There are vast similarities and differences in the futuristic dystopias explored in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Although composed half a century apart, both arose in contexts of rapid technological change and evolving / changing social mores. Both texts reveal the effect of human interference with natural processes and environments. But the most significant contrast is in their views of the intrinsic worth of humans.
After WWI the world plunged into disillusionment and depression, from over consumption of world markets. Mass production was influenced by great technological change. Technological advancements had also created new and devastating war machines, that caused deaths on an unprecedented scale and which annihilated the landscape. Huxley satirises this destruction of nature through his description of the Neo-Pavlovian conditioning process, which condition the inhabitants of the BNW from an infantile stage to despise nature. This quote from Huxley's 'foreword', written in 1946 expresses the rapid progress of technology and control over humanity.
'Totalitarian regimes will be called into power by social chaos, if science is not used as the means to producing a race of free individual, resulting from rapid technological progress in general and the atom revolution in particular, under the need for efficiency and stability; into the welfare-tyranny of utopia'. From the great economic depression totalitarian regimes arose in Germany, Russia and Italy. These governments promised people order, security and economic stability. But Huxley values the ideas and beliefs of freedom, individuality, choice and balance with the natural world and its rhythms. These things are not found in a totalitarian answer. In his text Huxley explores and satirises flaws and dangers associated with this type of government.
A type of government that denies fundamental aspects of humanity, such as freedom of choice; having lasting relationships; experiencing emotion; intellectual stimulation; and a qualitative relationship with the world of nature. Similarly, BR reflects its context. Scott uses this bleak image in the context of the 1980's, where technological advancements became more immediate and human destruction of the environment was a large issue. Scott's script echoes the concerns about pollution global warming and eco-destruction, which arose in the early 1980's.
(Pick a scene and depict) Both texts explore the degradation of human nature, where man is a commodity and human worth is measured quantitatively. In these worlds consumerism is a religion, man emulates god and all moral responsibility is lost. In BR the nature of humanity is questioned. Humans appear cold and unemotional, while replica nts are seen experiencing emotions such as love and anger.
Batty shows emotion when he hugs Pris' lifeless body. In BNW all love, hate, jealousy and anger (emotion) have been removed by the process of conditioning, bringing social stability at the price of individual thought. War and disease in the BNW, which have been eliminated at the enormous cost; that of the natural aspects of humanity, and how love, birth and family are non-existent. Consumerism is worship as a religion and Henry Ford has the status of God.
'Our ford... the sign of the T'. In BR Tyrell is seen as a powerful god-like figure, who rules and dominates the city with the capitalist power of his corporation 'Commerce is our goal'. (Extend) Moral responsibility is lost in both worlds. In BR the murder/ assassination of a replica nt is called 'retirement'. (Add more to the depiction of Tyrell) In BNW this is shown through the 'Bokanovsky Process' and how the population of BNW are conditioned and / or harmed to produce a certain grade of human.
Another underlying motif in both texts is the tensions between humanity and the natural world. In BNW, humanity has literally been lifted out of nature. The tension between humanity and the natural world is created in BNW by the degradation of nature, within the minds of the Brave New Worlder's. The Neo-Pavlovian condition process eliminates the natural love of nature, as it 'keeps no factories busy'. Tension is also brought forth by the juxtaposition of London and the 'Savage Reserve'. 'Remember in the Reservation children still are born, yes, actually born, revolting as that may seem.' The clashing of these two worlds is personified through the character of John, who is a social outcaste from both worlds.
(Add more to the character of John) BR depicts life in a ravaged, urbanized world. A world where nature has been damaged, almost eradicated. All the animals presented in the film are artificial. The only plant life in this urban jungle is the bonsai trees in Deckard's apartment and Tyrrell's office, symbolizing how nature has been minimized to a manageable size. In this future world nature is rendered tame. BR's LA has become an overpopulated, overdeveloped and polluted world, were talking billboards constantly seducing the citizens of LA 2019 with an opportunity to start again..