Philosophy: Brave New World/ Utilitarianism

Do you think that the society depicted in Brave New World is on its way towards becoming the ideal utilitarian society? Why or why not?

The society depicted in the brave new world is ideally a utilitarian society. This is because in a different instance it seems to subscribe to the laws that are utilitarian. When Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson become friends, they do not relate because they are people who are in for each other on the regular basis that real friends have; they relate because have a common sense of misfit. This is a subscription of the claim of the utilitarian theory that state that an action is right to the extent it promotes happiness. In that, even if it’s a selfish act like the close tie formed between Marx and Watson, just because they are happy it makes it a right action. It should not be the case because this friendship is bound on a conditional but mutual feeling. In the event one of them is accepted by the society then the friendship will be over.

Additionally, the book shows a scene where a young boy is whipped to unconsciousness when Marx and Lenina Crowne takes a holiday to New Mexico. This ritual makes people happy which is politically correct in a society that is based on the utilitarian claims that a state of affairs is right to the extent it promotes happiness. Evidently, the ritual makes people happy since it is a unifying factor but if it whips a boy to the point of unconsciousness. However, it must be a nightmare for anyone to succumb to such physical injury. Apparently, this society can be identified as one that is utilitarian.

In a different event, the book shows how John and Linda the mother to John is treated as an outcast by the villagers because John was a child born out of wedlock. This society is observing laws that make them appear ‘civilized’ which means they are happy. This is in support of one of the claims of utilitarianism that indicates a situation is good to the extent it makes people happy. This is not considerate at all because John being a victim of circumstance suffers rejection which affects him in life while his mother loses the opportunity to enjoy her pregnancy which is not fair to them as a family.

Do you think the novel succeeds in illustrating some of the defects inherent in utilitarianism? Why or why not? There is no need to do outside research beyond that.

As shown above, most of the defects that come attached with utilitarianism are discussed. Hence the book has succeeded in showing some of the inherent weaknesses that are in the utilitarianism claims. The book lists the effects of the utilitarianism believes on the individuals it affected negatively. Thus, pointing out the shortcomings of this belief system. For example, because the society disliked John and the only way he expressed emotions was through reading the books his mother gave him John was socially impaired. He could not attend social events and could not date like a normal human being. His defining of social interaction was complicated and hard to understand. This shows that though the utilitarianism society supports the majority, the minority who suffer unhappiness in silence are deeply affected. It shapes the mindset of the minority in an emotionally painful way such that the effects of such occurrences in their lives define who they are and what they believe, which is torturous.


The book shows the weakness of a utilitarian founded society when John’s life is shut down when the mother dies. After John learn that his mother is ill, he reacts in a manner that shows like a person who he thought they shared life with is leaving him. It was like life had taken away a part of life away from him. John lives in an abandoned hilltop after his mother passes away which is a sad ending for him. This shows the emotional burden that the utilitarian claims have over people. This emotional burden is detrimental in all areas of an individual’s life because it torments to death trying to understand why they had to be the ones who were hated.

In conclusion, this is a story that showcases the good and evil of the utilitarian theory. The evil it causes sounds weighty than its good because it disrupts the normal functioning of the society. The community should embrace everyone no matter what they look like or come from. The judgments used in judging what makes people happy in the utilitarian theory is shallow and hard to understand why people would evaluate people using natural biases. This is a closed-minded way of living life and viewing life because its adaptations are barriers to different people which should not be the case. I think the society shown in this book is not brave but a coward because it cannot host the various capacities of the different human beings as a healthy society should accommodate differences.