Now more than ever: Aldous Huxley’s enduring “masterpiece … one of the prophetic dystopian works of the 20th century” (Wall Street Journal) should be read and understood by anyone concerned with preserving the human spirit in the face of our “brave new world”
Aldous Huxley’s profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order–all at the price of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. “A genius [who] who spent his life decrying the onward march of the Machine” (The New Yorker), Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: equally an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization. Brave New World, his masterpiece, has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into day after today and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism right through the 1930s, Brave New World likewise speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.
“Aldous Huxley is the greatest 20th century author in English.” —Chicago Tribune
“Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the preferred form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there’s no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take with no consideration today–let’s hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted are not yet to come.