Happiness Guaranteed.

In a society of self-medicating, mass produced biological copies, the philosophical concept of happiness is most definitely challenged. Assuming, for purely argumentative purposes, that all humans could be conditioned through processes such as hypnopaedia to truly believe their lives were enjoyable, would the initially horrifying notion of deliberately creating individuals with lower mental capabilities solely for the purpose of servitude be quite so appalling? A major repugnance factor of this novel arises from the presence of characters, such as Bernard, who could not share the universal feeling of general satisfaction due to an uncommon awareness of his unique situation. If errors resulting in such differences could be completely eliminated and everyone could honestly claim that his life proved satisfying (or at least that he did not desperately desire to be of another class in the social hierarchy), classifying this novel as a dystopia might prove more challenging since the achievement of universal happiness would become a possibility.

Although the concept of happiness and its ultimate significance varies among scholars and across cultures alike, achieving such a state has remained a universal goal. While the society in Brave New World might appear mechanic and lack powerful emotions/ intense relationships, its citizens are, nonetheless, convinced they lead happy, fulfilling lives, which seems to be that for which we all strive as well. The motive behind our every action is to achieve and become convinced of our happiness, and if that becomes a possibility on a larger scale, why should a society of satisfied machines be considered negative or undesirable? While one might argue that interpersonal relationships are important and essential, this line of reasoning would not even become a concern for individuals never exposed to such relationships.

Granted, many aspects of this novel appear unethical, such as the Savage Reservation, but the ability to create a society with distinct social classes in which all of its members ultimately maintain a healthy outlook on their existence should be considered positive. Currently, for instance, the members of the lower class experience numerous challenges and hardships because of their unfortunate circumstances while in Brave New World, the Epsilons were said to not possess the mental capacity to even imagine (and therefore wish) to be treated differently. Although I do understand Huxley’s message/ warning for the future, which as we discussed in class was largely a result of the times in which he lived, I could not help but experience the same feelings of admiration and longing that are present when reading a Utopian story. Think of how easy and wonderful life would be if you were always convinced you were happy (with some soma now and then of course), no matter your status in society. HAPPINESS GUARANTEED.

-Miriah Martin

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~ by miriahgmartin on January 24, 2008.

One Response to “Happiness Guaranteed.”

  1. Hard for me to fathom longing for such a state.

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