Sorry for neglecting this series (and “Favourite Friday” as well … but I’ve got a reason for that: this semester I spent most of my Fridays working at university and going to capoeira class afterwards without going home in between.)
Nevertheless, earlier this week I saw something I have to share in this category:
Two women who seem to work at a day-care centre took their group of kids (still young enough to be sitting in big carriages holding about 6-8 kids each, all of them maybe 2-4 years old) to an electronics store in our local mall. I mean, for what purpose? “Educating” them on how be a obedient consumer who wants and buys all the latest shiny gadgets?
Excuse me, but we live in a big city full of electronics and advertisements. Can’t they take the kids to the park to see, you know, trees and water and all this stuff? Oh wait, I forgot, it’s all free. How very Brave New World.
If the children were made to scream at the sight of a rose, that was on grounds of high economic policy. Not so very long ago (a century or thereabouts), Gammas, Deltas, even Epsilons, had been conditioned to like flowers – flowers in particular and wild nature in general. The idea was to make them want to be going out into the country at every available opportunity, and so compel them to consume transport.
“And didn’t they consume transport?” asked the student.
“Quite a lot,” the D.H.C. replied. “But nothing else.”
Primroses and landscapes, he pointed out, have one grave defect: they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate among the lower classes; to abolish the love of nature, but not the tendency to consume transport. For of course it was essential that they should keep on going to the country, even though they hated it. The problem was to find an economically sounder reason for consuming transport than a mere affection for primroses and landscapes. It was duly found.
“We condition the masses to hate the country,” concluded the Director. “But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus. So that they consume manufactured articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks.”
“I see,” said the student, and was silent, lost in admiration.
(Huxley: “Brave New World”, chapter 2; bold-face by me)