Response Assignment # 7

* Note: for those of you who have already missed two or more blog response assignments, be aware that these online responses are worth 30% of your final grade and can very quickly pull down your entire average in this class. If, at any point, you miss more than three, you will need to meet with me.

Reading Due (to be discussed in class):

  • Selections from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (online):

Chapter 2 / Chapter 5 / Chapter 7 / Chapter 9 / Chapter 11

Chapter 10 is optional (very short – but would help flow from 9 to 11)brave_new_world.jpg

Discuss some of the similarities and dissimilarities between Frankenstein and Brave New World. DO NOT simply compare each and summarize the two – ANALYZE and DISCUSS the two in relationship to each other (talk about WHY you think the two texts might be similar or different and what the texts might be trying to do, suggest, or imply). Use examples and/or quotes from the text to illustrate your points!

Some topics/ideas you might think and write about are:

1) the creation of a “being” versus the conditioning of a being – what’s the difference, in terms of the impact each has on the “being” itself and/or the society in which such a being is being created or “conditioned”?

2) What were the goals of each creator/controller (Dr. Frankenstein’s goals versus Mustapha Mond (the World Controller in Brave New World) in their attempts to create another being versus condition other beings? Make sure you reference the text.

3) How did these concepts (of creation and conditioning) forsee any of what is happening in digital media technology today? MAKE SURE YOU REFERENCE BOTH TEXTS.

4) Compare what each text implies or suggests about human “feelings” and independent thinking. Do you think it is important to either feel or think independently in either of these two texts? Why or why not?

5) In Frankenstein, everyone is miserable; in Brave New World, supposedly, “everybody’s happy.” What does “happy” mean in Brave New World? Is it really an emotion? And how does that experience of happiness in Brave New World compare to the misery both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel?

6) In Frankenstein, the “monster” is feared and hated because he’s not at all human-like. Conversely, in Brave New World, it is “John the Savage” (and all from whence he came) that are feared and hated because they are TOO human. What do you make of this radical narrative difference? And which, in your opinion, more closely resembles our current societal fears and perceptions (and why, do you think?)?


20 responses to “Response Assignment # 7

  1. 5) In Frankenstein, everyone is miserable; in Brave New World, supposedly, “everybody’s happy.” What does “happy” mean in Brave New World? Is it really an emotion? And how does that experience of happiness in Brave New World compare to the misery both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel?
    I think the ‘happy’ that the people in Brave New World are feeling isn’t so much of a happy as it is a pride. It seems hard to believe that a society that for the first 15 years or so of their lives are forced fed emotions, opinions and beliefs (literally) during their sleep would be able to decided on their won what think is something to be happy about. During the second chapter when lenina remembers the voices from her dreams:

    Lenina suddenly remembered an occasion when, as a little girl at school, she had woken up in the middle of the night and become aware, for the first time, of the whispering that had haunted all her sleeps.

    It seems like she isn’t really happy about what she learned. It seems to me that the only thing these people are actually happy about is not being in a class other than their own, which doesn’t seem like much to be happy about. It reminds me of what a beehive would be like if it could talk. With the drones and the care takers and the queen. Everyone seems fine with their position and their job and never questions their duty.

    As far as how the happiness and misery relate, unfortunately I don’t see much of a connection which could easily mean all my other info is wrong but I would say it’s similar because it’s an emotion masking fear? I’m not really sure.

  2. The first part of Brave New World that we read is the conditioning of babies to hate flowers. As shocking as this passage first appears, it is clear that this is seen as normal and even crucial thing in this world. The conditioning that experienced in this book is the way the world is organized. It is one in which almost every response, impulse, and desire is pre-determined.

    “They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned.”

    In this, they seek to program this group into the best form for stimulating the economy. However, the majority of the people in the society will never know that this is the reason. The “religion” of this culture is that of the assembly line, as evidenced by their making Ford a deity.
    “The more stitches, the less riches.” is another example of using conditioning to keep the factories in motion.

    The goals of Dr. Frankenstein are not to condition humans to follow a way of life, but rather to create that very life. Instead of drawing a parallel between the monster and John the Savage, I am going to compare him to Bernard. John, until he was brought into the Model T world, seemed to have found his place. He was not “created” in the Frankenstein sense of the term. Rather, he was taken from his own world into one which he did not belong. Bernard, however, is seen as a failed product of the society, not finding peace in the soma or casual sex of the world.

  3. 6) I think the differences in what the characters of these two novels fear can be attributed to the passing of time in their fictionalized societies and, just as importantly, in the time between their publications.

    Humans tend to fear what they don’t understand. In the days of Frankenstein, technology was much less understood or ubiquitous in daily life. This was a time before cars, computers, televisions, phones, or legitimate organ transplant. It makes sense that the characters in, and readers of, the work would be afraid of the “coldness” of technology having control over their lives.

    Jumping into the future of Brave New World, technology has actually become more prevalent and understood than what it means to be human. Huxley is expressing many of the same fears as Shelley, but through characters who fear the opposite. The society is extremely technologically advanced, but they have abandoned the very human pursuits of philosophy, religion, and other cornerstones of culture. One example from the text that really stands out to me is in chapter 7, when they visit Malpais. Lenina especially is very disturbed by just the sight of an old man, or of women breast-feeding, just about the most human thing one can do. She feels the urgent need to numb herself with a dose of soma, to make the dirty, imperfect humanity go away. (By the way, is “Lenina” a reference to Lenin?)

    I think in our current society we have a mix of both fears, and it probably varies a lot between individuals. But I see us moving more towards the perspective of the people in Brave New World. The notion that the human body is “imperfect” with a myriad of “solvable” problems is becoming (or has become) the dominant ideology, at least in the West. We see humanity as something that holds us back, and the more emotionally dead and technologically savvy we can be as individuals, the more success we can have in our lives, the more efficient we can become. However, I can also see a backlash already gaining momentum. Individuals are starting to question the need for all their gadgetry and prescriptions. I would hope that technology could bring all humans to the point of needing to work less, and therefore having more time to focus on “human” activities like philosophy or spiritual awakening without the technology taking us over completely. It is certainly a difficult balance, and one that we are just starting to figure out.

  4. 1) the creation of a “being” versus the conditioning of a being – what’s the difference, in terms of the impact each has on the “being” itself and/or the society in which such a being is being created or “conditioned”?

    In Brave New World, society is being conditioned to obey the higher power. From the text, the conditioning is described: “The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other end of the room, pressed down a little lever.
    There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded.

    The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.

    “And now,” the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening), “now we proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock.”

    He waved his hand again, and the Head Nurse pressed a second lever. The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic yelps to which they now gave utterance. Their little bodies twitched and stiffened; their limbs moved jerkily as if to the tug of unseen wires.

    “We can electrify that whole strip of floor,” bawled the Director in explanation. “But that’s enough,” he signalled to the nurse.

    The explosions ceased, the bells stopped ringing, the shriek of the siren died down from tone to tone into silence. The stiffly twitching bodies relaxed, and what had become the sob and yelp of infant maniacs broadened out once more into a normal howl of ordinary terror.

    “Offer them the flowers and the books again.”

    The nurses obeyed; but at the approach of the roses, at the mere sight of those gaily-coloured images of pussy and cock-a-doodle-doo and baa-baa black sheep, the infants shrank away in horror, the volume of their howling suddenly increased.

    “Observe,” said the Director triumphantly, “observe.”

    The difference between the creation of the being in Frankenstein and the conditioning of the being in Brave New World is apparent. Dr. Frankenstein created a new entity that started with the mind of a child that had to be enhanced and taught. In Brave New World, the Director took pre-existing minds and used conditioning by repeatedly subjecting the subjects to electrical shocks that caused they to stay away from particular things.

    The effect each had is where the difference lies. Through creation, a new mind is created whereas in conditioning, a pre-existing mind is changed and hindered.

  5. In both A Brave New World and Frankenstein, the creators of the post human take two different approaches. While Frankenstein is a scientific biology approach, A Brave New World is a scientific psychology approach.
    Mustapha Mond used previous research from an experiment called the Little Reuben Study. This is close to being a carbon copy of the real experiment called the Little Albert Study. The study was done by John Watson, the father of behaviorism in America predating B.F. Skinner. In the study, Watson placed a rabbit in front of a child. A loud bell would ring, and the baby would cry. Eventually, after enough times, the baby would cry whenever he saw the rabbit, without the sound of the bell. The rabbit contained a conditioned stimulus. The crying in response to the bell is the conditioned response, and the crying in response to the rabbit is the unconditioned response.
    Watson then gave the baby ice cream, which acted as an unconditioned stimulus that evokes happiness. He slowly brought the rabbit closer to the child, which couldn’t cry because he was too happy with the ice cream. You cannot be happy and scarred at the same time. This counter conditioning solved the baby’s fear.
    A review of the Watson’s literature fails to show that the results of the study were ever replicated. This raises some question about the validity of the methods.
    You can’t extrapolate from one study and create a large undertaking. Perhaps this was the failure of the controller in A Brave New World, or perhaps is was because nature always has a way.

  6. Rather than direct comparisons, the connections between Brave New World and Frankenstein (of which I didn’t feel there were many) are mostly in the themes. Frankenstein, it’s well documented, as a distinct theme of man playing god, and the problems this causes. Brave New World, however, has the slightly different theme of the government playing god. These two themes, though sounding almost the same, are very different in some key ways.

    When the government tries to play god, as in BNW or similar dystopias like 1984, the subjects are affected differently than when an individual is playing god. When one person is creating one person, as in Frankenstein, the resulting person is still unique, still has their own thoughts, wants, and needs. The monster was still very human. In fact, in some ways he was more human than the humans of Brave New World. These people were programmed from birth to be ideal for the society in which they live, which was also programmed from “birth” or inception. They don’t have their own wants, likes, dislikes, and they have pre-created thoughts. For example, in chapter 5, after Lenina says “I’m glad I’m not an Epsilon,” Henry responds by explaining, “And if you were an Epsilon, your conditioning would have made you no less thankful that you weren’t a Beta or an Alpha.” These people aren’t allowed their own opinions. They don’t even reproduce naturally, which is how genetically unique individuals come about. It’s mentioned in passing that each caste has a different heredity, which I can only assume means a separate gene-pool used to artificially create human beings that never crosses genes from another caste’s gene-pool.

    Basically, in Frankenstein, an individual was created. In Brave New World, a society was created, and the individuals within that society weren’t exceptionally unique beyond unavoidable human differences, though human probably isn’t the right descriptor for these types of differences. Human differences occur naturally, and nature has nothing to do with Huxley’s world.

  7. One side note that i forgot to mention was the Watson, after being fired from his teaching position, changed the way that advertising for products was done. He concluded that consumers care less about the product, and more about the image of that product.
    This could be seen as relative to the future not caring how a product, such as the post human, is developed, but only the idea of that product and what it represents, the perfect post human. This allows the creator of the post human to have no boundaries as long as the product is viewed by the rest of society as a social good or need, leaving ethics and morality out. Thus creating a social threat towards the nature of life, which in lies individual creativity and freedom.

  8. Brave New World is one of those classics that everyone tells me to read but embarrassingly I just hadn’t gotten to yet. So I was pretty excited about it being on the reading list.

    Unfortunately, though, my first impression is that I don’t really like it at all. I can’t quite put my finger on it, because I love almost every dystopian book I’ve ever read. The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx & Crake, Kurt Vonnegut’s books, etc. I think those are all superb books, but this just seemed mediocre. Maybe I’d need to read the whole thing, or maybe I had a little too much caffeine but I actually found it difficult to follow. I normally don’t have a problem with scattered thoughts and complex dialog, in fact most of the books I read are riddled with it and when I recommend them to friends they say to me what I’m saying now; they can’t follow it.

    I’ve always been fascinated by the biology aspect of technology. One of the first books I ever read by John Varley was Steel Beach (I think I’ve mentioned it previously in class). It’s set in the future and depicts the evolution of biotechnology in a much more plausible way than 1984 seems too. In Steel Beach anything is possible. People can get sex changes anytime they want (gender-identity doesn’t exist), people can look however they want, nobody is overweight because everyone has genetically-modified tapeworms in their stomachs. There is no disease, and people can live for as long as they choose, as science has defeated cancer and aging and other terminal conditions. In 1984 (if I understood it right), they can delay the outward effects of aging, but life is still ultimately terminal so they kill people off at 60 ala Logan’s Run.

    I’ve always been enamored with the idea of biotechnology being able to cheat death, despite the possible evolutionary ramifications of living forever that I mentioned in a previous post (devolving the ability to reproduce). I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do my paper on yet, but now I think I just found my topic. What do you guys think?

  9. 5) In Frankenstein, everyone is miserable; in Brave New World, supposedly, “everybody’s happy.” What does “happy” mean in Brave New World? Is it really an emotion? And how does that experience of happiness in Brave New World compare to the misery both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel?

    “Happy” in Brave New World seems to be not an emotion but a permanent state of mind to aspire to. “Happy” seems to mean being blissfully ignorant, emotionally and also blissfully ignorant to anything outside their little world. Everyone wants to be happy all the time and they make sure of that by always having their trusty soma with them at all times. If even the slightest hint of sadness or any other negative “emotion” breaks through they take some soma because for them, like everyone they don’t want to feel like crap EVER.
    “Now don’t lose your temper,” she said. “Remember one cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments.”
    “Oh, for Ford’s sake, be quiet!” he shouted.
    Lenina shrugged her shoulders. “A gramme is always better than a damn,” she concluded with dignity, and drank the sundae herself.
    They absolutely DO NOT want to see and experience anything that is different from them and their beliefs because that confuses them and forces them to recognize things they would have rather forgotten existed as we see in Chapter 7 when Lenina and Bernard visited the pueblo of Malpais.
    “But it’s terrible,” Lenina whispered. “It’s awful. We ought not to have come here.” She felt in her pocket for her soma–only to discover that, by some unprecedented oversight, she had left the bottle down at the rest-house. Bernard’s pockets were also empty.
    Lenina was left to face the horrors of Malpais unaided. They came crowding in on her thick and fast. The spectacle of two young women giving breast to their babies made her blush and turn away her face. She had never seen anything so indecent in her life. And what made it worse was that, instead of tactfully ignoring it, Bernard proceeded to make open comments on this revoltingly viviparous scene. Ashamed, now that the effects of the soma had worn off, of the weakness he had displayed that morning in the hotel, he went out of his way to show himself strong and unorthodox.
    As far as how the experience of happiness in Brave New World compares to the misery of Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel the only thing I can see is the level of intensity of each experience seem to match. When people were happy in Brave New World they were on top of the world, feeling great and euphoric. They had the ultimate experience of “happiness” whereas Dr. Frankenstein and the monster had the ultimate experience of sadness and despair. As happy as the people in Brave New World were after soma was as sad as the monster and Dr. Frankenstein were after the monster was alive.

  10. ooops I forgot to put quotation marks in the last quote. sorry.

  11. 1) The creation of a “being” versus the conditioning of a being – what’s the difference, in terms of the impact each has on the “being” itself and/or the society in which such a being is being created or “conditioned”?

    With the conditioning of a being, the ‘conditioner’ begins with a set of known values; for instance beginning with humans, she knows that humans have emotions, have certain physical limitations, respond to certain sensations in predictable ways, etc. Beginning with a set of known values, the conditioner can manipulate subjects in order to conform to a predetermined set of values, which is what we see in Brave New World.

    The creation of a ‘being’ has an element of unpredictability not present with conditioning (although perhaps an individual could break out of the conditioning cycle, unpredictably…hopefully that’s where Brave New World was headed). A creator can hypothesize about the way the creation will behave, but until the creation is sentient, there is no concrete way to predict how it will behave and respond to the world. The creation of a ‘being’ involves a lot of questioning by the being itself: ‘Why was I created? Why am I here? How do I exist in relation to my surroundings?’ In Frankenstein, the monster felt it had no purpose and was confused and frightened, with no one to teach it about the world it was born into. And in relation to society, the being will have to adapt, learn, and grow much like a child in order to understand the world around it. One could argue that that in itself is conditioning—that we are all conditioned by society, but that opens another debate (we are to some degree).

    Conditioning is about conforming to a set of rules determined by the conditioner. The impact it has on the being or the ‘conditioned’ is that, well, the conditioned will act in accordance with the rules without necessarily knowing their motivation for doing so. The impact it has on society (if everyone is conditioned the same way, as in Brave New World) is that people will act uniformly, resulting in a more orderly society. In Brave New World, people do not question their existence…they embrace their conditioning, and seem to refute the existence of the soul. Although, interestingly enough, they need doses of soma to stay ‘level.’ This is a way to keep their humanity in check, the only ‘release’ from their arranged and methodical way of life.

    Both creation and conditioning introduce questions of ethics that were brought up in both texts: Frankenstein—Is it right to bring a being into the world where it has no ‘place’—where it will feel excluded and alone? Brave New World—Is it right to create a society where there is no real individual choice—where people’s values and lifestyles are determined from, and even before, birth?

    I really find the concept of conditioning interesting in relation to our own times. Aside from all popular news media, one example that really grinds my gears (that’s from Family Guy) is the movie industry. Good films are virtually nonexistent in, and I daresay kept out, of theatres. The Assassination of Jesse James was running in some insanely small amount of theatres (think like, 95) nationwide this past weekend, and yet, movies like Transformers get wide releases make gazillions (seriously—I was insulted by that movie and yes I got my money back). This is just one way intellectual content is ‘controlled’ in our society. Too many polished turds on our cinema screens these days. I’m sick of it.


  12. 5) In Frankenstein, everyone is miserable; in Brave New World, supposedly, “everybody’s happy.” What does “happy” mean in Brave New World? Is it really an emotion? And how does that experience of happiness in Brave New World compare to the misery both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel?

    Happy in Brave New World actually means devoid of emotion. Soma is used as an emotional crutch by the citizens of London. Anytime anyone begins to feel a twinge of regret they reach for their bottles of soma. Soma reliance is so conditioned into the consciousness of the denizens of the civilized world that Linda bemoans her Soma liberation once thrust out into Malpais and that “the return to civilization was the return to soma.” (Ch 11)

    The experience of happiness in Brave New World is comparable is to that of the misery that both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel in that they are the sole motivators in their lives. Dr. Frankenstein was miserable due to his inability to conquer death which drove him to restore life to the long dead tissue that made up his monster just as the monster was miserable that he had been cursed with life by his creator. Throwing himself into his work was an instinctual reaction for Dr. Frankenstein just as reaching for a dose of soma had been conditioned into Leinda and Linda. Dr. Frankenstein’s reaction was just as conditioned via the scientific method as the conditioning that took place in the Neo-Pavlovian conditioning rooms, granted it was fostered in a less electrifying manner.

    What social caste would Dr. Frankenstein fall into in the civilized world? He strikes me as an Alpha if only because restoring life to the dead seems “frightfully clever,” a quality key in Alphas according to the Elementary Class Consciousness from chapter two.

  13. In both Frankenstein and Brave New World the “victoms” of either biological or psychological empowerment are put into an ambiguous world. For example, in Frankenstein the monster is put into creation where things are unfamiliar and people are astranged, he can’t totally grasp it. In Brave New World, Linda is given amounts of Soma by Dr. Shaw which she becomes accustmed too because it is a “happy” drug and therefore, she’s unaware of being controlled.
    Also, in the very first chapter, infants emotions are being controlled, for example, they are conditioned to have no love for nature and botantics. Which is interesting because Frankenstein’s monster is ultimately created by unnatural means. In both books, life is being controlled with some form of technology. The way in which society acts toward Frankenstein(technology) is fearful. And the way in which people act in Brave New World is happy, however, they are being controlled by technology.

  14. I think that in both pieces, at least to an extent, independent thought is something that is feared. It’s a pretty obvious point in Brave New World. All the inhabitants of this world are conditioned in the proper way to think since birth. As the director points out “You can’t learn a science unless you know what it’s all about…Whereas…moral education, which ought never, in any circumstances, to be rational.” The kids aren’t taught facts so much as the way things are, there’s no reason for it except that it is right and there is no other way to be. In Frankenstein, the fear of independent thought is a little less obvious. Until you understand that it was Frankenstein’s independent thought that led him to create the monster. He says that he often thought, “Whence…did the principle of life proceed? It was a bold question.” And when he embarks on the journey that is led by this independent thought, Frankenstein ends up creating a monster in his eyes, the exact opposite of what he set out to do. Furthermore, the monster in Frankenstein is forced to develop his own ideas and feelings about everything because he is abandoned almost immediately after his creation. Ultimately, because he is alone and misunderstood and in pain, the monster vows “eternal vengeance and hatred to all mankind.” Being forced to come to his own line of independent thought did nothing to help the monster, it only made him realize how ill-treated and persecuted he was.

  15. I’d partially agree with mindy about her aspects of conditioning and creation. But I would disagree on specific basic concepts.

    For creation, I would question the definition of what qualifies as creation… I don’t think that self awareness is a requirement for creation of intelligence.

    With conditioning, the idea that we can just gloss over the concept of societal conditioning as a separate depate is incorrect and illogical i believe. We seem to constantly allow ourselves to be trapped into a heirarchial concept of thinking, we need someone behind the scenes pulling the strings. But there is no requirement that conditioning is done by A conditioner. in BNW they have taken conditioning beyond any conceptualization of a single person. Instead to be conditioned IS to be human. I would argue that within the construct of BNW that the character Bernard who doesn’t fit into the mold properly is NOT in fact human. Just as frankenstein was not human because he failed to fit into that concept of humanity. Both the monster in frankenstein and bernard in BNW were both created (and from a basic scientific level they were created in the same manner/way), but neither of them are Human.

    I also disagree with the seemingly popular concept that BNW is a dystopic society. I would actually consider it to be closer to utopic. It is not important that we the reader on the outside think that a world within is utopic/dystopic to us , but weather it is within the context of the book. And I believe that in BNW that there is a small minority of the characters in the book that consider there to be something wrong within their world, the majority are deleriously happy… which is by definition utopic. As to weather or not we would consider it utopic is irrelevant.

  16. 6. I think that in Brave New World, John the Savage isn’t necessarily viewed as “too human”. He is viewed as all that is wrong with the natural human condition. He has questions. He is not obedient. He doesn’t know his place in society. He is basically just radically different from any conditioned person. In BNW, people are conditioned from “birth” to follow a strict set of guidelines. Every person has a group to associate with and also a functional place within their society. Conversely, in Frankenstein, the monster is feared because it is different. Dangerous. Grotesque. Too many questions. He has no place. The monster and John the Savage are very much alike in this way. I think the “human” aspect of it is second to the idea of someone breaking the mold.
    I find it fascinating that religion in BNW has been replaced with worship of “his fordlieness”. (I might have spelled that wrong). The civilization in BNW is one of distinct social class and also the perfect Capitalist society.
    “The more stitches, the less riches”
    “A gramme is better than a damn”
    A clock is referred to as “Big Henry” in honor of the mighty Ford.
    Just the clock being called “Big Henry” is enough to spark my interest. In BNW people are streamlined. They are simple. They are consumers. And they’re all “happy”. (Or high as fuck. Whatever you want to call it). As for the other sayings, people are just walking around repeating what they learned in their sleep.

    To think of this in terms of the state of the US currently, we are fairly similar to the conditioned folks of Huxley’s BNW. While we still have the option to think for ourselves and form our own opinions and experience the full range of human emotion, most people seem content to do as they’re told. Buy this. Watch this. We’re very much consumers ourselves. I mean, obviously people consume. That’s what we do. Period. But it seems more and more that people are becoming the same. Instead of being done in a lab though, we learn what we know from TV and believe what WGN news tells us.

  17. Brave New world strongly implies that most human feelings should not exist they must be completely fufilled at all times. In Chapter 2, they even say excitment isnt even appropriate, because it means you are not fufilled. This is were Soma comes into play making everyone feel content and relaxed, it gets rid of every “savage” human emotion. Only the minority have emotion
    In Frankenstein it is somewhat opposite, everyone welcomes emotion but deny it to the minority IE Frankenstein’s Monster. Because he is different, he should not have emotion; no one beleives he is capable of human emotion such as pain, they dont even think about how he will react while the scream and run from him.
    I beleive it is very important to feel and think independenly in these texts, both the monster ad society of Brave New World want to blend in with everyone else. They dont seem to realize that because we all have different brains, differenty personalities, we cannot all feel and act the same. It is a ridiculous ideaand not worth getting to know everyone around if their all the same.

  18. Sadly, am in a rush and don’t have time to read all the posts… but here goes.

    Someone mentioned the difference between conditioning and creation [or creating]. I think that A Brave New World blurs the line between creation and conditioning. The children [the entire Ford population] are manufactured. And they are conditioned. The Ford population is ‘conditioned’ from their ‘infancy.’ As infants, they haven’t anything but human curiosity…

    Yet what is interesting is the evidence, that regardless of their conditioning, as adults the Ford ‘residents’ show brief signs of that ‘human nature.’ The characters showed a curiosity that they attempted to squelch, and questioned internally the rituals in which they participated. And the dissatisfaction when they didn’t achieve the results they perceived others to.

    Each character possesses a humanity, they merely attempt to squash it to retain their place in the Ford society. They are no less human. Merely socialized not to question social class, life purpose, etc.

  19. “Happiness is in the eye of the beholder” – as the old saying goes, is an appropriate way to describe the emotions of the characters in Brave New World. The emotions that they know (for the most part) are a façade, as in they are literally trained to feel what a third party (their leaders) want them to feel. Happiness, pride for their class, dislike of other certain people, how to procreate and to keep “clean” are just a few of the things that are engrained in every child in this society. There is very little to no individuality. And because everyone is under the impression that they are happy, (regardless of whether they are or not) no one asks questions.

    Obviously in today’s society, we don’t electrocute babies to train them what to avoid like the plague, and we don’t attempt to teach moral and societal beliefs while people sleep, but our culture does almost the same thing, only much more subtly. TV, the internet, movies, celebrities, and many more things/people that are in our everyday lives can subconsciously influence what we do, what is cool, what we buy, what we wear, sometimes even what we feel. Other influences in our life, like our parents, schools, and churches teach us what to know, and how to act, and how to live. The society in Brave New World does the same thing, just on a much larger and more uniform scale. Therefore when the characters in Brave New World say they are happy, it could be nothing more than just regurgitating what they have been taught since children.

  20. Paul Sernatinger

    Mustapha Mond and Dr. Frankenstein both have very similar intentions with which they approach (re)production of human life. Both attempt to make life in their own images, and both do so to the best of their abilities using the tools, techniques and technologies at their disposals. Dr. Frankenstein’s hurdle was in suceeding at all. His approach was centered around the successful creation of a new being, which he had yet to achieve. The approach at the DHC was more one of refinement than of initial breakthrough. In converging literary worlds (that is to say, seperate from hard science) it could have been Dr. Frankenstein’s work that pioneered the science that led to the knowledge and techniques that made the entire production process possible in Brave New World. Mustapha Mond, and those that work for him, could be the spiritual successors to Dr. Frankenstein. Who’s to say that, given enough time, and with his retrospective knowledge and experience, that Frankenstein would not have in the future sought to condition his own creations, in an attempt to control them and prevent what actually happened from repeating itself. What this boils down to is that both men have God complexes (or Ford complexes if you really want). Ford after all, sold a car that you could buy in any color so long as it was black. He invented the assembly line, but lacked Dr. Frankenstein’s vision in regards to what to do with it. What it comes down to are issues of conformity and control. Frankenstein made a monster in his own image, an adult male. Mond perpetuated the status quo for his time (I phrase it this way since he obviously could not represent all of the classes, or even the pluses, neutrals or minuses of the class to which he belonged), learning automatons. What we are currently working on in computing today, the learning algorithm, a computer that can learn from it’s mistakes and includes in it’s core programming, programming that allows it to modify certain parts thereof, limited only by hardware constrictions. The fear being that if we were to give a computer too much free will, that it may turn against us. In BNW, the problem is approached from the other direction. We have hardware (people) with unlimited potential for learning but limited in processing speed and ability to correlate the entirity knowledge. The unlimited freedom here is still a problem, but because of the other restrictions, it is a far more limited problem than having a computer that can out think you, know all of it’s knowledge at once and in a correlatable way, and then giving it the ability to rewrite it’s own instructions. The solution being that modifying humans is easier, cheaper and as presented in the novel more effective than trying to restrict a powerful machine. Most of the work has already been done for us. Frankenstein’s monster is more indicative of the machine than of the man, at least initially. And throughout it manifests physically the many fears that we harbor about an all powerful computer (e.g. weapons platforms being used against us). Basically, people fear that which is different from themselves, and will in general, take every opportunity to push their beliefs and ideas on others. Whether that means making people more human or less human depends on the nature of the person in power as well as our own judgements upon that person. In Brave New World feelings are engineered as much as anything else, whereas in Frankenstein the monster is allowed to experience them naturally. I think that this would be true whether he had run away or not. It seems to me that Frankenstein and Mond, or the head of the DHC or whoever, are really not at all different, just different in circumstance, knowledge and experience. Frankenstein was like a hacker or a reverse-engineer, working on closed code, he had to be probative and to discover on his own. In BNW, the hatchery is like a system built around knowledge of an open system, with full knowledge of the code that when compiled, runs everything.

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