Brave New World Soma
In his novel, Brave new world; Aldous Haxley explains to us the effect of technology on human lives and how it has changed people’s view on various issues in life. The novel gives a more clear insight on reproductive technology and sleep-learning that lead to change in the society’s view of human life. He further explains that the state of the society’s future will be immensely affected by the changing technology and ideas that are generated today.
In chapter 1, he explains how technology like test-tube babies has changed people’s perception of conception; he explains how D.H.C explains to his students about incubators, insulated doors with racks of numbered test-tubes, ova’s that are kept at blood heat and male gametes. He explains to them how they have to keep the temperatures at around thirty-five instead of thirty-seven. He further shows how the modern fertilization process is done; this explains how much technology has brain washed humans and derailed them from what they believe in.
The novel explains a false symbol of universal happiness in this regime; this happiness is a chemically driven and technologically motivated fulfillment. In the book, he explains a case where people use biotechnology to end a mental pain or any other form of misery; this solution was not available to humans before and it may do more harm than good. This new world described in the nook is loveless, unsettling and considerably sinister; the ideal world according to the book is technology driven and nothing natural exists. To most people the brave new world described in the book is a nightmare; the technology involved is supposed to make life easier and painless. But this is does not happen in a real world; in this era of post-genomic medicine, anything can be done to make life painless and long for humans. This may mean that the new discoveries can even splice our DNA and edit it to make life painless, longer and with considerably better experiences.
In the book, he further explains that the price of the happiness that we get from technology may be too high for humans to bear; the sacrifice for this happiness may be family, motherhood, love, emotions, freedom among other things that humans value so much.
The satisfaction and happiness driven from the technology adopted include; sports such as obstacle golf, mass produced consumer goods, promiscuous sex without consequences, and a perfect world filled with pleasure from drugs. These drugs are known to be life transforming; a good example is the drug called Soma, it makes one high and acts as a hangover free tranquillizer.
Most of the outcomes of technology that people cling so much on do not bring human growth but instead may lead to more self destruction. It makes people comfortable with their lack of freedom; it creates a un penetratable wall between the real world and what usually goes on in the humans mind.
In his book, Huxley seeks to warn readers against scientific utopianism; in future, it is expected that it will be technically possible for genetic medicines and pharmacotherapy to re-engineer a person back to life after death. The genetically modified persons will be called trans-humans; they will be endowed with a greater capacity to love, care, show empathy, and a great depth of emotion that anything that is neuro-chemically alive today. The theory of natural selection may not hold in this type of society; with the diverse technology, humans can exhibit the extraordinary traits that make them most preferred and fit.
The brave new world exhibits false happiness; Huxley discusses this by stating that by abolishing mental pain and nastiness, it does not mean that a person experiences true happiness. The technology through drugs gets rid of any bad or painful experience a person has had; they only remember the happy moments in life. In real sense, this form of technology deprives them true happiness which is inaccessible to utopians. Most of these utopians exhibit a common character, that is, an intense sense of dissatisfaction and feeling meaningless. This is because humans find happiness and fulfillment in the contrast between the good and bad experiences they have experienced in their life; the ability to distinguish the difference between these two intense emotions is what makes humans happy.
In this book, the brave new world is based on manipulation and control by a few dominants. In the real world, the survival and fate of humans depends on the interplay between nurture, environment, nature and heredity; but to the technological world, a few factors control their survival.
Even in this Brave New World, not everybody is happy; this is exhibited by the various characters in the novel. Lenina has Lupus, Bernard is disaffected and emotionally insecure because of a mistake done in the bottling plant; if they run out of soma, and their fate is not the most anticipated. It is therefore, true to say that technology brings an imbalance to both nature and humans; most of the changes have a negative effect to human’s survival and well being.