Brave New World

by: Aldous Huxley

Individuality

Quotes Individuality
“I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”

Bernard says this to Lenina after she pressures him to eat a soma sundae so that he might have more fun. Bernard refuses to participate in many collective activities and does not want to lose his own identity with mood or personality altering substances. He emphasizes that to him, it is better to be himself, even if he's in a bad mood, than to lose his individuality to experience chemically induced pleasure. He suggests that group activities, especially under the influence of soma, are a form of hypnosis or social control that suppresses human difference. Fordist principles support the suppression of the individual for the sake of collective stability, but Bernard believes in his own freedom and agency.

“The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray. It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted. Consider the matter dispassionately, Mr. Foster, and you will see that no offense is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behavior.”

The Director is telling Henry why Bernard deserves to be punished for expressing different interests and opinions than those around him. Because Bernard is an Alpha, he is intelligent and therefore has the “power to lead astray” the members of lower social groups around him. For a society that values stability and sameness, Bernard’s intelligence and willingness to express difference and individuality are extremely threatening and must be controlled through public punishment.

“He woke once more to external reality, looked round him, knew what he saw—knew it, with a sinking sense of horror and disgust, for the recurrent delirium of his days and nights, the nightmare of swarming indistinguishable sameness. Twins, twins…”

The narrator describes John’s reaction to seeing a group of Deltas filing out of the hospital after work to receive their soma ration. John is horrified that all they all have the same faces, voices, and mannerisms. Because he comes from the reservation, where people are born and age naturally, he is able to show the reader how strange and awful it is to enter into a world of clones, of twins. These moments help reveal the dystopian nature of the novel, despite many of the characters’ belief in their ideal society.

“Everyone belongs to everyone else.”

This is a line from the social conditioning recordings that different characters repeat throughout the text. It means that no relationship, especially no sexual relationship, is more important than any other, and every person has the right to have sex with anyone else. This principle creates a collective body and person that is more important than the individual person.