/ Brave New World; Can a "perfect" drug be used to acieve a stable society?
This is a paper I wrote for school. Just wanted to see what you guys thought about it.Brave New World
Can a "perfect" drug be used to achieve a stable society?
"There is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon; returning whence they find themselves on the other side of the crevice, safe on the solid ground of daily labour and distraction, scampering from feely to feely, from girl to pneumatic girl, from Electromagnetic Golf course to ..."
In a perfect society, humans do not need to resort to drugs to keep society in balance. In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, society is based on keeping everyone happy- and if for some reason someone becomes unhappy then there is always soma- the "perfect" drug. Humans are conditioned from the very start to be happy while performing their specific tasks. "We also predestine and condition. We decant out babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future Directors of Hatcheries." (Page 13) Brave New World's society is built on keeping everyone happy and keeping everyone working in balance with civilization. However, without soma, Brave New World's society wouldn't function properly. The soma helps to keep the society moving, always working to keep production moving, just like Ford's assembly line. However, there something wrong with depending on a drug to keep a society working.
Huxley's portrayed society does in fact work to an extent. People know what they need to do, people are happy, people have soma, and people can have pleasure whenever they like. Things get done, but those same things could get done in a different way. The introduction of the Savage starts to show a different side of the story. The Savage, not conditioned and born to an actual mother, has different ideas about society- especially soma. "Listen, I beg of you. Lend me your ears... Don't take that horrible stuff. It's poison, it's poison."
The Savage is not happy with the life that the "civilized" people live. To him it seems like a big illusion. The people are conditioned to not have emotions, but humans cannot really be humans without emotions. Humans are different from all the other creatures in this world because they do indeed have emotions. The advanced human brain has allowed people to have emotions- which affect their lives daily. "The emotions aren't always immediately subject to reason, but they are always immediately subject to action" (William James) The Savage had several chances to "have" Lenina any time he wanted but he didn't want that. He wanted passion, he wanted somebody to love, and most importantly he didn't want to rely on soma to keep him happy.
The "perfect" drugs that can be developed in the future will not do mankind any good. Sure a "soma" may keep people happy, but it will also turn humans into machines, without feelings to guide them. Feelings are the driving force behind humans. Why had many scientific advances been made in the past? Why had many new lands been discovered? Emotions- love for science, love for other humans, hate for crime, hate for disease and even greed guide people. The Savage was one of the very few lucky people left who still knew what it was like to feel hatred, what it was like to feel love, what it was like to feel sorrow and he realized that he did not want to be alone in a world where people did not experience emotions and where soma could cure all of your problems. He did not want that life and his emotions made him act upon his feelings.
"Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east." Ironically, his emotions that he so desperately wanted to hold on to- ended up being the death of him- but that's what being a human is about.