Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

I caught this one on CD at the library. It is a great work and
should be required reading in high school. If you haven't read it,
here's my synopsis:

Aldous Huxley wrote this book in 1932. It set mostly in London about
500 years from now. In this future, the world state keeps everyone
under control through pervasive hedonism (pleasure as an end goal).
The drug Soma keeps most people in a bliss. Monogomy and chastity are
perverse, promescuity is virtuous ("everybody belongs to everybody
else"). Babies are grown in bottles in massive government
"hatcherys". A strict caste system is build in at every level, even
via chemicals in the artificial wombs. Chidren are taught by
hypnosis during thier sleep. Society is like a worldwide factory,
churning out blissful consumers. In fact, it is all founded on the
assembly line and other philosophies from Henry Ford (Fordism was
actually a big deal for the soviets and others People say "oh ford", instead
of "oh lord", make the sign of the T (model T) instead of the cross...

The main characters from London, Bernard and Lenina are misfits
(Bernard does not want to be perpetually blissful, Lenina seems bent
towards monogomy) and end up visiting a "Savage Reservation" (walled
off area for non-civilized areas). There they meet John, who they
bring back to London and show off as the "Savage". From there things
go pear shaped...

I loved this book and will definately read it again. I think
Huxley's insight is astounding. Many of his predictions have come
true in some fashion, though in twisted ways. We don't have Soma,
but people _are_ conditioned to think if they are unhappy, that that
is unnatural and to always aim for satiation, chemical or otherwise.
Society _does_ grow consumers, but instead of a world state enforcing
it, we have pervasive advertising.

Now I am planning on catching "1984" and "Fahrenheit 451", the other
two "great" dystopian novels.

Sarah, didn't you read Brave New World recently?

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