The word "soma" is not new. Northern Californians pass over the Bay Bridge into South of Market, its acronym SOMA. More broadly soma was the pleasure drug in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In that book it worked as an opiate, keeping addicts from questioning external circumstances. The original usage of the word implied something entirely different.

Huxley, a devoted student of Eastern philosophies, knew that. The word first appeared nearly 3,500 years ago in Indian texts. The Soma Mandala is the ninth chapter of the Rig Veda, one of the world's oldest religious texts. All 114 hymns praise this energizing drink in stark terms. In one hymn, soma is praised:

We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered. ...[Continue reading on Big Think]