'Any colour - so long as it's black,' said Henry Ford on the choice of colour for the Model-T Ford. Are the inhabitants of the World State any less lucky when it comes to choosing the conditions of their existence?

When it becomes clear that Bernard and Helmholtz are not suited to the civilised world, they are exiled to one of the many island colonies: "He's being sent to a place where he'll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self- consciously individual to fit into community-life. All the people who aren't satisfied with orthodoxy, who've got independent ideas of their own. Everyone, in a word, who's anyone."

In the 1946 forward to the novel, Huxley says that if he were to re-write Brave New World he would give John a third option: "Between the utopian and the primitive horns of his dilemma would lie the possibility of sanity - a possibility already actualized, to some extent, in a community of exiles and refugees from the Brave New World..." In this community, economics would be decentralist, politics co-operative and science and technology would be used productively by man rather than to enslave man. Religion would be the "conscious and intelligent pursuit of man's Final End... the transcendent Godhead... The prevailing philosophy of life would be a kind of High Utilitarianism in which the Greatest Happiness principle would be secondary to the Final End principle." (By 1946, Huxley was much more heavily embroiled in mysticism).

This sounds very noble and idyllic, but there seems to be an inconsistency in Huxley's thinking: when John asks about the possibility of an all-Alpha population, Mond tells him the reasons why it wouldn't work. Examine the truth of Mond's assertions. Look at the example of the all-Alpha "Cyprus experiment." In the light of this, examine whether the exile islands would be possible. Would they have to contain lower- caste members to carry out the menial tasks that would frustrate the Alpha- exiles? If they were there, would these Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons be influenced by the freethinking Alpha exiles and be liable to become aspirational and revolt from their assigned position?

Or is Huxley merely losing his dystopian nerve with his exile islands? He gives these words to Mond: "It's lucky... that there are such a lot of islands in the world. I don't know what we should do without them. Put you all in the lethal chamber, I suppose." Of course this was already becoming frighteningly true in the real world. Stalin had already purged politicians and intellectuals who could not be bought into line with the Soviet way of thought, and Hitler, after even contemplating shipping Germany's Jewish population off to their own 'island', instead exterminated millions who did not fit into his Brave New World. To what extent would the use of a 'lethal chamber' for Bernard and Helmholtz alter the overall message of the book?

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