I Think I’ve Found “Soma” the Problem

15 Apr
Huxley autograph of 1942 book "The Art of Seeing."

Huxley autograph of 1942 book “The Art of Seeing.”

OK. That was bad. Really bad. I apologize sincerely for that. Now back to my post.

The other day I was surfing around and I saw a picture of a young lady staring dreamily into her IPhone/ Android/ whatever. It was an ad for a social media site touting its portability. You, too, can flat-line your mind anywhere you go. And then it occurred to me: this is our society’s version of “Soma.” Huxley wasn’t too far off!

I’m sure some of you have read “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. Without recounting the whole novel, Soma is an hallucinogenic drug that the future World State gives to its citizens so they can take hangover-free “vacations” to relieve stress and distract them from the oppressive, totalitarian world they live in. After reading BNW, I wondered when, if ever, our society would start to do something like that. When I saw the photo of the girl and her tech device, I said to myself, “It’s already here!”

Think about it. Our culture is very chemical/drug averse, for any number of reasons going back hundreds of years. But video and internet content, delivered via electronic IVs which we take with us anywhere, is the perfect solution. Using this technology people can watch television programs, movies or music videos. They can communicate with friends, play games, read books, magazines or newspapers, anywhere they go and at anytime they want. And it can be highly addictive. What better way to distract people from what’s going on in their world?

George Orwell wasn’t the only one who knew what he was writing about.


By the way, that Aldous Huxley autograph you see above is from one of my books. I found it in a thrift store in Anaheim, CA maybe 20 years ago or so. I paid 50 cents for it. Unfortunately, the book isn’t “Brave New World,” but it is a first edition, in perfect condition, of Huxley’s “The Art of Seeing” signed and dated by the author.

I like it.


Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Ideas, Old Books, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “I Think I’ve Found “Soma” the Problem

  1. jubilare

    April 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    It’s true. Our systems can be wonderful in disseminating information and provoking thought, but if we don’t learn to think in the first place, or become so wrapped up in entertainment and consumption that we stop thinking… and yes, it is already happening. For one period in my life, it happened to me, and I have to watch myself closely to prevent it happening again.

    • Rob

      April 16, 2013 at 12:51 am

      I have to watch myself too. It’s very addictive drifting from one website to another, or watching YouTube, or playing FREE! online games. It takes our eyes off the real world and these days that’s a dangerous thing to do. I think some people like that.


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