Those in Glass Houses..

The phrase “kids grow up so much faster these days,” has embedded itself into present day society, becoming the driving force behind lobbyists attempting to censor the Internet, mediate literature, television and film, and monitor national curriculum. A push to return to the ‘good ol’ days,’ arose rapidly in light of the affect and actions of children, adolescents and teens in today’s era.

In the dystopic society of “Brave New World,” children are criticized for just the opposite. Society trains their citizens to be infantile, expecting and searching for instant gratification at every turn. There is no struggle, and therefore no understanding of what a struggle is. Humans lack the ability to separate their identity from their predestined caste and from the State. Sex and drugs for leisure are promoted and encouraged, detached from all responsibility. Adults gossip about and taunt Bernard mercilessly, as if they were in middle school. Lenina’s idea of love is a consumable entity, and she has no other way of expressing her feelings other than physically. The novel is inundated with shining examples of the characters inability to act as adults (or as we know they are meant to act today).

However, when investigating their infantilism further, I argue that today’s society is not quite as mature as we would like to claim. While we can read the book and comment on the characters’ callow natures, if we reflect on our own surroundings it’s easy to see that the temperaments of today are, in fact, hardly different.

As we have developed as a culture, sex and drugs have developed into unavoidable institutions. On a daily basis, we encounter innumerable mentions of both, and see sex in every form of media. The only difference in our society is that sex is still tied to procreation, and that drugs are illegal, as opposed to promoted as a form of social control. If our computer does not immediately change pages upon clicking a link, we have a childish temper tantrum and curse the damned machine for not working fast enough.

While humans (majorly) have a moral compass, our decisions are driven by necessity, forcing our hands to go against a larger ethical code. So I pose the question, what good is having moral guidelines if you can’t follow them anyhow? And while we may not be running around quite as far-gone as those in “Brave New World,” are we really as developed as we’d like to consider?

-Siobhan C.

~ by siobhangcoad on January 27, 2012.

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