In “Brave New World” we saw a programmed happiness ultimately being a horrible way to live. We saw the discovery of a lack of truth, and we saw complete control of the state. We saw happiness obtained by strict structuring and no flexibility. So what we actually saw was more of the brainwashing of the population, rather than complete happiness. But what if happiness had been achieved through peace and understanding. What if our “happiness index” did eventually max out? Would this be better than the dystopia of brave new future? No doubt. However, is the achievement of utopia really goal?
Imagine living in a world where there was no conflict; it is a world we strive for. There would be no war, no discrimination and no hate. In this kind of society there would be a strong welfare to ensure that no people were struggling with poverty. There would be accessible travel across the world, and our doors would be open to any visitor. There would be no conflict and no competition. We would have reached what might seem like maximum progress. But would this make people happy? I do not believe it would.
I do not mean to be cynical, nor do I intend to argue that people enjoy hateful things. However, it is human nature to compete and improve. We pick favorite sports teams and stand by them ruthlessly. We enjoy every game or match and cheer at fights and victories alike. It is interesting and provides people with a goal, and sort of purpose. Competition also pushes people towards progress. Look at the space race in the 60’s! Without Russia’s motivation, would the United States have landed on the moon when they did? Or would we be years behind in the technology we have aquired? On a smaller scale, competition in athletics as well as academics pushes young athletes and students to work hard and discover their limits and abilities; a runner rarely runs their fastest time without their competitor on their heels. Competition can be fun, healthy, and incredibly beneficial. Without it–no matter how peaceful–people would not be pushed to their limits, and therefore would not reach their full potential. Collectively this would lead to a peaceful society falling further and further behind.
Additionally, while I am in no means pro-conflict, and truly believe that conflict can and should exist without violence, society would be held back without any sort of disagreement. To specify: To be without conflict, would mean people never argued with each other, never challenged each other, and never pushed for more, or better information and understanding. If people took everything at face value there would never be doubt, nor accusation. There would also never be righting of wrong information or actions. Professor Fleming encourages his students to challenge everything they hear, and ask questions rather than believing everything they hear. This is the only way to ensure the furthering of our understandings of life, and progress our society forwards–scientifically, technologically and even socially.
Although I would never argue in favor of violence, hate, or the disrespect of others, I think inevitably, finding complete peace could be detrimental. Even if this peace was achieved virtuously rather than programmed by government, without challenging each other, and pushing forwards, we will never learn more nor improve. I believe a life like that, no matter how calm, is not a happy one. A clear example is that of the 50’s housewives. No matter how affluent those women were, they were unable to find fulfillment in the consistent lives of cleaning and cooking. There is overwhelming evidence that even the most prosperous needed more than peace; they needed purpose in their lives. The only way to achieve that is to have a meaningful impact towards the progress of society. To learn, and educate in order to push forwards. Peace is not calm, coherency, without conflict and competition. Peace, as an ideal, is an open-mindedness towards the progressive evolution of science, technology and society.