“A significant concern for humanity is its relationship with the natural world and nature’s influence on human behaviour and human interaction. ” These are the guidelines in which the topic ‘in the wild’ fits. I have studied two texts that demonstrate the effects of ‘In The Wild’ very well: ‘Brave New World’, a confronting novel by Aldous Huxley, and ‘Blade Runner’, a post-modern film by Ridley Scott, are two dystopian, science-fiction texts which demonstrate the connection between man and nature and the effects of losing this connection.
The environment that is shown throughout most of ‘Brave New World’ is not a natural one at all, it is a highly urbanised city location with few natural features like trees. One of the few times that nature is referred to in the ‘World State’ is on page 34 when the controller waves his hand towards the garden, which is comprised of mostly small shrubs. This in itself is not nature because the garden is man-made and has been ‘allowed’ to grow. The word ‘allowed’ demonstrates how this ‘natural’ area is actually unnatural in this place.
The tall buildings, roads and walkways seem to be ‘the normal’, while this garden is abnormal, making (in the minds of the people of the World State), the garden ‘un’-natural. This is shown when Bernard takes Lenina out over the ocean in a helicopter and Lenina refers to the ocean and the crashing waves to be ‘horrible, it’s horrible’ on page 75. Similarly, ‘Bladerunner’ is also lacking natural features in the movie. There is not a single tree throughout the whole movie, and the only animals seen are either vermin or artificial.
Concern For Humanity
Also, the city in which the film is set is highly urbanised to the extent that an average building may be over 50 metres tall! This landscape has become ‘normal’ and the natural theme of the city has become a dark and dense urban wilderness. The quality and importance of humanity’s relationship with the natural world in these texts is shown to be quite low. The World State of ‘Brave New World’ has left the natural world behind and relied simply on their laws and their science to keep their civilisation alive.
This has worked, but at quite a cost – Yes, the people of ‘Brave New World’ are no longer exposed to all the illnesses that they may have been exposed to before, but they’ve lost their ‘humanity’. The people of ‘Brave New World’ have no individuality, no birth right and concern for anyone but themselves. They’ve lost their connection with nature and have in turn lost their passion and their inspiration. They have no self satisfaction gained by catching or growing their own food, no concern for the beauty of an ocean and no ability to consider the tribal traditions of those living ‘in the wild’.
In ‘Bladerunner’, people walk down the packed streets individually yet surrounded by hundreds of other people in the same street. They have lost their connection with their planet and have thus lost their connection with each other. They have been sentenced to life in a horribly polluted environment with nothing natural and this has sent them into spiral of depression. They do not even care when Deckard, the main character kills a Replicant (synthetic human) in the middle of busy pedestrian traffic. This shows that they genuinely don’t care about anything except themselves anymore.
Humans are presented as ‘drones’ in both texts. In ‘Brave New World’, all the citizens of the ‘World State’ do what they are told, know what they are taught, and simply go through life without questioning anything about their world. This is due to the ‘World State’s’ practices that keep people from growing and aging naturally. This could be seen to be a utopia, but when thought about thoroughly, one realises that this is in fact a dystopia because they give up so much constantly just to exist in this society. The only exception to this is John Savage, who grew up in an Indian tribe.
He sees this society to be a complete dystopia, not able to believe the great sacrifices that the people make for happiness, such as the drug ‘Soma’ that his mother takes, which significantly shortens her life just so that she can live in utter happiness for a short while. In ‘Bladerunner’, the most human people on the whole planet Earth are the Replicants. They love, which few human characters are shown to do in the film. They speak of beauty, which few of the human characters in the film do, and they truly value their lives, which none of the human characters in the film do.
This shows how the lack of nature has changed humanity so much that they have in fact lost their humanity. In response to the absence of nature in ‘Brave New World’, the World State has certainly become a thriving civilisation, with the population constantly growing, and people being constantly happy, but this comes at a terrible price. These people will never know what it is like to love, fear, suffer, rejoice and most of all think for themselves individually. Similarly in ‘Bladerunner’, the people in this film have lost everything that should be important to them.
They no longer care for anyone but themselves and just walk through life helplessly with no individuality and no concern for their peers or environment (what’s left of it). This loss of individuality and choice is the direct result of the loss of native instinct and environment, showing just how crucial the relationship between humans and their surrounding environments is, and just how important the study of ‘In The Wild’ is when analysing any text based in any location.