Happiness is an extremely difficult emotion for many people to feel and continue feeling. They can spend their entire lives chasing after a feeling that, overall, has no value in the end. Happiness has to do with satisfying one’s needs and obtaining what they want at all times. Once they get it, what happens? Although happiness and meaningfulness do correlate with each other, meaningfulness answers that “so what” question. Living a life filled with meaning helps develop one’s identity and provides an expression of the self.
However, pursuing this life may be filled with obstacles and trials. Through these obstacles and trials one faces, they may find their purpose, who they are, and experience emotions they have never felt before. A meaningful life gives value to an individual and creates a life worth living.
Meaning encourages a person to understand themselves and how they differ from society. In Aldous Huxley’s book, Brave New World, the citizens live in a utopian culture where all they understand is the idea of a “happy” life.
They have been conditioned, since birth, that they are, not apart of, a community. It is all in the motto they live by, “Community. Identity. Stability.” (Huxley 1) Although identity is apart of this saying, it is meant to emphasize the fact that identity only exists within the community which, overall, creates stability. The government strips all individuality from the citizens to teach them that they are all the same, regarding each caste. We may think this is unbelievable because many of use are not used to this sort of society, but what we must realize is this makes the Brave New World inhabitants content, or happy.
Another saying that is constantly repeated in Huxley’s book is, “Everyone belongs to everyone else.” (Huxley 149).
This proverb translates to explain the importance of sexual relationships to the citizens. It describes how there is no relationship, besides the sexual relation, that means more to a citizen of the Brave New World. They are able to get anyone they want whenever they want because this is what they were conditioned to believe in and this is all they know. The concept of possessing no individuality and being forced into a community provides happiness to the inhabitants, but this is not meaningful. Roy F. Baumeister, a Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, expressed in his article, “If happiness is about getting what you want, it appears that meaningfulness is about doing things that express yourself.” This statement proves that through the conditioning and through Ford’s beliefs, the people of the Brave New World do not and can not live a meaningful life.
They are unaware of their ability to express emotions and understand other’s emotions since it was taken from them. Some inhabitants are conscious of their individuality which shows that human originality can be irreversible. But, what Huxley is trying to summarize in his book is that even when the citizens begin to realize they are a person, it will ultimately never succeed in a society that’s perspective of uniqueness and singularity are threatening and expendable. This notion of not being able to process an original thought and having to act a certain way to please people heightens the belief that pursuing a meaningful life and being an individual is something that our world should chase after.
Pursuing a life filled with meaning means expressing one’s feelings with emotions and allowing oneself to do so. Elaine Dundon, the founder of the Global Meaning Institute, wrote in her article, “Meaningfulness encourage us to go further; to transcend to a higher level by connecting not just within our thinking but also with our emotions…” In order to achieve awareness into what provides meaning, one must have the patience to consider their thoughts and think deeply about what is important to them. Acting fast and out of context is not allowing someone to realize the true meaning. In the Brave New World, when John began to whip the girl with intentional force, the citizens reacted unexpectedly. “Pain was a fascinating horror.” (Huxley 258) They burst out in laughter and continually asked for more because they had no idea what was really occurring. Due to the conditioning, they experienced as infants, and the sole purpose of the Brave New World, to make sure everyone no one had to worry, they acted as if someone was celebrating something when in reality a girl was being abused.
The citizens have never had to experience anything that would create unhappiness which supports the way they acted. With a meaningful life, experiencing pain and hardships is what creates a stronger individual. Bella DePaulo, Academic Affiliate in Psychological and Brain Sciences, explained in her article, “Meaningful involvements increase one’s stress, worries, arguments, and anxiety, which reduces happiness.” Because the citizens have not experienced any type of meaning, the incident they saw increased their happiness. It was amusing to them, they wanted more of it. Meaning does include pain and struggles, just like happiness, but it has a meaning in the end. It teaches somebody that life is not just filled with smiles and laughter, it also comes with sadness and anger. Being able to accept this and exhibit these emotions provide value to an individual’s life.
In conclusion, due to Aldous Huxley’s book, Brave New World, there is much more to life than making sure one gets everything they want whenever they want. There is no purpose in this concept because with this comes to no individuality and the inability to express one’s emotion. Pursuing happiness does not mean one will feel happy, one will become happy if they live a life that has meaning. If one decided to chase a life filled with happiness, they will be satisfied for a little, but it does not exactly mean they are happy. Pursuing meaning, though, will make someone more confident in themselves because they are chasing after something that is bigger than them. The end result will supply worth into life and show an individual the importance of their life.