–Warning spoilers for Brave New World follow.–
I was thinking about how to engage people in social change without forcing them to watch news which is unpleasant for some people and may or may not be bad for you.
This got to me thinking about making activism fun or at least not preachy, which has been a theme of a couple of my friends recently. And I got to wonder why Brave New World hasn’t been given a recent cinematic airing recently. So perhaps a re-visitation is in order? So here is my movie idea. n.b. I am not a movie maker, so it is unlikely to happen, just my playfulness kicking in.
The background of BNW swiped from wikipedia to recap.
“The novel opens in London in A.F. 632 (AD 2540 in the Gregorian Calendar). The vast majority of the population is unified under the World State, an eternally peaceful, stable global society in which goods and resources are plentiful (because the population is permanently limited to no more than two billion people) and everyone is happy. Natural reproduction has been done away with and children are created, “decanted”, and raised in “hatcheries and conditioning centres”, where they are divided into five castes (which are further split into “Plus” and “Minus” members) and designed to fulfill predetermined positions within the social and economic strata of the World State. Fetuses chosen to become members of the highest castes, “Alpha” and “Beta”, are allowed to develop naturally while maturing to term in “decanting bottles”, while fetuses chosen to become members of the lower castes (“Gamma”, “Delta”, “Epsilon”) are subjected to in situ chemical interference to cause arrested development in intelligence or physical growth.”
However it does not ring true to the modern day and age, with computers still eating the economy. So let us imagine a brave where things are a lot more computerised. The Gamma caste and below may no longer be necessary, and could be disposed of (via mechanised means obviously). Could the population shrink to 10% and still be functional?
With the population so shrunken how would the economy function? Mass consumerism would no longer work. So it would be based on the idea of perfection, which is a thread of the modern society. Everyone would be striving to perfect themselves and their lives.
The opening scene would be of an egg cooked by robots in a way that would make Heston jealous. Delicately placed puffs of steam would cook the egg in all the right places with wide carefully controlled infrared lights crisping it up at the edges at the end. Individual salt crystal would be strategically dropped onto it in the optimal spread. It would then be whisked away by pneumatic tube to an awaiting gentleman for his normal, everyday, run of the mill, breakfast. Having a 3D model and a detailed chemical analysis taken for future reference in case this egg is noteworthy in some fashion.
This is all shared on a facebook-alike to show how awesome it is. In fact everything is shared all the time. People with more perfect shared lives are more prestigious and trusted. Everyone is a software developer or a culture generator, so it is important that their work must be top notch because it may impact everyone. No one wants their time wasted by less than perfection so there is immense pressure on everyone to learn more and practice harder.
There is a scene where the lawn maintenance system goes slightly wrong throughout the world, the grass will be a little spiky. Mass drama abounds! How will people have picnics? The kids can no longer play outside.
Let us not forget perfect sex, where the pheromone load is precisely calculated and the condom both feels like it is not there and stimulates people in all the right ways.
Of course this would all be seen from the eyes of some form of outsider, someone who could dig into the bloody way it came to be and question whether it is a decent life. To question whether people are actually happy with perfect.
Like brave new world it should be slightly seductive, but at the end of the day disquieting.