Brave New World
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Brave New World (1932) is a dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley. Set in the London of AD 2540 (632 A.F. in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society.
- The World State's motto: COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.
- One egg, one embryo, one adult—normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.
- An explanation of how the Bokanovsky process works
- Bokanovsky's process is one of the major instruments of social stability!
- A reference to the importance that the World State attaches to human cloning.
- "Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!" The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. "You really know where you are. For the first time in history." He quoted the planetary motto. "Community, Identity, Stability." Grand words. "If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved."
- Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC) for Central London
- Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels. Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays. By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold. They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miners and acetate silk spinners and steel workers. Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies. "We condition them to thrive on heat," concluded Mr. Foster. "Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it."
- On Rack 10 rows of next generation's chemical workers were being trained in the toleration of lead, caustic soda, tar, chlorine. The first of a batch of two hundred and fifty embryonic rocket-plane engineers was just passing the eleven hundred metre mark on Rack 3. A special mechanism kept their containers in constant rotation. "To improve their sense of balance," Mr. Foster explained. "Doing repairs on the outside of a rocket in mid-air is a ticklish job. We slacken off the circulation when they're right way up, so that they're half starved, and double the flow of surrogate when they're upside down. They learn to associate topsy-turvydom with well-being; in fact, they're only truly happy when they're standing on their heads.
- "You can't really do any useful intellectual conditioning till the foetuses have lost their tails.
- Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocks - already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.
- At the end of the room a loud speaker projected from the wall. The Director walked up to it and pressed a switch.
"… all wear green," said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, "and Delta Children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."
There was a pause; then the voice began again.
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able …"
The Director pushed back the switch. The voice was silent. Only its thin ghost continued to mutter from beneath the eighty pillows.
"They'll have that repeated forty or fifty times more before they wake; then again on Thursday, and again on Saturday. A hundred and twenty times three times a week for thirty months. After which they go on to a more advanced lesson."
- Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too—all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!
- The Director
- And home was as squalid psychically as physically. Psychically, it was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies, what dangerous, insane, obscene relationships between the members of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children (her children) … brooded over them 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. "My baby, and his mouth. My little baby sleeps …"
"Yes," said Mustapha Mond, nodding his head, "you may well shudder."
- Every one belongs to every one else.
- Government slogan encouraging sociability and sexual promiscuity.
- It's such horribly bad form to go on and on like this with one man.
- Mother, father, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder these poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn't allow them to take things easily, didn't allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with the uncertainties and the poverty–they were forced to feel strongly. And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more, in solitude, in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?
- "Stability," said the Controller, "stability. No civilization without social stability. No social stability without individual stability."
- Refers to mass use of soma to create "stable" citizens who conform to societal norms.
- Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended, There must be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon their axles, sane men, obedient men, stable in contentment.
- Impulse arrested spills over, and the flood is feeling, the flood is passion, the flood is even madness: it depends on the force of the current, the height and strength of the barrier. The unchecked stream flows smoothly down its appointed channels into a calm well-being. (The embryo is hungry; day in, day out, the blood-surrogate pump unceasingly turns its eight hundred revolutions a minute. The decanted infant howls; at once a nurse appears with a bottle of external secretion. Feeling lurks in that interval of time between desire and its consummation. Shorten that interval, break down all those old unnecessary barriers.
- "Fortunate boys!" said the Controller. "No pains have been spared to make your lives emotionally easy - to preserve you, so far as that is possible, from having emotions at all."
"Ford's in his flivver," murmured the D.H.C. "All's well with the world."
- "They say somebody made a mistake when he was still in the bottle–thought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into his blood-surrogate. That's why he's so stunted."
- Rumor as explained by Fanny Crowne as to why Alpha-Plus Bernard Marx looked and acted odd.
- "Sleep teaching was actually prohibited in England. There was something called liberalism. Parliament, if you know what that was, passed a law against it. The records survive. Speeches about liberty of the subject. Liberty to be inefficient and miserable. Freedom to be a round peg in a square hole."
- Mustapha Mond
- One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years, thought Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopædia. Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!
- (CH3)C6H2(NO2)3 + Hg(CNO)2 = well, what? An enormous hole in the ground, a pile of masonry, some bits of flesh and mucus, a foot, with the boot still on it, flying through the air and landing, flop, in the middle of the geraniums–the scarlet ones; such a splendid show that summer!
- I do love having new Clothes.
- A message promoting consumerism.
- "Liberalism, of course, was dead of anthrax, but all the same you couldn't do things by force."
- "Government's an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists."
- Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches.
- A government slogan encouraging people to throw away old possessions and buy new ones, thus theoretically keeping the global economy strong.
- All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.
- About soma
- One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments.
- Slogan encouraging people not to dwell on gloomy thoughts, but to obliterate them with the fictional narcotic, soma.
- A gramme is better than a damn.
- Slogan encouraging use of the fictional narcotic soma.
- "Suffer little children," said the Controller.
- "Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly - they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced."
- Helmholtz Watson
- Everyone works for every one else. We can't do without any one. Even Epsilons are useful. We couldn't do without Epsilons. Every one works for everyone else. We can't do without any one...
- Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?
Skies are blue inside of you
The weather's always fine;
There ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine.
- Lyrics of a popular computer-generated song referring to how babies are artificially gestated.
- Feel how the Greater Being comes!
Rejoice and, in rejoicings, die!
Melt in the music of the drums!
For I am you and you are I.
- Third Solidarity Hymn
- Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at one with girls at peace;
Orgy-porgy gives release.
- "I'd rather be myself. Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly."
- Bernard Marx
- A gramme in time saves nine.
- Slogan encouraging use of soma
- "It makes me feel as though..." he hesitated, searching for words with which to express himself, "as though I were more me, if you see what I mean. More on my own, not so completely a part of something else. Not just a cell in the social body."
- Bernard Marx to Lenina Crowne, about an oncoming storm
- How is it that I can't, or rather—because I know quite well why I can't—what would it be like if I could, if I were free—not enslaved by my conditioning.
- Bernard Marx speaking to Lenina Crowne
- "Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?"
"I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays."
He laughed, "Yes, 'Everybody's happy nowadays.' We begin giving the children that at five. But wouldn't you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else's way."
"I don't know what you mean," she repeated.
- "Never put off till to-morrow the fun you can have to-day."
- "When the individual feels, the community reels," Lenina pronounced.
"Well, why shouldn't it reel a bit?"
- A slogan discouraging individualism in favor of the community as a whole.
- "Adults intellectually and during working hours," he went on. "Infants where feeling and desire are concerned."
"Our Ford loved infants."
Ignoring the interruption. "It suddenly struck me the other day," continued Bernard, "that it might be possible to be an adult all the time."
- "I only said it was lovely here because … well, because progress is lovely, isn't it?"
- Lenina shook her head. "Was and will make me ill," she quoted, "I take a gramme and only am."
- The past and future make me sick but a gram of soma makes it okay.
- Cleanliness is next to fordliness.
- The second hypnopædic lesson in elementary hygiene.
- Civilization is sterilization.
- "O brave new world," he repeated. "O brave new world that has such people in it. Let's start at once."
- John quotes Shakespeare's The Tempest when hearing of the technologies and customs of civilization. A more extensive quotation reads "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't!"
- Hug me till you drug me, honey;
Kiss me till I'm in a coma:
Hug me, honey, snuggly bunny;
Love's as good as soma.
- Lenina Crowne (singing)
- One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies.
- "For those milk paps that through the window bars bore at men's eyes...." The singing, thundering, magical words made her seem doubly dangerous, doubly alluring. Soft, soft, but how piercing! boring and drilling into reason tunneling through resolution. "The strongest oaths are straw to the fire i' the blood. Be more abstemious or else..."
- As Lenina tries to seduce the Savage.
- A doctor a day keeps the jim-jams away. (Related to "an apple a day keeps the doctor away")
- A Hypnopædic message on the necessity of doctoral visits.
- "O thou weed, who are so lovely fair and smell'st so sweet that the sense aches at thee. Was this most goodly book made to write 'whore' upon? Heaven stops the nose at it …"
- Quoting Othello
- And those childish rhymes how magically strange and mysterious!
- "But, Linda!" The Savage spoke imploringly, "Don't you know me?" He had tried so hard, had done his very best; why wouldn't she allow him to forget? He squeezed her limp hand almost with violence, as though he would force her to come back from this dream of ignoble pleasures, from these base and hateful memories -- back into the present, back into reality; the appalling present, the awful reality -- but sublime, but significant, but desperately important precisely because of the imminence of that which made them so fearful. "Don't you know me Linda?"
- Oh, God, God, God..." the Savage kept repeating to himself. In the chaos of grief and remorse that filled his mind it was the one articulate word. "God!" he whispered it aloud. "God..."
- High, low, from a multitude of separate throats, only two voices squeaked or growled. Repeated indefinitely, as though by a train of mirrors, two faces, one a hairless and freckled moon haloed in orange, the other a thin, beaked bird-mask, stubbly with two days' beard, turned angrily towards him. Their words and, in his ribs, the sharp nudging of elbows, broke through his unawareness. He woke once more to external reality, looked round him, knew what he saw–knew it, with a sinking sense of horror and disgust, for the recurrent delirium of his days and nights, the nightmare of swarming indistinguishable sameness. Twins, twins. … Like maggots they had swarmed defilingly over the mystery of Linda's death. Maggots again, but larger, full grown, they now crawled across his grief and his repentance. He halted and, with bewildered and horrified eyes, stared round him at the khaki mob, in the midst of which, overtopping it by a full head, he stood. "How many goodly creatures are there here!" The singing words mocked him derisively. "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world …"
- The Savage stood looking on. "O brave new world, O brave new world …" In his mind the singing words seemed to change their tone. They had mocked him through his misery and remorse, mocked him with how hideous a note of cynical derision! Fiendishly laughing, they had insisted on the low squalor, the nauseous ugliness of the nightmare. Now, suddenly, they trumpeted a call to arms. "O brave new world!" Miranda was proclaiming the possibility of loveliness, the possibility of transforming even the nightmare into something fine and noble. "O brave new world!" It was a challenge, a command.
- "So you don't much like civilization, Mr. Savage,"
- Mustapha Mond
- The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get. They're well off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're not afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they're so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma.(p.220)
- Mustapha Mond, the World Controller of Western Europe
- "One would think he was going to have his throat cut," said the Controller, as the door closed. "Whereas, if he had the smallest sense, he'd understand that his punishment is really a reward. He's being sent to an island. That's to say, he's being sent to a place where he'll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community-life. All the people who aren't satisfied with orthodoxy, who've got independent ideas of their own. Every one, in a word, who's any one. I almost envy you, Mr. Watson."
- The Savage shook his head. "It all seems to me quite horrible."
"Of course it does. Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand."
- Happiness is a hard master–particularly other people's happiness. A much harder master, if one isn't conditioned to accept it unquestioningly, than truth.
- The Controller
- Well, duty's duty. One can't consult one's own preference. I'm interested in truth, I like science. But truth's a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it's been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history. China's was hopelessly insecure by comparison; even the primitive matriarchies weren't steadier than we are. Thanks, I repeat, to science. But we can't allow science to undo its own good work. That's why we so carefully limit the scope of its researches–that's why I almost got sent to an island. We don't allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged.
- The Controller
- It's curious," he went on after a little pause, "to read what people in the time of Our Ford used to write about scientific progress. They seemed to have imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't. And, of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered. Still, in spite of everything, unrestricted scientific research was still permitted. People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years' War. That made them change their tune all right. What's the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? That was when science first began to be controlled–after the Nine Years' War. People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We've gone on controlling ever since. It hasn't been very good for truth, of course. But it's been very good for happiness. One can't have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You're paying for it, Mr. Watson–paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too."
- The Controller
- "You remind me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct..."
- "We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end."
- Mustapha Mond, reading from Cardinal Newman's book
- "My dear young friend," said Mustapha Mond, "civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars], where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended–there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears–that's what soma is."
- "Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn't there something in that?" he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. "Quite apart from God–though of course God would be a reason for it. Isn't there something in living dangerously?"
"There's a great deal in it," the Controller replied. "Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time."
"What?" questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.
"It's one of the conditions of perfect health. That's why we've made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory."
"Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenalin. It's the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences."
"But I like the inconveniences."
"We don't," said the Controller. "We prefer to do things comfortably."
"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."
"In fact," said Mustapha Mond, "you're claiming the right to be unhappy."
"All right then," said the Savage defiantly, "I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."
- "In spite of their sadness- because of it, even; for their sadness was the symptom of their love for one another- the three young men were happy"
- He was digging in his garden–digging, too, in his own mind, laboriously turning up the substance of his thought. Death–and he drove in his spade once, and again, and yet again. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. A convincing thunder rumbled through the words.
- He planted his foot on his spade and stamped it fiercely into the tough ground. As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport. Thunder again; words that proclaimed themselves true–truer somehow than truth itself. And yet that same Gloucester had called them ever-gentle gods. Besides, thy best of rest is sleep and that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st thy death which is no more. No more than sleep. Sleep. Perchance to dream. His spade struck against a stone; he stooped to pick it up. For in that sleep of death, what dreams? …
Quotes about Brave New World
- A dystopia fast becoming more likely than 1984. Also more fun, but creepy. Thought provoking and on college reading lists.
- David Brin "SF Reads", Davidbrin.com.
- Brave New World has come to serve as the false symbol for any regime of universal happiness. For sure, Huxley was writing a satirical piece of fiction, not scientific prophecy. Hence to treat his masterpiece as ill-conceived futurology rather than a work of great literature might seem to miss the point. Yet the knee-jerk response of "It's Brave New World!" to any blueprint for chemically-driven happiness has delayed research into paradise-engineering for all sentient life.
- In the happy days of Queen Victoria men used to write Utopias to suggest the likelihood of even greater happiness in the future. In the unhappy days in which it is our lot to live, Utopias are written in order to make us still more unhappy. Mr. Aldous Huxley, in his Brave New World, has shown his usual masterly skill in producing this result upon the reader, for he has undertaken to make us sad by the contemplation of a world without sadness.
- Bertrand Russell, Review of Brave New World in the New Leader 11th March 1932. Reprinted in Donald Watt, Aldous Huxley, the critical heritage. London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1975.
- ... it is not simply that achievement causes happiness, but happiness may also cause achievement. If this is the case then we have good reason to reject Huxley’s dilemma. If we develop an appropriate technological means to increase average positive affect then we should boost average achievement. In a slogan: to be successful, be happy. So, given this arrow of causality, there is no reason to suppose that bio-happiness would force us to choose between happiness and achievement. Huxley offers us a false dichotomy.
- Online edition of Brave New World
- Brave New World quotes analyzed & teacher guide
- 1957 interview with Huxley on his life work and the meaning of Brave New World
- Aldous Huxley: Bioethics and Reproductive Issues
- Audio review and discussion of Brave New World at The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast
- In Our Time discussion of Brave New World on BBC 4 (9 April 2009)
- Literapedia page for Brave New World