Brave New World

Fordism and society

The World State is built upon the principles of Henry Ford's assembly line: mass production, homogeneity, predictability, and consumption of disposable consumer goods. While the World State lacks any supernatural-based religions, Ford himself is revered as the creator of their society but not as a deity, and characters celebrate Ford Day and swear oaths by his name (e.g., "By Ford!"). In this sense, some fragments of traditional religion are present, such as Christian crosses, which had their tops cut off to be changed to a "T", representing the Ford Model T. In England, there is an Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury, obviously continuing the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in America The Christian Science Monitor continues publication as The Fordian Science Monitor. The World State calendar numbers years in the "AF" era—"Anno Ford"—with the calendar beginning in AD 1908, the year in which Ford's first Model T rolled off his assembly line. The novel's Gregorian calendar year is AD 2540, but it is referred to in the book as AF 632.

From birth, members of every class are indoctrinated by recorded voices repeating slogans while they sleep (called "hypnopædia" in the book) to believe their own class is superior, but that the other classes perform needed functions. Any residual unhappiness is resolved by an antidepressant and hallucinogenic drug called soma.

The biological techniques used to control the populace in Brave New World do not include genetic engineering; Huxley wrote the book before the structure of DNA was known. However, Gregor Mendel's work with inheritance patterns in peas had been rediscovered in 1900 and the eugenics movement, based on artificial selection, was well established. Huxley's family included a number of prominent biologists including Thomas Huxley, half-brother and Nobel Laureate Andrew Huxley, and his brother Julian Huxley who was a biologist and involved in the eugenics movement. Nonetheless, Huxley emphasises conditioning over breeding (nurture versus nature); human embryos and fetuses are conditioned through a carefully designed regimen of chemical (such as exposure to hormones and toxins), thermal (exposure to intense heat or cold, as one's future career would dictate), and other environmental stimuli, although there is an element of selective breeding as well.

In Chapter 1, Aldous Huxley’s characters introduce the Bokanovsky Process. The Bokanovsky Process’s use of prenatal exposure to alcohol (PAE) to control the world population’s economic class stratification and fertility has been corroborated with modern medical research. In Aldous Huxley’s 1968 Foreword, Huxley addresses that “The theme of Brave New World is not the advancement of science as such; it is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals.” Huxley specifically cites “only scientific advances to be specifically described are those involving the application to human beings of the results of future research in biology, physiology and psychology…This really revolutionary revolution is to be achieved, not in the external world, but in the souls and flesh of human beings.” In the same foreword Huxley declares, the first tool “To bring about that revolution we require…infant conditioning.”

Bodies of research in biology, physiology and psychology of the 20th and 21st century exploring the effects of infant conditioning through Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (PAE) and the subsequent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) individuals has proven that merely encouraging women to consume alcohol has yielded the results sought by the Director of the Hatcheries and Conditioning: freemartins and social predestination. In lieu of hatchery employees of Brave New World adding the alcohol to test tubes, simply encouraging a culture of alcohol use in women has notably similar results.


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