Brave New World

by: Aldous Huxley

Authority and Control

1

“It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes—make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness.”

In this passage, Mustapha reviews an article about human purpose and decides to censor it by writing “Not to be published” on it. While in a democratic society, the free circulation of new ideas and theories is considered a social good, in Brave New World's totalitarian society, subversive ideas that challenge the status quo are dangerous to social stability and could undermine or threaten those in power. Censorship is an important tool for totalitarian governments to suppress ideas that challenge the absolute authority of those in power.

2

“Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too—all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions…Suggestions from the State!”

The Director explains how hynopædia, or the repetition of recorded phrases every night that is used to condition children in their sleep, shapes the minds and desires of human beings in Fordist society. These repeated phrases determine how the child behaves, and as the novel shows, they stick with each person for the rest of her life, guiding their decisions and behaviors. The Director gets especially excited about the fact that these phrases come directly from the state, allowing those in power to have direct access to people's personalities.

3

“This man,” he pointed accusingly at Bernard, “this man who stand before you here, this Alpha-Plus to whom so much has been given, and from whom, in consequence, so much must be expected, this colleague of yours—or should I anticipate and say this ex-colleague?—has grossly betrayed the trust imposed in him. By his heretical views on sport and soma, by the scandalous unorthodoxy of his sex life, by his refusal to obey the teachings of Our Ford and behave out of office hours, even as a little infant,” (here the Director made the sign of the T), “he has proved himself an enemy of Society, a subverter, ladies and gentlemen, of all Order and Stability, a conspirator against Civilization itself.”

The Director speaks to the workers in the fertilizer room against Bernard, whose "unorthodox" behavior threatens the stability of Fordist society. By publicly pointing out each of Bernard Marx's opinions and behaviors that contradict the rules and expectations of this society, the Director reinforces the rules themselves to the assembled group. He also publicly humiliates Bernard before moving to dismiss him from his post. This public punishment is a tool to control the other members of the society through fear and intimidation.