Recently I’ve been rereading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This book was a high school favorite of mine for the reason that it discusses forced conformity and brainwashing, two things that I faced and that I think every young person is faced with to some degree from his peers and false friends. Here I am, all these years later, relating to this story now for the opposite reason; Now instead of being faced with brainwashing, in order to arrive at “stability,” I have essentially arrived at the perfect point of stability, and I didn’t have to sell my soul it! It just came about naturally. How? With age, of course! Time heals all wounds, and time cools all heads. The only problem is that the adult mind is too stable, and not exciting like the spirit of youth. Regardless, although life doesn’t have the thrills of youth, it does have more peace. Yet age brings physical health problems, which make this stage of life harder, but I can’t blame that on a conformist society that tries to brainwash its members.
Now let us move on to the Albania blog. Let us pose this question: Can one draw an analogy between the US and Albania, where the US represents the Brave New World and Albania represents the Indian reservation? Certainly we can. Here is the comparison. Like the Brave New World, the US is a more perfect society: quiet, clean, law-abiding, and orderly. By comparison Albania is more “savage”: messy, noisy, hectic, unpleasant, disorderly, and chaotic.
In the US, to quote Huxley, “there isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant.” If true, this certainly draws people to come here. But by the same token, the US is a much less soulful country than Albania. Stability gets rid of soul. A messy country is full of soul.
“My dear friend, civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism,” says the Controller, dismissing the good qualities born of strife.
“But tears are necessary,” says the savage. You’ll get plenty of tears in Albania, if not literal, proverbial. Life there is more of a rollercoaster ride than the US. One has to endure a dizzy array of “flies and mosquitoes”; where it be open sewers, fellow passengers breathing down your neck in a city bus, or drivers who feel pedestrians get the right of way only if they earn it.
“Charming! But in civilized countries,” says the Controller…there aren’t any flies or mosquitoes to sting you. We got rid of them.” In America, everything is spic and span, or if not spic there is general standard: the busses are empty, the sewers are lidded, and pedestrians always get the right of way. But by the same token America somehow got rid of the pedestrians!
“You got rid of them. Yes that’s just like you,” says the Savage, “Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it.” By getting rid of the inconveniences, we reduce our own ability to cope/fight/and grow from difficulty. In Albania there are plenty of unpleasantries to fight and grow from. Yet, by the same token, life there is more uncomfortable.
“What you need is something with tears, for a change,” the Savage goes on, “Nothing costs enough here.” True, this makes us ask: Have we gone too far? Is America too quiet, too comfortable, too peaceful, too perfect? Yet, there are parts within America that are anything but “nice and clean.” i.e. the inner cities.
“I like the inconveniences,” says the savage, preferring an imperfect society, perhaps one like Albania.
“We don’t,” says the Controller, “We prefer to do things comfortably.” He prefers America.
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” says the Savage. He wants to live life to the fullest.
The battle of the two societies mentioned above can also be framed as the battle of the society of peace versus the society of excitement. The Controller of the Brave New World prefers peace. The Savage of the Old World prefers excitement. America is the society of peace. Albania is the society of excitement. The society of peace is sophisticated and perfect. The society of excitement is unrefined. The epitome of peace, cleanliness and order, is the suburb, coveted by all well-to-do Americans as the ideal dwelling place. Meanwhile, the downtowns of cities are anything but peaceful, and this is why Americans, who crave peace and quiet, avoid them. Albanians crave noise! The culture is one where people covet living in the big city. The closer to the action the better. Tirana, Albania’s capital, is a buzzing beehive! I have been to Chicago, New York, Miami, and none of them are as energetic as Tirana. At the same time American architecture is massive and unmatched in size and scope by Albania or even Europe. Conversely, there are parts of Albania which are peaceful; villages. Unlike suburbs, they are very small, just a handful of houses, and are out not part of a city, but rather are out in the fields. They may have farmland nearby and even farm animals.