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Freedom Is A Bliss

Individual freedom is a concept which can be described by a multitude of things, ranging from

the pursuit of happiness to pure independence at its core. In the novel known as Brave New World, by

Aldous Huxley, individual freedom has been sacrificed for what is supposedly security and happiness in a

stable society. Controlled by a single world-governing force, this society is manipulated and regulated

constantly via Eugenics, which is the study and practice of selective breeding. From birth, humans are

scientifically altered to fit their destined path, according to the social class that they are placed in. They

are restricted individual rights, and instead, are given rights according to their social class. At a young

age, children are taught to hate and like certain objects and feelings, once again according to their social

class. This is done by a brainwashing process known as hypnopaedia, which is quite basically sleep

learning. While it may seem as though this society is the perfect formula for total happiness and security,

it is actually simply an illusion, masking the horrors of modern society and greater new ones. I believe

that individual freedom is more important than a supposedly stable society, as a “stable” society such as

the one in Brave New World is flawed in multiple ways. I also believe that individual freedom should be

limited to some extent, but not to the point where humanity is lost. Although a society with individual

freedom won’t have as much security and assurance as a Brave New World society would, it can still be

achieved to a certain extent through individual thought and action. A society with individual freedom may

harbor violence, hate, pain, and various other negative factors, but without these things, happiness would

not be as triumphant. A perfect world, would lack a goal in life, and a reason to live. If you had

everything desired, then there would be nothing to look forward to, and nothing to feel for. True life

simply needs exposure to all things, negative and positive.

Human emotions and identity, are simply one of the major aspects of human behavior which

make us different from machines or other life forms. By taking human emotions and individual identities

away from society, it is almost the equivalent of taking away the right to be human. The Brave New

World society supposedly eradicates segregation, emotion and racism along with religion, to bring

happiness, but this happiness is artificial and not true happiness at all. In the Brave New World society, in
order to achieve what’s known to them as happiness, people are advised to take soma, a newly formed

drug which has “all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects”(Huxley 54). This

means that this drug has zero negative effects, but has all of the enjoyable factors of taking a drug. Soma

also doubles as a substitute for religion, thus explaining its advantages of Christianity, as its users enter

“the warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of soma-holiday”(Huxley 77). Soma-holiday

as it’s called is basically a leisure activity, in which a person engages in an extended session of doing

soma. While it is true that the users may enjoy soma while it’s in effect, nothing can beat reality when the

drug wears off. The happiness lasts only as long as the drug does. From personal experience, I can

conclude this claim is valid. When I was a small child, I had always been upset by going to the doctor. In

order to keep me calm and under control, my parents would give me a pack of gummy bears, which I

truly enjoyed. While I was consuming these gummy bears, I was happy and content, without a care for

anything else in the world. However, when I arrived at the doctor’s office, I had eaten all of my gummy

bears, and had to return to reality as well as the fact that I was going to the doctor’s office. My happiness

only lasted as long as I had the gummy bears (Amarasinghe). To prevent such a feeling in the Brave New

World Society, human embryos undergo intense conditioning depending on their destined social path. The

Director of these operations explains that it is “the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you’ve got

to do”(Huxley 16). This is, to some extent true, but what is occurring in the Brave New World society is

forced happiness. These embryos’s do not get to choose what makes them happy; it is forced upon them

in an inhumane fashion. An individual in a society with individual freedom would be able to experience

true happiness by one’s own preference, as it is meant to be felt. The granting of happiness was just one

of the false promises given to the people of the Brave New World society. Security and safety were

supposedly given to the Brave New World society as well.

By means of hypnopaedia, children in the Brave New World society are taught only the concepts

they need to learn based upon their social class, with no room for other knowledge. They are brainwashed

into loving their position in the social pyramid, no matter what it may be. Alphas are the top class, Beta’s

come next, and then Gammas, Deltas, and finally Epsilons at the lowest class. A hypnopaedic line states,

“Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m
really awfully glad I’m a Beta because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the

Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I

don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be

able…”(Huxley 28). This hypnopaedic line is attempting to train children into accepting higher classes as

superior, and into viewing lower classes as lesser classes which should be done away with. This in turn

destroys jealousy and anything that may follow in its path, for example, a fight. However, it’s quite ironic

that although racism and discrimination have supposedly been abolished, there still exists another form of

it. Humans are scientifically and genetically altered to be different, treated different, and work different

without a chance at rising in the social pyramid. A film known as Gattaca displays a similar society to the

Brave New World society, where humans are genetically created and given certain jobs based on the class

they were placed in. The main character, Vincent, explains, “I belonged to a new underclass, no longer

determined by social status or the color of your skin. No, we now have discrimination down to a

science”(Gattaca). Vincent is explaining that discrimination and racism has gone so far, that it has now

come to the point where humans are scientifically discriminated. Society now accepts discrimination, and

has decided to create social classes of inequality. Without the individual freedom to object, this would go

unchanged as it has in the Brave New World society. Men like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have worked so

hard to prevent such atrocities from happening, supported by millions, and yet in a society with no

individual freedom, nothing can be done. It may be true that individual freedom will allow violence to

follow through, but at the same time, can be prevented.

Individual freedom allows for individual thought, and individual thought will allow for any

thought. Thoughts of violence may come to mind, as well as thoughts of hatred. However, due to the

capability of humans to adapt using individual thought, violence can be prevented. It is inevitable that

violence will happen in any scenario, even in one without individual freedom. John, a character who was

born from Linda and the Director, did not come into the Brave New World society as everyone else did,

thus he is a “crack in the porcelain” so to speak. This means that while most everyone is working

efficiently like a porcelain pot holding water, there may in fact be a small abnormality in the pot such as a

crack, or John, causing an unusual change. John has not undergone hypnopaedia, or any sort of genetic
alteration and therefore has room to do as he pleases, with individual freedom where violence is a

possibility. After all, “there’s no gene for fate”(Gattaca). This means that Eugenics cannot control and

manipulate everything in a given society. A society may be subjected to manipulation to prevent violence,

promote happiness, and create a perfect world, but science will not be able to manipulate fate, and what is

to happen. In a society with individual freedom, a society may agree upon one concept, and work to fulfill

that goal. A recent earthquake in Haiti claimed the lives of hundreds, and left a heavy wake of destruction

in its path. However, people from around the world have thought individually and want to support the

ongoing relief efforts in Haiti to rescue the lives of so many (Willis). In a society where individual

freedom is dominant, things may not always be predictable by science. But as Jerome, another character

from Gattaca, says, “If at first you don’t succeed…. Try, try again”(Gattaca). If efforts to prevent violence

do not work as planned, simply try once more.

Consequently, individual freedom may be a gateway for violence, but is also at the same time a

gateway for true happiness rather than artificial happiness. Such a society does indeed give people

freedom to suffer, but also provides people with the freedom to minimize and prevent that suffering.

Violence and happiness must coexist in a society with individual freedom. It is important for humans to

have an identity, and to have emotion, as it is what makes us human, proof of our humanity. Unable to

choose one’s own pathway in life, is the basic equivalent of slavery, which so many in our society have

fought against. Individual freedom is necessary to prevent such things from occurring, and is more

important than a stable society for those reasons.


Works Cited

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World . 1932. Reprint. New York: Harper Perennial Modern

Classics, 2006. Print.

Willis, Gerri. "Helping Haiti with more than money." CNN. CNN , 20 Jan. 2010. Web. 23 Jan.

2010. <http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/20/pf/saving/help-haiti-without-cash/index.htm>.

Gattaca. Dir. Andrew Niccol. Perf. Xander R. Berkeley, Ernest Borgnine, Jayne Brook. Sony

Pictures, 1997. Film.