December 18, 2007
English – Period 7
Amusing Ourselves to Death
The extent to which America relies on technology, whether it be scientific technologies such as the alteration of genes or modern conveniences such as television and the Internet, is remarkable; some would even go as far as to say borderline insanity. Accordingly in the novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley foresees a futuristic society where religious and moral restraints have been completely abandoned, in which the inhabitants are kept in a permanent stupor with recreational drugs, voluptuous pleasures, and mindless entertainment. Many assert that because America preoccupies itself with individualism, holds dear the intelligence necessary to form independent opinions, and outlaws the use of harmful drugs that it is impossible for it to ever evolve into a Brave New World. However, Huxley would note that America is indeed heading towards the society envisioned in his novel because it obsesses with scientific technologies used to alter natural processes, falls victim to mindless entertainment, and relies on instant gratification through the exploitation of drugs and other means of providing temporary pleasures.
Whether it is myth or reality, individualism has long been considered a defining criterion of American culture. The promise of American life is more the protection of a citizen’s inviolable rights than it is anything else. That said, in this grand land overflowing with opportunity upon opportunity there exists an impossibly strong hold to independent thought and action. Everyone has an opinion, and in America these diverse opinions are encouraged; rather they are necessary for the country to function as effectively as it does. The reigning democracy allows for man to voice his opinions and ensures that the authoritarian government presented in Huxley’s society never comes to be. After all, this individualism essentially represents the...