Ecstasy: The Real “Brave New World”September 10, 2013
A recent article in The Daily Beast chronicles the latest attitudes toward the drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. From what author Abby Haglage reports, it is not only teens at raves that are using it. It is actually the same group, but now they have matured into their early 30s. They see it as the safest alternative to pot, alcohol or amphetamines.
One of the women interviewed for the article is Sarah, a 26-year old who has a Master’s Degree in Public health. Here is her assessment of the first time she used MDMA:
She says she uses Molly (Molly is the nickname for Ecstasy) regularly. Thirty minutes after taking it for her first time (while working in England at the age of 22) Sarah was happier than she’d ever been. “Don’t you just wish it could stay like this forever?” she told her friends, something they still laugh about today. Now, working as a public health professional, she says it’s not uncommon to hear her colleagues talk about doing the same thing
It is this idea of Sarah’s that she would want this feeling to stay with her forever that perked my ears. I mentioned this to several friends and they couldn’t see the significance of it.
It may be time for all colleges (and maybe high schools) to require that certain classics of the modern era be required reading. I am pretty sure that Brave New World is still on most reading lists for high school, but because none of my friends caught the reference in this article, I felt it was time to shed some light.
Brave New World is set in the distant future, at a time where humanity is controlled from birth to death. Everyone, at conception, is divided into five groups. The Alpha and Beta groups rule the world and the other groups are the drudges. In order to help the drudges cope with their existence, they are given a free drug called Soma. It has very few side effects and causes the person who takes it to feel content, passive and happy. Any time a person feels discomfort, they immediately take Soma, something they have been mentally conditioned to do since they are born.
The prevailing attitude toward Soma is that it is safe and is the essential ingredient that keeps the world running smoothly. At one point in the story, several people decide not to take Soma when they feel discomfort and realize in the end that they are left with no way to cope with fear, pain, loss and grief. Most of them quickly go back to Soma and then can’t remember why they ever wanted to live without it. At one point, one of the main characters, Lenina, is challenged to lay off the Soma. Here is her answer: “I wish I could feel this way forever.”
This is why the quote above set me off. This world now has two great sins it seeks to avoid at any cost: Boredom and discomfort. With drugs we can now eliminate (temporarily) both of these “horrible” conditions. The rampant use of Methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, crank, ecstasy and even milder drugs like Adderall show a culture that cannot deal with inner relationship problems any more.
It is not much different with people who drink more than they ought, who smoke dope more than they ought…for anyone who takes a substance to give them inner peace.
Jesus says he came to offer a peace “that passes understanding.” The level of contentment we reach with his peace is one that a drug cannot touch.
Soma’s role was to control and hold in abeyance. The role of God’s Holy Spirit is to give us victory over the discomforts of life by facing them square on with God’s truth.
You choose: A brave new world or a True New Life.