Brave New World is not, or not just, a dystopian horror story. It asks a fundamental question about our society, one without easy answers: "What is our goal, and will we like it if we get it?"

Frequently we identify the goal of society by the Utilitarian "greatest happiness for the greatest number" principle. And in practice, the kind of happiness this usually results in is calm, content, and comfortable. Our ideal society would cause the minimum amount of discomfort to the maximum number of people.

As Mustapha Mond points out, the World State is based on exactly this comfort principle. Everything that causes pain has been removed. Nearly everyone is calm, content, and comfortable nearly all the time. Anything that had to be sacrificed to achieve this goal was sacrificed.

It is these sacrifices which cause the horror we feel on contemplating the World State. The State, as Mond recounts, is a result of the World Controllers realizing that if they were to achieve comfort and stability, all other ideals must be sacrificed.

Art is done away with, because the passion needed to create it is linked to suffering and discontent. Science and the pursuit of Truth must cease, because they constantly upset our view of the world. Religion is gone, because the New Man may have no god but pleasure. Love is dead, and with it family, because the bonds of affection for any particular person lead to passion, which leads to instability.

This is what we would need to give up, if we were ever to achieve the ideal for which we have always been striving. This is the world we would make, if the dream of contentment were realized. Huxley shows it to be a nightmarish, intolerable place. The contentment finally achieved is a faint pretense at true happiness. With contentment as our goal, we will be forced to give up all of the other things in life for it, and the contentment we seek will be poisoned. In short, Huxley is telling us that we need a better goal.