In many cases when you read a novel you may find comparisons between the “fictional” society and your realistic one. The author may consciously or unconsciously create similarities between these two worlds. The novelist can foresee the future and write according to this vision. In Brave New World, Adlous Huxley envisions the future of our society and the dangerous direction it is headed in.
Brave New World is greatly dependant upon soma, as in our world where prescribed drugs and drug abuse are prominent. This is evident when Bernard and Lenina return from the Savage Reservation. Lenina is devastated from her experiences, so decides to take soma. It illustrates how like our world when something upsets us instead of trying to solve the problem we use drugs to mask them.
Linda’s addiction to soma is also an illustration of the similarities of drug abuse between our two worlds. Linda’s return to Brave New World after many years brings her to the abuse of soma. She uses it as an escape from reality. Some of us use drugs to escape from the harshness and the tough brutality of reality. We always dream of the perfect utopia and expect our world to transform into it. Some of us always look for the easy way out and drugs allow us that.
A further similarity of Brave New World to us, is when John is in the hospital after his mother’s death due to soma abuse, and witnesses the workers receiving their soma rations. John begins to throw the soma out if the window, causing hysteria among the workers. For these workers soma is everything. They cannot imagine life without it. People addicted to cocaine, heroine and other drugs go through a similar stage called withdrawal. Living without the drugs seem unimaginable and frightening. If our world does not stop this dangerous overuse of drugs we will see ourselves evolve into the frightening direction of Brave New World and will be unable to stop it.
Physical and mental controlling (hypnopaedia) is used to teach moral lessons in Brave New World, our world uses hypnotism for the same purposes. The incident with Ruben Rabinovich illustrates how our world is similar to Brave New World. Ruben Rabinovivch was a young boy who fell asleep with the radio on listening to a professor give a lecture. When he awoke the next morning he could recite the facts he heard but, he did not know what they meant. This is similar to our world because people use tapes to help them learn and memorize facts and speeches.
In Brave New World their society is taught moral lessons and slogans by hypnopaedia. For example “a gramme is better than a damn.” Today we are forced into believing propaganda and advertisements. We are bombarded with ads and pressure to buy certain things, or believe what people tell us. In Brave New World if they do not follow propaganda they are considered abnormal, and are forced out of society.
When we are young children we are soothed from our crying by music and the voices of our parents. We are told we are loved and are spoken to. Throughout our lives we are taught, valuable lessons through our sleeping moments. In Brave New World the children are also taught valuable, life changing lessons during their sleep. These lessons will be used for the rest of their lives. If we do not carefully monitor the use of hypnotism we will be finding ourselves in a horrific situation like Brave New World.
Our world has many alarming similarities to Brave New World. If they are not closely monitored we will find ourselves rapidly evolving into the frightening reality of Brave New World.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.
Hammersmith: Flamingo, 1994.