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January 27, 2020

In Brave New World, Huxley draws many parallels between World State citizens and infants. There’s little to no gap between when they desire something and when they get it. This lets them go from pleasure to pleasure with no delay or real effort. There’s no need for self-control, so no one ever develops any. So they become slaves to desires and can’t pursue anything else.

I agree with the point Huxley made, but I think this is too unfair to toddlers. Toddlers have the potential for self-control and are raised to develop those skills over time. Meanwhile, in the novel, toddlers are conditioned through shocks, whispers, and…other activities.

I’d argue the citizens are more like animals, like cats or rats. At least toddlers have the potential to pursue meaning, and World State citizens don’t even have that. They’re also like rats since, whether it’s electrical brain stimulation or soma, they will indulge until it kills them.

At least World State citizens had stringent birth control to avoid the rats’ population growth rate. But they also don’t make babies in fetus jars on a slow-moving conveyor belt, so I’ll just call it even.