Brave New World and Gattaca
Huxley Living in a genetically perfect world is not necessarily a great achievement to mankind. It makes one think, “where do you draw the line in the advancement of eugenics?” Both worlds, the Brave New one and Gattaca, are alternative futures (clearly dystopic), written and shown in a believable way (not as much in BNW, though) through the use of satire. Also, for GATTACA, the director incorporates the traditional elements of movie – a murder-mystery tied in with a love story PLUS a science fiction touch – very effectively. Satire in Huxley’s novel is glaringly obvious (mockery of the education system and the morals of today along with many more topics), as he writes with the purpose of teaching and humoring at the same time. However, with GATTACA, the satirical messages are not immediately perceivable – even after having seen the movie three times.
It is apparent that within the GATTACA institution, there is a definite discrimination against the genetic underclass; that naturally born. Director Niccol is mocking the present-day view of prejudice and racism. In the future of GATTACA, this prejudice is referred to as genoism – genetic discrimination. Racism is a less specific form of genoism, and although such discrimination is outlawed, the laws are unenforceable because in this dystopian society, as it is in BNW, one’s “genetic quotient” is known from birth. The underclass people of this world are limited but aware of their social status and they are not particularly happy with it. With the BNW, the lower castes seem to be (they are made to believe so) aware but they are conditioned to like their “light,…childishly simple” work. (p.204 BNW)
Another satirical message explored in both works in that of publicity. Our society is becoming increasingly accessible, yet controlled, through the use of surveillance of ID. Huxley and Niccol are merely pointing out that it is incredibly disconcerting to think that one day, our identities will be verified through daily blood and urine samples. On this topic, the one difference between the BNW and GATTACA is the in BNW, the Director or Controller is aware of the “individuals'” level of promiscuity or behaviour through the word of mouth. There is also one major similarity; in both worlds, the Director is quite conscious of the existence of the Alphas and in the case of GATTACA, the elites. In a sense, both worlds rely on uniformity – whether this uniformity is shown in identicality or uniform dress – and predestined castes.
One satirical point that is highlighted more in GATTACA is that wealth means more privileges. Based on how much money one has, a set of parents can determine just how perfect and aesthetically beautiful they would like their child to be. Niccol is showing us that if we do not draw the line, these decisions could lead to a world that worships predictability and perfecion, leaving no room for the dreams and desires of God-children like Vincent. However, in BNW, there is more of a predestined life and there are no mothers of fathers to choose what they want in a child.
Huxley uses satire to humor almost everything in today’s world, wheras Niccol’s view of a futuristic world is not as satirical but it seems like it is, rather, a warning. In their separate ways, however, these two pieces of fiction are extremely effective in relaying the message about the possible outcome of society’s strive for perfection in the genetic world. Vincent Freeman says in the movie that “there is no gene for the human spirit.” And although BNW doesn’t mention much about genes and the human spirit, Huxley used a reversed method of showing us that conquering the human gene may simply create an infantile and dystopic society.