Cover of "Brave New World"
Cover of Brave New World

I remember reading Brave New World in high school, my English teacher would let me go through her shelves of books and pick out things I wanted to read because I had pretty much cleaned out the reading material in the library. I am just grateful she didn’t ask me to write a book review or an essay about the book at that time, because it would have been awful I was never a successful report writer.  When I read it back in my teens back in the days before the explosion of the internet and technology, I found the book fascinating in how the author created this futuristic world in 1932 with technologies that didn’t exist yet, except for Smell O Vision as that was created in 1909, although to be honest I didn’t know that until recently.  I read it again in college, I think but I know I haven’t re-read the book since I moved to North Carolina.  It always amazes me how much I still recall from the book.  There were things written in that book which I couldn’t imagine existing at all.  Although, now almost 30 years later a few of the unimaginable things from that book exist. It just blows my mind when I think about it.

I know much of Huxley’s book was about reproductive technology, but at 17, that theme in the book was just too much for me to consider as practical and I don’t want this blog to denigrate into a discussion about the right to life. What I found the most intriguing in the book was the society and how these people had just allowed the government take over their lives and dictate how things occurred  Huxley talked about sleep learning, which I know is being explored by neurobiologists and other scientists. Operant conditioning is already an accepted factor in our society and is discussed freely in many psychology classes.

But the one thing that always stuck with me from the book was when they were taking John The Savage around to see their world and they took him to a movie which was far more interactive than anything that exists now, although it does seem that people are moving in that way.  It was a true full sensory experience with smell, touch, taste and as I recall some kind of biological reactions to things happening in the movie through sensors in the movie chairs.  For John The Savage this was more than he could handle, while everyone who grew up with it thought it was quite normal.

Our lives rely on technology in a way no one could have imagined back in the 80’s and it isn’t all bad, I love being able to read the news I want to read and not what is fed to me by my local news stations.  However I also know I waste a lot of time online playing. I still wonder what a full sensory movie would be like, the 3-d movies which I have experienced at Disney parks were always just amazing, I am not sure how comfortable I would feel smelling and tasting the movie as well.  So this still isn’t a book report, but I gave it a shot.