In Brave New World, what is the Bokanovsky Process?
Bokanovsky's Process involves splitting a single embryo into anywhere from eight to 96 identical embryos, each of which will grow into an identical human being.
When one of the students asks what the advantage of this is, the Director tells him that it creates unprecedented social stability:
“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. “You really know where you are. For the first time in history.” He quoted the planetary motto. “Community, Identity, Stability.”
As much as possible, this world tries to have these large batches of twins working on the job together. This leads to less trouble in the workplace and more social harmony, according to those who manage the society. This, however, repulses the Savage when he enters civilization and is take to a factory. Here, he sees
eighty-three almost noseless black brachycephalic Deltas were cold-pressing. The fifty-six four-spindle chucking and turning machines were being manipulated by fifty-six aquiline and ginger Gammas. One hundred and seven heat-conditioned Epsilon Senegalese were working in the foundry.
This makes him literally "retch." Mustapha Mond will later say to him:
"I see you don’t like our Bokanovsky Groups; but, I assure you, they’re the foundation on which everything else is built. They’re the gyroscope that stabilizes the rocket plane of state on its unswerving course.”
The Bokanovsky method, which is described in great detail, allows the society to pre-ordain what kind of life people will be born into. People will be conditioned to adapt to their lot. People are created to be happy in whatever caste they end up. Further, this method removes traditional parents from the mix and all the uncertainty that introduces into the social order. People have no parent but the state laboratory. People in this world are blind to how dehumanizing this process might be, but Huxley expects the reader to understand the satire.
In the world of the novel, the Bokanovsky Process is a method of human reproduction in which a fertilized egg is split into identical genetic copies. Using this method, one egg can be split into as many as 96 embryos. This process is applied only to Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon classes, however, in order to create a large working class. A factory could be completely staffed from the reproduction of just one egg.
Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.
"Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!" The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. "You really know where you are. For the first time in history." He quoted the planetary motto. "Community, Identity, Stability." Grand words. "If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved."
Solved by standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins. The principle of mass production at last applied to biology.
In addition to the actual process that produces many human beings at a time in measured amounts according to intelligence, there is an underlying subversion at work. For, the Bokavonsky Process transforms the social order from individuals in various roles to a group of programmed humanoids. "Everyone belongs to everyone" in this system, and no one belongs to anyone because there are no family units to overcome.
Also, with the elimination of the traditional family, there is the elimination of the authority of the paternal and maternal participants of this family unit, thereby imposing much more easily the order of the state over the individual. The state, therefore, has complete control over the lives of its participants as it provides the burgeoning citizens with what to believe about the world, and how to act in it. True emotions, cultivated in the nurturing atmosphere of family, are virtually eliminated, as well.