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Real

Brave New World, front

Brave New World, front (Photo credit: jrambow)

“I think [Bernard]’s pretty harmless.”

Pretty Harmless, perhaps; but also pretty disquieting. That mania, to start with, for doing things in private. Which mean, in practice, not doing anything at all. For what was there that one could do in private. (Apart, of course, from going to bed: but one couldn’t do that all the time.) Yes, what was there? Precious little. The first afternoon they went out together was particularly fine. Lenina had suggested a swim at Toquay Country Club followed by dinner at the Oxford Union. But Bernard thought there would be too much of a crowd. Then what about a round of Electro-magnetic Golf at St. Andrew’s? But again, no: Bernard considered that Electro-magnetic Golf was a waste of time.

“Then what’s time for?” asked Lenina in some astonishment.

Apparently, for going [on] walks in the Lake district; for that was what he now proposed. Land on the top of Skiddaw and walk for a couple of hours in the heather. “Alone with you, Lenina.”

“But, Bernard, we should be alone all night.”

Bernard blushed and looked away. “I meant, alone for talking,” he mumbled.

“Talking? But what about?” Walking and talking–that seemed a very odd way of spending an afternoon.

I’m rereading through Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for the first time since high school. I find that this work of art speaks to our culture even more so now than it did 80 years ago. But then again, society doesn’t change much, do they?

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