The story Brave New World presents us to the future world A.F (after Ford) where the government institutionalizes the advantages of technology to the fullest. The reader is informed that human beings are no longer produced naturally anymore. In A.F, technology is used to generate identical boys and girls and place in to classes where they are programmed to be the most efficient at what they do. The utilitarian view and Brave New World both claim that individualistic views are irrelevant. Both the utilitarian and the philosophy of the world state both promote the greatest good principle. On the other hand Mill would oppose to Brave New World because it does not take up that course of nature and or is not based off real human experiences. Mill opposes to social arrangements. The foundation of the world state in Brave New World reveals similar philosophy to the utilitarian view, but not completely.
In the sense of Brave New World and the utilitarian view, both cases take a stand point that reject individualisms. In Brave New World, there is no room from individual views or thoughts. In fact it is impossible for any case to even create their own thought. From the second they are obtained from the test tube, babies are conditioned to have limited thoughts and ideas. They are conditioned to only the progression of their function once labeled into the five categorize of castes. For example the “Delta” caste, once the babies reach the age of eight months, they are conditioned to hate flowers and books. Babies were placed on the floor where they could see a flower and book across the room. The director waited for the babies to show signs of happiness while playing with the flowers and books. A signal was given in which released a terrifying noise accompanied by an electric shock. “Why go to the trouble of making it psychologically impossible for deltas to like flowers?” (Huxley, 22) The D.H.C replies by explaining that if the delta class was conditioned to like the nature (flower), less time would be spent in the factories where they are most efficient. “A love of nature keeps no factory busy.” (Huxley, 23)
I like to compare the brave new world to a business or a team. The old saying that reflects the brave new world could be said like this, “There’s no I in TEAM”. The brave new world is programmed around profit and efficiency just as a business is structured around supply and demand. In order for the world state to obtain its social goal of social stability; every caste has to work in concordance of their function. Therefore with each caste being conditioned / taught their function at any early stage will set aside or leave no room for their behavior to act out of concordance. In other words castes are conditioned to fear anything else then what their duty is. “That is the secret of happiness and virtue- liking what you’ve got to do.” “All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny” (Huxley, 16) By obtaining their objectivity of social stability will then reinforce or create a happy community. This principle in terms refers to Mill’s greatest happiness principle. Both Brave New World and the utilitarian view share the greatest happiness principle.
Both Mill and Brave New World reject the importance of individualism. It is wrong to make all individuals happy because it is nearly impossible to obtain such a thing. In doing so it would disrupt the natural balance of experiences. This is where Brave New World and the utilitarian view have their differences. In the utilitarian view Mill provides to tell us that individuals need to experience pain and pleasure. Huxley sets up a perfect world where no pain is experienced. Mill takes into account that it is nearly impossible conceal people from pain. If we did try to conceal humans from pain this would distort human’s nature itself. This is very important to a utilitarian because the ultimate end of happiness/pleasure come through pre existing experience. This is why Mill claims we should not have social arrangements.
In the philosophy of Brave New World, alpha through gamma castes are given reason to why they should behave in a particular form or matter. Mill would oppose to the brave new world. I think mill would argue chapter two of the book where babies are being conditioned to fear books and nature. Mill would come to say that social stability comes through the natural course of what humans learn through their own experiences. In other words, mills view of human nature itself should conduct people to work together. The brave new world would seem non-natural to Mill.
Another difference between Brave New World and the utilitarian is on the topic of pleasures/happiness. In Brave New World, Huxely creates his perfect world where everyone is happy, but happiness is never defined. Brave New World only accompanies one type of pleasure, which is a bodily pleasure. In the utilitarian view, Mill distinguished between two types of pleasure: intellectual pleasures and bodily pleasures. This is to disprove that Brave New World practices a perfect utilitarian standpoint.
When answering the question to whether Brave New World practices utilitarianism the answer is yes and no. However it does highlight the fundamentals of utilitarianism. Both Brave New World and utilitarianism do reject individualism and also formulate around the greatest good principle. It is more important to have general happiness for the greatest amount as it is to reach to social goal of social stability which creates for a happy community in Brave New World. But Brave New World lacks the course of nature. A utilitarian does oppose to social arrangement. It is important for humans to have their own experiences through the course of nature. Another aspect that Brave New World is missing is pain and the variety of pleasures. Brave New World only allows for one pleasure (bodily pleasures) and has an absence of pain. Where as a utilitarian can experience two types of pleasures (bodily and intellectual) and also experiences pain. Therefore Brave New World does not practice “perfect” utilitarianism.