The concept of freedom is always changingand is often open to interpretation. In today’s society, humans are generallyborn free with equal dignity and rights. Depending on the society one is borninto, their interpretation of who really has freedom can change. In AldousHuxley’s Brave New World, the mass production of humans, conditioning,and the use of drugs through technology maintains sovereignty within society.This results in freedom being taken from citizens living in a dehumanizedsociety.
In this novel, technology is highlydepended on by the government in order to deprive freedom from its citizens. Adrug called soma, replaces the unsatisfying emotionsfelt by humans with a sense of euphoria. To begin, the government distributesrations of soma to the citizens of the World State, to help them avoidundesirable feelings. Soma is a drug which is known to induces happiness,”the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects” (Huxley 46).
Joy is associated with Christianity and manyother drugs and alcohol with the use of soma because of its blissful feeling. Likewise,soma has the power to take freedom away from the citizensof a dehumanized society, as they are taught to believe that they must takesoma to feel normal. In addition, there is an emphasis on the, “euphoric,narcotic” and “presently hallucinating” (46) feeling associated with soma.
Theemphasis forces the reader to understand that soma can serve the purpose oftranquilizing the citizens and putting them in a dream- like- state.Furthermore, soma is taken as a distraction from harsh realities of emotionsthat would lead them to change how power is distributed in their society. Theuse of technology which is associated with soma comes in hand in this case:”If ever, by some unlucky chance,anything, unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to giveyou a holiday from the facts … You can carry at least half your moralityabout in a bottle. Christianity without tears – that’s what soma is” (210).Thegovernment has made it so that the people of the World State are encouraged totake soma as a supply of artificial emotions.
The World State has the abilityto divert the attention of its citizens, from reality to a sense of euphoria,proving the controlling government retains the feeling and experience of anyundesirable emotion, which make humans, who they are.Similarly, the World State gains controlover its citizens by completely eliminating the concept of individuality withthe help of the Bokanovsky’s Process. The World State is trying to make it so thateveryone within each caste will be as similar as possible to achieve the goalof creating “Identical twins — but not in piddling twos and threes as the oldviviparous days, when an egg would sometimes accidentally divide: actually bydozens, by cores at a time” (4).
Unlike society now where everyone is unique,this society produces large amounts of identical twins so no one possessesindividuality, as this is gives no one any notion of sensibility, freedom andindividuality. Secondly, the Bokanovsky’s process assures that there is noconflict between people in the future, by creating them with a similarstructure. Stability and efficiency is assumed to be achieved by using thisprocess, as the director shouts out “Ninety-six identical twins workingninety-six identical machines!” (5). The idea behind this statement is to makeidentical beings so they will respond in the same way and will not come inconflict with each other. Maintaining stability is achieved by producing massesof identical humans. By erasing the image of family from the citizens’ minds,it is justified how the government gains control and how their freedom is atloss.
Lastly, the concept of family and individuality is erased as “The Bokanovsky’sProcess is” is claimed to be “one of the major instruments of social stability…Standard men and women; in uniform batches” (5). Since the idea of family, andbeing born are thought of as unethical, the Bokanovsky’s process was brought into prevent intimate love and familial bonds, while indicating how the WorldState citizens are restrained and restricted from having a family throughreproduction. The Bokanovsky Process plays a role in why humans are not able toform strong family bonds and relationships, as it results in no freedom givento citizens by, preventing any emotional relationships and eliminating individualityin the society. This system of control causes the loss of humanity and freedomwhich ultimately allows the World State to preserve itscontrol and happiness.Following the idea of biogeneticalconditioning, the alteration of primal human instincts, freewill and freedom isachieved with the help of sleep treatment called hypnopaedic conditioning. Thistype of conditioning is a messaging system that the World State performs onhumans in their sleep, in order to restrict humanly desires of the greatersociety. Sleep treatment “aims at that: making people like their inescapablesocial destiny” (12). The Hypnopaedic conditioning forces the people of theWorld State to obey and follow the standards and laws suggested by thegovernment, giving them no choice or say in what their minds are fed with intheir sleep.
Arguably, the conditioning is a manipulative way to get thecitizens under control, as The World State enforces certain behaviors withineach caste which results in total control overthe citizens with hypnopaedic conditioning. This manipulative treatment windsthe populations to a loss of originality and freedom. Soon after the people gothrough hypnopaedic conditioning, it is stated that:”Till atlast the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions isthe child’s mind. And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too — allhis life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides — made up of thesesuggestions.
But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” …”Suggestions from the State” (23-24).Fromcreation to death, the citizens of the World State act according to theirmorals, values, and preferences which the government enforces within them. TheHypnopaedic conditioning is like a curtain which gives the ability to secretlyclean and pluck the strings of the “perfect” world from behind the sceneswithout anyone having knowledge of it. Throughout the novel, Hypnopaedicconditioning turns unique, free humans, into servants that obey the enforcedlaws of the World State. The hypnopaedicplatitude “Everyone belongs to everyone else” (50) is an example ofconfinement in the World State, where no one is and can be free in this societybecause each and every one is a subject to everyone’s wants and desires.
Thisform of sleep conditioning proves that the possession of freedom is impossiblewhen they are considered property. The master and slave concept exists throughthis conditioning, within this cyclical society, where one is not aware thattheir choices are not their own and this World State costs them their freedom. As saidbefore, freedom is something most people are typically born into along withequal dignity and rights. Although, the interpretation of who really hasfreedom in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, can be as such that,one is free depending on the society they are born into. The loss of freedom isthe result of certain methods used for those who wish to retain power. From themass production of humans, conditioning and, to the use of drugs as atechnology, it becomes clear who has control within a dehumanized society.
Altogether, seized freedom is the process in which minds of citizens are moldedto lead them into making subconscious and unwitting decisions.