The Modern American Society is celebrated over its opportunities. Whether economic or political, the United States of America is a beacon of hope and prosperity, mainly through the fundamental ideals of freedom and happiness. However, we must establish the meaning of these core American values. Happiness is a state of well being while freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without suppression. Throughout the entirety of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, there is an obvious conflict between the possession of these two ideals. Moreover, Brave New World brings rise to the question: what is truly more important between freedom and happiness? While the book directly answers this question with happiness, it is simply erroneous. By taking a closer look, we establish that the answer should instead be freedom. Specifically, we should be looking at how happiness treated in Brave New World is not real happiness; it is feigned happiness made by the world state controllers to have complete authority over the masses. Stripping people of their freedom has made a society of robots in Brave New World. Furthermore, it deprives society of its beauty in language and art.
In Brave New World we notice how society runs on ingenuine happiness. That is, the citizens believe they are happy, but it is not self-made. The citizens of the World State cannot truly achieve happiness since they lack the human satisfaction that would free them and let them live a full life. When Bernard gains attention for introducing John to the rest of the society, as Bernard states, “he feels for the first time in his life, treated not merely normal, but as a person of outstanding importance” (Huxley 144). For once in his entire life, Bernard feels “happy” since for him happiness means receiving his peer’s attention and the pleasures the society has to offer him. Bernard feeds himself with an air of superiority since he is acclaimed by his fellows. However, what he does not realize is that what he believes to be happy is merely a false pretense since the people are only polite and friendly to him because of John. “What should have been the crowning moment of Bernard’s whole career had turned out to be the moment of his greatest humiliation” (Huxley 161); this shows how true happiness is not long lasting in the World State, only misery. All his feelings of happiness and superiority are destroyed and he is left with a terrible humiliation, embarrassment, and defeat. It is important to note that despite the fact that happiness is subjective, a common factor is that is should be self-made and not dependent on outside factors.
Further analyzing Brave New World we see how deprived their society is of a distinct culture. “Community, Identity, Stability,” is the motto of the World State; it makes citizens believe that they possess individual freedom. Lenina, for example, pronounced “I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays” (Huxley 79). However, Huxley is making the opposite point. The motto reflects on the high price paid: freedom. Furthermore, sacrificed, the lack of arts, science, history, religion, and world cultures that are beautiful are what make us unique and are also sacrificed for what the citizens are being sold as happiness. “You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s: History is bunk” (Huxley 34); this saying, quoted by Mustapha Mond, instructs his citizens to disregard the painful lessons of history and to ignore the past in order to focus on future progress. Society disregards history because if people understood what came before, they might not less willing to put their trust in science and progress. History is “bunk,” as Mond makes clear because it revolves around human frailties and emotions such as love, anger, vengeance, and temptation. Such things are no longer part of the human experience and, according to Mond, have no place in a society built around maximizing happiness. That shows how the World State is full of robots Mond wants to take away natural human features. History should be reflected on to learn lessons from the past, to not repeat the same mistakes. If citizens were truly aware of everything they were missing out on, then rebellion may have struck as a result.
In summation, both controversial ideas of happiness and freedom cannot always coincide. In Brave New World, for example, this is certainly true. Freedom though, by far, surpasses the spurious happiness we read about in Brave New World that and is only made by the World State controllers to have a full grip of the masses. Secondly, stripping people of their freedom has made a society of robots in Brave New World, it deprives society of its beauty: humanities, arts, language, literature, and its challenges. All in all, it is clear that happiness is something that is achieved through freedom. With freedom, people have a say in society, and citizens are not merely powerless individuals.
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