English author Aldous Huxley published the “Brave New World” in 1932. The excerpt we read in class is a conversation between the savage, the controller, and a few other smaller characters. The controller is conducting a trial for the savage. When the savage finds a book written by Othello and asks the controller if he has ever read it. He says yes, he has but no one else in the society has. The future society is made to eliminate human misery. While eliminating misery it has also gotten rid of anything old which is the reason why no one else in the society has read Othello. The Controller only wants beautiful and new things for his people. Now if people do feel sad or angry all they must do is take a pill called Soma to go into a peaceful bliss. The Savage wants the Controller to admit that life is better with “inconveniences” because they make life real and significant. The excerpt ends with the Savage claiming all of life’s “inconveniences.” This is extremely important because it shows that even those in charge of something do not believe in it whole heartedly sometimes.
Michel Foucault was born in 1926 in England. Foucault’s concepts focus on if society is ok with what is going on then it is allowed overall. With that perspective he would have a very intriguing outlook on this excerpt. Something interesting that Huxley did is that he did not include any regular citizens of the society in his story. Therefore, Foucault would assume that society is not ok with being happy all the time. They take Soma anytime they feel any sort of feeling other than happiness now that is not a properly working society. Foucault would have a huge problem with the idea that the Controller doesn’t even fully believe in the rules that he is making because he says that since he makes the rules he is allowed break them. Additionally, the Controller states, “We prefer to do things comfortably.” Again, though he uses the word ‘we’ but does not have any references to back it up. Foucault would break this story down to shambles and destroy the message at hand. Lastly since Foucault was born and raised in England and the Brave New World is set to take place in England he would have an issue with how society is not ok with the ideals set in the book.
Sean, I appreciate your opinion on how Levinas would respond to the Brave New World, but I must disagree. Levinas would almost have nothing to say on a Brave New World because no one is upset or are affected by one another. Even if they are they just have to take Soma and they will feel better. Therefore, whatever someone has done won’t affect another person.
Huxley, Aldous. “Brave New World.” The Moral of the Story, Harper and Brother Publishing, 1931