Essential Quotes by Theme: Technology as Control
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1
“...Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!”
Major instruments of social stability.
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.
The Directory of Hatcheries and Conditioning is leading a group of school boys through the hatcheries, explaining to them the wonders of modern technology, where humans are grown. By using the same egg and the process of “budding” (similar to cloning, but using a single egg and sperm to create dozens of individuals), technology can fully develop adequate workers for their respective places in society with little future training. With each person born to know his or her place, there is thus a strong measure of social stability. There is a sense of community, of belonging to a society that is highly controlled and measured, with the individual having the security of knowing his or her place in it. A sense of identity, though much simplified, leads to contentedness with what one is. This all leads to stability in the world at large. No need for greed, no need for rebellion. All the pieces of the puzzle for a perfect society are in place. As the Director later says, “That is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you’ve got to do.”
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 2
Roses and electric shocks, the khaki of Deltas and a whiff of asafetida—wedded indissolubly before the child can speak. But wordless conditioning is crude and wholesale; cannot bring home the finer distinctions, cannot inculcate the more complex courses of behavior. For that there must be words, but words without reason. In brief, hypnopaedia.
As the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning continues the tour of the hatchery, he leads the group into a room where infants dressed in khaki are crawling around the floor. Roses and books are placed on the floor, and the infants begin to move toward them. As they do, sirens and blasts echo through the chamber and an electric shock goes through the floor into the babies. Screaming in terror, the children are beginning to learn, through Pavlov’s classical conditioning, that nature and books are bad. As the Director tells the boys, these things are unproductive. But as country sports are good for the economy, these things are encouraged through the same process. As adults, they will go out into the country to play, but they will not love the country enough to stay. In the next room, the Director points out the effectiveness of something called “hypnopaedia.” He relates a story about a boy who went to sleep with the radio playing and woke up able to recite everything he heard as he slept. This leads to a new method of learning, though it is discovered that mere facts learned this way may be repeated but not applied in any...
(The entire section is 1505 words.)