What is hypnopaedia teaching in Brave New World?

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Hypnopaedia or sleep-teaching is a way that the governing bodies in Brave New World teach children about morality and class distinctions. To impart information onto a child, speakers placed next to the child repeat slogans and messages while they sleep in order to ingrain those messages in the child's memory. These messages promote societal ideals regarding class roles and proper behavior regarding sex and conformity. 

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While at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, the students, accompanied by the director, were being taken around the institution so they could observe how the people were produced and trained. The students got to learn about the Bokanovsky process which standardized the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons by forming ninety-six identical twins from a single egg of each group. These identical twins would then work in identical environments performing the same activities by strictly adhering to the principle of mass production. Apart from hatching embryos, the students learned that the institution was also responsible for predestination and conditioning of the embryos to ensure they fit adequately to their future lifetime roles in the outside world.

“We condition them to thrive on heat,” concluded Mr. Foster. “Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it.”

The students proceeded to the Nurseries (Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms). It was here they learned of Hypnopaedia or sleep-teaching. The D.H.C. told them a story of how Reuben, a young boy in the past, was able to repeat information he had heard from the radio when he was asleep. Hypnopaedia in the new world was used to deliver moral education to the babies and introduced them to class distinctions. Hypnopaedia was some form of Classical Conditioning (learning through repetition while using a stimulus). In the new world, it was practiced when the babies heard a particular piece of information that was repeated over speakers positioned close to their cots as they slept. The purpose was to embed this information in their memory.

“Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfuly glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able…”

This information was repeated to the sleeping Beta babies so that they recognize their station in life and grow to accept it as the best.

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A type of sleep and...

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