I had to read this book in my English class, and I actually really liked it. It kind of reminded me of the book, Giver because they both seem like Utopian societies on the surface, but they’re actually Distopian societies.
After reading this book, we had to choose an essential question and answer it in an analytical way.
My essential question was, “what is the role of technology in daily life?” and I had to talk about its role in both the World State and the contemporary society.
First of all, the primary role of technology in the World State is to control the population, to stabilize their society. The government of the state has rigid control of reproduction. They use this scientific process to create thousands of identical humans. Basically, what they’re doing is exactly like mass production at factories, except with human products. They create just the right amount of humans they need with specified qualities. Because technology is used to tightly control the population and humans, the society never has to deal with any problems such as overpopulation or infant mortality. They don’t have to deal with conflicts, changes or risks. And not having those means stability in their society, which is the reason why they’re controlling the population. However, this tight control leaves no room for individualism or freedom.
Technology also controls people’s minds in the World State with the use of conditioning, or brainwashing, and the soma. Technology in the state condition people so that they think the way the government wants them to think. They believe what they’ve been told to believe, and nothing else, which helps avoid any uprisings and questioning. Also, the use of soma is a perfect symbol for influence of technology in daily life of the state. People are encouraged to take the soma whenever they feel unpleasant, as it provides temporary happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure, and helps people escape from the reality, therefore preventing them from having negative thoughts. This forced thought and forced happiness make them not unaware of their reality, but they help prevent conflicts or uprisings within society.
In today’s society, technology plays a role in basically every aspect of our daily lives. It saves so much time and energy by providing us information, communication, entertainment, and globalization. When we need to do research, all we have to do is open up our Macbooks and search, and we have access to every possible source related to the topic. And with social networking sites and messengers such as Facebook and Skype, we can now contact friends on the other side of the world. Technology’s speeding up globalization and making the world smaller.
On the other hand, technology is also making us forget our other values. We’re depending too much on it to do everything for us. Since it’s too broad to focus on all negative aspects of technology, I’ve decided to narrow it down to something that plays a big role in all of our daily lives today: social networking. While it helps us stay in contract with friends who don’t live close to us, it creates other problems. We’re getting addicted to it, often to the point of obsession. When opening up Firefox, or Safari, most of us probably open a new tab and check Facebook first. This can be a big distraction, and also take us away from family life. It’s impossible to quit because we feel as if we’re isolated from the society if we stop using it. We feel the need to be always connected to the world of Facebook.