Platonic lens of the utopia
Name: Jeff Chen
Teacher: Mrs. Morse
Date: May 10th, 2010
It has been popularly agreed that the world state in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a totalitarian society. Its regime keeps the citizens under a single political party by controlling over the entire ideology and propaganda. Indeed, the world state also creates personality cults and takes control of the economy. However, if people were to examine it through Plato’s famous work— The Republic, the World State would appear to be a utopia. In The Republic, Plato has created an integrated image for an ideal city through principles of social organization, social structure, qualities required in the citizens, and the ideas about truly knowing and understanding. Compare them with the World State; people may easily conclude that the World State is basically a utopian society, since it satisfies all the conditions of the utopia concluded by Plato.
The argument about totalitarianism and individuality has been debating for over sixty years back from the beginning of the cold war; by the time people were in constant fear because the world is becoming a totalitarian state. The social hierarchy in the World State is what makes the society a totalitarian state. A totalitarian regime is a government, which controls every aspect of the life of the people. People living under a totalitarian regime generally also support it, sometimes almost cultishly, thanks to extensive propaganda missions, which are designed to promote a positive view of the government. Citizens are also usually afraid to criticize the government, so they may be outspoken supporters to avoid closer scrutiny. (WISEGEEK); which means making everybody equal. Therefore, only the social hierarchy would force them sacrifice their individualities and rights. Indeed, the idea about eliminating the social hierarchy is impossible because the society without the social hierarchy does not exist according to Plato. In The Republic, Socrates points out that “society, with its regulations, is a natural growth” (The Republic 53), and that the division of different classes, or in other words, the social stratification would be created inevitably.
Introduction to social media Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks. Social media or “social networking” has almost become part of our daily lives and being tossed around over the past few years. It is like any other media such as newspaper, radio and ...
According to Socrates, there are two basic principles of any society: mutual need and difference of aptitude. (The Republic 53) Socrates believes that mankind is not self-sufficient since no one working alone can obtain all of the necessities of life. Therefore, the society is the only solution due to the lack of human self-sufficiency. In addition, difference of aptitude allows people to concentrate on developing their particular strength and specialty. After all, if no one knows how to keep themselves working submissively towards groups, the society would not last long. Accordingly, a leader is deservedly required to give them orders to keep developing and controlling the society. Once the rulers of a society appear, the social hierarchy is created consequently. In Brave New World, the productivity of the World State is extremely efficient due to the stable social hierarchy, in which people are divided into five different classes. They are preordained to become different intelligence level people in order to work under their specific caste. If everyone in the World State were intelligent, no one would be willing to do the low level physical labor, such as cleaning windows and sweeping the floor. Socrates also reflects similarly “different people are good at different things, and it is best for all that each should concentrate on developing their particular aptitudes.” (The Republic 56) Through Socrates’ idea about the principles of social organization, the World State is not actually a totalitarian society, even though the social hierarchy plays an essential role in it. All human need to be gathered together as a whole to achieve the greatest goals, and social hierarchy is inevitable and necessary for any type of society. Therefore, the sacrifice of individuality and right are necessary, because “a community is larger than an individual.” (The Republic 55)
The Brave New World treated death much as they did birth, this was in contradiction to the way the savage felt death should be Death in the Brave New World is not important, it is simply something that happens to your body when it has got worn out. In chapter 14 the nurse thought that the savage was Undoing all their wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry as though death were ...
In The Republic, Plato mentions that an ideal state consists of three different classes—rulers, defenders, and workers. Workers are required to be moderate and submissive so that the productivity of the society could reach the continuously growing pace. Defenders should be courageous when confronting with enemy, and have a strong self-control. The top class is rulers- who are the most intelligent ones in the society. With the help of advanced science and technology, the World State is productive, for its workers are moderate and hardworking. The workers’ intelligence and physical appearance are limited through Bokanovsky’s process “They’re too stupid to be able to read or write” (BNW 27), which shows how moderate they are, knowing nothing but to work hard. Think about it, are not intellectual people always confronting with the majority and always defending some bad ideas like our society nowadays? There seems to be a bias against intellectuals because they actually understand something that is complex which might actually disagree with “ common sense”. As mentioned, the division of five different castes in the World State creates a stable social hierarchy. The different colour of the citizens’ clothes will help to identify their social status immediately. For instance, the Delta people will have to obey to those who wear grey (Alphas).
The defenders in the World State are courageous and self-controlled. Generally speaking, death would be the worst thing for every individual. In the World State, however, the situation is changing. Through the conditioning process, everyone including the defenders is conditioned to believe that death is rather a happy ending than a ghastful torture. This is proven at the end of the novel, where the nurse blames John’s overreaction about Linda’s death “Undoing all their wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry, as though death were something terrible.” (BNW 206) As a result, death in the World State is referred to as a non-threatening term. As the defenders no longer fear death, they are the most courageous ones, and at the same they are the qualified guardians. To the World State, the external threat would be the Savage Reservation, in which people are living and behaving differently from that of the World State. In order to defend the society, a well conditioned Alpha plus warden, accompanied with the other guards, is assigned to go to the Reservation as guidance. The outside the World State is not a threat until they meet John and his overreaction towards soma.
" Family In the totalitarian society of Brave New World, the development of human beings is completely controlled by the World State. Each person is raised in a hatchery, where the government controls every stage of their development until maturity, a process that takes Two-hundred and sixty-seven days. The embryos' DNA is controlled chemically to stimulate or to retard their physical and mental ...
After he throws it away, the police arrive immediately at the scene. The exasperated Bokanovsky twins are later calmed down by a spurt of liquid soma. This reveals that not only do the guardians have the strength to defend the external threat, but they are also able to raze the internal threat. Most importantly, the rulers in the World State have a perfectly content Platonic point of view. As one of the ten World Controllers, Mond has a round education in both arts and science. He also forbids the literature and religions in order to maintain the social stability. According to Plato, Mond is a qualified ruler, because he is intelligent and well educated. The World State, consequently, is not a totalitarian society, for workers are moderate and submissive, defenders are loyal to defend their land from being attacked by both external and internal forces, and rulers are well educated to make judicious decisions for the goodness of the society.
From the points mention above, the World State, by examining through its social structure, is not a totalitarian society. However, Plato points that only when every citizen is happy can a society essentially become a utopia. According to Plato, the human soul consists of three basic elements animating their lives: reason, emotion, and appetite. When reason controls over the other two elements, one can become truly happy. In the World State, the citizens are positively happy, because they simply use soma as the substitute of reason to control citizen’s emotion and appetite. Appetite is the typical threat to any society. Just like what had happened to our world, the most ambitious characters overthrew a number of countries. To the World State, Bernard Marx is often being suspected or considered as a strange guy. Lenina once is frightened by the conversation with Bernard. Because of his unusual thoughts so she suggests him to take soma “when you (Bernard) have these dreadful ideas of yours.” (BNW 92) Reluctant as he is, Bernard finally takes soma. Indeed, he forgets everything he has mentioned before, turning to have sex with Lenina. This reveals that soma is used as the transformation of reason that helps controlling people’s appetite and creates an atmosphere of happiness.
In Brave New World science, religion and political power take on different meanings than what we are used to today. In the World State, science is feared because it requires original ideas and independent thought, which threaten the stability that is so important to maintaining the lives of the citizens. At the same time it is science that directly effects the religion that is embraced by the ...
Emotion is something that can push people to their extremes, allowing them to commit terrible crimes. Therefore, controlling over human emotion is necessary. This is an example indicating soma’s controlling over emotion mergers and also shows how addicted people have become with soma at the end of this novel. Exasperated by John’s throwing soma, the Deltas get mad, and try to kill him. After the soma vapor takes its effect, the angry groups are “kissing and hugging together.” (BNW 215) In the World State, soma plays the role of reason to control citizen’s emotion. An example proving this statement is after Lenina’s visit of the Savage Reservation. Shocked by the totally different behaviors of the Savages, Lenina can hardly eliminate her bad feeling. Thus, “she swallows six half-gramme tablets of soma.” (BNW 140) After she wakes up, she feels happy again. The citizens’ emotion and appetite are controlled successfully with the help of soma, just as Henry Foster has mentioned, “Everybody’s happy now.” (BNW 75) As Plato in The Republic has concluded that “an ideal society depends on its citizens’ true happiness,” (The Republic 314) Therefore, the World State, logically, is the essential utopia.
Plato in the Allegory of the Cave points out the idea of truly knowing and understanding. During the dialogue, Socrates states that “human beings living in an underground cave, and the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.” (The Republic 214).
Summary The novel "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley is base on a utopia world. This story begins with a character called The Director, he is in charge of placing the clones in their classified cases. He's underneath The Controller, because he has to follow The Controller of the world state orders which is Mustapha Mound. Mustapha gives a lesson to some clones students an through this we find out ...
Though, Plato describes an ideal city where everyone should be kept ignorant but at the same time he forms a visual image to arouse people of the fact that they are living in an unreal world, and they are not aware of the truth. This is quite confusing, because it seems to the readers that Plato is making paradox at this point. According to The Republic, one could understand that not everyone is qualified to know the truth. Instead, only the ruler of a society is allowed to obtain the truth. Plato is saying that humans are all prisoners and that the tangible world is our cave. The things that we perceive as real are actually just shadows on a wall. Just as the escaped prisoner ascends into the light of the sun, we amass knowledge and ascend in to the light of true reality, where ideas in our minds can help us understand the form of ‘ The Good’. Moreover, in the movie Matrix.” The reality that forms the lives of millions of human beings is not real”. However, as the matter of fact, sometimes not all the people want to know the truth, because there is no reason for them to bother knowing the truth. In the movie Matrix, there is only one Neo, he chose to take the red pill, but it does not mean everybody wants to make the same choice. Because it is way too risky for the people, and since they are satisfied with what they have, they would not even think about it. In the World State, Mond knows every truth, and John, considered as Neo, eventually obtains the truth as well. John, eventually, is exiled to a deserted lighthouse as an exchange of his awareness of the truth. At this point, it is very easy for people to come up with a theory: even if John were to return to the World State, and to spread the truth to the citizens; no one would trust him, because they are all kept happy and satisfied. Thus, the World State is stable and safe, for its citizens are being ignorant of the truth, and living happily forever.
In conclusion, according to The Republic, the society is the inevitable solution for basic human needs, because none of them is self-efficient, and the social hierarchy, often considered as the most important feature of totalitarian society, is necessarily to keep the society running smoothly. Through the Plato’s social structure, all the three classes are cooperating well together, and each of them are willingly doing their own works. On examining through the qualities of the World State citizens, they are being happy at all the time. With the help of soma, their emotion and appetite are kept under control, which makes perfect sense of true human happiness according to Plato. Finally, the truth is kept far away from the World State citizens; were anyone to attempt to seek for it, he or she would end up being banished to Iceland. Through the Platonic lens, the World State includes every element of founding a utopian society. Logically, the World State is a utopia.
Outcasts are those who have been excluded from a society or a system. Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World contains two sets of people within a somewhat utopist society. Ideally within a utopist society, everyone is alike and there are no differences. Huxley's utopist society has norms just like any other utopist society but the exception is that there outcasts. Specifically, Huxley has included ...
The Matrix. Dir. Wachowski brothers. Perf. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano. Warner Bros. Pictures, 1999. DVD.
Plato. The Republic. England: Penguin Classics, 2003. Print.
“What is a Totalitarian Regime?” Wisegeek. 15 March 2010. S.E. Smith. May 9 2010. .