It’s a Brave New Socialist World
A Mashup of Aldous Huxley & George Bernard Shaw
Upon the Occasion of their Shared Birthday
Sleep teaching was actually prohibited in England. There was something called liberalism. Parliament, if you know what that was, passed a law against it. The records survive. Speeches about liberty of the subject. Liberty to be inefficient and miserable. Freedom to be a round peg in a square hole.
The imagination cannot conceive a viler criminal than he who should build another London like the present one, nor a greater benefactor than he who should destroy it.
He’s so ugly! said Fanny.
But I rather like his looks.
And then so small. Fanny made a grimace; smallness was so horribly and typically low-caste.
I think that’s rather sweet, said Lenina. One feels one would like to pet him. You know. Like a cat.
But, my dear chap, you’re welcome, I assure you. You’re welcome.
Henry Foster patted the Assistant Predestinator on the shoulder. Every one belongs to every one else, after all.
One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years, thought Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopedia. Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!
The door not being opened immediately, she rang again, violently, and was presently admitted by a maid, who seemed surprised to see her. Without making any inquiry, she darted upstairs into a drawing-room, where a matron of good presence, with features of the finest Jewish type, sat reading. With her was a handsome boy in black velvet, who said:
Mamma, here’s Henrietta!
Arthur, said the young lady excitedly, leave the room this instant; and don’t dare to come back until you get leave.
The boy’s countenance fell, and he sulkily went out without a word.
In the nurseries, the Elementary Class Consciousness lesson was over, the voices were adapting future demand to future industrial supply. I do love flying, they whispered, I do love flying, I do love having new clothes, I do love–
We must run away, Hetty, he said. Hold fast about my neck, and don’t strangle me. Now then. He lifted her upon his shoulder and ran swiftly through the grounds. When they were stopped by the wall, he placed her atop of it, scrabbled over, and made her jump into his arms. Then he staggered away with her across the fields, gasping out in reply to the inarticulate remonstrances which burst from her as he stumbled and reeled at every hillock, Your weight is increasing at the rate of a stone a second, my love. If you stoop you will break my back. Oh, Lord, here’s a ditch!
Let me down, screamed Henrietta in an ecstasy of delight and apprehension. You will hurt yourself, and–Oh, DO take–
Liberalism, of course, was dead of anthrax, but all the same you couldn’t do things by force.
There, I’m ready, said Lenina, but Fanny remained speechless and averted. Let’s make peace, Fanny darling.
Every man, woman and child compelled to consume so much a year. In the interests of industry. The sole result–
Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches; the more stitches–
That would be easy to understand. But the strangeness is that I LOVE you and want to go away from you. Not for ever. Only for a time.
He who desires a lifetime of happiness with a beautiful woman desires to enjoy the taste of wine by keeping his mouth always full of it.
But I don’t want you to go away. I won’t let you go away, she said, a trace of fierceness mingling with her entreaty.
One of these days, said Fanny, with dismal emphasis, you’ll get into trouble.
Conscientious objection on an enormous scale. Anything not to consume. Back to nature.
How do I know? I can no more tell you the whys and wherefores of myself than I can lift myself up by the waistband and carry myself into the next county, as some one challenged a speculator in perpetual motion to do. I am too much a pessimist to respect my own affections. Do you know what a pessimist is?
A man who thinks everybody as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.
No age or condition is without its heroes. The least incapable general in a nation is its Cæsar, the least imbecile statesman its Solon, the least confused thinker its Socrates, the least commonplace poet its Shakespeare.
Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices.
I do love flying. I do love flying.
My poor Hetty, you don’t understand me.
I only understand that you hate me, and want to go away from me.
Back to culture. Yes, actually to culture. You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books.
You intend to leave me again. I feel it. I know it.
You think you know it because you feel it. Not a bad reason, either.
In a stupid nation the man of genius becomes a god: everybody worships him and nobody does his will.
Do I look all right? Lenina asked. Her jacket was made of bottle green acetate cloth with green viscose fur; at the cuffs and collar.
Eight hundred Simple Lifers were mowed down by machine guns at Golders Green.
We admit that when the divinity we worshipped made itself visible and comprehensible we crucified it.
Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending.
Greatness is the secular name for Divinity: both mean simply what lies beyond us.
Green corduroy shorts and white viscose-woolen stockings turned down below the knee.
She broke into wild exclamations of grief, and he drew her head down and kissed her with a tender action which she could not resist, and a wry face which she did not see.
Then came the famous British Museum Massacre. Two thousand culture fans gassed with dichlorethyl sulphide.
You only talk that way to frighten me, Sidney; I know you do.
A green-and-white jockey cap shaded Lenina’s eyes; her shoes were bright green and highly polished.
Don’t be silly, said Henrietta, smiling vacantly. Then, stung by a half intuition of his meaning, she repulsed him and said angrily, YOU despise ME.
In the end, said Mustapha Mond, the Controllers realized that force was no good. The slower but infinitely surer methods of ectogenesis, neo-Pavlovian conditioning and hypnopedia–
The most intolerable pain is produced by prolonging the keenest pleasure.
And round her waist she wore a silver-mounted green morocco-surrogate cartridge belt, bulging (for Lenina was not a freemartin) with the regulation supply of contraceptives.
Stop, Sidney. I don’t like this sort of romancing. It’s all nonsense. DO be nice to me.
There are stains of sweat on it, I know.
You nasty wretch!
A gentleman of our days is one who has money enough to do what every fool would do if he could afford it: that is, consume without producing.
The discoveries of Pfitzner and Kawaguchi were at last made use of. An intensive propaganda against viviparous reproduction–
Perfect! cried Fanny enthusiastically. She could never resist Lenina’s charm for long. And what a perfectly sweet Malthusian belt!
What is the use of worrying about it, Sidney? It cannot be helped now. Besides, if your father saved money, and the others were improvident, he deserved to make a fortune.
No elaboration of physical or moral accomplishment can atone for the sin of parasitism.
Accompanied by a campaign against the Past; by the closing of museums, the blowing up of historical monuments (luckily most of them had already been destroyed during the Nine Years’ War); by the suppression of all books published before A.F. 15O.
Then came the question: what did my father abstain from? The workmen abstained from meat, drink, fresh air, good clothes, decent lodging, holidays, money, the society of their families, and pretty nearly everything that makes life worth living, which was perhaps the reason why they usually died twenty years or so sooner than people in our circumstances. Yet no one rewarded them for their abstinence. The reward came to my father, who abstained from none of these things, but indulged in them all to his heart’s content.
The true diagnostic of modern gentility is parasitism.
I simply must get one like it, said Fanny.
Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.
There were some things called the pyramids, for example.
Where there is no ventilation fresh air is declared unwholesome.
Henrietta seemed a little troubled. She smiled faintly, and said caressingly, It was not your fault, Sidney. I don’t blame you.
Where there is no religion hypocrisy becomes good taste.
My old black-patent bandolier.
And a man called Shakespeare. You’ve never heard of him of course.
Where there is no knowledge ignorance calls itself science.
A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
Such are the advantages of a really scientific education.
It’s an absolute disgrace–that bandolier of mine.
The most popular method of distributing wealth is the method of the roulette table.
The roulette table pays nobody except him that keeps it. Nevertheless a passion for gaming is common, though a passion for keeping roulette tables is unknown.
The more stitches the less riches; the more stitches the less–
Besides, she urged, your mother belonged to one of the oldest families in England.
Immortal powers! he exclaimed, sitting bolt upright and appealing to the skies, here is a woman who believes that the only concern all this causes me is whether she thinks any the worse of me personally on account of it!
The introduction of Our Ford’s first T-Model–
Those who admire modern civilization usually identify it with the steam engine and the electric telegraph.
Quite so, he returned, in a polite frenzy. Nobody sees any harm in it. That is precisely the mischief of it.
I’ve had it nearly three months.
Chosen as the opening date of the new era.
Oh, Sidney, you are determined not to be pleased. Artists don’t keep factories.
Those who understand the steam engine and the electric telegraph spend their lives in trying to replace them with something better.
Ending is better than mending; ending is better–
There was a thing, as I’ve said before, called Christianity.
The conversion of a savage to Christianity is the conversion of Christianity to savagery.
I don’t know what became of the peasants; HE didn’t know, and, I presume, didn’t care. I suppose the old ones went into the workhouse, and the young ones crowded the towns, and worked for men like my father in factories. Their places were taken by cattle, which paid for their food so well that my grandfather, getting my father to take shares in the enterprise, hired laborers to cut that canal for him.
We are told that when Jehovah created the world he saw that it was good. What would he say now?
Ending is better than mending.
I remember my grandfather well. He was a well-bred man, and a perfect gentleman in his manners; but, on the whole, I think he was wickeder than my father, who, after all, was caught in the wheels of a vicious system, and had either to spoil others or be spoiled by them. But my grandfather–the old rascal!–was in no such dilemma. Master as he was of his bit of merry England, no man could have enslaved him, and he might at least have lived and let live. Howbeit, there they were, the types after which we all strive.
Not all, Sidney. Not we two. I hate tradespeople and country squires. We belong to the artistic and cultured classes, and we can keep aloof from shopkeepers.
The ethics and philosophy of under-consumption–
I love new clothes, I love new clothes, I love–
No, my dear, this is the way of those people who insist that when they are in heaven they shall be spared the recollection of such a place as hell, but are quite content that it shall exist outside their consciousness. I respect my father more–I mean I despise him less–for doing his own sweating and filching than I do the sensitive sluggards and cowards who lent him their money to sweat and filch with, and asked no questions provided the interest was paid punctually. And as to your friends the artists, they are the worst of all.
Essential when there was under-production; but in an age of machines and the fixation of nitrogen, positively a crime against society.
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport: when the tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity. The distinction between Crime and Justice is no greater.
No; but the factory is only a part of the machinery of the system. Its basis is the tyranny of brain force, which, among civilized men, is allowed to do what muscular force does among schoolboys and savages.
Man is the only animal which esteems itself rich in proportion to the number and voracity of its parasites.
All crosses had their tops cut and became T’s. There was also a thing called God.
Do not give your children moral and religious instruction unless you are quite sure they will not take it too seriously.
Henry Foster gave it me.
No, my beloved, I must keep my foot on their necks for your sake as well as for my own. I am consumed with remorse for having bored my darling. You want to know why I am living here like a hermit in a vulgar two-roomed hovel instead of tasting the delights of London society with my beautiful and devoted young wife.
Honestly, put in the anxious-looking little girl, I didn’t mean to hurt him or anything. Honestly.
Of course you didn’t, dear, said the nurse reassuringly. And so, she went on, turning back to the Director, I’m taking him in to see the Assistant Superintendent of Psychology. Just to see if anything’s at all abnormal.
He talks of the higher quality of his work, as if the higher quality of it were of his own making–as if it gave him a right to work less for his neighbor than his neighbor works for him–as if the ploughman could not do better without him than he without the ploughman–as if the value of the most celebrated pictures has not been questioned more than that of any straight furrow in the arable world–as if it did not take an apprenticeship of as many years to train the hand and eye of a mason or blacksmith as of an artist–as if, in short, the fellow were a god, as canting brain worshippers have for years past been assuring him he is.
When the wooden idol does not answer the peasant’s prayer, he beats it: when the flesh and blood idol does not satisfy the civilized man, he cuts its head off.
It’s real morocco-surrogate.
Talking about her as though she were a bit of meat. Bernard ground his teeth. Have her here, have her there. Like mutton. Degrading her to so much mutton. She said she’d think it over, she said she’d give me an answer this week. Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford. He would have liked to go up to them and hit them in the face hard, again and again.
Is anything wrong? said the matron, putting away her book with the unconcerned resignation of an experienced person who foresees a storm in a teacup. Where is Sidney?
Gone! Gone! Deserted me! I– The young lady’s utterance failed, and she threw herself upon an ottoman, sobbing with passionate spite.
Marriage, or any other form of promiscuous amoristic monogamy, is fatal to large States because it puts its ban on the deliberate breeding of man as a political animal.
We have the World State now. And Ford’s Day celebrations, and Community Sings, and Solidarity Services.
When domestic servants are treated as human beings it is not worthwhile to keep them.
For a moment Henrietta seemed about to cry. Suddenly she exclaimed with enthusiasm: I will stay with you, Sidney. I will dress as a dairymaid, and have a little pail to carry milk in. The world is nothing to me except when you are with me.
Every fool believes what his teachers tell him, and calls his credulity science or morality as confidently as his father called it divine revelation.
Ford, how I hate them! Bernard Marx was thinking.
There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol.
A moderately honest man with a moderately faithful wife, moderate drinkers both, in a moderately healthy house: that is the true middle class unit.
The essential function of marriage is the continuance of the race, as stated in the Book of Common Prayer.
My love, he said, shaking his head as she looked beseechingly at him, the truth is, that the first condition of work with me is your absence. When you are with me, I can do nothing but make love to you. You bewitch me. When I escape from you for a moment, it is only to groan remorsefully over the hours you have tempted me to waste and the energy you have futilized.
Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.
Like meat, like so much meat.
Yes, I really do advise you to try her, Henry Foster was saying.
Stop crying, Hetty, for God’s sake. You lacerate my very soul.
There was a thing called the soul and a thing called immortality.
Do ask Henry where he got it.
Those who understand evil pardon it: those who resent it destroy it.
Self-denial is not a virtue: it is only the effect of prudence on rascality.
But they used to take morphia and cocaine.
We should be so happy, she said. I would housekeep for you, and you could work as much as you pleased. Our life would be a long idyll.
And what makes it worse, she thinks of herself as meat.
She will change places with you, my dear, if you make her the offer.
Two thousand pharmacologists and bio-chemists were subsidized in A.P. 178.
Six years later it was being produced commercially. The perfect drug.
He does look glum, said the Assistant Predestinator, pointing at Bernard Marx.
Let’s bait him.
Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant.
I believe you are mad, she said petulantly. The world is mad nowadays, and is galloping to the deuce as fast as greed can goad it. I merely stand out of the rush, not liking its destination.
Glum, Marx, glum.
The clap on the shoulder made him start, look up. It was that brute Henry Foster.
If you won’t live with me you had no right to marry me.
All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.
The savage bows down to idols of wood and stone: the civilized man to idols of flesh and blood.
True. But that is neither your fault nor mine. We have found that we love each other too much–that our intercourse hinders our usefulness–and so we must part. Not for ever, my dear; only until you have cares and business of your own to fill up your life and prevent you from wasting mine.
What you need is a gramme of soma.
Ford, I should like to kill him! But all he did was to say, No, thank you, and fend off the proffered tube of tablets.
He who slays a king and he who dies for him are alike idolaters.
Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology.
Neither consideration would have checked her in one of her ungovernable moods, but now she was in an abject one. Her moods seemed to come only when they were harmful to her.
Take it, insisted Henry Foster, take it.
Oh, don’t talk any more of these things, she said crossly; I cannot help them. I have my own troubles to think of.
Stability was practically assured.
One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments, said the Assistant Predestinator citing a piece of homely hypnopedic wisdom.
Never resist temptation: prove all things: hold fast that which is good.
She then saw that her last opportunity of appealing to him had gone by, and she nearly burst into tears at the thought. It occurred to her that she might prevail upon him by making a scene in public. But the street was a busy one, and she was a little afraid of him.
It only remained to conquer old age.
She turned away and sat down on a pile of bricks, only writhing angrily when he pressed her for a word. As they neared the end of her voyage, and her intense protest against desertion remained, as she thought, only half expressed, her sense of injury grew almost unbearable.
Damn you, damn you! shouted Bernard Marx.
She had no answer ready. After a pause he began to speak poetically of the scenery and to offer her loverlike speeches and compliments. But she felt that he intended to get rid of her, and he knew that it was useless to try to hide that design from her.
Gonadal hormones, transfusion of young blood, magnesium salts–
In an ugly and unhappy world the richest man can purchase nothing but ugliness and unhappiness.
And do remember that a gramme is better than a damn.
Vice is waste of life. Poverty, obedience, and celibacy are the canonical vices.
They went out, laughing.
All the physiological stigmata of old age have been abolished. And along with them, of course–
Happiness and Beauty are by-products.
Virtue consists, not in abstaining from vice, but in not desiring it.
Don’t forget to ask him about that Malthusian belt, said Fanny.
Characters remain constant throughout a whole lifetime.
When a man teaches something he does not know to somebody else who has no aptitude for it, and gives him a certificate of proficiency, the latter has completed the education of a gentleman.
–two rounds of Obstacle Golf to get through before dark. I must fly.
Work, play–at sixty our powers and tastes are what they were at seventeen. Old men in the bad old days used to renounce, retire, take to religion, spend their time reading, thinking, thinking!
The duke inquires contemptuously whether his gamekeeper is the equal of the Astronomer Royal; but he insists that they shall both be hanged equally if they murder him.
The notion that the colonel need be a better man than the private is as confused as the notion that the keystone need be stronger than the coping stone.
Now such is progress–the old men work, the old men copulate, the old men have no time, no leisure from pleasure, not a moment to sit down and think–or if ever by some unlucky chance such a crevice of time should yawn in the solid substance of their distractions, there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon; returning whence they find themselves on the other side of the crevice, safe on the solid ground of daily labour and distraction, scampering from feely to feely, from girl to pneumatic girl, from Electromagnetic Golf course to–
Idiots, swine! Bernard Marx was saying to himself, as he walked down the corridor to the lift.
He who confuses political liberty with freedom and political equality with similarity has never thought for five minutes about either.
Slowly, majestically, with a faint humming of machinery, the Conveyors moved forward, thirty-three centimeters an hour. In the red darkness glinted innumerable rubies.
Go away, little girl, shouted the D.H.C. angrily. Go away, little boy! Can’t you see that His Fordship’s busy? Go and do your erotic play somewhere else.
Suffer little children, said the Controller.