Utopia Theory in History Aldous Huxley's Pala

About the theoretical utopian society Pala written about by Aldous Huxley, about the social, political, and economic structure.

Name of Utopia: PALA

Who Created: Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).

Described in: Island, a novel published the year before his death. Thirty years before the publication of Island, Huxley described another utopia in his classic novel Brave New World.

Population: The population of Pala is over one million, though an exact figure is never given.

Political and Social Structure: Constitutional monarchy. The position of the Raja, or monarch, is hereditary. The duties of the Cabinet, House of Representatives, and Privy Council are not clearly explained in the novel beyond saying that Pala is a federation of self-governing units--geographical, professional, and economic--that these 3 branches of government oversee. The social structure of Pala is built around the blending of science and religion. The religion is Mahayana Buddhism, which teaches that everything from food to sex can be a road to enlightenment and liberation. Science on the island is dedicated to practical tasks like improving crop yields and devising psychological methods for reducing aggressive personalities. An essential part of life on Pala is the mescalinelike drug Moksha, which produces mystical visions allowing islanders to achieve ultimate consciousness.

Property and Distribution of Goods: Cooperative community. The islanders grow rice, vegetables, fruit, and poultry. They live very simply, managing to provide for most of their own needs and importing as little as possible from the outside world. Competition has been eliminated, and the community has passed from a system of mutual aid in a village community to streamlined cooperative credit unions. Population is controlled so that there are never more people than goods, and so that everyone on the island enjoys plenty.

Production: All members of the community work and enjoy their opportunity to do so, for work, like food and sex, is considered another road to enlightenment. Members of the community are permitted to change jobs at their own discretion, both to prevent boredom and to permit a greater wealth of experience. Along with the island's agricultural production, there are 2 potteries and a furniture factory. All other materials are imported, but because Pala is not a consuming community these commodities are sparse.

Family/Marriage/Sex: While the attitudes of the islanders toward marriage are rather traditional, their attitudes toward sex and the family are not. Everyone on the island belongs to a Mutual Adoption Club (MAC). The MAC consists of from 15 to 25 assorted couples, made up of newlyweds, couples with growing children, and grandparents. Along with blood relations, everyone has deputy mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and so on. This allows children freedom from their parents, and parents from their children. Islanders practice a yoga of love similar to the male continence practiced at the Oneida colony in America (Huxley uses Oneida to describe sexual behavior on his island), and this system is called Maithuna. Sexual liberation exists without sexual jealousy. Artificial insemination is widely practiced by the islanders so that families have a variety of types. Children are limited to 3 per family, though most islanders stop at 2.

Place of Women: Though women hold a variety of posts on Pala and take their place beside men in all activities, the islanders consider men superior to women.

Education and Culture: Children on Pala receive 2 kinds of education concurrently. The 1st begins with the taking of Moksha, so that "they might experience their transcendental unity with all other sentient beings." At the same time they learn in their psychology and physiology classes that "each individual has his or her own constitutional uniqueness." One of the more interesting features of Pala's educational program is its search for children with special gifts. The most intriguing of these gifts is the susceptibility to hypnosis, called on the island somnambulism. Somnambulists can distort time, making one minute the subjective equivalent of 30. During a period of somnambulism, tremendous amounts of intellectual ground can be covered.

Why the Experiment Failed: Pala is invaded by a militaristic neighbor anxious to obtain Pala's rich oil resources, and the utopia collapses.

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