Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BNW/Blade Runner

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Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner both explore the way in which the essence of human relationships has turned from the natural to the unnatural. In BNW, Huxley contrasts the natural tribalistic world of the Malypai Reservation with the totalitarian and unnatural world of the World State. Similarly, Ridley Scott represents a world where humans have abandoned nature and in turn have become a ravaged world of artificiality. Both texts represent humans’ abandonment of nature through biological manipulation and the exploiting of technology.

In his novel BNW, Aldous Huxley has cleverly represented the changing nature of human relationships, where the essence has turned from the natural to the unnatural. He does this by contrasting the natural Malypai Reservation with the post modern World State. BNW depicts a world controlled and dominated by science and technology. It is a world whereby nature is a puppet of science, and all humans are products of a decanting process and are categorised into social classes as “Alphas…Epsilons” in the pursuit of social “community, identity, stability”. Individuality, which is intrinsic to natural human behaviour, is non-existent in the BNW as humans live a predestined life and their only purpose is to benefit the economy. These humans have been artificially conditioned to be devoid of any free thinking or non-conformist attitudes. The general aim of conditioning eliminates the generation of opinion by “making people like the inescapable social destiny” (p 1) and this is done through the method of hypnopaedia. Furthermore, natural emotions synonymous to humans such as love and affection have been devalued in the BNW, and are replaced with open promiscuity, “orgie porgies” and “feelies”. Any human in the World State displaying an indication of individuality or freethinking are banished to remote islands. All sense of humanity is lost in the BNW, as the world is devoid of any individuality, freedoms, traditions and emotions. This exploitation of science and technology has caused the relationships between humans to be insincere and unnatural.

The New World State of BNW compiled of unnatural relationships is contrasted vividly with the Savage Reservation that typifies what true natural human relationships are comprised of. Unlike the world of London 6AF, the old world of New Mexico embraces free thinking, individuality, emotions, religion and natural biological processes. This is made evident through the character of John, who openly mocks the customs and ideals of the New World. John’s savage world exploits natural human relations and explicitly forbids any unnatural interference. The world holds on to natural conceptions as the source of life, and is devoid of any advanced technologies, thus enabling man to be present in its raw and pure state. Intrinsic human characteristics and emotions are made conspicuous in this technology free world. It is through John’s entry into London that the contradiction between the natural and unnatural is most evident. Unable to comprehend the thoughts and ideals of BNW’s conditioned humans, John questions the benefits of such an advanced world. At the idea of soma being given to his mother, John defiantly objects to its opposed benefits by saying “I don’t believe it’s right”. The people of the old Savage Reservation demonstrate and flaunt the simple minute aspects of life that make their human relationships natural. Although ravaged with disease, suffering and poverty, the old world experiences emotions, freedom and individuality, all of which are central to nature and humanity. It is through the experiences of John the Savage and those of the Malypai Reservation that we are able to distinguish between the natural human relationships and the unnatural human relationships.

Similarly, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is a further example of how the essence of human relationships has turned from the natural to the unnatural. Scott employs the filmic techniques of film noir and mis-en-scene to help identify with the world of Los Angeles 01, “the city of angels”, or in this case, fallen angels. In this bleak and morbid world, the natural world has been ravaged by humans and as a result has become a wasteland of flawed people, and thus the essence of human relationships has turned from the natural to the unnatural. This is made most evident in the film’s establishing shot, where three factory furnaces are belching fire and smoke into the sky, perpetual acid rain and pollution blankets the city. The people of BR appear to be nomadic and dysfunctional. Contradictory to the laws of nature, animals are synthetically made, as are the replicants, who display traits that are “more human than human”. It is quite evident in this film that nature is non-existent, with a tediously glowing sun being the only sign of life in tis dreary world. Thus humans have abandoned nature for a more precarious life of scientific evolution.

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Furthermore, the deterioration of natural human relationships is made more apparent with Tyrell’s creation of replicants. These replicants, an exhibit of Tyrell’s supremacy and authority are ironically the sole beings on the ravaged planet to display the natural essence of human relationships. These Nexus 6 replicants were created to be devoid of any humanistic emotion and a four year life span was imposed to prevent any rebellion on their part. However, their culminated experiences in the world allowed them to develop emotions, a conscience and intelligence that far outweighed that of their human counterparts. It is for this reason, the replicants are said to be ‘more human than human’. This concept is exemplified vividly through the character of Roy Batty, who unlike the supposed human Deckard, displays profound and sincere emotions of sorrow, empathy, passion and love. At the time of Pris’ death, Roy was ironically overcome with intense sorrow, anger and love, contradictory to the human Deckard, who demonstrates no emotions to the sight of death. It is thus ironic that the replicants who are a representation of artificiality have developed relationships that are the epitome of nature itself. Thus the essence of human relationships within BR has turned from the natural (humans) to the unnatural (replicants).

Both texts, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner use the technique of contradiction to explore the way in which the essence of human relationships has turned from the natural to the unnatural. BNW uses the character of John the Savage to contrast between the natural world of the Malypai Reservation and the unnatural world of London 6AF. In this BNW, humans have abandoned the natural human relationships as displayed in the Savage Reservation for a world devoid of any traits intrinsic to humanity and man. Similarly, in the world of BR, it is the artificial and unnatural beings that display the true essence of natural human relationships, whereas the authentic humans exhibit unnatural human relationships.

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