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Brave New World - Soma: Does It Exist Today?

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:05 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 36.1 
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“The perfect drug … Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant … All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects … Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology” (Huxley 54). In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, soma is the name of this “perfect drug.” The characters of the novel use (although some abuse) soma on a daily basis. Whether a soma comparative exists today is reason for debate; however, several drugs taken regimentally by people of the present society mimic soma’s effects.

MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), known more commonly by its street name Ecstasy, imitates soma. In comparison, both MDMA and Huxley’s soma cause euphoria, a feeling of great joy and excitement. However, unlike soma, MDMA has quite a few undesired side effects. MDMA causes a temporary increase in the levels of certain brain chemicals, especially serotonin and dopamine. These sudden upsurges trigger many pleasurable psychological effects; although, their physiological effects are far from pleasurable. MDMA is known to cause heavy sweating, increased heart rate, dilated pupils, and dehydration. Ecstasy may mimic soma by inducing euphoria; however, other drugs mimic other facets of Huxley’s soma.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressants regularly used to treat depression as well as many anxiety disorders. These SSRI’s emulate Huxley’s soma because they are taken daily by patients to control mental stability. Users of SSRIs must take their prescribed therapeutic dose regimentally to avoid unpleasant side effects.   These side effects include nausea, headache, vomiting, and tremors. In contrast, it is the side effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which clarify the diversity between soma and SSRIs. SSRIs and soma, however, are generally considered similar because they decrease anxiety and increase contentment.

A final present day soma imitator...


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