David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. He once rented an apartment for $67 a month, in Canada.
Brave new world
Brave New World

Reviewed by David Wen

Written in 1931, this book has been compared to George Orwell's "1984", since it depicts a future state dominated by a global government intent on standardization. The emphasis in this book, however, is more around a society that wants people to always be happy, and never experience displeasure.

As the story unfolds, you find yourself wondering - what is true pleasure in life? Is it really repeating the same fun activities of "Obstacle Golf" or "Escalator Tennis", day in and day out? Is it really to have beautiful weather all the time? Is it to have sex every day, with whomever you please? Is happiness or utopia the lack of sadness or worries?

I suspect the author's point is that life's ups and downs provide the relativity required for us to understand and appreciate true happiness. Living both ends of the spectrum is what being human is all about. In a life devoid of ambition, expectation, and failure, we can imagine a life also devoid of satisfaction, surprise, and success.

One could say that today's society is tending towards the one described in Brave New World. Our daily necessities are taken for granted, and many of us live simply to seek physical pleasures, day in and day out. We take "soma" (drugs, alcohol) to relieve ourselves of depression and we wake up again to repeat the same cycle.

As the opening epigraph suggests - perhaps utopia is attainable after all. The question is, what is utopia - pure happiness? Or pure freedom?

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David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. He sold his first car for $50.