In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World the controller states, “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” (Page 261). This displays that no one person is individual or has control over their doings, that technology conditions the society to the drastic point of seeming robots. In Brave New World and Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca, there is a totalitarian government whose ambition is to colonise an individual’s views, behaviours, philosophies and interactions entirely, so that its citizens can be sectioned to serve their conditioned purpose in society. It is apparent in both the dystopian fictions ‘Gattaca – 1997’ and ‘Brave New World-1932’ that, technology is used to control society through the destruction of individual freedoms and identities subsequent from the oppressive government’s extensive conditioning of their young. In both fictions eugenics is used to condition and genetically modify babies into certain beliefs/abilities. The controllers manipulate the grouping of hierarchy and career paths based on these habituated placements.
Maintained through technological interventions, power and control in Brave New World starts even before birth by removing the emotional and social attachment to babies and mass producing them. From 1997 Gattaca to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, dystopian societies thrive on the idea of tinkering with babies genetically otherwise known as test tube babies. Both fictions promise parents their perfect child where they have the option of creating their newborn with faultless genetics and features as shown by the following quote: “We want to give your child the best possible start. Believe me, we have enough imperfection built in already. Your child doesn’t need any more additional burdens. Keep in mind, this child is still you. Simply, the best, of you. You could conceive naturally a thousand times and never get such a result.” – Gattaca geneticists. Nothing in either society is left to chance, which is anticipated to produce stability and control. In Gattaca hopeful parents simply see their ‘local geneticist’ to order a newborn that meets the requirements they wish. Whereas, people are made/conceived in bottles along an assembly line in Brave New World where their place and future in society is determined for them: “all conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.” – Brave New World (page 16). Therefore the children’s genetically induced traits become the criterion for being hired. “My real resume was in my cells”- Gattaca. Only those in Gattaca who poses perfect genes will have access to decent jobs.
Those conceived naturally without the aid of technology were considered “invalid” and deemed to very low level jobs, poverty and segregation. “We used to think our future was in the stars, now we know its in our genes.” – Gattaca. This quote highlights the importance of DNA, in fact, even the title refers to the four nucleotides being adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. The sequence was consistently repeated throughout the film in the human genome of which is a… to Eugene Jerome’s name referring to genes, and the staircase in Vincent and Jerome’s house represents the form of a double helix. This shows that there isn’t the slightest bit of individuality present in a household or a name, it shows that the government is in complete control of everything, and that “genes are the founders of men.” – Gattaca. Both these dystopias demonstrate the inability of human kind to line in a world without humanity.The government in Brave New World makes its citizens superficially fulfilled and happy that they are controlled to not care about their personal freedom. Brave New World and Gattaca both warn today’s society of the dangers of giving a single state the control of powerful and new technologies. Science is used as a means to develop technology to craft a happy, seamless superficial society. Both dystopias use science and technology as the fundamental basis behind a happy society with things like the unyielding control of reproduction through interventions including, the surgical removal of ovaries, hypnotic conditioning and the Bokanoysky Process in Brave New World.
In both Brave New World and Gattaca, societies are dictated and controlled by a totalitarian government that eradicates viviparous childbirths and the caste system completely in Brave New World, and push suppressive ideologies in gattaca. Both dystopians explore notions of freedom or lack of freedom and mass control where characters challenge the expectations and rules of their oppressive systems of rule. An example of this in Gattaca is where the society ruled by genoism is opposed by Jerome ‘Eugene’ Morrow and Vincent Freemen. Additionally it is seen in Brave New World by the rebelling acts from John the savage and Bernard Marx against the world state. Bernards outrage although he is an Alpha, stems from his sense of injustice making him an outsider. He is an enigma to others and his strong dislike of the world state is superficial. Compared to his fellow Alphas, Bernard is a complete juxtaposition as his appearance is thin and small. These emotional and physical defects lead to him feeling separated from society but make him value his individuality and non conformity. Page 56 reads “The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one, which increased the prejudice against him and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical defects. Which in turn increased his sense of being alien and alone”. This statement proves that this system of rule does not work. It proves that the citizen’s individuality is and has been taken from them, that society has no idea what to do once they gain a small piece of individualism like Bernard. In turn it forced him to have a lingering fear of being insulted and slighted making him avoid other Alphas self-consciously. It made Bernard envy men bitterly, “Men who never had to shout at an Epsilon to get an order obeyed; men who took their position for granted; men who moved through the caste system as a fish through water–so utterly at home as to be unaware either of themselves or of the beneficent and comfortable element in which they had their being.” – (p 57). This once again portrays the control the oppressive government has over its citizens and that individuality drives people mad because of their brainwashed upbringings.
- Brave new world title page: https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.d3UGhDZOR8RcL_OocKZ5KwHaLK&pid=Api&rs=1
- Gattaca title page: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zaR3Ak-24No/TZnvU8giz-I/AAAAAAAAAEw/eO37x-2pZpg/s1600/gattaca_movie-poster-01.jpg
- Baby; eyes photo: http://wearechange.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/67777ccf24e2c89bfcec86a3d83f050c.jpg