The Importance of Individualism Every society consists of a group of individuals. Lawyers, garbage workers, fickle teenagers, and even infants all interact and produce a diverse, successful society. Each member of that society contributes in his or her own distinct way. But when individualism is repressed, humanity within the society is lost. The importance of individualism is satirized through exaggerated psychological and physical training, the implementation of an austere caste system, and the censorship of literature and religion by a controlling government in Aldous Huxley's futuristic novel, Brave New World.
The government in Brave New World uses many techniques to ensure that the citizens of the World State are kept in conformity. Through several psychological devices, the population is kept within a prison, their very own minds. Citizens are conditioned to behave a certain way and believe certain ideas. Those who fail to conform are banished to remote locations. Before a child is born it has already received conditioning to make certain that it each individual conforms, as the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning explains, "All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable destiny."Ã¯Â¿Â½
People love their menial jobs and superficial lifestyles because they are programmed before birth to do so. After birth, World State citizens continue to be molded to follow the standards of their motto: "Community, Identity, Stability."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Children are taught to despise certain objects through shock therapy, as described again by the Director, "They'll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an "ÃÂinstinctive' hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned."Ã¯Â¿Â½ The entire conditioning process is maintained through each citizen's lifespan by the distribution of soma, the miracle drug. Men and women are encouraged to take the drug to circumvent distressing thoughts. No one ever deviates from the apparent happiness that permeates the society, and no one is ever encouraged to do so. In addition to the psychological devices, physical modifications are made to condition the masses. Citizens remain youthful and full of vigor until the day they die. No one's appearance ever fluctuates from beyond a certain set of physical specifications. Youth bonds everyone together and levels the range of possibilities of physical appearance. Conformity is also reached through body function surrogates; citizens must consume artificial substances that regulate body functions. Women feeling below par are prescribed a "Pregnancy Substitute"Ã¯Â¿Â½ to regulate hormones. Hormones are directed exactly as the government plans them, and citizens have no control over how their body reacts, leaving them powerless to oppose conformity.
Conditioning each individual can only control them to a certain extent. The government has implemented an authoritarian caste system that prevents integration between certain levels of the populace. Citizens of lower caste levels are produced in massive batches. The Director further explains, "Bokanovsky's Process [mass production of several thousand identical twins] is one of the major instruments of social stability."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Members of the lower castes are essentially mass produced carbon copies and nothing else. This process also makes conditioning easier because the same procedures may be employed continuously. As members of each caste, the citizens are restricted to wearing a caste color; even the highest Alphas are designated a color. After physical and mental conformity, social conformity follows.
The government censors all of the World State's literature and completely bans the literature and religion of the past. Many works of literature, such as Shakespeare, are removed, and censorship is applied everywhere to attain stability. Without such literature to inspire people with new ideas, and with the limitations set on the mind through conditioning, no one would attempt a rebellion against the government. One of the World Controllers, Mustapha Mond, writes, after reviewing a book, "The author's"ÃÂ¦conception of purpose is novel and highly ingenious, but heretical "ÃÂ¦dangerous and potentially subversive"ÃÂ¦Not to be published." Such censorship is an obstruction to the thought process, impeding the progression of mankind's search for knowledge and suppressing the freedom of imagination and creation. Organized religion is starkly absent in the World State as well. Immorality is the behavior of the day, and God has been replaced with scientific innovations. Citizens are not allowed to view the Bible and are oblivious to its teachings. Other religions, such as Buddhism and Islam, are omitted as well. All teachings have been replaced by governmental instruction to prevent individual thought and behavior.
Individualism is repressed though many techniques in the futuristic World State. Individuals conform without even realizing that they have and remain in the bondage of their own minds. Clones are effortlessly produced, each requiring the same drugs and surrogates to regulate their bodies. Nothing, not even clothing, can be used to distinguish between individuals. Censorship places the final barrier to individualism in place by limiting all free thought and expression. There is no way for individuality to emerge through the facade of social stability and conformity. Individualism has been firmly subdued, if only in that potential brave new world that may one day face mankind.