Brave New World: Out of Control
In the 1932 satirical novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley describes an emotionless, mechanized world of the future, set mostly in London, in which individuality is eliminated, creativity is stifled, and such institutions as marriage, family, and church are unpleasant artifacts of a world long gone. In this society, people are mass-produced; human eggs are artificially engineered by technicians. Happiness is achieved through physical gratification and peace is safeguarded by the conditioning of youth and by dispensing soma, a tranquilizer. Bernard Marx is the main character and his unorthodox viewpoints and physical difference from the rest of
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To avoid serious thinking, the state distracts the citizens with endless government sponsored sports and entertainment, causing citizens to consume and be distracted and thus cause no trouble the state. These factors are portrayed brilliantly in the scene where Bernard takes Lenina on their first date. He suggests that they go for a walk and talk, but she, finding such an activity distasteful persuades him to go to the Semi-Demi Finals of the Woman's Heavyweight Wrestling Championship. Later, when they're returning home, Bernard stops his helicopter over the English channel so they can look out over the waves in contemplation. "It makes me feel as though...as though I were more me if you see what I mean. More on my own, not so completely part of something else. Not just a cell in the social body. Doesn't it make you feel like that, Lenina?"(90) She responds the way any properly conditioned citizen would, with disgust and horror. Thoughts such as these are a danger to the society's stability and the happiness of the other citizens and eventually Bernard would answer for them.
One of the preferred ways to maintain stability in the brave new world is the hallucinogenic drug, soma, which like all hallucinogens, dulls the senses. Soma is the perfect drug because the citizens consume it whenever they have the slightest psychological or physical discomfort. As Lenina says,