What is the purpose of the Hatchery and Conditioning Center?
The Hatchery in Huxley's Brave New World is the place where human reproduction--manufacturing, rather--occurs in test tubes and incubators. It is within these machines that embryos are given certain hormones and chemicals that place them within a certain category of the society's caste system. Alphas are given just the right amount of chemicals to make them beautiful as well as intellectual. Betas are just below Alphas, but still at the top of the hierarchy. Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons are at the bottom of this system and are those who provide service or labor for the harder jobs in life. The Conditioning Center focuses on children 18-months and older to condition them into liking or disliking certain aspects of life that will help them to fulfill their predestined role in society. For example, Hypnopaedia (sleep teaching) is used to condition children to believe what the government wants them to believe. The Director explains the purpose of conditioning as follows:
"Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too--all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides--made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions" (32).
Thus, the Hatchery's purpose is to create the humans that the government wants; and the Conditioning Center brainwashes people to think the way the government wants them to think.
In Brave New World, the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre is the site of all reproduction of human life.
There ova are kept at "blood-heat" and sperm frozen. Once the ova are fertilized, they are returned to the incubators where the Alphas and Betas are allowed to remain until they are "definitely bottled." The Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are brought out after thirty-six hours in order to undergo the Bokanovsky Process.
The Bokanovsky Process is a scientific process in which an egg proliferates into as many as ninety-six buds which will become human beings through a series of arrests of development. These human beings then become Gammas, Deltas, or Epsilons through this process of genetic engineering. Their level of intelligence is much lower than that of the Alphas and Betas, who will be the leaders of the society.
In the State Conditioning Centres, babies are conditioned through electric shocks to hate certain things, such as books and flowers. There are a number of conditioning sessions conducted, and there is sleep-teaching, or hypnopaedia, in which children are conditioned while they are asleep. Eventually, then, a child's mind is formed from the suggestions.
By using this system of controlling the intelligence of its people in the Social Predestination Room and through the conditioning sessions and hypnopaedia, the New World maintains "social stability."