Raymond technological advances are creating a decline

RaymondWilliams contends that dystopian fiction is related to a ‘form of feeling’1 that is connected to’contemporary society’2.

He notes that ‘the formof feeling which dominates this putropian thinking is, basically, that of theisolated intellectual, and of ‘the masses’ who are at best brutish, at worstbrutal’3. This means for Williamsalthough dystopias offer warnings of the future, they also offer warningagainst the adequacy of certain types of contemporary feeling which are rapidlybecoming orthodox. In this case dystopias offer a warning of eradicatingindividualism, believing that to think, feel, or even speak of people in terms of’masses’ is to make the burning of the books and the destroying of the citiesjust that much more possible.

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In the novel, technology works to dehumanizeman in the interests of ‘community, identity and stability’ the state motto.The citizens of the World State see the purpose of life as just maintenance ofwell-being, not as ‘some intensification and refining of consciousness, someenlargement of knowledge’4. There are no feelings, noemotions or human characteristics. This implies that technological advances arecreating a decline in humanity as they are able to make everyone the same.

TheDirector and students act as an index to show how far humanity has fallen,unlike the position of the reader, they are not shocked or horrified at the hatcherycenter for them it is ideally right. George Claeys also supports Williamsnotion on the collectivist problem noting, ‘for the early dystopian writers,utopian thinking, including utopian fiction, was sometimes included as part ofthis set of problems: … in an age also characterized by growing individualism,some saw the more repressive and puritanical attributes of the older utopiantradition as part of the problem rather than of the solution’5. With this in mind it isimportant to note that scholarly literature on dystopias in general, also ‘constitutesa critique of existing social conditions’6 and Huxley is thereforeusing his novel to also show dissent for the destruction technology has causedto humanity. Thus, for Claeys, in his recent Dystopia: A Natural History (2016), the future will be worse than thepresent, or dystopian if we do not learn how to check a modern set of problems:for example, ‘how to control industrialisation, widespread poverty, theconcentration of wealth, and an increasing tendency towards collectivistsolutions to these problems’.7 This posits the idea thattechnology should belong to us and we shouldn’t be changed or confined by it,as the texts shows how severely this can happen.

1 Williams, p.358.2 Williams, p. 358.

3 Williams, p. 358.4 Huxley, p. 155.5 George Claeys, p.

6 Bernard Bergonzi, Wartime and Aftermath, (Oxford: 1993),pp.80-1.7 George Claeys, p. 


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