chapter  5
11 Pages

Dystopia

WithAlan Haworth

In both novels, Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, a fictional dystopia is represented by its fictional controllers as having provided a solution to ‘the problem of happiness’. Philosophers have interpreted the concept of happiness in other ways, however ways that sit less easily with Huxley’s narrative. For example, the happiness of his characters cannot be the eudaimonia of the Greeks. As for Orwell, in his case, the idea of freedom is connected with intellectual integrity; the ability to maintain one’s grip upon the idea that there is objective truth, that there are standards of evidence and logical rationality to which all must adhere. The disconcerting fact is that, like the controllers in Huxley’s and Orwell’s novels, the dictatorships that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 1930s derived the considerable support they enjoyed from people who had chosen happiness over freedom.