IMO, BNW has a major flaw that I can't get past: the book doesn't explain how Bernard, the protagonist, is born below the average for his caste. The whole point, to me, is that, because he's born different, he's treated different and, therefore, he sees the world in a different way. I think that accounts for a better explanation than what's given in the book.
In the book everyone says "alcohol in the decanter" behind Bernard's back. I think this is Huxley's way of pointing out that eccentricities and original thoughts are immediately dismissed as mental illness by the majority of non-thinking people, but that its actually the differences among us that makes us great.
The scary part of BNW isn't the World Government; after all, everyone in the story has a comfortable life. No, the scary part is the lack of free will. Everyone has their place ordained before birth, and it cannot be changed. Differences between you and I are what tell us that we are able to decide our path in life. If we were all the same, then how could we in any way claim that we have ever made a choice? That is what is scary, and that is why I don't think Bernard's different way of looking at life really needs an in depth explanation.
Surprised at this remark. That has been the general case, historically. (e.g. born into a peasant family in middle ages.)
BNW is predominantly about a reactionary "scientific" global autocratic governance, womb to grave. That is indeed a thing to fear, as uprooting such a system is a very low probability event and would likely happen as side effect of a long period of internal decay/implosion. In other words, a Luther could upend the Catholic Church's grip on European minds with mere words nailed to a door, but good luck to the Luther of the Millennial Scientific Reich.
.: In T we trust
Let me clarify what I meant when I said that its the lack of free will and not the government itself that is the scary part of BNW. Let's contrast it to the obvious choice, 1984. In 1984 (or the Soviet Union or Medieval Europe or any myriad other regimes) the government was the entity of fear. Severe punishment could be exacted on anyone for almost any reason, with no recourse. One needed to step lightly or face consequences, which could include torture or imprisonment, which I sure as shit would fear.
In BNW on the other hand, we have an ostensibly benevolent government. Food is plentiful, as is entertainment and pleasure. Every person has exactly what they need except will, the very thing that makes us human. Lives are preordained and conditioned to fit a useful niche, and the victims in this scheme don't even know they're being victimized.
Obviously, in the end, its the government in BNW who is responsible for this clandestine oppression, and so it is they who should be feared, but in a more immediate sense, the reason they should be feared is that they've taken away the free will, and thus the humanity, of their subjects.
So maybe both groups truly lack free will, but I think intent separates the governments qualitatively.
Chance event; not lurking.
> Let me clarify what I meant when I said that its the lack of free will and not the government itself that is the scary part of BNW.
The fundamental pov of the ideological clique (ch 2-3) is that unmanaged nature is oppressive and the very source of human misery; that we do not have free will in a meaningful sense; that any notion of meat widget x jumping to siren song of hormones or to a manufactured psychological impulse (pavlovian) given by a social hierarchy being expressive of free will is an error; that the psychological comfort of projecting meaning into an otherwise mechanical existence is not worth the collective price. In T we trust. (aside: that T is the other crucifix ...)
- I know the comparison of these two books has been beaten to death over the past half century, but it's interesting to hear it from the author's perspective
He goes on to suggest that they could perhaps both be wrong,
- Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds