Aldous Huxley’s dystopian story Brave New World and Shahram Heshmat’s article “10 Reasons Why People Continue to Use Drugs” both help to understand the dystopian element that a society is an illusion of a utopia, specifically how people see past problems through the use of drugs. In Huxley’s dystopia, the citizens use a drug called soma to make them high. When Lenina is at the Reservation, and forgets her soma. She is “left to face the horrors of Malpais unaided.”(111) Lenina’s dependence on the drug shown in this scene explains how she needs this drug to see past problems. The people in this society see no problems because they are blinded by the drugs they are on. If people don’t see problems they don’t try to fix them, so the society doesn’t try to cause change. This gives the government more control over the people. In Dr. Heshmat’s article, he talks about reasons people use drugs. One reason is that “high emotional stress is associated with a loss of control over impulses.” The impulse is soma and the stress that the society has is the reality of the society being a dystopia. The drug reliance, as shown in Lenina, explains the high emotional stress and connection to mood enhancing drugs. The stress makes them crave drugs because their addicted and keeps them content so they don’t see the problems in society. When Bernard talks about the potential joys of parenthood, Lenina blurts out, “Bernard! How can you?”(112). This is an example of the failure of people to realize the problems with society on account of their contentment with the society caused by drugs. Bernard’s original thought gets immediately rejected because Lenina conforms to the society’s misconceived beliefs about how natural birth is bad. The government spreads these types of ideas by dumbing down the society through the use of drugs like soma. The drugs that eliminate thinking create a misconception that the society is a utopia. In the article, another reason that people take drugs is to self medicate. Drugs provide “immediate satisfaction” and an “escape from misery.” People use drugs to help them forget about problems. The people become addicted to the drug and need it. It is exactly this reason that Lenina wants soma at the Reservation. The people’s dependence on drugs makes them easily manipulated by a government, which is the situation in Brave New World.
The irrationality of decision making in addiction