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Workshop 010: HSC Advanced English — “Brave New World” and “Blade Runner”

INTRODUCTION

Hi I’ve written an incomplete essay on Brave New World and blade runner. Can you just read it and see if it’s going to the right direction and also what else can I write about?

Topic

Imagine you have interviewed the composers of the TWO prescribed texts you have studied regarding how they attempted to show their interest in man’s relationship with the natural world.

Write the script of this interview in which the two composers reflect on man’s relationship with the natural world and how they tried to show this in their works.

Here is what was sent…

Interviewer: Man’s relationship with the natural world has generated considerable amount of interest within literature, today I am joined by two representatives of two worlds fifty years apart about this very idea. First I would like to introduce Robert Southwick (RSW) editor of the Longman publication of Brave New World which of course was written by Aldous Huxley whom unfortunately had passed away, and also the director of the film Blade Runner– Ridley Scott (RS). Both of these texts explore a common theme of in the wild which we will discuss today.

RSW and RS: It’s a pleasure to be here.

Interviewer: Indeed it is a pleasure to finally meet both of you. Now first up, I would like to begin with you Mr. Southwick, it is to my understanding that you have received Aldous Huxley’s private diaries and notes prior to your publication of the Brave New World. In it was his original thoughts and ideas about this masterpiece of the imagination could you elaborate further on how he intended to show his interest in man’s relationship with nature and abroad how the world around him had influenced him in his writing.

RSW: Indeed it was quite exciting filling in the puzzles of Huxley’s life from reading about his past and his contemporaries that influenced him. His innermost thoughts are unveiled and he is after all a humanist. John is a symbol of him and yet he is a symbol of us looking at this vision of our future where “comfort” replaces “God, poetry, freedom” and” goodness.” His interest in man’s relationship with nature is due to the growing concern within the time period he was writing about in which the second industrial revolution saw dehumanization occurring, the rise of totalitarian governments on the both extremes of politics and the effects of machinery reducing their human workers to the level of a component. What all that means is the good old days of natural beauty and embracing the work of God is being replaced by Science and rationality, humanity once again conquers nature in yet another revolution which brought new means of control and sophistication towards the ‘taming’ of the wild. This may very well have attributed to his criticism of totalitarianism, consumerism, conformist ideals and suppression of nature in his work of Brave New World. The loss of individuality, high culture and freedom is heavily emphasized in his satirical portrayal of the future of humanity. In a world where the “community” enslaved individuals to create “stability,” “identity” is lost as the world motto ironically contradicts itself. Science fiction often exaggerates possible futures based on certain characteristics of the present; it alerts its audience in a non confronting manner about controversial issues of the present, certainly some of the issues still remain today.

Interviewer: Yes indeed, Brave New World had certainly influenced a new generation of thinking, science and technology can no longer being viewed narrowly as the savior of mankind. I suppose post modernism has arisen from this new ideal and Mr. Scott could you elaborate further on this issue.

RS: I definitely agree these issues of the 1920s and 30s still transcend time into the modern world. Certainly the plot of Blade Runner is constructed over this idea of science causing obliteration and dehumanization. My role as a director is to interpret the script in the most creative and thought provoking way possible, to create vision of the future of humanity and to represent another dystopia like the one Huxley created through his novel. By demonstrating the effects of Reganism and economic rationalism where science is simply a tool for large corporations to control the population. This is symbolized through the character Doctor Eldon Tyrell as he is a representation of the capitalist motto “greed is good,” he has established – commerce as the only goal and humanity or nature should not get in the way of profit margins. The effects of this can be seen through the flaming towers, heard through the eerie music, felt through the cold blooded murder of the replicants and imagined through the various clues about the world of Blade Runners. Nature cease to exist, the symbol of nature – the sun is merely visible and provides little if any energy towards the emotionless world in which the humans inhabit. I made the film emphasis on the two sources of life in which humanity had relied on since its existence: water is replaced by acid rain that never stops and sunlight is replaced by neon lights manufactured by machines instead of nature. Like Huxley this film is an exaggerated vision of our future yet it delivers the message or a warning that unless science and technology is responsibly managed the Los Angeles of 2014 may very well become our future which isn’t too far away.

Interviewer: Man’s relationship with nature has certainly intrigued us in the past, the present and the future. Let us just go further and with more detail about the representation of nature in these two worlds.

RSW: Huxley intended to create a grey world of machinery and contrast it with the colorful untamed wild or in other words the natural world itself. The relationship between humanity and nature is polarized through these two very different worlds. On the one hand the Indians whom embrace and sacrifice for nature, on the other nature is suppressed, secluded, obliterated and tamed by the other. Through the characterization of John we can see that neither of the extremes is really acceptable to us. John the half cast provides a unique viewpoint in which criticizes extremism and thus in a broader sense criticize political extremism which created the Brave New World. Poetry and literature is again a symbol of the past in which humanity and nature coexisted, draws parallels between Huxley’s admirations for the past. Concrete and steel are the new ‘branches’ and ‘leaves’ of modern society and…

Working on it…

11 September 2007: Step One will be to look for any language problems. Step Two will be to examine what is said critically to determine relevance to the question, order of presentation. Step Three will be to decide what to write next.

The student, of Chinese background and six years in Australia, has chosen to write in the persona of an editor of Brave New World rather than as Aldous Huxley. Obviously this is because Huxley is dead. However, I do worry about the wisdom of that choice given the wording of the question. What do you think? On the other hand this is clearly (potentially at least and to a large degree actually) a very fine essay from this 17-year-old writer.

At this stage we are working through Step One, and the student has promised to send (after our discussion of possible content today) the rest of the essay in the near future.

RED is for language issues and actual errors in the first draft; BLUE marks suggestions and stylistic corrections. Punctuation and sentence run-ons are issues this student needs to work on.

Interviewer: Man’s relationship with the natural world has generated a considerable amount of interest within the arts and literature. Today I am joined by two representatives of two worlds fifty years apart about this very idea. First I would like to introduce Robert Southwick (RSW) editor of the Longman edition of Brave New World which of course was written by Aldous Huxley who unfortunately cannot be here, and also the director of the film Blade Runner, Ridley Scott (RS). Both of these texts explore the common theme of “in the wild” which we will discuss today.

RSW and RS: It’s a pleasure to be here.

Interviewer: Indeed it is a pleasure to finally meet both of you. Now first up, I would like to begin with you, Robert Southwick. It is my understanding that you received Aldous Huxley’s private diaries and notes prior to your publication of Brave New World. In these were his original thoughts and ideas about this masterpiece of the imagination. Could you elaborate further on how he intended to show his interest in man’s relationship with nature, and how the world around him influenced him in his writing?

RSW: Indeed it was quite exciting filling in the puzzles of Huxley’s life from reading about his past and his contemporaries who influenced him. His innermost thoughts are unveiled and he was after all a humanist. John is a symbol of him and yet he is also a symbol of us looking at this vision of our future where “comfort” replaces “God, poetry, freedom” and “goodness.” His interest in man’s relationship with nature was due to the growing concern within the time period he was writing about a number of issues: the second industrial revolution which saw dehumanization occurring; the rise of totalitarian governments on both extremes of politics; the effects of machinery reducing their human workers to the level of components. What all that means is the good old days of natural beauty and embracing the work of God were being replaced by Science and rationality, humanity once again was conquering nature in yet another revolution which brought new means of control and sophistication towards the ‘taming’ of the wild. This may very well have contributed to his criticism of totalitarianism, consumerism, conformist ideals and suppression of nature in his work Brave New World. The loss of individuality, high culture and freedom are heavily emphasized in his satirical portrayal of the future of humanity. In a world where the “community” enslaved individuals to create “stability,” “identity” is lost, so that the world motto (Community, Identity, Stability) ironically contradicts itself. Science fiction often exaggerates possible futures based on certain characteristics of the present; it alerts its audience in a nonconfronting manner about controversial issues of the present. Certainly some of the issues in Brave New World still remain today.

Interviewer: Yes indeed, Brave New World certainly influenced a whole generation of thinking; science and technology could no longer be viewed narrowly as the savior of mankind. I suppose post modernism has arisen from such critiques of modernism. Ridley Scott, could you elaborate further on this issue?

RS: I definitely agree these issues of the 1920s and 30s still resonate in the postmodern world. Certainly the plot of Blade Runner is constructed over this idea of science causing possible nuclear or environmental annihilation and dehumanization. My role as a director is to interpret Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and its script adaptation in the most creative and thought provoking way possible, to create vision of the future of humanity and to represent another dystopia like the one Huxley created through his novel. In the context of the 80s we did that by demonstrating the effects of Reaganism and economic rationalism where science is simply a tool for large corporations to control the population. This is symbolized through the character Doctor Eldon Tyrell as he is a representation of the capitalist motto “greed is good.He has established commerce as the only goal and neither humanity nor nature should get in the way of profit margins. The effects of this can be seen through the flaming towers, heard through the eerie music, felt through the cold blooded murder of the replicants and imagined through the various clues about the world of Blade Runners. Nature has ceased to exist. The symbol of nature the sun is barely visible and provides little if any energy for the emotionless world which humans inhabit. I made the film emphasise the two sources of life on which humanity has relied since the beginning: water is replaced by acid rain that never stops and sunlight is replaced by neon lights manufactured by machines instead of nature. As in Brave New World this film offers an exaggerated vision of our future yet it delivers a message or a warning that unless science and technology are responsibly managed the Los Angeles of 2014 may very well become our future, which isn’t too far away.

Interviewer: Man’s relationship with nature has certainly always intrigued us. Let us just go into more detail about the representation of nature in these two works.

RSW: Huxley intended to create a grey world of machinery and contrast it with the colorful untamed wild, or in other words the natural world itself. The relationship between humanity and nature is polarized through these two very different worlds. On the one hand the Indians who embrace and sacrifice for nature, on the city where nature is suppressed, secluded, obliterated and tamed. Through the character of John we can see that neither of the extremes is really acceptable to us. John the Savage provides a unique viewpoint through which Huxley criticizes extremism and thus in a broader sense criticizes the political extremism which created the Brave New World. Poetry and literature constitute another symbol of a past in which humanity and nature coexisted, reflecting Huxley’s own admiration of the past. Concrete and steel are the new ‘branches’ and ‘leaves’ in this modern society and…

18 September 2007: The student has now sent the rest of the essay.

Here is what was sent…

… it is emphasized through the opening chapter: Huxley tried to paint a world of ‘grey squat buildings’ where nature has been ‘mechanized’ and machines personified – “The machine faintly purred.” We are introduced into a world where the sounds of pets are now replaced by the sounds of machines. The lack of pets in this world has meant the basic human nature of love and care is lost, in this “Brave New World” science has no room for love; no room for care and no room for companionship. Thus man’s most basic relationship with nature is conditioned away by the will of civilization.

Interviewer: Gee, It would be scary to live in such a world wouldn’t it? Fear and darkness is a typical characteristic of the film noir genre and of course Blade Runner is an example of the film noir science fiction. It would be interesting to picture the Brave New World on the silver screen and it was due to Huxley’s rejection of cinemas that he did not release his work in the format of a film. Indeed fifty years had passed and film making techniques had certainly revolutionized. The modern generation of directors has a greater ability to interpret screenplays and Ridley, if I may address you by your first name, would you like to focus on any particular scenes or characters that formed your interpretation?

RS: Certainly you may, my interpretation of the film was based on a short story of the 1960s titled: “Do androids dream of electric sheep,” although the plot of Blade Runner is completely different, it served to inspire our script writers and myself as director to question the role of science in terms of our relationship with nature. In the opening scenes I’ve put emphasis on the gigantic nature of the city by panning the aerial shots; it shows the effect of out of control capitalism as Tyrell’s corporate building dominates the cityscape. Darkness replaces sunshine; pollution replaces the blue sky and what you see is my interpretation of this post-apocalyptic world. Now one of the reasons we set the film in Los Angeles was that it literally meant the city of angels, Roy as I have represented in the film is a fallen angel whom like the Biblical angel Lucifer was the brightest of their Lord’s creation, after all Tyrell is indeed the “god of biomechanics.” Roy is capable of compassion, love and hatred, he displays all the emotional qualities of humanity yet ironically he is not human. Which makes us ask the question: What does it mean to be human? Is it our ability to believe in something greater than ourselves? And in other words the belief of the force of nature. I have emphasized the religious aspect of Roy by referring him as the “prodigal son” and piercing the nail through his hand, I wanted to show that even this “slave” of humanity is capable of mercy and forgiveness. His symbolic release of the dove shows his appreciation of life and nature; this is heavily contrasted against the emotionless Deckard and proves that Roy is ‘more human than human.’ If a machine who is not a part of nature is able to appreciate its beauty why can’t a man?

Interviewer: Yes that is an interesting point: “What does it mean to be human?” Maybe Huxley can tell us more about the importance of emotions, religion and the social order.

RSW: I think we can best answer this complex question by looking at chapter 16 and 17 of Brave New World. Mustafa Mond and John debate over the meaning of human existence, the reason for the existence of the world state and its measures in social control. The “nine years of war” is a clear example of how the context influences Huxley’s work – WWI, the result of this was the need to tame both nature and humanity, science needs to be tamed and human nature also needs to be tamed and so does the wild. Mond describes the humans using degrading metaphors: ‘tamed animals… blissfully ignorant’ to highlight the price that society has to pay in order to enjoys stability. The creation of a society which has no room for God can be seen as a defiance towards nature, indeed nature is locked away due to its unproductiveness, children are conditioned to hate nature and the natural process of aging and even death in a way is stopped by science, life and death becomes meaningless and so does our relationship with nature. Religion, high arts and culture are locked away in order to separate the population of the city of London from their cultural identity and thus severs the need for a close relationship with the natural world. John’s firm opposition summarizes the entire argument Huxley is making through his novel by repeating that: “I don’t want comfort. I want God… poetry… real danger… freedom…goodness… sin.” The true moral of the story is the danger of humanity losing its identity when it defies the natural order and forces which govern our behavior and emotions.

Interviewer: Well, I’m sure we can continue this discussion for years to come, but for now let us conclude our interview today. It has been a real pleasure talking to you both today. I’m sure if Aldous Huxley was with us today he would be delighted that others had followed his footsteps in examining the relationship between man and nature.

Working on it…

as you may see in the opening chapter. Huxley paints a world of ‘grey squat buildings’ where nature has been ‘mechanized’ and machines personified – “The machine faintly purred.” This is a world where the sounds of pets have been replaced by the sounds of machines. The lack of pets in this world has meant the basic human qualities of love and care are lost. This “Brave New World” science has no room for love, no room for care and no room for companionship. Thus humanity’s most basic relationship with nature is conditioned away in the name of civilization.

Interviewer: Gee, It would be scary to live in such a world wouldn’t it? Fear and darkness are typical characteristics of the film noir genre and of course Blade Runner is an example of both film noir and science fiction. It would be interesting to picture the Brave New World on the silver screen and it was due to Huxley’s rejection of cinemas that he did not release his work in the format of a film. Indeed fifty years had passed and film making techniques had certainly revolutionized. The modern generation of directors has a greater ability to interpret screenplays and Ridley Scott, would you like to focus on any particular scenes or characters that formed your interpretation? [I have strong doubts about the authenticity of the point made here about Huxley and film, but will let it stand. The student may know something I don’t…]

RS: Certainly you may. My film was based on a short story of the 1960s titled: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?The plot of Blade Runner is completely different, but it served to inspire our script writers and myself as director to question the role of science in our relationship with nature. In the opening scenes I’ve put emphasis on the gigantic nature of the city by panning the aerial shots. These show the effect of out of control capitalism as Tyrell’s corporate building dominates the cityscape. Darkness replaces sunshine; pollution replaces the blue sky. What you see is my interpretation of this post-apocalyptic world. Now one of the reasons we set the film in Los Angeles was that it literally means the city of angels. Roy, as I have represented him in the film, is a fallen angel whom like the Biblical angel Lucifer who was the brightest of the Lord’s creation; after all Tyrell is indeed the “god of biomechanics.” Roy is capable of compassion, love and hatred; he displays all the emotional qualities of humanity yet ironically he is not human. This makes us ask the question: What does it mean to be human? Is it our ability to believe in something greater than ourselves, in the primacy of nature, for example? I have emphasized the religious aspect of Roy by referring to him as the “prodigal son” and piercing the nail through his hand. I wanted to show that even this “slave” of humanity is capable of mercy and forgiveness. His symbolic release of the dove shows his appreciation of life and nature. This contrasts with the emotionless Deckard and proves that Roy is ‘more human than human.’ If a machine who is not a part of nature is able to appreciate its beauty, why can’t a man?

Interviewer: Yes that is an interesting point: “What does it mean to be human?” Maybe Huxley can tell us more about the importance of emotions, religion and the social order.

RSW: I think we can best answer this complex question by looking at chapter 16 and 17 of Brave New World. Mustafa Mond and John debate the meaning of human existence, the reason for the existence of the world state and its measures in social control. The “nine years of war” is a clear example of how context influenced Huxley’s work. The First World War and developments in industry and society in the first part of the 20th century showed the need to tame both nature and humanity, science needs to be tamed and human nature also needs to be tamed but so does the wild. Mond describes humanity using degrading metaphors ‘tamed animals… blissfully ignorant’ to highlight the price that society has to pay in order to enjoy stability. The creation of a society which has no room for God can be seen as a defiance against nature; indeed nature is locked away due to its unproductiveness, children are conditioned to hate nature, and the natural process of aging and even death, in a way, are stopped by science. Life and death become meaningless and so does our relationship with nature. Religion, high arts and culture are locked away in order to separate the population of the city of London from their cultural identity and thus sever the need for a close relationship with the natural world. John’s firm opposition summarizes the entire argument Huxley is making through his novel by repeating that: “I don’t want comfort. I want God… poetry… real danger… freedom…goodness… sin.” The true moral of the story is the danger of humanity losing its identity when it defies the natural order and forces which govern our behavior and emotions.

Interviewer: Well, I’m sure we can continue this discussion for years to come, but for now let us conclude our interview today. It has been a real pleasure talking to you both today. I’m sure if Aldous Huxley were* with us today he would be delighted that others have followed his footsteps in examining the relationship between humanity and nature.

* That is a subjunctive; I am old-fashioned in this!

This has become one very impressive and sophisticated piece of writing, in my opinion. It is interesting that the main corrections I have made have been to punctuation, especially in the area of sentence run-ons, and in subject-verb agreement. Occasionally too tense choice has not been quite right. Some of this must be the final traces of the student’s being a second language English writer, but it would be hard for most people to tell. ESL teachers will marvel that after six years his Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency is so far advanced!

Now let’s cut and paste the final version, making an occasional further change.

Interviewer: Man’s relationship with the natural world has generated a considerable amount of interest within the arts and literature. Today I am joined by two representatives of two worlds fifty years apart about this very idea. First I would like to introduce Robert Southwick (RSW) editor of the Longman edition of Brave New World which of course was written by Aldous Huxley who unfortunately cannot be here, and also the director of the film Blade Runner, Ridley Scott (RS). Both of these texts explore the common theme of “in the wild” which we will discuss today.

RSW and RS: It’s a pleasure to be here.

Interviewer: Indeed it is a pleasure to finally meet both of you. Now first up, I would like to begin with you, Robert Southwick. It is my understanding that you received Aldous Huxley’s private diaries and notes prior to your publishing your edition of Brave New World. In these were his original thoughts and ideas about this masterpiece of the imagination. Could you elaborate further on how he intended to show his interest in man’s relationship with nature, and how the world around him influenced him in his writing?

RSW: Indeed it was quite exciting filling in the puzzles of Huxley’s life from reading about his past and his contemporaries who influenced him. His innermost thoughts are unveiled and he was after all a humanist. John is a symbol of him and yet he is also a symbol of us looking at this vision of our future where “comfort” replaces “God, poetry, freedom” and “goodness.” His interest in man’s relationship with nature was due to the growing concern within the time period he was writing about a number of issues: the second industrial revolution which saw dehumanization occurring; the rise of totalitarian governments on both extremes of politics; the effects of machinery reducing their human workers to the level of components. What all that means is the good old days of natural beauty and embracing the work of God were being replaced by Science and rationality, humanity once again was conquering nature in yet another revolution which brought new means of control and sophistication towards the ‘taming’ of the wild. This may very well have contributed to his criticism of totalitarianism, consumerism, conformist ideals and suppression of nature in his work Brave New World. The loss of individuality, high culture and freedom are heavily emphasized in his satirical portrayal of the future of humanity. In a world where the “community” enslaved individuals to create “stability,” “identity” is lost, so that the world motto (Community, Identity, Stability) ironically contradicts itself. Science fiction often exaggerates possible futures based on certain characteristics of the present; it alerts its audience in a non-confronting manner about controversial issues of the present. Certainly some of the issues in Brave New World still remain today.

Interviewer: Yes indeed, Brave New World certainly influenced a whole generation of thinking; science and technology could no longer be viewed narrowly as the savior of mankind. I suppose post modernism has arisen from such critiques of modernism. Ridley Scott, could you elaborate further on this issue?

RS: I definitely agree these issues of the 1920s and 30s still resonate in the postmodern world. Certainly the plot of Blade Runner is constructed over this idea of science causing possible nuclear or environmental annihilation and dehumanization. My role as a director is to interpret Philip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and its script adaptation in the most creative and thought provoking way possible, to create vision of the future of humanity and to represent another dystopia like the one Huxley created through his novel. In the context of the 80s we did that by demonstrating the effects of Reaganism and economic rationalism where science is simply a tool for large corporations to control the population. This is symbolized through the character Doctor Eldon Tyrell as he is a representation of the capitalist motto “greed is good.” He has established commerce as the only goal and neither humanity nor nature should get in the way of profit margins. The effects of this can be seen through the flaming towers, heard through the eerie music, felt through the cold blooded murder of the replicants and imagined through the various clues about the world of Blade Runners. Nature has ceased to exist. The symbol of nature — the sun — is barely visible and provides little if any energy for the emotionless world which humans inhabit. I made the film emphasise the two sources of life on which humanity has relied since the beginning: water is replaced by acid rain that never stops and sunlight is replaced by neon lights manufactured by machines instead of nature. As in Brave New World this film offers an exaggerated vision of our future yet it delivers a message or a warning that unless science and technology are responsibly managed the Los Angeles of 2014 may very well become our future, which isn’t too far away.

Interviewer: Man’s relationship with nature has certainly always intrigued us. Let us just go into more detail about the representation of nature in these two works.

RSW: Huxley intended to create a grey world of machinery and contrast it with the colorful untamed wild, or in other words the natural world itself. The relationship between humanity and nature is polarized through these two very different worlds. On the one hand the Indians who embrace and sacrifice for nature, on the city where nature is suppressed, secluded, obliterated and tamed. Through the character of John we can see that neither of the extremes is really acceptable to us. John the Savage provides a unique viewpoint through which Huxley criticizes extremism and thus in a broader sense criticizes the political extremism which created the “Brave New World”. Poetry and literature constitute another symbol of a past in which humanity and nature coexisted, reflecting Huxley’s own admiration of the past. Concrete and steel are the new ‘branches’ and ‘leaves’ in this modern society and as you may see in the opening chapter. Huxley paints a world of ‘grey squat buildings’ where nature has been ‘mechanized’ and machines personified – “The machine faintly purred.” This is a world where the sounds of pets have been replaced by the sounds of machines. The lack of pets in this world has meant the basic human qualities of love and care are lost. This “Brave New World” science has no room for love, no room for care and no room for companionship. Thus humanity’s most basic relationship with nature is conditioned away in the name of civilization.

Interviewer: Gee, It would be scary to live in such a world wouldn’t it? Fear and darkness are typical characteristics of the film noir genre and of course Blade Runner is an example of both film noir and science fiction. It would be interesting to picture Brave New World on the silver screen but it was due to Huxley’s rejection of cinemas that he did not release his work in the format of a film. Indeed fifty years had passed and film making techniques had certainly been revolutionized when Ridley Scott started making Blade Runner. Ridley Scott, would you like to focus on any particular scenes or characters that formed your interpretation?

RS: Certainly you may. My film was based on that short story of the 1960s titled “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” The plot of Blade Runner is completely different, but it served to inspire our script writers and myself as director to question the role of science in our relationship with nature. In the opening scenes I’ve put emphasis on the gigantic nature of the city by panning the aerial shots. These show the effect of out of control capitalism as Tyrell’s corporate building dominates the cityscape. Darkness replaces sunshine; pollution replaces the blue sky. What you see is my interpretation of this post-apocalyptic world. Now one of the reasons we set the film in Los Angeles was that it literally means the city of angels. Roy, as I have represented him in the film, is a fallen angel whom like the Biblical angel Lucifer who was the brightest of the Lord’s creation; after all Tyrell is indeed the “god of biomechanics.” Roy is capable of compassion, love and hatred; he displays all the emotional qualities of humanity yet ironically he is not human. This makes us ask the question: What does it mean to be human? Is it our ability to believe in something greater than ourselves, in the primacy of nature, for example? I have emphasized the religious aspect of Roy by referring to him as the “prodigal son” and piercing the nail through his hand. I wanted to show that even this “slave” of humanity is capable of mercy and forgiveness. His symbolic release of the dove shows his appreciation of life and nature. This contrasts with the emotionless Deckard and proves that Roy is ‘more human than human.’ If a machine who is not a part of nature is able to appreciate its beauty, why can’t a man?

Interviewer: Yes that is an interesting point: “What does it mean to be human?” Maybe Huxley can tell us more about the importance of emotions, religion and the social order.

RSW: I think we can best answer this complex question by looking at chapter 16 and 17 of Brave New World. Mustafa Mond and John debate the meaning of human existence, the reason for the existence of the world state and its measures in social control. The “nine years of war” is a clear example of how context influenced Huxley’s work. The First World War and developments in industry and society in the first part of the 20th century showed the need to tame both nature and humanity, science needs to be tamed and human nature also needs to be tamed but so does the wild. Mond describes humanity using degrading metaphors –‘tamed animals… blissfully ignorant’ — to highlight the price that society has to pay in order to enjoy stability. The creation of a society which has no room for God can be seen as a defiance against nature; indeed nature is locked away due to its unproductiveness, children are conditioned to hate nature, and the natural process of aging and even death, in a way, are stopped by science. Life and death become meaningless and so does our relationship with nature. Religion, high arts and culture are locked away in order to separate the population of the city of London from their cultural identity and thus sever the need for a close relationship with the natural world. John’s firm opposition summarizes the entire argument Huxley is making through his novel by repeating that: “I don’t want comfort. I want God… poetry… real danger… freedom…goodness… sin.” The true moral of the story is the danger of humanity losing its identity when it defies the natural order and forces which govern our behavior and emotions.

Interviewer: Well, I’m sure we can continue this discussion for years to come, but for now let us conclude our interview today. It has been a real pleasure talking to you both today. I’m sure if Aldous Huxley were with us today he would be delighted that others have followed his footsteps in examining the relationship between humanity and nature.

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