Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (1932)

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Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 (632 A.F.—"After Ford"—in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine profoundly to change society. Huxley answered this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with Island (1962), his final novel.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.[1]

Drug Content in the Plot

To maintain the World State's Command Economy for the indefinite future, all citizens are conditioned from birth to value consumption with such platitudes as "ending is better than mending," "more stitches less riches", i.e., buy a new item instead of fixing the old one, because constant consumption and near-universal employment to meet society's material demands is the bedrock of economic and social stability for the World State. Beyond providing social engagement and distraction in the material realm of work or play, the need for transcendence, solitude and spiritual communion is addressed with the ubiquitous availability and universally endorsed consumption of the drug soma. Soma is an allusion to a ritualistic drink of the same name consumed by ancient Indo-Aryans. In the book, soma is a hallucinogen that takes users on enjoyable, hangover-free "holidays". It was developed by the World State to provide these inner-directed personal experiences within a socially managed context of State-run "religious" organisations; social clubs. The hypnopaedically inculcated affinity for the State-produced drug, as a self-medicating comfort mechanism in the face of stress or discomfort, thereby eliminates the need for religion or other personal allegiances outside or beyond the World State; the book describes it as having "all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol, none of their defects."

[1] "100 Best Novels". Random House. 1999. Retrieved 23 June 2007. This ranking was by the Modern Library Editorial Board of authors.

Text retrieved from on November 11th, 2014.