Huxley and Turkle Synthesis
The evolution of technology has changed the modern day society in many ways. From the creation of the fundamental wheel to the latest iPhone XS, technology has made both a positive and negative impact on how people view life. The two texts Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle depict how society reacts to the excessive amount of technology they experience regularly. The futuristic novel by Huxley indicates that humans will be completely controlled by soma, the menacing drug developed by technology, and the non-fiction article by Turkle present circumstances where humans have already started being steered by this upcoming complication.
The use of soma and technology leads to the complete deterioration of the realism that comes from life because of the pseudo happiness created. The utilization of soma and technology are shown as continuous, which makes it convenient to get a hold of. Soma, in Huxley’s novel, plays a major role in maintaining citizens to be happy. As presented, “there is always soma, delicious soma” for when people start to feel unhappy or uncomfortable, they won’t start acting out of line. This shows how there is always soma present, especially when society gets overwhelmed and maybe on the verge of thinking for themselves. Soma stops its users from thinking and makes them happy, so that they wouldn’t realize that there is no reality in their life. Turkle also talks about this topic, but with how our phones are always on us, and how we constantly use them to escape reality. “If you’re spending three, four, five hours a day in an online game or virtual world (a time commitment that is not unusual), there’s got to be a place you’re not” (Turkle 273).
Unfortunately, there is no place we are not, because the convenience of technology has allowed us to spend hours upon hours of our lives in another world that isn’t our own. This takes away from the authenticity of our lives which we create ourselves, not some app for role playing. In addition to their convenience, soma and technology blur reality. When in discomfort, soma and technology are desired, which end up creating a sense of fabricated happiness. Soma, a pill which causes the human to all negative emotions is considered “the perfect drug. Euphoric, narcotic, [and] pleasantly hallucinant. ” This is considered a happy and pain-relieving drug which hallucinates its users. With fake happiness being created, this perfect drug blocks humans from understanding the highs and lows of life. Turkle’s text also revolves around how technology blurs reality by showing how fake happiness gets in the way of veracity of life. The truth is that many adults make fake accounts and lure kids into all sorts of awful things. All the kids however, “they nurture friendships on social-networking sites and then wonder if they are among friends. ” This shows that kids, who want to make friends in social media, believe they are happy, but do not know what making a friend truly is.
Despite making friends online, no one can be sure, whether they are “real” friends, and this blurs the sense of reality because no one can tell whether the people they interact with online are truly “real” or not. Soma and technology also create a gap from reality, which changes how people view the truth. Huxley demonstrates how soma makes its users escape from reality by “swallowing half an hour before closing time, the second dose of soma has raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds. ” This shows that when citizens take soma, their mind is not stable and cannot view things accurately, which is a tremendous cause of the citizen’s inability to think. According to Huxley, a society that does not think, is not violent. The inability to think deteriorates the society’s perspective of real life. Turkle mentions technology as real vs. not real, and introduces if non reality affects humans. Turkle talks about how Rebecca and Turkle were visiting the Galapagos and how the tortoises were not moving. Rebecca “thought it was a shame to bring the turtle all this way from its island home in the Pacific, where it was just going to sit there in the museum, motionless, doing nothing. Rebecca was both concerned for the imprisoned turtle and unmoved by its authenticity”(Turkle 265). Rebecca believed that a fake tortoise would rather be suited better for a natural environment than a real tortoise.
This shows that her solution to making the tortoises be active is to make robotic ones.
The fact that people would go to visit the Galapagos Islands to see robotic turtles instead of real ones proves how technology takes away from the authenticity of our lives. Overall, both authors, Huxley and Turkle, portray technology in a powerful but negative manner to show how people are blinded to the realism that comes from life by the pseudo happiness technology creates. Soma and technology are shown as controlling and erroneous by how they create pseudo happiness, not giving its users even a glimpse of reality. Huxley and Turkle both warn their readers that technology will get to a point where it will be able to control people without them even questioning it.
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