the role of history in BNW

18th Feb, 2011

The role of history in Brave New World

The changes

The introduction of Ford’s first T-Model as opening date of a new era  ‘AF 0’ (‘anno Fordi’ instead of ‘anno domini’)  
 The beginning of the World Control is after the Nine Years’ War (A.F. 141-149)

Ø  World Control as only way of reaching economical recovery

Ø  British Museum Massacre (culture-fans were gassed), suppression of books, blowing up historical monuments

ð  People forget about past and progress

What Mond tells about the past                                                                            

World Controller Mond wants some students to imagine, what it was like to have a viviparous mother and a home.

·        The students can hardly imagine

·        Some students mention terms like ‘family’, ‘home’ and ‘parents’ but these terms became already taboo à they can’t define them

·         So he describes ‘home’ as a prison which is over-inhabited, dark, dirty, smells and causes diseases

·        Families live in ‘rabbit holes’ full of trash, disagreement and emotions

·        Mothers are like brooding cats, brooding over their own children saying “My baby, my baby” again and again like a backward creature which isn’t able to take things easily

·        Freud was the first to discover the dangers of the family: misery, madness and suicide

·        Remorse and isolating pain make people sad    

Mustapha Mond just tells negative aspects of the past to make the people not even want to think about the past:  
“History is bunk!” (p.57/l.18)   ->slogan of hypnopaedia

Henry Ford:

"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today."
(Chicago Tribune, May 25th, 1916)

The real intention

History is dangerous since it gives people a sense of time. People would recognize the progress which happened in the past. The totalitarian state tries to avoid this scenario since it wants stability in order to avoid revolutions. -> eternal stagnation   

·         Books (The holy Bible, poetry) are hidden (people could get rebellious)

·         History is not taught at school -> people don’t think about progress

·         Christianity is also prohibited as it is against the Bokanovsky’s process

·         Abolishment of pregnancy and family -> to avoid emotions and retain stability

“Stability. No civilization without social stability. No social stability without individual stability.”
Mustapha Mond (p.66/l.24-26)

authors: Christoph Herbert Eduard Ziegler, Maximilian Stopfer