Brave New World by Huxley and Future Predictions
Due to the “Enlightenment” belief in understanding through science and the scientific innovations of the “Industrial Revolution” during the 18th and 19th Centuries in Europe and America, the notion that society could be vastly improved through scientific progress pervaded “western” culture. Naturally, these advances were expected to culminate in the 20th Century. However, the shear brutality and scale of World War I and the hopelessness of the world economic depression of the 1930’s destroyed prior expectations and new socio-economic and political movements emerged, such as: Social Darwinism, Eugenics, Marxism, Fascism, Nazism, Fordism (which encompasses both mass-production and mass-consumption), etc. In his novel A Brave New World, Alduous Huxley incorporates various negative aspects of these movements into a morbid prediction about the future of industrialized society. Moreover, considering the parallels between some of the aspects of Huxley’s utopian society and those of contemporary, industrialized, consumer society, A Brave New World is frighteningly prophetic.
The starkest parallel between Huxley’s utopia and modern industrialized society is the absence of religion. In the novel, people worshipped Henry Ford as the new God and all traces of prior religions were completely obliterated. Hence, crucifixes were cut into T’s to represent Ford’s model T, “…the Charing-T Tower lifted towards the sky…” (Hux 61). Additionally, Bibles, Korans, and other holy books were banned in Huxley’s utopia and simple colloquialisms involving God were replaced with Ford, “ Thank Ford! He was not the last” (79).
Coincidentally, leaders in many modern industrialized societies have devalued religion in an effort assert total power. In the former U.S.S.R., communist propaganda proudly proclaimed that, “religion was the opiate of the masses” and prohibited it. This proclamation was nothing short of an attempt to assert power over the masses by discrediting one of their historical sources of “moral” guidance and replacing it with a new one: the Communist Party and its leaders. This is very similar to the methods employed by Mustapha Mond in the novel. In chapter 17, Mond reveals why he has prohibited the propagation of religious literature, “…[religious literature]… they’re old; they’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now.” (Hux 231). Thus, Mond is able to assert absolute control over the population, similar to the practices of the former U.S.S.R., by eliminating, alternative sources of guidance, including organized religion.
In contemporary American society, Americans appear to be forsaking religion as well. According to data gathered by the N.S.R.I. (1) and the A.R.I.S. (2), the only religions in America that accounted for more than 0.5% of the total U.S. population in the year 2000 were: Christianity and Judaism. The ladder accounted for 1.3% of the U.S. population, and the...