ISearch 2015: Soma Analysis

In BNW, a common mention about the society is the use of Soma. Soma is used by almost everyone within the BNW universe , and quite liberally. it’s main use is to deal with unpleasant feelings, however its also used to provide them with “Holidays”, where they seem to zone out and enter a sort of trance state.


Soma is said many times to have a sort of time-dilation effect on whoever ingests it, with “half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…”. This kind of effect is a possible result of the use of Marijuana, as stated in the book Altered States of Consciousness, “What happens in these cases is that most of the person’s attention is in non-time processes, so that time passage is not noted until the social consciousness returns. Then it seems that no time has passed, since there was no process noting its passage.” this works with both the time dilation effect in Soma as well as the fact that Marijuana has some hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects, which would work with this quote “there she remained; and yet wasn’t there at all, was all the time away, infinitely far away, on holiday; on holiday in some other world, where the music of the radio was a labyrinth of sonorous colours, a sliding, palpitating labyrinth, that led (by what beautifully inevitable windings) to a bright centre of absolute conviction; where the dancing images of the television box were the performers in some indescribably delicious all-singing feely; where the dripping patchouli was more than scent – was the sun, was a million saxophones”


Now one final idea is that, as stated by sociologist H.S. Becker, most of Marijuanas effects are learned rather then a direct effect of the drug, which meant that only knows who knew the drugs full effects, could access them. Now this next bit is full speculation, but seeing how they are taught extensively when they are children about how there society works, would it be out of the question to assume they teach the children about the effects of Soma, allowing the children to use them?