Brave New World

What is utilitarian happiness?


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A utilitarian society aims to produce the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. In Huxley's society, this particular good is happiness, and government, industry, and all other social apparatuses exist in order to maximize the happiness of all members of society.

John the Savage rebels against this notion of utilitarian happiness. He argues that humanity must also know how to be unhappy in order to create and appreciate beauty. The use of soma is an example of the opposite. People take the drug in order to go on a "holiday" from any kind of unhappiness. Because they refuse to experience unhappiness, the drug keeps them from wonder and the appreciation of beauty, as in the scene when Lenina and Bernard fly over the tossing English Channel. He sees a beautiful display of nature's power; she sees a horribly frightening scene that she wants to avoid.