Semi-Related, check it out though

Date Tue, 2 Nov 1999 21:55:08 EST

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Hey everybody, I know that this appears completely unrelated to the list, but 
if you read through it, it has some interesting stuff about societies 
direction. Mainly, I just wanted to sneak it in for some general comments 
from people, before the "NEW LIST ORDER" comes into play. Thanks ( in 
advance) for not just killing me,

P.S. To the girl in Seattle who's having troubles with school: Here at my 
school (in Montpelier, Vermont) one of my friends started printing his own 
Magazine, which he gives out for free, at a personal expense of about 60$ an 
issue. It's pretty pricey, but a lot of people get it and it's well read. 
Also, it gives him and others a chance to express some REALLY in depth, 
personal feelings to the whole school community. Just a thought.

2nd Draft
Peter Bettmann-Kerson
Future Literature
Nov. 2, 1999

    Our modern world, as we spiral towards the end of the century, is full of 
malcontents and unrest, often making people comment on how much they wish our 
world were different. I can’t agree with this, since the instability and 
tragedy in our world is all that keeps people happy and the situation normal. 
In a world like Utopia, described in Huxley’s Brave New World people alive 
currently could never be happy, and the “people” in BNW aren’t.
    The constant change present in our world, with war and turmoil, is 
actually what keeps everyone happy. This fact is obvious in light of the fact 
that happiness and success are judged not on personal fulfillment, but on how 
much better off than the rest of the world one is. The large population of 
dissenters are even kept happy in our time, since their disagreements give 
them something to feed off. If the government was organized as these people 
demand, then they would still be angry, they would just have nothing into 
which to channel that emotion. The anarchists, with their constant demand for 
change, represent one of the major reasons that people are ever happy. 
Humans, as a species, thrive on change. The slogan, “The only constant is 
change” is touted throughout our world, as a sign of humankinds ability to 
handle all challenges thrown at them. Even in BNW, the world controller in 
Bernard’s area admits that the best place in the world is actually the 
island, where things are constantly changing, when saying that “if he had the 
smallest sense, he’d understand that his punishment is really a reward.” 
since “he’s being sent to a place where he’ll meet the most interesting set 
of men and women to be found anywhere in the world.” (p. 233). 
    The other value of tragedy and instability is that with tragedy comes 
pain and unhappiness, but also the things John the Savage dreams of, as 
expressed here “I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want 
freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” (p. 246) all of these things are part 
of our modern, real world. Through the loss of pain, fear and danger, we lose 
the ability to feel, love, comfort and safety. Without these basic emotions, 
life becomes a fake, with people going through the motions, but lacking 
anything to make them human; in effect, these people lack a soul.
    Throughout the book, happiness is used as the defense against all the 
problems in the world, as when Mustapha refers to the difference between 
happiness and the overcompensation for misery which we currently call 
happiness “Happiness is never grand.” (p.227). This is to say that the 
happiness of the Brave New World is not like the happiness we feel nowadays, 
because it is without the comparison to extreme pain which we have now. The 
people of BNW, when the occasional difficulty strikes, take drugs, much like 
many people in our world. Drug addicts in our world are some of the most 
unhappy people on the planet, since everything they have is dumped into their 
drug of choice. In the world of Utopia, where the drug of choice is strong, 
without the negative effects though, people can stay drugged up all the time, 
keeping them in a state of ecstasy all the time.  As magnificent as this 
sounds, it is the same as the druggie, since a druggie eventually has to come 
back to the real world and face whatever made them hurt in the first place. 
The somatized people of Utopia can never return to real life, since dealing 
with any pain would kill them, like what happened to Linda, the mother of the 
Savage. While visiting Linda in the hospital for the Dying, John tries to 
pull her back to reality, with horrible results.

    “Linda’s eyes fluttered open; she saw him, knew him- ‘John!’-but situated 
the real face, the real and violent hands, in an imaginary world- among the 
inward and private equivalents of patchouli and the Super-Wurlitzer, among 
the transfigured memories and strangely transposed sensations that 
constituted the universe of her dream. She knew him for John, her son, but 
fancied him an intruder into that paradisal Malpais where she had been 
spending her soma-holiday with Popé. He was angry because she liked Popé, he 
was shaking her because Popé was there in the bed- as though there were 
something wrong, as though all civilized people didn’t do the same. ‘Every 
one belongs to every…’ Her voice suddenly died into an almost inaudible 
breathless croaking. Her mouth fell open: she made a desperate effort to fill 
her lungs with air. But it was as though she had forgotten how to breathe. 
She tried to cry out-but no sound came; only the terror of her staring eyes 
revealed that she was suffering. Her hands went to her throat, then clawed at 
the air- the air she could no longer breathe, the air that, for her, had 
ceased to exist.”
    “The look she gave him was charged with an unspeakable terror-with terror 
and, it seemed to him, reproach. She tried to raise herself in bed, but fell 
back on to the pillows. Her face was horribly distorted, her lips blue.”
    “By  the time they were back at the end of the ward Linda was dead.” 

    The type of agony that Linda goes through is due to her happily inflicted 
suicide, through soma. She feels such extreme agony and fear moments before 
dying because she suddenly has to face an actual reality, one that she 
thought she had escaped from for good weeks earlier.
    Clearly, our world, with all it’s pain, suffering, unhappiness and 
instability is better than this type of tortured existence, since in our 
world, people are free. Freedom makes everything else worth going through, 
since only freedom gives us the ability to be truly happy. Who really wants 
to live in a world where “…nothing ever changes. Everyone’s happy nowadays,”? 

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