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Socratic ME: One of the primary featuresTerm Paper

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Socratic

ME: One of the primary features of any Utopia must be liberation from death, don't you think?

SOCRATES: Why would you think that? Liberation from death is for cowards. Heroes embrace death because death is better than slavery, which is the condition of most human beings.

MUSTAPHA MOND: You are both right. We must always work towards the ultimate goal of liberation from death, for it is only death that prevents us from reaching our highest potential as human beings. Imagine what Shakespeare might have written had he never died! Imagine what you, great Socrates, might have done also if you had not been poisoned. And yet, on the other hand, I recognize that fear of death is equally as crippling as a fear of life. To be enlightened beings, we must embrace both life and death. Until we conquer death, we should at least make peace with it. Socrates is right. Those of us who live in perpetual fear of either death or life -- or even both -- are living in perpetual slavery.

BERNARD MARX: Slavery! Ha, you are one to speak. What is the World State if not a state built by and for slaves, for the purpose of mental and spiritual enslavement? Human beings are born slaves, and we will die slaves.

JOHN the SAVAGE: He is not far from the truth. Death enslaves us to life, and life enslaves us to death. There is no escape from either one. Mustapha, you and the rest of the controllers of the World State have erected a series of facades to trick people into believing they are free when they are really not. I truly believe every society has done the same. What function is religion other than to imprison our minds, and it is built upon nothing but the fear of death!

SOCRATES: Ah-hah! Yes, John, you are correct. The fear of death enables the propagation of false beliefs, false gods, and false truths. Why was I killed? Why, I was killed precisely because I tried to show the good people of Athens that their gods are nothing but symbols and that reason is a far greater teacher and liberator. Gods do not offer truth, only illusion. If religion is the jailer, then reason is holds the key. Now it is time to apply our reason to building a true utopia and not one built on the false hopes provided by drugs like soma.

MUSTAPHA MOND: Point taken. Soma's power lies in its opiate-like experience, allowing the user to feel cut off from discomfort. Imagine, a world in which no human being could have access to mind-altering substances. It would be an atrocity. No alcohol? No drugs? It would be insane.

BERNARD MARX: Insane not, but more genuine, yes. Human beings need to be able to accept suffering and discomfort as part of life, no? Is not that true wisdom, whereas the pursuit of reason is merely a mental exercise. Knowledge is not the same as wisdom, you know.

JOHN THE SAVAGE: I agree on your first point, but not your second, Bernard. Reason can help to lead a person to the truth, which can make a person wise. Whether that makes a person happy or not is another story. Now, as far as the acceptance of suffering, why yes, that must be it. I will never forget the day when my mother died and in my grief I only wanted to surrender to the emotional state. It was a deep and intense feeling, and such things are what make me feel alive. To see my mother numbing herself for so long is the counterpoint, the exact opposite of my suffering. Being numb is suffering far more than actually sobbing and crying. When the nurse and my children saw me cry for my mother, they thought I was insane. They were literally "horrified." Really, it was they who were the crazy ones.

BERNARD MARX: Why, that is insane. I have never understood the need to be drugged out on soma all the time.

SOCRATES: What is this soma, and where can I get some?

MUSTAPHA MOND: Come see me later. Here's my number.

SOCRATES: Excellent. Now where were we? Ah yes, the idea that death is a frightening thing. Now, John you refer to the way you felt when your mother died. You felt palpable human emotions: pain and sorrow for your loss. After all, you pointed out to the nurse that she was your mother. Of course you are going to feel pain when your mother dies. What makes a person more human than pain, right?

MUSTAPHA MOND: Sorry to interrupt, but this is my point. Being human does not need to entail pain. Why can't we start envisioning a brave new world in which people are liberated from their emotions? This is the underlying feature of the World State. It is not slavery, as you two suggest, Bernard and John. The World State is a liberator. It might take several generations to breed out the wrong genes in the human system. There must be genes responsible for things like pain and suffering, anger and violence. If you believe that pain is part of the human experience, then do you also believe that murder and rape are as well?

SOCRATES: Before we answer this question of Mustapha's, let me finish what I was saying earlier. Regarding death, we are talking about two different things. There is the fear of one's own death, which is the existential angst. And there is also the fear of the death of others, which is more of an emotional pain.

JOHN THE SAVAGE: Socrates, your thought can wait. Mustapha, I want to get this out in the open. Let's talk about that now. You think that you can successfully change human beings. Whether through the miracles of modern science and genetic manipulation, or through the drugging and dumbing down of the masses as you brilliantly achieved with your social experiment in the World State, you simply see yourself as a god-figure, is that not so?

MUSTAPHA MOND: Well, if you want to put it that way, you may. I am a Controller, yes. I care not for labels, though. But yes, you are correct. I believe in the power of transformation and human potential. Why limit ourselves? Why should it not be possible to envision a brighter future for our children, in which pain and suffering no longer exist? If we do not dream it, it will never happen. I believe in the power of the human mind to change reality. If you want to resign yourself to the petty mundane world, so be it. Socrates and I can go do some soma and we will see you in the next life.

BERNARD MARX: How can any experiences be genuine if you are always on drugs?

MUSTAPHA MOND: That is not the point my friend. The point is that the great thinkers of the world focus on big problems, while the little minds of the world like yours focus on small issues. You think only of yourself. You too, John. This is why you cannot see past your pain and suffering. Instead, surrender that suffering. Let it become the collective human experience and take your ego out of it. Who are you to cling to suffering, and to tell me and other people that we are no longer human without it? Why, that is like saying that I should revert to the days of the cave man because that is the most authentic type of human experience. Is that what you advocate?

JOHN THE SAVAGE: Forgive me for speaking for you Bernard, but no, that is most certainly not what he or I am saying. We are simply talking about accepting reality for what it is, and that means accepting suffering. It means that death is the end of life, and there is nothing we can do about that.

SOCRATES: So then we agree, John the Savage. Death is the end of life, there is nothing we can do about it, and therefore we should no longer fear it. Why would you insist on attaching negative thoughts and feelings to it, then? Do the great heroes of the world do that?

JOHN THE SAVAGE: I am not a great hero of the world.

MUSTAPHA MOND: You can say that again.

SOCRATES: John, are you not intrigued by the idea of immortality? Would you not have wanted your mother to remain alive?

JOHN THE SAVAGE: Not if it meant keeping her a vegetable, a shell of her former self. What is the benefit of that? How is a utopia possible in a place where people are shells, ghosts? You would know, Socrates, for Hades is the place where people's shells exist but their minds have gone. That is what the World State was! The World State was Hades! I am happy to be free of that. If World State is Utopia,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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