Monday, December 05, 2005

Perfection is a Point of View

The Novels 1984, Brave New World, and The Republic of Plato all are considered masterpieces and/or classics in our world. These novels draw the reader in using a new and interesting plot which at the time of publishing made each novel revolutionary in terms of concepts and ideas. Socrates as a writer focuses more upon the hypothetical formation of such a society while Huxley and Orwell focus upon the individual living in such a society. Each of these novels discusses a different form of the most-perfect society.
The Republic of Plato is a philosophical argument about the perfect city, which is metaphorically the perfect and most just society. Plato focuses more on the ideals behind the city and not the people in it. He believes that if he can set up the perfect society that people will live happily in perfect bliss. Plato deals in broad generalizations that make many assumptions about the morals of the common man. Although Plato hypothetically forms the perfect city through discussion and philosophizing he never once thinks of the corrupt decisions of humans. The fact is with human nature the perfect society can never exist. Humans will always make choices in their best interest and not for the interest of the group as Plato had hoped. Humans in general wish for money, power, and stature for all humans are greedy at heart to a certain extent.
In Brave New World a perfect society has been formed to a certain point of view. This novel focuses in on the individuals living under this perfect society. The only problem with the creation of a perfect society is that it is a complete point of view. It is perfect to the people in control and the elite upper class because they are the ones benefiting from it. The fact of the matter is that a society where children are grown in jars, people are made to fit a different caste by pre-birth conditioning, and people are kept subdued and numbed by the perfect drug is not a perfect society to all. The directors and the alpha’s (bigger, stronger, intellectual caste) in the society see it mostly as a perfect society because they benefit from the lower classes suffering and inbred stupidity. Huxley makes clear that this is the best and most efficient society to live in but it is not necessarily beneficial to its people. Unlike Socrates, Huxley draws on a more personal side of this society that leads to the reader feeling sympathy for the protagonist. This sympathy allows for the reader to allow emotion to get into their judgment. Instead of an efficient society for the masses the reader now sees a society in which the rich benefit on the suffering of the poor. Huxley’s future society is a cautionary tale to the dangers of science and totalitarian rule and not a foretelling of a perfect society.
George Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning to the ultimate horrible and corrupt society that can ever exist. It is the perfect totalitarian government for it has banned emotion, love and all human thought. People convicted of “thoughtcrimes” are taken to the torture Room 101 and literally reprogrammed to love their country. The elites of this class, The Party generally see their style of living as the most perfect society in the history of the world. O’Brien himself compares The Party to past fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini and other famous tyrants, except that he states their failure as not doing enough. He believes that his system of government is infinitely better because it goes farther than any other before it. 1984 is not seen by any means as a perfect society instead it is seen as the ultimate warning against censorship and totalitarian rule.
All three books describe the most efficient and perfect city. This being said, it must be known that this statement is a point of view and the perfect society to one person can be different to another. The fact that Socrates used broad generalizations versus Huxley/Orwell’s use of personal stories which get sympathy from the readers, leads to Socrates’ society being just and great and the others being corrupt, horrible, and unjust.


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