Brave New World and Blade RunnerContrast Through the Aspect of TruthAldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, each present a certain contrast to the other. Both texts convey an outlook of an extreme world in which both natural and societal degradation has led to a form of utopia that is difficult to come to terms with, considering our present living conditions. The manner in which several outlooks, including the political, religious, and socio-economic views, are presented embodies the acute exaggerations on the part of authors of each piece. Their worries and concerns for our planet are implied and represented in these works. Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Its setting is in London of AD 2540 and the novel speaks of immense progress in reproductive technology and the concept of sleep-learning that combined together with superior and advanced technology change society in ways that prove ghastly to the reader.
Similarly, Blade Runner is a science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott in 1982. Based in a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019, this story revolves around genetically manufactured beings called replicants that are used for hazardous and undignified work. Following a small replicant uprising, they are prohibited on Earth and a police force called "blade runners" is trained to hunt down and kill, or "retire", any escaped and runaway replicants. With this subject of forged, conditioned and objectified people, the aspects of knowledge and memory are used with a negative connotation in Blade Runner, and even while they are somewhat accepted in Brave New World-- they still remain the two simple antagonists in both stories. This point of view is employed to depict the theme of truth as to state that the purposeful evasion of it can easily be labeled as ignorance. However, this analysis will attempt to prove that Blade Runner represents a restricted and impossible truth while the characters in Brave New World pace over cowardice and evasion to step away from it.
Brave New World embodies the subject of escapism in a very blatant manner. This story remains full of characters that do everything they can to avoid facing the truth about their own situations, whether through occurrences out of their control like conditioning or through their own choices with soma. This vastly spread use of the drug soma is perhaps the most persistent and recurring example of such obstinate idealism and escapism. Soma traces over the realities of the present with illusions of happiness and bliss. Throwing the consumer into a state of fantasy and emotional repression, it consequently becomes a tool for promoting social stability and constancy. The very will to hunt and seek out truth is an individual yearning that the society of Brave New World, based on its underlying secrecy, cannot allow to exist. Throughout the novel, we see several characters fully depending on their regular consumption of soma to self-induce a state of ignorance. "And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering." This passage comes from the conversation between Mustapha and John. Mustapha is trying to convince John that soma solves one of humanity's most ancient issues: it offers a solution to deal with unpleasant emotions that, in his eyes, lead to incompetence and conflict. Thus, this proves that ignorance can be achieved voluntarily in Brave New World and that the population chooses to adhere to the propaganda that revels in that society. This propaganda that is scattered throughout the novel is continually repeated by Lenina: "Everybody's happy nowadays." In Blade Runner, we are presented with a similar concept of ignorance and evasion of truth. The Tyrell Corporation uses fake photographs as a means of producing a synthetic familial history. Despite being spurious, the photographs are employed as evidence and comfort for a "fake" human, the Replicant. These photographs are simply another manner of reality control for the Tyrell Corporation. The mind also gets physically deceived and even such senses as seeing get recorded into the memory fraction of the brain. When photographs are altered, the Tyrell Corporation transforms what the eyes can see, but by altering reminiscence, it distorts what the eyes have seen. Through this memory plotting, the Tyrell Corporation can not only alter memories, but also implant those that they deem necessary. Rachel, the example of the latest sort of replicant, is ignorant of her own identity. She believes she is human, until Deckard states that she has "Ã¢ÂÂ¦implants! Those aren't your memories. They're somebody else's. They're Tyrell's niece's" . Simply this exchange portrays the deep-rooted insensitivity that reigns within that world-being emotional at any fact or actuality immediately qualifies you as a Replicant. To probe the true identity of these and to attempt to irritate their emotions, special tests are made to extinguish and annihilate any type of emotions, passion or attachment: "It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response..." Therefore, through this perception of human nature, we see the contrast between Blade Runner and Brave New World. In the film, societal choices are controlled and any search for emotion or truth or knowledge results in automatic death or "retirement" because of the routine label of Replicant. However, in the novel, we see an individual multi-faceted avoidance of emotional expression, even though, unlike the death factor in Blade Runner, nothing stands in their way except for, in severe cases, excommunication.
To truly grasp the contrast between the two films and their own portrayal of the pursuit of truth, we must examine some of their main characters. Taking a look at Brave New World, we are introduced to Bernard Marx. He is the central figure throughout most of the novel. From the beginning we see that Bernard has an individualistic sense to him as Huxley gives us our primary glimpse into this character's private thoughts: his lovesickness, jealousy, and fiery anger. Thus, while Bernard does not possess any qualities that would label him as a main character, such as power or domination, he becomes appealing because of his factor of humanity within a tale of almost robotic people. He refuses to take soma and hesitates to participate in promiscuous sex as if it was standard and ordinary. Even after he gets threatened for the first time to get sent to Iceland, Bernard continues to express his individuality throughout several facets: "The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one... Which in turn increased his sense of being alien and alone. A chronic fear of being slighted made him avoid his equals, made him stand, where his inferiors were concerned, self-consciously on his dignity." This, thus proves that choices were available to the people of this brave new world, and that others among them were attempting at this individual stability through a variety of emotions including those of pain. In the film Blade Runner, the main character is Deckard and his inner thoughts and emotions are thoroughly presented to the audience, as well. However, his emotional attachment to Rachel is viewed as hazardous and perilous because only Replicants search for emotional fulfillment. Thus after attempting at this search for a certain truth, even Deckard himself begins to doubt his identity and wonders if he is the fifth Replicant. "I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life - anybody's life, my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got?" Therefore, we are presented with the fact that in the film, it is truly unfeasible to attain any level of individuality without avoiding death. Brave New World, however, establishes a varying point of view. The only distinctive character, Bernard Marx, shows us that it is possible to achieve this level of personal truth and knowledge and that life does not require ignorance. Consequently, we see that, once again, Brave New World portrays truth as a reasonable goal, while Blade Runner does the opposite with its theme of "retirement" seeping through every smile and laugh.
In both the film and the novel, we are immersed into a recurring theme of nature and the human disassociation with it. The utopia in Brave New World seeks to eliminate all nature in order to produce a controllable environment. However, we see this attempt fail since man is innately linked to nature-a warning from Huxley about industrialism. Throughout this novel, there is a close relationship between nature and this seeking of knowledge and truth. That society exploits predictable aspects of nature, such as birth, until they are no longer wild and unpredictable. "What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder." Those factors that cannot be controlled and remain impulsive are ferociously oppressed by conditioning people. However, a contrast between choice and force is presented yet again. While the population accepts these facts and internally clings to safety and cheap entertainment, we see some characters rebel and immerse themselves in the concept of nature in order to get furthered from a consumerist nation. For example, when Bernard is on his date with Lenina and he brings over "his helicopterÃ¢ÂÂ¦within 100 feet of the waves." She, on one hand chooses to avoid the feeling of "rushing emptiness of the night" that she gets from this scene while Bernard accepts it and immerses himself in it. He speaks of nature as a refinement of individualism: "It makes me feel as though...as though I were more me." His words present us with the realization that the people of Brave New World truly did retain a choice to rebel, even within their conditioning. Looking at the film, Blade Runner, we are shown a varying story. A prominent element of its cinematography is setting It generates a milieu for the film and consequently provides an appropriate background for the plot. In general, the location of the plot revolves around urban LA with The giant dark buildings, the dirty fog, everlasting rain and the swarming sinister streets not including nature make up the setting of most scenes. Low lighting harmonizes the effect of obscurity in the city. From these effects, we create an image of deterioration in society. The film however shows us how much some characters, like Deckard, appreciate nature and yearn for its return. The unicorn dream-scene conveys this message. The soft lighting, the color and setting of abundant vegetation create a location that is very dissimilar to the typical scenes. It is contrasted with their real world to further strengthen the lack of nature in society. Being a short scene and having only been included in Deckard's dream conveys to us that humans still dream of having nature back in their jaded lives. The unicorn in this sequence represents an artificial or fake animal-- this artificiality shows the sad, fake truth within even their daydreams. Therefore, we see that in Blade Runner, society can only dream of reaching nature throughout their past visions and recollecting minds. However, in Brave New World, everything is actually blatantly offered to the society and it is, even though difficult, possible to achieve a certain philosophical and even emotional state.
In conclusion, we arrive at a contrast between Brave New World and Blade Runner in the subject of truth and its search. The viewpoint in Blade Runner presents an outlook that remains more dismal, in a sense, and yet one that provides a warning just as its novel companion. In Blade Runner, we are presented with an impossible search for truth and one that can simply not be accomplished through any type of emotion and individualism due to the automatic label of Replicant, and basically, automatic death. The ignorance that this community continues to embody is essentially self-induced. All in all, both texts present the human struggle with themselves and with the escalating technological world that surrounds them. Throughout, the novel, however, we are presented with a society that chooses to disregard and evade this overall theme of certain rebellion and even individualism. We saw that despite the conditioning that is set upon by the government, it is possible to break that mold like in the actions of Bernard Marx and even John: "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin." Therefore, the author of Brave New World provides perhaps an outlook with more hope but at the same time one with a deeper disgust of our society. He affirms that we do have a choice to choose knowledge over ignorance and truth over oblivion and yet we simply choose to remain in a state of escapism and avoidance. We end by a statement by Aldous Huxley which continues to validate his view and representation of ignorance in this novel:"Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know."Bibliography:Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946Blade Runner. Ridley Scott, Michael Deeley. Warner Brothers, 1982.