I rarely share my weirder musings on the internet, so posting this makes me a little nervous.
At some point in high school I read 1984 by George Orwell. and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
Both novels present a dystopic society, yet in a key aspect– sex, they’re stark opposites:
In 1984, everything in society is strictly controlled. The language, the literature and the politics are all meticulously constructed by Big Brother. Love is also controlled. Or, sex, more accurately, since the act is deemed only appropriate for the purposes of procreation. It’s wrong to enjoy sex.
In Brave New World the society is controlled on a deeper level — down to the very genes of every individual, however a very different set of rules governs sex. In a nutshell, everyone “belongs” to everyone else, and it’s wrong to be with only one person.
I’ve always understood that both of these novels achieved success because they presented a strange universe entirely different from our own. People are drawn towards the strange! How preposterous is the idea of no love? Or what about the idea of being chastised for loving only one person?
But are these ideas preposterous? Are they, really?
Our world seems so comparatively normal. We fall in love, with one person, and we become committed to them. But is this normal?
I was watching sister-wives a couple weeks back. This is a reality TV show that features a family with one husband and four wives. I felt embarrassed when my mum asked why I was watching it. And I feel embarrassed admitting that I was curious!
Don’t worry though, there’s not logical way I would actually be tempted to enter into a plural marriage since I think it’s just as strange as you do.
But it’s worth considering, I think, that our way of life is only normal because that’s what we’re used to. It’s actually quite strange if you take Brave New World, or 1984 to be the norm. I imagine a girl my age, who lives in Brave New World and is reading 2015 by Hanna Y. Or a boy from 1984 sneaking off to read 2015 in secret. 2015 is a best-seller because it’s strange and scandalous. But I can’t tell you why it’s strange and scandalous because I live in it, and I simply don’t know.