Happiness In Brave New World Essay

This essay has a total of 736 words and 4 pages.

Happiness In Brave New World


Happiness in Brave New World

When we look to define happiness, many different ideas come to mind. Webster's New
Collegiate Dictionary uses three definitions for happiness: good fortune, a state of well
being and contentment, and a pleasurable satisfaction. In Brave New World, Aldus Huxley
argues that a society can redefine happiness through the government's manipulation of the
environment and the human mind itself. The government accomplishes this by mind
conditioning throughout the process of maturing, keeping a caste-based society, and
obliterating problems. The government thus defines happiness as the absence of all
conflict. This differs from happiness as the American society sees it: the ability to
pursue and enjoy individual desires.

The conditioning of minds allows the government to impress its ideas upon maturing
children. The process used is hypnopadia, or repetition of sayings during sleep. After
many repetitions of one phrase, the idea is hardened within the human mind, proving most
difficult to undo. Evidence of this method to provide artificial happiness surfaces in
both Lenina and Bernard's actions. Huxley states this coldly during Lenina's trip home
with Henry Foster, ''What a hideous color khaki is,' remarked Lenina, voicing the
hypnopadic prejudices of her caste'; (62). Khaki is a color worn by lower castes in the
society and the higher castes are taught not to associate with them. Bernard's hypnopadic
lessons did not work as well as most. He sees everything in this artificially manufactured
society as dismal, and does not act against it by using soma, a drug to induce a safe
hallucination and keep one felicitous. For problems that nature creates, the society of
Brave New World destroys them to keep pestering insects and things of that sort from
infringing on people's happiness.

It is evident that Bernard and Lenina shift their attitudes after they meet the savage,
John. Bernard gets a taste of power after bringing the savage home to London and becomes
satisfied and happy as defined by Brave New World, a complete turnaround from his
previous, almost American ideals. Lenina finds love and joy, as an American would define
it after being content for so many years in the society of Brave New World. Before he
finds the savage, Bernard is unhappy with his surroundings,

'With eyes for the most part downcast and, if ever they lighted on a fellow creature, at
once and furtively averted, Bernard hastened across the roof. He was like a man pursued,
but pursued by enemies he does not wish to see, lest they should seem more hostile even
than he had supposed, and he himself be made to feel guiltier and even more helplessly
alone.'; (63)

However, after he discovers John, he becomes just as artificial as every other conditioned
human: ''And I had six girls last week,' he confided to Helmholtz Watson. 'One on Monday,
two on Tuesday, two more on Friday, and one on Saturday. And if I'd had the time or the
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