Very loosely, it's a novel that shows the opposite side to the dystopia he wrote of in Brave New World.
The group will be discussing it on Twitter this Saturday at 21:00GMT.
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"I'm claiming the right to be unhappy" says the Savage character near the end. It's a novel about what it means to be happy. Do you accept someone else's definition of happiness, or do try and work it out yourself - but suffer in the process? It is fascinating because a society has been created that aims to please everyone; the individual is no longer relevant because humans have understood what it means to be happy and can create a world without old age or ignorance or unhappiness. Isn't that a good thing? This is the philosophical dilemma in the book. It is brilliantly written, and the themes and issues raised are profound and unsettling. I liked this passage below. It is poetically written, but also contains the crux of the philosophy within the book.
How similar to you does this passage sound to our digital age today? Are we heading into a Brave New World, and what are the implications if we are?
(the characters are contemplating....) "the lovely music that came out of a box, and all the nice games you could play, and the delicious things to eat and drink, and the light that came when you pressed a little thing in the wall, and the pictures that you could hear and feel and smell, as well as see, and another box for making nice smells, and the pink and green and blue and silver houses as high as mountains, and everybody happy and no one ever sad or angry, and every one belonging to every one else, and the boxes where you could see and hear what was happening at the other side of the world, and babies in lovely clean bottles–everything so clean, and no nasty smells, no dirt at all–and people never lonely, but living together and being so jolly and happy, like the summer dances here in Malpais, but much happier, and the happiness being there every day, every day"
At around this time, I have also been looking into buying a smartphone. Browsing around, I was struck by how similar the advertising language sounded to passages from Brave New World or other dystopian fiction. Have you noticed too? And isn't it a bit chilling how easily these soundbites could be switched around without you really noticing? For example:
1. Current advertising slogans from technology companies
- "Redefining how your memories live on" - HTC One
- "Inject life and emotion into your memories" - HTC One
- "Life companion...Make your life richer, simpler, and more fun".
- "Each feature was designed to simplify our daily lives.Furthermore, it cares enough to monitor our health and well-being." Samsung Galaxy S4
- "The Samsung GALAXY S4 is all about ‘togetherness’. It brings people together when they’re apart"
- "It can suggest TV programs based on what you like....the ultimate productivity device"
- "Get the current status of your surroundings for your activities with the Samsung GALAXY S4’s Comfort Level. It shows your comfort level based on temperature and humidity".
- "sound that comes to life" Bang & Olufson
2. Quotes from Brave New World.
- "every one belongs to every one else"
- "No pains have been spared to make your lives emotionally easy"
- "Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache"
- "Everybody's happy nowadays"
- "progress is lovely"
- "people never lonely, but living together and being so jolly and happy"
- "O brave new world,"