“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley has long been lauded as a controversial, but masterful work that analyzes the effects of implements and ideas such as technology and religion on society, as well as critiques of the way in which social norms develop and the means through which people live and act under the guidance of a uniformed state and government. Much of the emphasis of the novel is placed on the relationship between religion and the citizenry of the world that Huxley creates. The way in which religion is viewed and utilized by the militarized government creates an interesting scenario and study of the human development, as well as the psychology of humans and the power of societal implements to control and regulate the masses. Given the nature of “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, much of the novel focuses around the societal shifts in ideology and beg the question: why has the general public turned on Religion?
The dystopian novel portrays a significant amount of spiritualism in the sense of the way that characters’ particular religious affiliations and beliefs develop, and under what conditions they arise. The principal understanding of religion in this world isn’t centered around a deity or god in the typical, understood sense– rather, the concept of God is a satirized version of the typical sense. In this novel, religion is markedly different in most of the characters worship a god that is named “Ford,” based around Henry Ford, the maker of the automobile in the United States. As stated by Robert Russell, “This “Ford” is a satirical play on words with Lord, and represents a character which embodies the society’s reliance and adaptation of technology.” (Russell, 1999)
As stated by Johan Heje in his work, titled “Aldous Huxley,” “In this world, the rulers have little usage for the concept of traditional religion, and instead replace the ideas of religious characters and symbols with those that represent and embody the reliance that the society itself has on technological implements.” (Heje, 2002) As a result, much of the beliefs that people have are represented by this belief in “Ford,” and ironically, Huxley uses this platform to show an almost universal unification of religious thoughts and beliefs, in that most people believe in this character that is fabricated. Because of this, there isn’t much conflict between individuals in terms of religious thought.
In fact, there isn’t much conflict in general with the characters in the story, in regards to religion. Religion, as the common populace understand it and perceive it, is generally did away with by the leaders of the world. As a direct result, the values and norms of the world before them has been turned and changed to represent the consumer-capitalist, technology-driven needs of the world as a whole. “Given this, it’s in the interests of the leaders to augment the perceptions of the world in regards to religion, to suit the better needs of their goals.” (Russell, 1999) As stated by Grover Smith in his anthology of Aldous Huxley, “This highly mechanized, technologically dependent world is shown as an extension of the belief that the leaders have, in that they disregard any form of religion as they see that it doesn’t fit with their goals or with the values of technology that they’ve placed.” (Smith, 398)
As stated by Johan Heje, “The individuals in this society have given up on the notion of religion, based on the fact that their overseers and those above them have essentially eradicated it from the society they live in– this shows the power of the society as well as the ability of the citizens to buy fully into what they have prescribed to them.” (Heje, 2002) The overall nature of the story reflects rather well the tendencies of these types of individuals, and the power that they have in reflection. The thematic elements also show how quickly religion was abandoned when greater forms of societal control were established.
Given the nature of “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, much of the novel focuses around the societal shifts in ideology and beg the question: why has the general public turned on religion? As a reflection, the way in which society has adapted and developed can be seen as an extension of this. The overall tendency of society at this point has been moving towards a greater trend of technological reliance, and given the way in which this novel depicts the science and technology within the society in question, there are great comparisons which can be drawn to the modern world and the one that is represented in the novel. (Heje, 2002) While Huxley’s novel is a satirical representation, it is still safe to believe a similar concept could be employed by societies around the world, given society’s trends.