the exact opposite of Bernard due to his more than adequate height and his ability to get women.  Helmholtz feels like an outsider because he claims he has “too much ability.”  As a result Bernard and Helmholtz realized that they shared a similar feeling such as being isolated from their society.

Apparently within this society, it is common for people to engage in sexual activities while under the influence of soma.  When Lenina and Henry were at their date, soma was served to them during the evening.  The soma played a role as to manipulate people’s feelings towards each other, meaning that they were not true.  Bernard on the other hand, decides not to take the soma and ends up being more isolated from society than ever before.

Overall, the first five chapters of the novel were very interesting considering how society is divided through a Caste system and people are manipulated through processes of human growth, yet there are others who are not satisfied with their lives.  A case in point would be Bernard who seems to rebel in an unconventional way from the norms of his society and doesn’t seem to like soma at all.  Social stability seems to be the key factor within this New World, without it they will return to destruction.

Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning, is it really that unordinary?

The first five chapters of Brave New World introduces the nature of this strange and cruel future. Both physically and mentally conditioning people from conception at the Incubation Centers to death at the Crematoriums conditioning plants (p.76), it paints a very bleak image of attaining a perfect society; society is perfect when everything is neatly outlined, preordained, and can be repeated ad infinitum, so long as you have the necessary resources/labour to do so…just like a factory.

Which brings me to my main point, do you think that this conditioning is really that strange? Hyperbole, most definitely, but to think that this sort of thing doesn’t even happen in our own society would be a lie to oneself. Sure we don’t “deprive embryos of oxygen” (p. 24), but commercialization in Western society is definitely conditioning people to believe they like the things they like.

“’And that,’ put in the Director sententiously, ‘that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.’” (p.26)

So long as the person is happy, what harm is there in influencing a person’s decisions in life…is probably what big businesses use to comfort themselves when they make their advertisements to get people to buy their products.

“’We condition the masses to hate the country,’ concluded the Director. ‘But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus. So hat they consume manufactured articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks.’” (p.31)

[INSERT SPORT HERE] is exactly what I think of when I see this quote. People who are obsessed with football/baseball/basketball/soccer/hockey buy their favourite team’s jersey, caps, the sports equipment to try it themselves, and other team memorabilia. Even more, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest holiday for commercialism, where most people who attend the broadcast are not there to watch their teams compete but are instead openly admitting that they are watching advertisements out of enjoyment.

Need more examples of the influence marketing has on people? Think about gangster rap music and how it influences minorities to be criminals. Think about product placement that is on television and movies, how it makes people want to look like that and thus have a need to buy it. Think about the mindless consumer who has brand loyalty, whether it’s for iPhone or Android, Playstation or Xbox, Mac or PC. Think about the colour preference in your own caste and how it makes you feel better when you’re part of your own group rather than in the other…oh wait, that’s from the book (p.35)

“Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest of granite…” (p. 36) and so too do the tiny blips of subliminal ideas play a role in shaping a person’s tastes and preferences in our own modern world; drilling their way into one’s subconscious till it becomes not one’s opinion, but fact.

Government and morality prevent the extremity from actually happening, but if corporations were fully in control of society, Ford’s T-Model would surely be a virtue in our gospels today…

A weird new world

The first few chapters of “A Brave New World” You learn what a very peculiar world these people truly live in. You start off learning about basically their cloning process human reproduction is now done in labs, more so human beings are created for particular purposes, and their intelligence reflects that purpose. The “Caste” system basically fits each level of human from the smartest, down to the most unintelligent. The most interesting thing about that is, the fact that during their growth process these subjects are actually altered to either give them the best possible chance at intelligence or dumbed down so their intelligence is non existent. Each baby programmed to like or dislike specific things, and to enjoy doing what they are casted to do. This new world has a lower caste called the “Epsilons” who lack the ability to read or write because of they were deprived of oxygen, and have the most alcohol in their blood surrogate. They do the worst jobs that no one wants to do in this world for example an elevator attendant. Then you have the highest the “Alphas” who maintain the highest level jobs in the world, for example working the labs the others are created in. The character Lenina who is a Beta seems to be going against the system slightly. It feels like she’s going to be the one of the few who exposes what great terror this system truly poses on this world.

Things I Had Learned So Far in “A Brave New World” (Chapters 1-5)

After reading the chapters 1 through 5, this story is actually getting interesting. When I started reading the book, it felt like that this story is about life. It looked like the story is saying that no matter what happens when things go good or bad, it’s just how life is. For example, the story tells us about how some students can’t read or write. They showed us a certain part with a small boy, whose name is Tommy, and a person had told him about which is the longest river in Africa in a softly voice. Until the next day, someone had asked Tommy “Which is the longest river in Africa?” (page 33) At first, Tommy didn’t know what the was and the person who asked him that question tried to give him a hint by saying to him “But don’t you remember something that begins: The Nile is the….”(page 33) And then Tommy started saying very slowly “The – Nile – is – the – longest – river – in – Africa – and – the – second – in – length – of – all – the – rivers – of – the – globe…..” (page 33-34). After that, the person asked him again what it longest river was, and this time he started crying while saying I don’t know! From the looks of things, that is a sign of a kid getting dyslexia, and if your child is born that way, then that’s how life is.

Another example is when the story tells us about family members like mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. But there’s of course husbands, wives and lovers. The story describes them of how they say that they love each other so much. For example, they talk about how the mother treats her baby by saying “My love, my one and only, precious, precious….” (page 47) The way how she says it, she would be saying with the passion and her emphasis. But the one thing how the story really describes the mother and the baby is when they quote “Manically, the mother brooded over her children like a cat over its kittens; but a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, ‘My baby, my baby,’ over and over again.”        (page 43) This goes to show that in life, when in parenthood life, a mother’s gotta do what a mother’s gotta do for her children.

Community, Identity, Stability: The Crude Lie of a Society Controlled by World Controllers

After reading several chapters of Brave New World, I became fascinated of the exquisite and imaginative way Aldous Huxley describes this futuristic society in which a State controls the behaviors of the people in order to assure a society that lives in equilibrium. In the first chapters of the novel we can observe how the human fertilization has become a process that is controlled by the use of technology to maintain a stable society. The novels opens by introducing the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre which is the major setting in which the novel is developed. Here Huxley begins with a detailed description of the interior of the building which he describes as “wintriness” with an illumination that is “frozen, dead, a ghost” (pg. 15). By describing the coldness and lifelessness of the room, the writer makes us imply the dark and merciless processes and events that would take place throughout the novel. In addition, several character are also introduced in the novel and this are the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning who is giving several students a tour through the installations of the Centre whose purpose is the creation of human beings that are capable to condition to a certain environment and adapt to their specific role in this society. The Director tells the students that the process of fertilization and grow of the embryo in the mother’s womb has been long forgotten and now is being completed by using engineering machinery such as incubators, test-tubes and the final product placed in tubes to its delivery. The Director reveals that the fertilization process “undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months’ salary” (pg. 17). These quote reveals that the technological creation of an individual seems to occurs naturally and it is well seen and approved by the society at this time that even offers a sustainable amount of money.

Furthermore in the reading, we observe that this society is divided into five castes and the people within each caste are conditioned to play a particular role in society and adapt to the environment that, depending on the caste, they are designated to live. The caste is formed by the Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons and all of them are controlled by a supreme state leaded by Mustapha Mond, the State Controller of this society. The Alpha people are recognized by their grey clothing and as it is stated in the novel they “work harder because they are so frightfully clever” (pg. 35). In the Hatchery Centre, the children that belong to the Alpha society are created and conditioned to become civilized human beings and are given an excessive intelligence that will give them the power to become “future World controllers”(pg. 23). There is also the Betas who wear red clothing and possess some sort of intelligence but they work lesser than the Alpha society. Another caste in this society are the Gammas who wear green and Deltas who wear khaki and they are seen by the higher classes as less valuable and “stupid”. Finally there are the lower caste in the society which are the Epsilons, who were black, and this caste is humiliated and hatred by the rest of the society since they are purposely created to be the working class such as “sewage workers”(pg. 35). They are adapted to lack any intelligence since it is unnecessary for them as they are only workers. In addition, we also can observe that Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons undergo the Bokanovsky’s process in which the egg after being fertilized receives a shock that would divide and posteriorly create eighty six identical individuals. The state controllers utilize this process to create a society that lacks human diversity so the people can produce the same tasks using identical machinery and perform their jobs at the same rate. The controllers describe the Bokanovsky’s process as “one of the major instruments of social stability” (pg. 18) and they use the logo “Community, Identity, Stability” to justify the barbaric acts they commit against humanity. Through this quotes we notice that a powerful state controls the human behaviors and actions since a child’s moment of birth until the moment of death of the adult. They believe that this exertion of power over the individual brings a stable and pacific community in which every individual has been genetically created to perform his/her role in society and acclimate them to a specific environment that would not cause an imbalance to the society.

Brave New post.. I mean world

Hey all this week we read chapter 1 through 5 of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  We are introduced to a setting in London in the year is AF 632. The first few chapters primarily introduce us to the the premise of the story. Humans are now cloned and conditioned in the masses in order to create a sense of stability in the world. Humans now lack originality and are thrown divided into a new caste system in order to meet the planetary motto “Community, identity, stability”(pg18). The story has its hook on me when I see characters like Bernard Marx and Hemholtz Waltz.

In BNW the proccess of cloning was made so that each individual resembles the ideal version of themselves for the caste system. Bernard falls into the class of Alpha Plus, one of the highest tier classes, yet he is an outsider. We start to learn about his unique traits when fanny says “He is so ugly… So small…Somebody made a mistake when he was in the bottle… that’s why he’s so stunted” (pg51). Bernard now suffers from physical differences forcing him to be different and want to be isolated. In a world where everyone was constructed perfect and ideal he is now considered to be something of a mistake. What also makes this more challenging for Bernard is that he wishes to be perfect like his colleagues.  We see this in “To have dealings with members of the lower caste system was always, for Bernard, a most distressing experience…  How bitterly he envied men like Henry Foster and Benito Hoover! Men who never had to shout at an Epsilon to get an order obeyed; men who took their position for granted; men who moved through the caste system as a fish through water”(pg 69). Here we see that perfection is not about being an ideal human but falling in line. If Benito could be the same as everyone in the Alpha plus class he would be happy, if he was just like the Gammas or Epsilon he would still be happy, but he is an outsider and in someways he feels less than all of the classes.

When we meet Helmholtz Watson an Alpha plus, we learn that he is extremely attractive and has had many sexual partners. Helmholtz has a physical difference that’s described as  ” A mental excess had produced in Helmholtz Watson effects very similar to those which, in Bernard Marx were physical defect…. That which made Helmholtz so uncomfortably aware of being himself and all alone was too much ability. What the two men shared was knowledge that they were individuals” (pg71). Its interesting seeing these two men relate because they are both on the opposite ends of the spectrum when you ask, What is perfection? Bernard lies on the ugly non perfect side causing him to feel isolated and angry. While Helmholtz seems to be too perfect making him feel isolated and unsatisfied with those around him.

Both men are now feeling suffering due to their uniqueness. It seems that in this society in order to be happy one must lose there individuality. We now see perfection falls in line with how much the individual relates to those around him. We can see similarity’s in our society with popularity, following trends, styles, mannerisms and physical characteristics can make you more popular. Of course we can now see the risk that being identical to everyone causes us risk losing who we are. Men like Bernard and Helmholtz are stuck hateing yet desiring true perfection.

 

Artificial Assembly Required

In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley we see a world that is manipulated by Humanity to the point where it loses it’s it meaning. People are no longer born one or four at a time thought natural means instated they are made in batches of 96 via “Bokanovsky’s Process” (17). This process is done in the “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center” as well as other center thought out the world (20) through an assembly line 220 meters long, 200 meters wide and ten meter high in 3 tiers (22). This is where the next generations of humanity was made, with all the designed flaws and advantages that the world needed. 2136 meters of synthetic human beings that are put through tests, probing, augmentation, determined what they will be before given an opportunity to choose (24-25). Due to these alterations the world is placed into a cast system that is based on the designed human beings. Those who were chosen for the life of higher function live in the cities above the ground and fly above the rest while those who are made to serve have no metal ability other than the bases for understanding orders. The different lobs that are needed to be done where “assigned” here, the cells ae treated in different ways to teach them to love or hate something, such as heat vs cold, upside down in the air vs on the ground, or the intellectuals. Humans have become supply and demand, a set of ratios between sets of types, model types, livestock made for use, conditioned to love what they are and their lives (35). Even at later stages the infants and children are conditioned to love or hate something, such as books and flowers for the deltas (29-31) with the use of electric shocks and loud sounds. This was done before in labs in the USA with children who loved animals and then they were thought how to fear or hate going near them with the use of loud sounds the “Little Albert experiment”. They basically ruined the life of a person by making him fear and avoid animals for all his life thanks to a short period of doing the experiment, for science. It is the same here, teach people to avoid something that could bring them happiness in order to have them do more productive things and be better consumers (32-33).

This society is advanced, they use methods that currently exist but are not used due to cost and moral standing. So is that all that holds progress back? Morals, a sense that nature is better than the artificial, and no need to go forward. In a way you can say that this people made in the assembly line are clones, they are all identical and are made to work together to avoid conflict particularly in the lower caste (18). This would keep everything uniform and flowing at the same speed, all the works are the same they have the same thinking, walking, talking, needs, wants, and physically cannot work faster or better then each other. However the Alphas are different, they too are nearly the same but have more freedom in their minds, they can think, apply, test, experiment and question (18).

This world also has Ford as religious figure and their leaders are called ford as well, they have the letter T as his symbol due to the Ford model T automobile, the first car to be made via assembly line and their years are After Ford (33). They also use Ford as current society says “oh,God,God” and later it is seen that in groups of 12 the alphas take soma and then see ford in a ceremony of sort that is made to bring them together under one thing. For this worlds moto is “Community, Identity, and Stability” and “everyone belongs to everyone else”. They have done away with not only with the standard method of birth but of family as well and monogamy (45-46).

However it seems that at least two individuals in this world seem to fall out of the norm, one is weaker then he should be but he is mind is free, the other also has a better mind but without the draw backs of the first (71). The tow in question are Helmholtz and Bernard Marx. Bernard is an odd person who hates himself and others around him due to what he lack in comparison to himself (41,51,52), he also hated the way they though. How they talked about girls like they were meats to be tested and then told about, and how it was all from the hypnopedia that they received from their time in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center as we saw before with the group of betas. Helmholtz is an odd one because he seems physical able to fit in with others but his mind is to sharp and seeks to do other things with it, we wishes for a greater purpose (72-73)

Overall the society is made for stability, control, order, and no real advancement past this point. They do not seek to make things better, perhaps to make more people in larger batches in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center but we have yet to see any sort of r and d department that makes new things. The people are all designed to love what they do and not ask questions about advancement or different work. The world is split in sections of control with one person in charge of each one (40). They all live and work based on a schedule but some do get free time as Bernard wanted to go to a different place with Lenina so there must be some time available for trips like this one. Overall this is can be seen as a utopia or as a dystopia based on what you value or look at it. On the one hand it is orderly and in control with a few loose ends or a totalitarian regime that the people are forced into from before birth.

Stability in a New World

To begin, the thing which stood out the most about the first few chapters of Brave New World was the theme of maintaining a stable society, and the practices used to uphold this new way of living.  The story begins with a detail tour of the Conditioning center, which is located a shielded, grey building.  We then learn of the eccentric use of science and how people are made. An example of the method used to create people is located on page 17, which explains the process taken into artificial fertilization. In a lab embryos are raised in incubators, as opposed to the mother’s womb. From there I  predicted this story revolved around a controlled society, where individuality is deemed obsolete.  We then learn after birth each person futures were predetermined based on their predicted potential. For example, the text reads ” We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, As Alpha or Epsilons, as future sewage works or future World Controllers. (page 23)” There the theme of maintaining a stable society, on addition to my theory of a controlled society come to light.

Moving forward,

The tour continues to the Infant Nursery, there we learn about the conditioning used to control destinies and discover the use of uniformity.  Beginning with Uniformity, we learned that each person is give an assign group; starting with Alpha as the elite of all, following is Beta, Gamma, Delta and the shunned upon Epsilon. From there each group is given a color to represent their rank (see pg. 35):

Alpha – Grey

Beta – Red

Gamma – Green

Delta – Khaki

Epsilon – Black

Because of this system, each rank frequently mock one another with the feeling of dominance.

Before rank bantering, the tour continued a set of eight month old  Delta babies are given a series of conditioning test with the use of flowers and books. During these test the Delta babies are tortured as a means of conditioning to their rank of Delta. As mentioned in the text, “They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an instinctive’ hatred of books and botany all their lives. (pg. 30)” Another example of controlling the minds of the society in a conformist society. The idea of these procedures were to create the perfect worker for a perfect society. As cited, “A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate among the lower class; to abolish the love of nature, but not the tendency to consume transport. (pg. 31)” As previously mentioned, the notion of this concept is to control the working class, molding them into work-first individuals, maintaining the operations of the perfect society.

Further into my readings, I learn there is actually individualism. Therefore, my assumption of the people not having an identity of their own is questioned. Come chapter 3 we learn this society is more open with sexuality, as well as the old world of thinking is extinct. Prime example, around page 57-59, a rant goes on about the old world way of life including; monuments, religion and war. It can be assumed this new world is more civil and focused on improving their society, rather than being solely focused on supremacy.

 

Wiping Away “Sound and Fury”

Having read a few chapters, it is a near sophomoric task to attempt to unravel Aldous Huxley’s rich novel Brave New World. As characters and settings are fleshed out, preceding events are brought to our attention through exposition. War has made it convenient for history to be forgotten, for important lessons to be replaced by dangerous platitudes. Huxley illustrates how in the wrong hands, words can mold minds, limit meaningful articulation, and stifle individuality.

The first page has the Director introducing us to the Fertilizing Room. As Huxley describes it, a sterile room filled with “scarcely breathing silence, the absent-minded, soliloquizing hum or whistle, of absorbed concentration.” (15) Here a soliloquy, a monologue expressed by an individual, is turned into an action performed by the room of workers. With one word, we may infer that Huxley is presenting the whole room as one mind. As the tour progresses, the Director enumerates the various means by which humans are conditioned. Bernard Marx remarks on the conditioning of his peers, “Sixty two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!” (53) Repeatedly characters absent mindedly echo the “truths” whispered in their ears, “the hypnopaedic prejudices of (his or) her caste.” (67) In triumph, the Director proclaims to the students the malicious intent of their hypnopaedia, “Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind… But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” (36)

From the hypocrisy of Mustapha Mond, we see that words retain power. He celebrates his predecessors’ triumphs of erasing history, “…Gotama and Jesus? Whisk…” (41) Yet he wittingly quotes the Bible, “Suffer little children.” (62) In few words, he expresses a great deal, and betrays to us knowledge of “old forbidden books.” (41) On the other hand, despite being praised for his mastery of language, Helmholtz Watson struggles to meaningfully express himself. He is seemingly has a knack for coming up with contagious rhymes and platitudes, what he truly desires however is the ability to say something of worth.

I may be grasping at straws here, humor me. It is either an idiosyncrasy, or perhaps an allusion to Shakespeare, the Director pronounces the word “To-morrow” in a peculiar way on page 16. This paired with Huxley’s use of the word soliloquy on the same page, Helmholtz inability to express himself and mention of Shakespeare on pages 41 and 57 remind me of Macbeth’s famous soliloquy. ”Sound and fury” have been taken away from the people, leaving them pacing the “stage” silently, obediently.

— To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)