How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!
-Miranda from Shakespeare’s The Tempest
I shudder when I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Not because of how inhumane, mechanical, and extraordinary the future world of Huxley’s portrays, but how merely eighty-two years later Huxley’s fictional future does not seem so farfetched. The other day I was perusing around facebook when I stumbled upon these . . .
I felt a chill creep up and down my spine. The scene from Brave New World where John Savage tries to rally a group consisting of dozens of identical faces flashed through my mind. Bred in bottles to perform mundane tasks these unquestioning people stand puzzled as John begs them to turn against the life they have always known. John entreats them to turn away from the drugs, sex, a thoughtless and godless existence, but when he starts throwing their precious soma, their drug holidays, out the window a riot ensues. Individualism creates chaos. Thinking is dangerous. Questioning is treacherous.
I stop and ask myself, how often do I parrot or pass on what someone else has said to save time? Do I avoid the inconvenience of forming my own words and ideas? Do I rely on authorities instead of God? Would I give up freedom for security? Do I follow the crowd? I pray my answer is no. But I must admit; being different, swimming upstream, taking the road less traveled, it can be very tiring. Would I change my choices? Looking back over decisions I have made I do wish I could go back and change some of them. But each of those choices has shaped me into who I am; the good choices, and the bad ones. Would I want some person who “knows better” to make all my decisions? Would I give up faith for facts? No! I can learn from my mistakes, I can overcome struggles. I can handle pain, loss, and disappointment. Because giving up all that unpleasantness would mean giving up all their counterparts too; love, joy, happiness, faith, and hope. I am imperfect, but I have free will. I make mistakes, but I learn. I am uncertain, but I have faith. I am an individual.