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The theme of happiness is central to the story. However, different characters find happiness in different things. The new world offers physical satisfaction and psychological ease through sex and drugs but people like Bernard, John etc. want freedom, self expression, poetry and individuality to feel truly happy. The overall structure of the new world promotes physical desire as happiness. It quells the search for personal meaning and truth. However, few individual characters like John find problem in accepting the same and try to challenge the status quo.
The story highlights the social cages designed to limit individual freedom and expression of curiosity. The new world presents ability to have physical intimacy with anyone and have as much as drugs as possible, as a freedom to have fun. However, in reality, it is an illusion of freedom and every human being is treated as a machine and ordered to follow the same programme of lust and drugs. The independence to form one’s own rules and thoughts is quelled and every person is expected to desire the same things irrespective of their individual values and opinions.
The story paints a stark picture of the use of science and technology to control and condition people into a life of monotony and uniformity. From biological control to psychological entanglement, the state (in the story) uses cutting edge technology to control its own people and kill any form of individuality or rebellion. Here, science does not represent an exploration of the unknown but only creation of an elusive world to hypnotize its citizens and control every aspect of their lives.
The story highlights the principle of pleasure and pain under the utilitarianist theory. It states that a society should aim to maximize pleasure for the maximum number of people and minimize their pain. In the story, the state does the same when it tries to create a society that revels in physical pleasure and happiness. If people still feel pain or dissatisfaction, they are encouraged to take up drugs to soothe their anxieties. The writer tries to explain, through the new world, the dangers of relying on the principle of such theoretical concepts of pleasure and pain.
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