Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?

Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?”

“I don’t know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”

He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.

Exchange between Bernard Marx and Lenina
Aldoux Huxley, Brave New World

Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?

Heavy handed? Yes, but it makes the point. This is why I’m a minimalist. I want the freedom and flexibility to pursue my own definition of happiness. To like what I like, to live as I choose to live, and not be pressured to conform. To not do things because everyone else does, to buy things because everyone else has them, to pretend to be happy because I’m expected to act like I’m happy.

Brave New World is always worth a re-read. No, it did not literally predict the future, but I think metaphorically a lot of the themes still resonate with the things that have gone off the rails in modern society.

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1 Reply to “Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?

  1. I love Brave New World, but it always makes me think of Jonathan Coulton’s ‘I Feel Fantastic’. It is a strong argument against the absolutism of Modernist philosophy. Everything is relative, any perception is defined in large part by contrast with its opposite. You can’t actually be happy without the occasional experience of unhappy.
    Also there’s the reminder not to get caught up in the herd-think of the masses lest we end up like the savage.

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