Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
I stood in front of the television screen in horror and disbelief at 10 o'clock on September 11, 2001. Watching as the second plane struck the World Trade Center in a fiery ball of destruction, I thought for sure that this world as we know it was coming to an abrupt end. Seeing the first tower fall and then the second, with over 100 stories each now a pile of twisted steel and death made me want to vomit. In two short hours, the stability of America’s foundation became questionable. I wondered how such a terrorist attack could happen in this society. Then I began looking for warning signs. Ironically, all the warning America needed lies underneath the cover of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World published in 1932. Huxley warned America prior to World War II and almost 70 years prior to the “Attack on America” that materialism, ethnocentrism, complacency, and racism could all lead to ultimate destruction. America chose to ignore him.
Why were such attacks and wounds inflicted on America? Huxley recognized many years prior to pop culture that society in the US was incredibly materialistic and money oriented; maybe someday America would be otherwise. In Brave New World, Huxley puts great detail into the description of this futuristic society's material possessions. Their creator and God was “Ford,” named after the car manufacturer and father of mass production. “Ford” was an incredible symbol of wealth and power, similar to the automobile at the time of publication. Besides Ford, Huxley’s main female character Lenina Crowne takes great pride in her appearance and her outfits, especially her “silver-mounted green morocco-surrogate cartridge belt” (Huxley, 50). Many analysts in the past week have attributed the terrorist attacks to a deep-rooted hatred of America, because other nations throughout the world have fewer material possessions. Americans are completely oblivious of this fact, perhaps taking too many material riches for granted. Dramatically destroying the World Trade Center was symbolically an attempt to destroy American materialism. Once that materialism was gone, people would not know what to do. For example, imagine that Lenina’s green belt was confiscated suddenly. She wouldn’t know how to carry on her daily activities. Lenina would have been forced to look at her material possessions in the larger picture of her life. It made me realize that a 100 plus story building was very unimportant in the larger scheme of things.
Besides being materialistic, America is an extremely ethnocentric country; Americans enter another country generally lacking knowledge about the culture, even sometimes ridiculing the other culture. Americans lack the capability to see beyond the reaches of the United States and fail to recognize that they are not always the models that other cultures follow. It is in the same ethnocentric view that makes Lenina unable to relate to life on the...