The students’ tour leaves the hatchery and goes on to the Infant Nursery,
where Tomakin, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (D.H.C.) shows how the babies are programmed.
Babies are shown colored children’s books and lush roses, and when they crawl towards these, they are thrown into panic by explosions and alarms, and they receive a mild electric shock. When they are again confronted with these things, they are conditioned to associate them with terrifying noises and the electric shock. This processing is normally carried out for the inferior castes.
The Director explains that at one time, the lower castes were conditioned to
love nature, but this only made them leave the city in order to seek the countryside, and this had a marked effect on society’s consumption, so now they are programmed to stay in the cities where they can consume
They are now encouraged to participate in sports, which require elaborate
equipment, thus enhancing consumption of manufactured goods.
The students are also told about hypnopaedia or sleep teaching. This is used to indoctrinate the children, particularly their sub-conscious, while asleep.
Children are taught about elementary sex, the results of which will be shown
in the next chapter.
In this chapter, we obtain an understanding of some of the key mechanisms
used in order to maintain control and happiness in Utopia.
It is all about conditioning from the very first days of birth, so that each
caste of child is programmed to perform their required task, and is conditioned to be happy.
We are shown how the babies are made to associate noise and shocks, with
books and flowers.
This is wordless conditioning and as such is crude, but this is replaced at a later stage with hypnopaedia or brainwashing, which is apparent in this day and age through advertising and the brainwashing of political prisoners. (It should be noted that in Russia in the 19th Century it was discovered that dogs could be trained through this technique, and made to do unrelated functions when given a specific stimulus e.g. dogs could be trained to feed on hearing a bell.)
The type of programming that a child receives depends on which caste it is
in, this being determined genetically at conception.
The type of uniform they wear identifies castes, and mixing between the castes is strictly forbidden. Within each caste there is a division into higher or lower types: A+ or A.
In Utopia the view is that if people are busy consuming, they won’t have
enough time to trouble the state. Clearly Huxley was concerned at the spiraling supply and demand society of the early 20th Century.
Brave New World is full of humor and wit, and we see examples of this in the
dating used in Utopia – A.F. (After Ford). It is obviously a play on words - FORD instead of LORD. In Utopia the symbol of industrial progress is the letter ‘ T ‘ taken from Ford’s
most popular car. This has replaced the Christian cross in this society.
Just as the Utopian society makes fun of us, our human births and family life, so Huxley is making fun of
the society in which he lives, in particular religion and politics.