In his final novel, which he considered his most important, Aldous Huxley transports us to the remote Pacific island of Pala, where an ideal society has flourished for 120 years.
Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events are set in motion when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and—to his amazement—give him hope.
Topics: Utopia, Dystopia, Politics, Democracy, Spirituality , Shipwreck, Love, Adventurous, Futuristic, Philosophical, Modernism, Existentialism, Island, Beach, South Pacific, and Speculative Fiction
The society of the island Pala is the inverse of, and parallel to, the society of Brave New World. Instead of a rudimentary caste system, jobs are assigned from personal interest and capability. Education is communal, in order to prevent passing of parental neuroses or flaws and ease socialization. The emphasis of sex is not solely to have a lot of it, but to enjoy it and make an experience out of it. Lots of ideas are derived from Eastern philosophy.
Such a society does not shun all technology, however. Refrigeration and hydroelectricity are essential to keep the basic necessities of society going, as well as modern medicine. However, the overproduction of consumer goods is limited, so as to prevent outside invasion but also conspicuous consumption. Genetic modification and contraception are common, but to pass on good qualities instead of enforcing superiority or inferiority.
Most notably, instead of soma being used to make the populace dumb and happy, they are used as a means of personal growth and experimentation. The most common drug is named moshka, derived from a mushroom and somewhat analogous to psilocybin or mescaline.
Compassion and faith seem to be the cornerstones of this society, not ideology or advancement.
Island's influence is very clear as an archetype of psychedelic drug fiction. However, it refrains from the sheer unbounded optimism which these thought experiments entail. At the end of the novel, the island is seized in a coup backed by dictatorial and corporate interests, and the fate of the islanders is uncertain. Huxley knows only too well what happens to the people of loving-happiness, eternal compassion and attention compared to the advance of the Other.read more