creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

26 Jun 2010

The Island - Aldous Huxley

Have you read Brave New World, the hugely dystopic novel by the same strangely-named author? Well, The Island (or, more specifically, its setting on the fictional island of Pala) is the complete opposite: it's a society that fosters and makes entire human beings, with all their psychological, physical, sexual, spiritual and social needs.
This depiction of an utopic society mixes Buddhist-like spirituality with a through education in the biological sciences (yay! Interdisciplinary education!), sexual liberty allied with the intrinsic right to autonomy (it's "you belong to yourself, do what you really want" and not "you belong to everyone else" like in BNW), a very interesting concept for child-rearing ("Mutual Adoption Clubs" where several families kind of adopt each other; it takes a village to raise a child, and should there be conflict with the biological parents the child can go live with one of their other parents, thereby avoiding potentially toxic living arrangements), and plenty of other interesting things that I would love to see implemented - or at least tried - in society.
This is an Aldous Huxley novel, though, so of course dystopic elements have to be present and ruin everything (uh, spoiler? sorry) - which, by contrast, only makes you root for the idealized tanned shirtless people even more.
This novel was a bit preachy at times, a bit boring at times, but very interesting overall - I would definitely recommend it. It's a welcome rebuke to the prudes who only see the sexual aspects of Brave New World as being problematic (and who ignore the whole class thing) - and it contains some very interesting ideas (free contraception and Mutual Adoption Clubs, anyone?). An enjoyable read indeed.

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