“I’d rather be myself, myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.” Individuality is the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked. Within the society of the dystopian novel of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, technology has reached a point to where biochemical technology makes it possible to have the production of virtually identical human beings and, in doing so, introduces Huxley’s theme of individuality.
Bokanovsky’s Process, which completely stops normal human development while promoting the production of dozens of identical eggs, deliberately strips human beings of their unique, individual natures and so makes obvious processes for controlling them unnecessary.
The categories of Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons is then accomplished by the World State by carefully using alcohol and other produce including soma, though in Huxley’s context known as “sub-human” people. These people are capable of work but not of independent thought, personality and qualities. For many of these lower-caste men and women, their identity and ability to have uniqueness is utmost impossible. As a result, the World State is able to have built on a large foundation of identical, easily manipulated people, which then the society grows and thrives. The lives of the world are very stable through the individuality, the desire to be unique and the ability to be different has been stripped from each person and has disappeared.
“When the individual feels, society reels,” Lenina warns Bernard, who Bernard is a character who strives without success but to seek an authentic human emotion throughout the population. In this uninformed community of Brave New World, the emotion of love is perceived as a threat towards the social stability. This is because love is defined as a unique characteristic of an individual which has a threat towards the world and social system. Rather than loving a man or women as a human instinct, everybody loves everybody, which results in a way of loving no one. Though in the novel, the character named Bernard who challenges the World State, realises that love is an emotion which is so deep that it will not be able to vanish.
Similarly, the movie of Andrew Niccol, ‘Gattaca’, questions the theme/idea of identity and self-worth. Within the sterile Gattaca society, the technology has advanced to where the social structure is clearly defined based on the person’s genetic makeup. The sterile environment metaphorically expresses a harsh and totalitarian atmosphere that honour genetic perfection above all. Human life is genetically controlled right from the get-go so that everyone gets the “best possible start” to life.
When the protagonist, Vincent Freeman was born biologically natural, at an early age, his parents told him to be “realistic…The only way that he would see the inside of a spaceship, is if he were cleaning it.” His parents explain that throughout the world, identity is seen as being entirely defined by your status as a valid or invalid. Anything beyond this, is not important, such as individual characteristics including personality, beliefs and values are irrelevant. Gattaca is portrayed as a world that suppresses human aspiration and interaction with others. This is apparent through the robotic-type characters that live in the society.
After Vincent went for a job interview at Gattaca he said, “My real resume? It was in my cells”. The application process and “interview” for the job at Gattaca only required a DNA analysis, rather than writing down a normal resume of things he could do and had achieved. This part of the scene immediately portrays that the world he lives in does not care anything about his individuality of what characteristics he has for the job or his desires of working for Gattaca, but only his “True” identity within his DNA.
In conclusion, identity or individuality is the most important aspect of being a human being. Having your own desires, beliefs, values and personalities create a unique and free lifestyle. In fact, your own decisions about who you are, and your actions that make you that way, impact to form and create your “identity” as your genes.
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