Sometimes I see unfathomable beauty while dreaming. Other times I capture it digitally on my phone. I used to see it often while visiting museums or going to places like Longwood Gardens. And occasionally, I find it on TV or film. The city depicted in the new TV series Brave New World was unfathomably beautiful until it wasn’t.
When the new Peacock streaming platform announced the launching of Brave New World, I was more than excited, I was held in a state of anticipation. I was held for a few months until it aired on July 15th. Based on the 1931 novel by Aldous Huxley ( during a Saturn Pluto opposition), the story asks what happens when an outsider is brought into a contained technologically – controlled society that stresses conformity, frowns on monogamy, forbids procreation, and manages emotional fluctuation with designer drugs.
I must admit I rather liked the idea of living in the utopian New London during the first couple of episodes. Everyone seemed happy and happiness is highly valued. No one got ill, everyone had a job they loved, and every night was a party. I quickly realized I would only be happy if I was designated an Alpha or a Beta. This concept reminds me of my high school, where each student was assigned an academic track. Maybe this arrangement started earlier, but I don’t think I was aware until entering high school. I was in the A track, meaning I took the most difficult classes with the smartest students. Maybe this was decided by test scores, it was never explained or discussed with me. I did belong there, mostly. I performed miserably in Biology, and was relegated to B track for Science classes going forward. I enjoyed meeting new friends in B Chemistry and actually learned more there. However, I cannot see myself being happy as someone considered “average” or less than. I was raised to be studious and intelligence was how I was recognized. It was “my thing”, said my ego. With higher ranking there is more privilege in New London, but freedom does not exist. Embryos are designed to be different as each subtype is needed for the greater functioning of the whole. We naturally have diversity within our species, but we lack equality and basic living standards in this “modern” world of 2020 AD. To say this is problematic is to state the obvious.
Upon completion of Season 1, I was eager to reread the novel. Fairly certain I had a copy at home, I found one hidden away with some other Sci-Fi classics such as 1984 and Walden 2. While perusing the forward of the 1946 edition, the author concludes that world totalitarianism is imminent, it is just a matter of when and in what form. The story was set in the 2500s. However, Huxley reveals that this was inaccurate and that a fascist state is most likely to happen in the early 21st century.
And here we are….
Images courtesy of wikiart.org and wikipedia.com, public domain