I am not going to go through the last chapters of the book this week. The death of Linda, John trying to go all freedom fighter by throwing Soma out the window, the debate with Mustapha and the exile and final end of John at the lighthouse were extremely fun to read. But, I would rather just skip the end and provide a little bit of narrative on my overall impression of Brave New World. To start, I think I went too big. Brave New World is not as much of a Geek book as it is a book on the philosophy of life, which just happens to be based in the future. As I was reading the final chapters, I started to think about recent podcasts I have been listening to in regards to Artificial Intelligence and how the next evolution of the human race could be the creation of advanced A.I. Essentially, building a sentient robot that has the abilities of a human being, yet free of disease, aging, needing nourishment and other flaws of our current form. Reading Mustapha Mond’s thoughts in the final chapters, it seems that he could be speaking of a future about A.I. instead of genetically engineered humans.
I really did enjoy the story of Brave New World and it actually makes me want to go off and spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods reading Shakespeare. I think we are closer to Aldous Huxley’s future than we know and some of the conflicts between the Savage and members of Modern Society can actually be heard out in media today. With the idea that someday we can regenerate our body with stem cells and use 3D printers to create replacement organs, aging is becoming less and less of an issue. There are drugs, pharmaceutical and “recreational,” which can help us escape our troubles of the mind and “take the edge off.” The expansion of social media into our lives combined with wearable technology are forcing us into a world where we won’t be alone again. People elect to have surgeries to change their appearances, allowing anyone who can afford it to be whoever they want.
Brave New World is a fascinating read in the 21st century because we can see the birth of Aldous Huxley’s fiction becoming a possible reality. The question is, if we are being led to a world of predetermined caste systems with tailored lives, will we accept it or fight to keep our individuality. Will the horrors we face and see on TV be enough to convince us to submit, just like the horrors of the Nine Year War convinced those in Ford’s World? Maybe it will be another world war, maybe a nuclear battle between fragile countries, maybe a major terror attack involving chemical and biological weapons. Who says there won’t be a point where the human race has had enough and strive to whittle out the factions and create one ascendant society? One that would have no need for war or oppression or supremacy over others. Yet, every time I hear people discuss this idea of the human race moving more towards an existence lacking singularity, the common response is that we need the distinctiveness and peculiarity in order to truly appreciate our life. Sadness allows us to appreciate happiness that much more. Pain allows us to embrace comfort with more joy. Want makes fulfillment that much sweeter. However we spend most of our life to avoid sadness, deflect pain and reduce want. But that is an individual journey and the individual existence is defined by our ability to travel through those challenges.
The question then comes, why is it an individual task. If we take the stance of the greater good for the entire human race, then the view should not be how we travel through our life but rather how our journey helps to advance our species. And what if quelling the individual wants and needs for the good of the masses could mean that centuries from now, we have our own Brave New World. One where our individuality no longer exists in order to create and produce a utopia for….and that’s where I get stuck. For who? The animals. The aliens. The humans who don’t have any real goals and dreams because they are all met? If it is not for the “me” then who? Especially if future generations are predetermined just cogs in a wheel?
See, this is just way too much for me to contemplate, especially on a work day. J In the end, I think Aldous Huxley’s book will be a pivotal piece of literature as our species advances more and more into the ability to manipulate not only our experiences through technology but our mortality as well. In the Brave New World, the Savage could not exist. He was driven mad and kills himself. As we advance the human race we may be slowly creating our own “savages” every day. Those who are not keeping up with the evolution of our species through tech. Some will escape to a reservation, some will not be suitable and be exiled to an island but most will assimilate and help the advancement of humans. Many say that we are creating Artificial Intelligence because we are inherently trying to evolve as a process of existence and AI will be our next evolutionary jump. They theorize that it is unstoppable and someday we will create the next species which will eventually mean the end of humans as we know it. Some believe that we are actually A.I. stuck in human form, unaware of our true existence and the advancement of tech is similar to the caterpillar, who doesn’t know the cocoon it is building will force them to evolve into a butterfly. If any of that is true, let’s hope we teach them the beauty of Shakespeare, the importance of passion and the need for the individual.
Until then, let’s go and have some fun because THAT should be the true goal in life
Next month I am going to try to review a book a week. To help, I will be picking shorter books, either published work or fan fiction, so I have more time to delve into the content and hopefully be able to do more than just give a review of the story but maybe find some fun tie in with other things in geek culture or even real life.
So there we have it everyone. Another eventful Bookworm Tuesday. What do you think? What am I missing, what do you agree with, how crazy do I sound? Remember, I am just a meager traveler on my way back to Geekdom. All help and guidance is appreciated, so please, leave comments below, and if you haven’t, subscribe to this blog and go to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oxentrot and like that page too.
I will be posting the readings for next month later this week. Again, we will be looking at short stories, either published or fan fiction. If you have any suggestions of what next month’s readings should be for Bookworm Tuesday, please leave them in the comments.