XTC VS. SOMA Essay, Research Paper
A Brave New World is Aldous Huxley?s prediction for six hundred years in the future. In this surreal land everyone belongs to everyone else, and in theory everyone is happy. When any character is unhappy or feeling upset about something they are encouraged to take a drug called ?Soma?. This drug can be compared to modern-day drugs such as Prozac, and the controlled substance methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), better knows as Ecstasy.
Soma is a wonder pill from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World that takes away all the pain and makes you think and feel nothing. All characters in the novel take Soma to, ?Take a holiday form reality whenever you like, and come back without so mush as a headache or a mythology.? (Foster, 54) The usage of Soma has been conditioned in to the entirety ?civilized? world. Hypnopaedic phrases like, ?One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments,? and ?a gramme in time saves nine,? are implanted in civilized minds from a very early age. Soma like ecstasy apparently has a positive, Utopian effect on the user, ?Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed, the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy, friendly smiles.? (80)
Some of the physical effects noted in users on Ecstasy are similar to that of soma. Users tend to look flushed due to increased body temperature. Glassy, water eyes are also common, as with most drugs. Although most users identify Ecstasy as the ?hug drug?; the use of Ecstasy has been linked with a wide range of psychiatric sequelae such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, depersonalization, derealisation, cognitive deficits, flashbacks, hallucinations and other perceptual disorders, and paranoid delusions and other forms of psychotic phenomena.
Ecstasy is said to catalyze a powerful experience that takes many different forms. It can provoke an intense, energetic, spiritual high or lead to warm, loving relaxation. It can connect people freely and openly with each other, and bring the user to a Utopian mental state.
First synthesized in 1912, there was little interest in Ecstasy until the
Mid-1970?s when the drug was explored as an aid to psychotherapy. In this
context, the key effects were feelings of empathic understanding for others and
a release of emotions. By the early 1980’s, Ecstasy had moved off the couch
and into the community. However in recent years Ecstasy has been introduced into the black market. In the 1990’s recreational use became widespread, especially in dance clubs and Rave scenes.
Raves are all-night electronic music dance parties that are usually held in warehouses or other large venues. Very large sound systems and light effects are also used. Some participants ingest controlled substances and then dance or join mass massages. Group massages can usually be attributed to the use of ecstasy. The drug makes any type of physical touch pleasurable.
This atmosphere is nearly identical to the Soma Bars, and ?feely movies? of A Brave New World. Places like the Westminster Abbey Cabaret, which advertises ?London?s finest scent and color organ. All the latest synthetic music.? Although there is an absence of scent organs at raves, smoke machines offer the same ambience.
Ecstasy has also been said to arouse sexual feelings in the user. Soma seems to have nearly the same effect. Evidence of this is found in the Solidarity Services. Civilized people ingest quite a bit of Soma, sing, and then erupt into a group orgy.
Although Huxley predicted A Brave New World to be six hundred years in the future, many of this world?s technology and behavior are already in use today. Genetic engineering, and a general inclination towards indulgences. Drug usage is continuing to gain momentum, not only illegal but also prescription drugs. Prozac, Ritalin, Lithium, and Valium are all available to help people to be ?normal? and ?happy? pieces of society. These societal symptoms could be the beginning of a metamorphose into Huxley?s fictional world, only time will tell.
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