Soma continued or Brave New World
I mentioned that I'm going to give a talk on this topic. It's going to be on Friday. In the meantime, if any of you have any words of wisdom you'd like to contribute, I'd appreciate the help. Brave New World is the backdrop for my talk, but I hope to examine more general topics.
In "Brave New World" society is designed and operated in such a way as to maximize peace stability. The way this is done is to follow industrial mass production techniques and management. Test tube babies are produced in quantity and quality according to the needs of society. Everything is done to create a stress-free population. Each class of (Alpha to Epsilon) people is inculcated through sleep-education to believe that it is the most fortunate. Promiscuous behavior is encourages from childhood and all appetites are satisfied either in reality or with the drug called "soma.". Where "1984" is about a society controlled by fear and pain, "Brave New World" is controlled by constant pleasure. No one has time to be alone or to think. It's a sort of steady-state Roman rule via bread and circuses.
The philosophical questions I'm going to ask the group to address are:
1) What's so bad about substituting chemical pleasure for "real" pleasure? Isn't it more efficient?
2) Is the pain of frustrated desire necessary for the production of poetry or art?
3) What do we mean when we say that a little pain is good for the soul.
4) In Brave New World total security from all hazards of poor health, old age, loneliness, frustration, etc. requires surrender of all liberty to the benevolent dictator. When we use Franklin's expression, "Those who would give up a little liberty to gain a little security merit neither," we imply that security and liberty are a zero sum game. Do you believe that an increase in security requires a decrease in liberty (for someone) ? With respect -Joel