6 Dec. 2013
The Delusion of Happiness
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Thus, implying happiness can be determined by one’s mindset. However, Aldous
Huxley’s Brave New World creates a vision of a utopian society that achieves happiness by altering the mindset of its populace to believe they are happy. In a society depicting such a strange ideology of the future, people are no longer as happy as they make their minds up to be, but as happy as the government allows them to be. Canadians are repugnant to such an idea, despite the many issues leading Canada to a place similar to Brave New World. The excessive use of chemicals, obsession with consumerism and the illusion of happiness prove that the
Canadian society is becoming increasingly similar to the Brave New World.
Chemicals are excessively used to achieve youth and happiness in both Brave New World and in Canadian Society. The prime example being the use of drugs to achieve a euphoric feeling and to escape something versus dealing with it in both societies. In Brave New World, Soma, a hallucinogenic drug, is an integral part of maintaining order. When a member of society is unhappy, it is a natural instinct to consume soma. When Lenina is upset John does not join her after their date, Lenina thinks, “One gramme, she decided, would not be enough; hers had been more than a one-gramme affliction” (Huxley 171). Lenina uses soma to prevent unacceptable unhappiness in the Brave New World, as many Canadians use antidepressants as a simple fix to
their unhappiness. The utilization and prescription of pharmacotherapy for depression has increased from 3.2 to 14.5 million between 1981 and 2000 in Canada (University of Toronto
Magazine). The increasing dependance on drugs is due to one’s lack of ability to be happy in the
world they live in. In addition to drugs, chemicals are constantly being used as a method of achieving youth and beauty in both worlds. The Brave New World has developed methods of staying young to which the populace living in reservation do not have access. Linda, only 40, is called a “Monstrous practical joke” (Huxley 150) by her old, secret love Tomakin, as she has lived on the reservation for many years without chemicals to keep her ‘beautiful.' Comparatively, in Canada, cosmetics and surgery are becoming increasingly important to society. Between 2009 and 2010, there was a 14.1% increase in sales of beauty, cosmetics and perfume supplies versus the average 5.1% increase per year, despite the economic crises Canada was facing (Sales and
Operating Revenues). Lastly, despite the increasing need for drug use in both civilizations the government is becoming increasingly apathetic. As evidence, when Linda returns from the reservation, she took as much as twenty grammes of soma a day. The doctor told John, “Which will finish her off in a month or two” (Huxley 154) however he does nothing to help her because
Linda being self-isolated from society helps maintain stability. The decrease in concern of drug use is also seen in Canada as the youth accused for drug-offenses has increased from 200 per
100,000 youth in 1986 to almost 800 in 2007, despite the diminutive increase in youth charged from 150 in 1986 to about 275 in 2007 as seen in figure one.
Figure 1 "Youth (12 to 17 Years) Accused of Police-reported Drug Offenses, Canada, 1986 to 2007." Trends in Police-reported
Drug Offenses in Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2009002/article/10847eng.htm>.
This illustrates the lack of concern towards increasing chemical use in both societies. With
Canada becoming more dependent on artificial happiness and beauty yet with less concern towards the issue, the humanity and morals of people will begin to decrease and all actions of goodness will be eliminated and society will fall apart. Our country may have to turn