Disturbing Article in Popular Science about Soma-like drugs.

This should bother anyone who’s read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley…

I picked up a fairly recent copy of Pop Sci in our school library today, (the cover story was about the idea of a science created superman and being a big comic book fan, I picked it up.) I found the stuff about robot limbs etc. to be quite interesting, but one article disturbed me for the rest of the day. It was about side-effect free drugs meant to specifically alter brain chemistry to make a subject instantly happier, less forgetful, more religious feeling, more faithful to one’s partner, and even alter one’s sexual orientation (gay? Don’t like it? Take this pill and be straight!) You get the idea.

This scares the living hell out of me, and here’s a few reasons why:

1.Imagine a world where drugs regulate every human being’s emotion. When ever something sad happens, just pop a happy pill; whenever you feel the urge to cheat on your spouse, pop a fidelity pill; feel like you need to feel warm and fuzzy inside? pop a God pill. The biggest problem with this is that it totally devalues any kind of relation we could have with the outside world, eliminating any kind of meaning we could gleam from life experiences. Say your friend dies; under a normal human circumstance, you would get a deeper understanding about what life is and our place in the world out of the experience. But in a drug-a-fied world, such painful reflection would not be needed and an oppurtunity for an expansion of understanding would be replaced by a shallow, meaningless glee. Apply this to any negative experience a person could ever have and what you end up with is a complete regression of humanity to a childlike state in which everything is taken care of and no responsibility is taken. With no sad experiences, empathy, the basis of human morality, is stunted, resulting in a world of people so self-absorbed that true human relationships cannot exist. In this world people are no longer in touch with any kind of healthy emotional state, but are instead dictated to by drug companies about how they should feel. Which leads me to my next reason…

  1. In this world, the companies that make such drugs could wield unheard of power over entire populaces. If you’ve read Brave New World, you remember that the leaders in the book kept people in line by continuing to give them Soma, the wonder drug. Even if there were no chemical side-effects, the drug would become a serious emotional crutch for anyone who took it regularly. If that were taken away, people coming down off that ultra-high would crash to an equally great low, leading to the final reason I’ll mention here…

3.The human brain wasn’t meant to be flooded with these giant doses of emotional stimulants all the time. The long term physical effects themselves could be disasterous. But even beyond the physical toll on the brain, there’s a reason God or evolution or both or whatever gave us all these emotions beyond simple “fight or flight”. Using our differant brain make-ups and emotional experiences, we are each able to come up our own insights into life, love, the universe, in fact, just philosophy in general. The problem is that many materialists (speaking from a Cartesean point of view, and I don’t mean all materialists, just a few) think that because they beleive the mind consists of matter and nothing more, that excuses them to mess with it to fit what they might percieve to be the optimum performance, as you might tune an engine to make it run better. But the problem with that is that the mind is not an engine to be tuned up, but an evolving mode of conciousness. Being truly human means dealing with who we are and our emotions in light of the truth. And if I must pick between happiness and truth, I’ll take truth anyday.

Yea… this is a scary world indeed.

If you would like to see it in live action form… the movie ‘equilibrium’ semi emulates this type of concept. Rather though… feelings just become obsolete by drugs as they are seen as detrimental to human civilization/society.

As long as no one is forcing the pills, I’m not sure I see a problem. Heck, they might even make an existential anigst pill for those who feel their life is too shallow. Really the technology here is neutral, it’s the politics we have to worry about.

i secondthat

also, question, your understading of what exactly those last generation neural interference pills do is really supperficial. they don’t exactly have precise effects, not even for a majority of people.

they have that already… it’s called crack

-Imp

Right.

I am sure the motive for making ‘Soma’ is to gain MONEY, and nothing else.

Living truthfully is the best way.
In this crazy world, there are two kinds of people: Victors and the victims.
‘Soma’ and all the medicine on the TV commercials lure the gullibles (a.k.a. victims). I’m not saying we should disregard all the medicine.
It’s just incredible!