Monday, 22 September 2014

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley reminds me of a more disturbing and extreme version of 1984. The 20th Century novel is set in London in 2540 (in the book, known as 632 after Ford).  The world is stable; nobody ever suffers, the world is united, the people are happy and everyone is in a job that is satisfactory to them. However, this means controlling everything; the world has a stable population of 2 billion, children are ‘manufactured’ in labs, genetically modified to fit a caste and then educated – almost traumatized/terrorized – to fit into society. The lower castes (the majority of the population) are bred through a process in which one single egg produces up to 96 identical children. When Bernard and Lenina travel to the “Savage Reservation”, they are shocked at the difference between the two worlds. They end up encountering, John, a young man that was born from World State parents but born and raised in the Savage World. John is an outsider due to his appearance in the primitive village, and finds comfort in reading Shakespeare. Bernard decides to take John and his mother back to London. However, John finds the ‘civilized’ society appalling and is still feels as the outsider...

Friday, 12 September 2014

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.” 

“If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.” 

“It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” 

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is the story of the creative minds, the hard workers, the inventors protesting against the corrupt government and society. It is mostly told through Dagny Taggart’s (a railroad executive) point of view. She struggles to follow her moral code and love for her industry while having to sacrifice everything for a society/government that judges her as amoral; taking advantage of her virtues. John Galt becomes the symbol of everything she hates, but mostly everything she loves. Dagny finds a broken down motor which runs on static electricity, as she tries to find the inventor and his reasons for abandoning the motor she begins to find a whole new world and philosophy. Dagny is reluctant to give up her railroad but she begins to see that she is only helping the looters.

As you should be able to tell by my use of three quotes, I really liked the book and what it had to say. I had previously read, We the Living, and I had really enjoyed it so I decided to read another of Rand’s book. I must say, I have found that I really agree with Rand’s philosophy. There were a lot of teachers that did not support me reading this book, they thought it would ‘brainwash’ me; too extremist. I don’t think these teachers had completely read the book, because too me it wasn't just about being rich and selfish. Sure, it justified capitalism and some things were exaggerated; however, it talked about hard work, about only giving and taking what is deserved and about money being important but only the tool and not the means or the end.