Happy Art

Salvatore
2018-05-12 00:39:57

In the Brave New World, happy art, which is different from high art, is focused only on pleasure. They have the feelies, the scent organ and other complicated entertainment machines that generate happiness. Happy art represents amusing ourselves to death. In our civilization this takes the form of television and network's entertainment. Everything can be on TV, and once it’s on TV, it’s turned into be presented as entertaining.

John, the savage, has a problem with this kind of happy art. His problem with it is that he can't understand why Shakespeare is prohibited, and he is inclined to think that this brand of happiness creates monstrous and repulsive human beings. From my perspective, I agree with him. Because in Brave New World, high art is banned for basically two reasons. Firstly, beautiful things, such as great literature, tend to last. People continue to like them even when they become quite old. A society based on consumerism needs citizens who want new things. Newness is thus more important than intrinsic value, and high art must be suppressed to make room for the new. Secondly, struggles and strong emotions have been sacrificed in favor of social stability, so the citizens there would not be able to understand Shakespeare. However, art is not a consumer product, and great art draws its subject matter from various feelings, relationships and commitments, not just from happiness. So we should appreciate true art instead of merely focusing on happiness.

Regarding permanence, I think this book did an excellent job. I thought the themes of it still stay relevant now. This book was published in 1932. At that time, industrial revolution was just over, and people pursued technology development and high productivity. I can imagine how shocked readers were at that time when they read this Huxley’s book filled with audacious plots about this kind of happy but terrifying society. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. Until now, this kind of debate is still heated. Nowadays, the trend that modern people love entertainment on the Internet and TV somewhat confirm his prediction. Today’s media provide us with the incoherent information, which creates an illusion of knowing everything but in fact leads us away from knowing. As a result, what we have are not opinions but emotions. We take ignorance to be knowledge. Therefore, I think this book’s reflection of future society make it a permanent masterpiece.

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