How do you envision the future? Do you imagine a world without war, one where everyone is equal, one where we travel via spaceship or one where each person is born of machines and are conditioned at birth into a designated role?
Author Aldous Huxley paints, in my opinion, a grim portrait of the future in his novel, “A Brave New World”. Set in 2540, or 632 A.F. (After Ford) the opening paragraph conjures an image of a sterile and strategic dystopian society controlled by consumerism and structured class systems. The tale twists to reveal the juxtaposition of truth and happiness; in the story Huxley highlights the fact that in this future society both cannot exist together. As we in the present use recreational drugs and alcohol to numb our senses, characters in the novel self medicate with a state distributed drug named “Soma”. Soma, by definition, means body as distinct from mind and refers to all cells in the body aside from germ cells. It is under the influence of this drug that the people of this future society may be disconnected from the truth and reality of their mind control.
When a character named John is introduced we become more in tune to just how defunct the new world is. This character is unlike the others living in England in 632 A.F. he is a savage, which is a man born from a human mother, not a decanting bottle. John does not understand why the people of this world cannot see the power the state holds over them and in chapter 15 he cries out upon encountering a group of boys about to take their doses of soma. John tries to encourage the boys against it, stating that Soma is the way the state controls them. A riot erupts and before long the state police show up and spray the drug into the crowd, restoring order once again.
This novel depicts a society where class is determined before inception and where the state and it’s people have a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Frighteningly prophetic in some of it’s projections Huxley’s novel is an engrossing read that offers the reader an opportunity to view the future through the eyes of the past.