Cyprus Experiment in Brave New World

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  • 0:01 A Perfect Society
  • 0:41 The Cyprus Experiment
  • 1:34 Mustapha's Point
  • 2:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

The top thinkers in the World State seem to have the rules of society down to a science. But how did they achieve this? This lesson will give you all the details about the Cyprus Experiment in 'Brave New World.'

A Perfect Society

When the protagonist of Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World, John, meets World Controller Mustapha Mond at the end of the book, he can't help but wonder why society has limited the growth of such sizable segments of the population. Why has the World State created a society in which people are predestined for the exact work they shall do, even going so far as to poison developing fetuses with alcohol to stunt their development? Always with an answer, Mustapha responds that this was the result of experiments to find the best way to run a society. One of the most notable of these experiments was the Cyprus Experiment, a plan to populate an entire society with only the very best that could be offered.

The Cyprus Experiment

Mustapha tells John that the plan itself was pretty simple - take the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean and populate it only with the absolute best of the best, or Alphas. The plan was to see if the greatest group of minds could create a more perfect society. After all, they would have no stumbling blocks other than their own fulfillment.

However, their own fulfillment soon proved to be enough of a stumbling block to bring the entire project to a screaming halt. Mustapha goes on to tell John there was chaos throughout the island. No work got done, and by the end of it, the people were begging for the World State to once again take over operations.

Mustapha explains that the reason for this was dreadfully apparent - there were too many Alphas trying to do only Alpha-level work, while the jobs of lesser castes went utterly undone. In the end, it was this collapse in services that caused the remaining population of the island to beg to be returned to the more stable society of the World State.

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