To the People Who Think the Youth are Helpless

Subject: To the People Who Think the Youth are Helpless
From: Grant Bergman
Date: 2 Mar 2017

For a High School English class I read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The project was to write an open letter based off a topic the book we read. The book was about this futuristic utopian society where happiness is (figuratively) shoved down your throat! And it all starts with structured child programming.
“Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind. And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too — all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides — made up of suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” (Huxley, Ch. 2) The test tube babies are decanted (born) in specialized government-owned factories and, from infancy, taught their likes and dislikes. Even before birth the children’s fates are determined. The fetus is subjected to various environmental changes to ensure the children grow up to a certain status in chapter 1. Then the rest of the book focuses on some characters that occasionally utter a lesson carved into them in kindergarten.
I am growing up in an age where personal identities are very important and the value of life is controversial. Every day I measure my personality. How do I want to act? How could that affect others? How could that affect me? This book takes out the first question. The people of this society are forced to think a certain way. They have limits constantly imposed on them. That challenges my entire life. It shook me to the bone, this book. It got my gears turning again. What makes me, me? And how is that different from the characters in the book?
In our world people struggle. You probably don’t need me to tell you that. What you can to help fix the world… probably not what Huxley said. Most of a person’s personality is defined by who they associate with in their life. If someone can associate themselves with you, an intelligent, strong, helpful, graceful individual (to be) they (children) will grow into that.
Now I don’t have kids or anything, but once upon a time I was one, and I spent almost all of last summer hanging out with middle schoolers. One of the reoccurring themes with dealing with them is that putting your best foot forward always leaves a good impression. Then, after you win them over, they will be willing to learn. They can be taught the complexities of life: how to act, respect, fairness, bravery, etcetera, etcetera. Eventually the children grow up and make rational, positive decisions to make the world better.
To create a better world you don’t need a pillow whispering into children’s ears. All you need is to be a good role model… which is easier than it may seem.

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