About a month ago I read “Brave new world” by Aldous Huxley and this posting is not a review about the book since I have already done that in it’s proper place in CBC, I only wanted to mention an idea that occurred to me while reading one of the incidents in the book, and to do that I have to give a little background of the utopian world that Huxley invented as his new world, and I find nothing more suitable than using his own quote to bring alive this world:
“The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma.”
Soma as defined by the author is a drug used to relax the mind and bring about a blithering bliss.
In one of the on going actions the police force used soma sprays and anesthetic guns to calm down what seemed like a riveting riot. After using soma people would get more apologetic and try to use logic in settling their disputes. Which got me thinking; why not use such drugs in fighting violence instead of using the destructive machines? The harm is less likely and the effect is good.
Another question crossed my mind; would we be happy in such a utopian world? Assuming that we don’t know what sadness is; would we know what happiness is?

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nazzal
    Apr 17, 2005 @ 16:32:00

    yes we can be much happier , yet not machines ….

    VIVA TO SOMA

    Reply

  2. 307cc
    Apr 17, 2005 @ 18:09:00

    I think i’ve seen a film close to that book but it’s not the same idea…
    And to answer your question ayya, I think that we wouldn’t know what’s happiness nor sadness, we will only be machines surving the government in return of this soma thingy, and personaly, I wouldn’t want that to happen.

    Reply

  3. Peach
    Apr 17, 2005 @ 18:30:00

    I always say what you don’t know can’t hurt u! but then again don’t forget that naughty little mind! I don’t think it can be contained and conditioned like that.

    Reply

  4. shosho
    Apr 17, 2005 @ 21:11:00

    Sounds more like a dystopia to me!

    Which reminds me of a book I have in my amazon cart, it’s “We” by Zamyatin. He’s supposed to be the father of 20th dystopias.

    Has anyone read it? Any comments or impressions before i buy the book?

    Reply

  5. AyyA
    Apr 17, 2005 @ 23:13:00

    Nazzal
    I like that philosophy 🙂

    307cc
    The way you describe it!!!!, no I wouldn’t want that either

    Peach
    Just imagine that it was, and all your needs were taken care of without any burden or hurt feelings, would that mind still be at work?

    shosho
    Yes they’re more or less the same except in a utopian world you still have feelings and emotions except they are toned down with soma, in dystopia you are more like a robot. And although I have heard about “We” but I did not read it because I got the idea that the point is more or less the same. And if it is anything like “Brave New World” I’d advice you to read it, coz the latter is a very mind provoking read.

    Reply

  6. shosho
    Apr 18, 2005 @ 01:05:00

    Then I guess I will have a look at it – I admire russian lit anyways 🙂

    Reply

  7. DJ
    Apr 18, 2005 @ 08:54:00

    The quote is definitely thought provoking, but I have to ask how anyone can consider that mankind would be “happy” (as the quote claims) when they have no emotions. They are not afraid, they are ignorant of passion, they do not love and have no bond with another human being…they simply “exist” and do so becuase it’s their “condition.” It doesn’t sound like a eutopia to me. And, while I do wish there was more logic, rather than fire power, used to solve disputes in today’s world, the concept of mind control and robbing people of their free will brings with it risks for just as much unfairness and tragedy.:-( We all KNOW that such a power would be abused!

    Reply

  8. Oshun
    Apr 18, 2005 @ 09:48:00

    yes! I can’t imagine that mind being still in the state of containment & stillness you describe!

    Reply

  9. AyyA
    Apr 18, 2005 @ 16:56:00

    Ok, let me explain more;
    In this utopian world, each group of people were created to perform a certain task in a work force, some were geniuses; only in their own field. Some were janitors; but didn’t know what else they were good for and therefore were contented with their roles. All other aspects concerning their interrelationship were also taken care of. Extremity in emotions was very rare.
    Now, emotions are a double-edged sward. And extremity in emotions is either heaven or hell. But if you are not conditioned to experience either hell or heaven, what would it matter for you? You lead a healthy, ageless and active life, you are more productive, more sociable and confidant. Well, think about it, not bad hah?

    Reply

  10. 307cc
    Apr 18, 2005 @ 21:26:00

    hmm… if u look at it from this angle, it would be a much organised world … but again… i wouldnt like anyone to control me :\
    If you live this way you won’t live your life, instead, your living the life programmed to be your life… think about it 🙂

    Reply

  11. Preternatural_aL
    Apr 19, 2005 @ 09:12:00

    If u are not doing it to acheive anything,, why even bother getting up in the morning?

    Reply

  12. AyyA
    Apr 19, 2005 @ 11:15:00

    307cc
    Ok, then are we actually free now? Are we not controlled; each by a system? We all know that we have a fee will, but how many of us use it? Conditioning is a way to deceive ourselves and I would like to refer to it by the metaphor “Soma”
    Many of us have chosen to go with the flow on their own free will, although they realize it’s a total subjugation.

    Preternatural_aL
    As I understand it; the purpose of man’s existence is to build the earth. In either way we are doing that, but in the utopian world there is more construction than destruction and therefore more production.
    So you will wake up because you have a duty.

    Now, I don’t mean to believe that the utopian world is ideal; as I mentioned, it was a thought that kept taking dimensions in my mind, and just thinking loud.

    Reply

  13. 307cc
    Apr 19, 2005 @ 13:56:00

    aha 🙂
    well in that case… I think it’s a good way to live our lives… like what nezal said :
    “VIVA TO SOMA” :p

    Reply

  14. Jewaira
    Apr 19, 2005 @ 22:27:00

    Wallah AyyA what a fascinating idea: using drugs to fight violence instead of destructive weapons! It would certainly be less detrimental to the environment and a more ‘peaceful’ way of dealing with enemies.

    I would not like to live in a utopia because in truth if you did not know pain, nor endure sadness how could you feel the delights of happiness and the joy of success and security.

    Reply

  15. TANTALIZE
    Apr 20, 2005 @ 18:54:00

    Ayya:

    Oh Huxley. Brave New World was a great read and thought-boggler.

    Now listen to this. Huxley was actually sent by the British secret service to the U.S. around the late 1950’s and early 1960’s to introduce illegal opiates such as LCD and other forms of drugs in California, especially within communes. This is when the sexual revolution took place and women were further emancipated. People became anti-government and anti-institution and pro-sexual and promoscuity got out of control. The marriage rate started to decline. Fewer babies were being born. And the “self” ever loomed so largely.

    So, what he fictionally wrote in “Brave New World” secretly took place as experiments in the U.S.

    * I’d love to live that lifestyle as portrayed in the novel but aware of the opposite state of living, also. If you closely monitor current world statistics and lifestyles, you’d see that perhaps it IS slowly happening!

    ;^)

    Reply

  16. AyyA
    Apr 21, 2005 @ 11:42:00

    307cc
    🙂

    jewaira
    Success and security are supposedly granted in this world, and you are being constantly kept happy by taking doses of soma regularly.

    Tantalize
    Are you serious? Would the Brits go that far for the sake of an experiment?
    In my own perception to the book; I felt that we are all going towards that dimension, and it is within our complete will. Human started using more logic than emotions when dealing with state matters. The world is more directed toward peace, distance now is becoming a void element with the boom in technology. But the utopian world is too extreme; do you suppose that one day we will get to that extreme?

    Reply

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