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Speculative Voice Interpretations of Societal Trends

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    The Speculative Voice is essentially the use of one’s imagination, observing the future based on interpretations of societal trends. It explores the ideas of utopia and dystopia whilst covering issues such as misuse of technology, genetic modification, discrimination, inclusion, triumph and individuality. The speculative voice aims to challenge the fundamental ideas of society and make them ask the question: “What If? ” This can be seen in the prescribed text of “Brave New World” and “Gattaca. Aldous Huxley provokes this question in “Brave New World”. He depicts a perfect society where there is no hunger or poverty and everyone is happy, equal and fulfilled. However his idealistic utopian world has elements that we would regard today as undesirable and disturbing. “…that is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you’ve got to do.

    All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny” This civilisation is created and kept through the use of conditioning and soma. Soma is used to create a stable society. And there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering… Christianity without tears—that’s what soma is. ” Directed by Andrew Niccol ‘Gattaca’ also explores the idea of a Utopia but unlike “Brave New World” it only shows a portion, not a whole society. “Gattaca” looks at this world and projects it to society for them to see the possibilities and debate the future in human society. Both texts share similar themes, based mostly around innovative technology and genetics. “Brave New World” portrays this futuristic ambience well within the first chapter.

    The opening sentence reads. “A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories” The use of the of the word “only” in this quote, emphasises the significance connected to the height of the building, and makes the audience wonder how high other buildings are in this new world. The motto “Community, Identity, Stability” creates a positive harmonious tone that suggests happy citizens going about their daily lives. Genetics play an important role in each of these texts. Genetics and the modification of genetics created levels in each of the society’s and became a basis on which to discriminate upon.

    The smallest, most minute, detail can make a big difference. This is illustrated in the opening scene from ‘Gattaca’ the close up’s of the nails and hair, and the loud sound it makes as it is hitting the ground emphasises the point that acceptance is based on microscopic aspects. ”Each day I would dispose of as much loose skin, fingernails and hairs as possible, to limit how much of my in-valid self I would leave in the valid world. ” This opening scene creates a mystery that the audience wants to solve. In ‘Brave New World’ the Bokanovsky Process is used on the lower castes of society.

    In this process humans are cloned and produce up to 96 identical embryos. Making everyone look the same and adding to the lack of individuality within society. “Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability! ” Genetics created stratification in society in both texts. In ‘Brave New World’, the social hierarchy is conditioned into Savage, minus, plus, double plus, epsilons, deltas, gammas, betas and alphas, Alphas being the smartest. The children are conditioned at birth “Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever.

    I’m awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta. ” The people are conditioned to be smart enough to do their job, but not smart enough to question it. “The people who govern ‘Brave New World’ may not be sane; but they are not madmen, and their aim is not anarchy but social stability”.

    However in ‘Gattaca’ there is no conditioning. There are those in society that are genetically perfect, and others that are not, they are called ‘utero’, ‘faith birth’ an ‘in-valid’ or a ‘de-gene-erate’. “.. new underclass, no longer determined by social status or the colour of your skin. We now have discrimination down to a science. ” This discrimination in depicted in the movie when the school gate is slammed closed, the music creates a reflective melancholy and emphasises the clear societal levels within humanity. ” They used to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance of happiness.

    They don’t say that anymore. ” One theme that is not so prominent in ‘Brave New World’ is triumph. ’Gattaca’ demonstrates this theme through a number of scenes; however when looking back into his childhood where he was always second best, the main character’s (Vincent) most important flashback was when he won the swimming race against his brother, who was genetically more modified them him. This portrays the idea of desire and accomplishment “…it was the moment that made everything else possible. ” Physically the brother was better, but not mentally.

    The people in society that were considered as ‘perfect’ had no desire to succeed or achieve because they were already at full potential, whereas Vincent, on the other hand, lacked everything but the desire to achieve. “Is the only way you can succeed is to see me fail? ” The only means that shows one’s superiority over the other is to watch the lesser people fail. Both of the Futuristic worlds create a discriminatory society and deny an essential part of humanity. ‘Gattaca’ is preventing people from achieving and aspiring to something and ‘Brave New World’ depicts a dehumanising civilisation lacking individuality. If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely. ”

    Something that was perceived as good ended up being twisted by power. In conclusion ‘Gattaca’ and ‘Brave New World’ are both examples of speculative fiction which aim for an equal, stabilised society. But somehow end up creating a bigger division within such society’s through the use of science and technology and the affects it has on human individuals. Individuals are meant to feel stable and content with their destined role in life however human nature prevails, “… hey’ve got you looking so hard for any flaw, that soon that’s all you see” (‘Gattaca’). Reflection statement: Personally I think I would be unable to live in either of the societies portrayed in each prescribed text. Both civilizations, though technologically advanced, do not allow for individual growth or expression. I would prefer to live in an ‘unstable’ world where I was given the opportunity to try new things and fail or make mistakes, then to be ‘trapped’ in a world where they is no personal progress or self- expression.

    I learnt that technology, although can be used for good, can end up destroying a society. ‘Brave New World’ is no longer a huge leap of the imagination as our technology is advancing at a rapid pace e. g. cloning animals and people are now picking the gender of their children. Society is becoming more and more controlled through government and councils. Although society needs rules to function I would not want to be controlled like them.

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