Brave New World is probably the most well-known work of Aldous Huxley. It presents Huxley’s vision of the future — a dystopian utopia. It is indeed a brave new world, in which everyone is satisfied with his own life. Happiness is no longer a rarity in the hedonistic society. People are provided with lots of reliable sources of happiness, such as vibro-vacuum massages, synthetic music plants, but most importantly, soma, a drug which induces great happiness with no side effects.

But these are not the only ways people are made happy. People are no longer bred sexually. Instead, they are created in laboratories, where they are heavily genetically engineered. People are engineered to be born with different intelligence levels. The smartest are the Alphas, while the most stupid are the Epilsons. Alphas do all the administrative work, while Epilsons do all the tedious labor. But people never complain. That’s because after birth they are brainwashed to love their duties and detest the jobs of others.

All of this effort is for the sake of stability. After the devastating Nine Years’ War, people decided that nothing was more important than stability. Hence people succumbed themselves to totalitarian rule by “world controllers”. They were transformed into hedonistic people who never complain as long as they are happy in the euphoric society the controllers created. As for those who resisted the controllers’ rule, they were simply sent to isolated areas, where they spent the rest of their lives like animals in a wildlife conservation zone.

The world Huxley presents is fabulous to those living in it, but for readers in the present, it is a nightmare. Is it a hell in heaven, or is it a heaven in hell? Free will no longer exists. People are enslaved by their inner desire for cheap and crude happiness. Stability is achieved since no one is unsatisfied. World peace is no longer impossible. But are those people humans any longer? Or have they degraded into animals treated with instant gratification?

Huxley’s vision may seem to be far away, but signs are surely appearing, and some of his prophecies have been fulfilled. With the introduction of nuclear weapons, some countries already own large stores of nuclear weapons, not to mention the madman named North Korea. Nuclear warfare seems imminent. If that indeed happens, it would be like the Nine Years’ War mentioned by Huxley, a new kind of dictator will arise out of the nuclear ashes, creating the Brave New World Huxley envisioned.

We are also closer to finding soma, the happiness inducing drug with no side-effects, than we think. Drugs like Deaner, LSD and cannabis have little side effects, and they all induce a sense of bliss. In the hands of a cunning dictator, these drugs can be extremely effective enforcers of his rule.

LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose, although in rare cases adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety or delusions are possible.

Scientists have also proved that people can be brainwashed to a certain extent when they are sleeping. People under stress for long periods like soldiers and patients are even more susceptible. Hypnopedia, in the wrong hands, can be a serious threat to free will and democracy. (Hypnopaedia means sleep teaching. Details here.)

“The ideals of democracy and freedom confront the brute fact of human suggestibility. One-fifth of every electorate can be hypnotized almost in the twinkling of an eye, one- seventh can be relieved of pain by injection of water, one quarter will respond promptly and enthusiastically to hypnopaedia.”
~Aldous Huxley

All of this points to one thing: we are heading down the road to a Brave New World. The question is: how long will it take?