Solidarity Service Satire Essay

Aldous Huxley's Solidarity Service in Chapter Five is a parody of the "feel-good" emotive services that some churches hold to promote religious "experiences": 

  • During this service, the congregation of higher-caste New Worlders sing hymns that emphasize that they are part of a greater whole in a parody of Christian hymns have as their theme the universality of men. 
  • The solidarity participants have a "communion," but they take the drug soma instead.
  • They perform a dance while beating on the buttocks of the people before them parodying the actions of the congregation of the "feel-good" churches in which people beat tambourines and dance and jump.
  • The frenzy becomes so great that the soma-drugged people channel their actions into the "orgy-porgy."  This parodies the people who "feel the spirit of the Lord" and fall down writhing on the floor. 

There is such a falseness to these soma-generated mock-religious activities, that once people come down from this drugged-induced communion of carnal pleasure, like Don Juan coming down from his moments of ecstacy, they feel isolated and alone again, if they are thinking people [and they are higher-caste].  So, the quest for satisfaction of the spirit goes on as it does, for example, with one who has the Don Juan complex, one who searches constantly for an end to one's emptiness through sexual acts. but is left alone and bereft afterwards.  But, only Bernard understands the twisted and absurd values of such activities; the others merely return to the ironically named Solidarity Service:

He was as miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began--more isolated by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety.  Separate and unatoned, while the others were being fused into the Greater Being; alone even in Morgan's embrace--much more alone, indeed, more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before.

Bernard's is an existential moment; here he is truly human and alienated while the others are mere humanoid duplicates "fused into the Greater Being" of the scientifically generated New World.  Perhaps the imperfections in his birth ("hopelessly himself") have provided him with the atavistic feelings of those Before Ford--his hairiness may be an indication of this "primitiveness," his interest in nature, and his curiosity for the Reservation seem to suggest this.  Certainly, the reader understands the emptiness of the scientifically produced New World that Bernard feels.

With the Solidarity Services, Huxley satirizes evangelical services which control people through emotional unity. Bernard Marx is forced to attend the Thursday Solidarity Service in Chapter 5, Part 2. He hurriedly slips into one of the twelve chairs (the number of disciplines of Christ) which have male/female alternating. The president begins by making the sign of the T (mockery of the sign of the cross) and the music begins from the synthesizer. Then, twelve verses are sung and the "dedicated" soma tablets (mockery of the consecrated host in the Catholic Mass) are placed in the center of the table around which the people are sitting.

The loving cup had made its circuit.....As verse succeeded verse the voices thrilled with an ever intenser excitement. The sense of the Coming's imminence was like an electric tension in the air.

Then, a supernatural Voice spoke from above their heads. Slowly he rolls out, "Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford (whose name has replaced God's) as a "sensation of warmth radiated thrillingly our from the solar plexus to every extremity" of the group. The service reaches a crescendo as the "Greater Being" sings Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun....The men and women pair off and six couples go to waiting couches for the ritualistic orgy which is the final consummation of the group session. But, Bernard feels nothing.

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