Aldous Huxley wrote the novel about a new world where he predicted changes in the society and people had to identify and choose the kind of society they were willing to be part of. He goes ahead to classify the types of societies into two with one society pursuing truth and beauty while the other society pursues happiness and comfort. If a person subscribes to one of the societies then there is a high probability that they will have to sacrifice the other values. Therefore if a person or a society decides that happiness and comfort are the most important values then they will have to sacrifice the beauty of life and also end up living a lie by denying the truth. The novel therefore contains both utopia and dystopia. However this essay will focus on happiness and comfort, addressing the historical events and movements that influenced Huxley to write about it, the relevance of the issue and the impacts of the issue since then to date.
The world faced transformational changes during the 19th and 20th century through industrialization (Jonathan 41). Industrialization led to economic growth in America which in turn increased the number middle class citizen dismantling the previous structure where there were few rich people and very many poor ones. Economic development leads to improved social equality. Americans therefore were filled with the hope of a happier and comfortable society with lesser discrimination and oppression. There was therefore hope for the people to lead a happy and comfortable life with the increased number of professionals which would reduce the master servant kind of relationship in the workplaces.
The blacks in the United States were in the early 20th century were segregated by the whites. However there was a group of African Americans who were land owners and traders by 1885 (Jonathan 40). This served as a motivation to other blacks and they purposed to join their colleagues. The coming of the railroad in 1904 required professionals and skilled laborers which led to an increased number of skilled African American. This period also saw the rise of Jim Crow movement in Fort Myers which had an impact on the African American society (Jonathan 41). African Americans therefore believed that there was hope for them to live a happy and comfortable life. This also influenced the writer to address the values of happiness and comfort.
Equality is a very important aspect in a capitalist society and hence it is inevitable for societies at one point or the other to try and acquire equality among themselves. If people are supposed to compete for opportunities then everybody is supposed to be on a fair ground. Equality also has a big role in a country’s politics as politics involves coming up with ways with which people can coexist together (Jubb 679). Equality is therefore important on political, social and economic lives of a people.
Racism was and in some case still is one of the greatest hindrance to social cohesion and economic development, this reason therefore prompted the people of Fort Myers and other African Americans to fight against racial discrimination. Racial discrimination for instance has led to the deaths of many African Americans, during the protests staged by African Americans. This was basically against the human rights of the American citizens. Martin Luther for instance had to be assassinated to stop fighting for the rights of the blacks, this was because some people felt that he was a threat to their supremacy and the only way to stop him was through an assassination. The deaths of these Americans deprived America of great people and instilled fear to some of the citizens. Racism is therefore universally dangerous and may lead even to the loss of people and reduce development.
The fight for equality and anti-racism can be considered to be greatly successful despite not been a hundred percent successful. For instance in 1946 only 18% of whites in America had a black friend, the number has hence risen to 86% and 87% of blacks have white friends (Pew Research Centre para 6). This has led to greater cohesion among Americans who can now speak in one voice given that majority of the people have embraced interracial friendships. Positive progress can also be spotted in the fight for equality amongst Americans. For example the blacks were most oppressed and were in most cases seen as subjects to the whites, however this has changed and black two parents earn just 13% less than their white counterparts (Pew Research Centre para 8). This has led to happiness and comfort as predicted by Huxley in his novel.
In conclusion Aldous Huxley’s in his novels predicts the turn of events in the world where people will lead happy and comfortable lives. This utopia may have seemed unrealistic and unattainable but there have been significant positive progress. The reduction of the lower class has led to increased comfort as most people can afford basic and secondary needs. Happiness has been achieved through the reduction of racism, there are no more protests and few people are deprived their rights for having a different skin color. The society has therefore adapted happiness and comfort, it would be impractical to expect people to enjoy a 100% of happiness and comfort but we can appreciate the progress made.