Aldous Huxley“Of Orgies and Islands”Jon PowellEng 1102Professor Owens
AUTHOR OVERVIEW● Huxley, aside from being an author was a pacifist, humanist, and satirist.● Huxley was known to be an avid supporter and user of psychedelic drugs.● He was a proponent of the ideology that the elite had a moral duty to the lower class and all mankind. These social and political ideas ideas are extremely evident in his body of work.
EARLY WORK● Wrote his first, although unpublished, novel at the age of 17.● By his early 20s he began seriously writing, his focus was social satire.● His first publication came in 1921 with Chrome Yellow.● By the 1930s his focus shifted to dehumanization and pacifism.
BRAVE NEW WORLD● Published in 1932.● Widely regarded as Huxleys master work.● His first dystopian novel. Set in a distant future in which reproduction is industrialized and stability through chemical pacification is the primary mode of life. Technology has evolved to fulfill every need and control every aspect of life.
ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY● Psychedelic drugs are used for pacification.● Communal living eliminates the concept of individuality.● Hypnotic learning is used for mass brain washing and indoctrination.● Humans are no longer born, but engineered and grown. Contraception is mandatory and reproductive sex is forbidden.● Human conditioning is used to replace violent tendencies with recreational sex.
GOALS OF SOCIETY● The insulation of the populace from negative influence.● Population control insures efficiency and economic stability.● Dissuasion from violence ensures peace.● A strict caste system from birth breeds complacency in the station of the individual.● General dissatisfaction is assuaged by recreational sex and drug use.
ISLAND● Published in 1962.● The Utopian counterpart to Brave New World.● Huxleys final work. Set on the fictional island of Pala; technology is limited. Life centers around enlightenment and spiritual self knowledge. Peace is fostered through community growth and understanding.
ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY● Psychedelic drugs are manufactured and consumed for the purposes of spiritual enlightenment.● Communal living is instituted for the purpose of fostering a sense of family.● Trance states are used for education.● Technological impact on reproduction is limited to artificial insemination.● Dangerous, yet spiritually fulfilling, activities and expressive sex are used as outlets for violent frustration.
GOALS OF SOCIETY● Spiritual pursuits encouraged to increase individual fulfillment.● Traditional reproduction creates a sense of connectivity.● Encouragement of free expression curbs violent outbursts.● A democratic society instills a sense of duty.● Expressive sex and recreational drug use is intended to promote spiritual fulfillment.
SIMILAR MEANS● Both of these works employed sex and drugs as a means of pacification.● Both societies prided themselves on a sense of self government.● Both employed hypnotic education methods.● Both utilized the concept of group living.● Peace and stability were the primary goals of both societies.
OPPOSING ENDS● In Brave New World drugs of choice are artificial, while those in Island are of natural origin.● While sex is purely physical in Brave New World, it is a more personal and emotional pursuit in Island.● Hypnotic learning is limited to brain washing in Brave New World while it is used for academic purposes in Island.● Individuality is sacrificed for stability in Brave New World while spiritual pursuits encourages peace in Island.
ALTERNATE FUTURISTS● In this realm of fiction, a more conventional image of dystopian literature can be found in the works of Huxleys contemporaries, namely George Orwell. However, Huxleys image is sharply contrasted to these works.
HUXLEY VS. CONVENTION● In traditional dystopian fare the populace is oppressed by an immensely powerful state, or ruling body.● In Brave New World the state is relatively weak, relying on technology to placate the masses.● Typically this genre is dominated by villains with strong moral convictions.● Huxleys world is dominated by morally dubious bureaucrats.
HUXLEY VS. CONVENTION● Traditionally, information is suppressed.● In Brave New World, information is diluted in irrelevance.● In these works, pain is used to subjugate.● In Brave New World, pleasure is the controlling mechanism.● In conventional dystopian literature, man lies powerless in a cage.● In Huxleys vision, man has grown to love his cage.
WORKS CITED● Somaweb “Aldous Huxley; The Author and His Times”, somaweb.org, 1995. web. Somaweb.org/w/huxbio.html● Huxley, Aldous. “Brave New World”. New York: Harper Collins. 1998. Print.● Postman, Neil. “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. USA: Penguin. 1985. Print.● Coulehan, Jack. NYU School of Medicine. “Huxley, Aldous Island”. litmed.med.nyu.edu. 1998. litmed.med.nyu.edu/annotation? action=view&annid=1328. Web.