yelps to which they now gave utterance. Their little bodies twitched and stiffened; their limbs moved jerkily as if to the tug of unseen wires.
We can electrify that whole strip of floor, bawled the Director in explanation. But thats enough, he signalled to the nurse.
The explosions ceased, the bells stopped ringing, the shriek of the siren died down from tone to tone into silence. The stiffly twitching bodies relaxed, and what had become the sob and yelp of infant maniacs broadened out once more into a normal howl of ordinary terror.
Offer them the flowers and the books again.
The nurses obeyed; but at the approach of the roses, at the mere sight of those gaily-coloured images of pussy and cock-a-doodle-doo and baa-baa black sheep, the infants shrank away in horror; the volume of their howling suddenly increased.
Observe, said the Director triumphantly, observe.
Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocksalready in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.
Theyll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an instinctive hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. Theyll be safe from books and botany all their lives. The Director turned to his nurses. Take them away again.
Still yelling, the khaki babies were loaded on to their dumb-waiters and wheeled out, leaving behind them the smell of sour milk and a most welcome silence.
One of the students held up his hand; and though he could see quite well why you couldnt have lower- caste people wasting the Communitys time over books, and that there was always the risk of their reading something which might undesirably de-condition one of their reflexes, yet well, he couldnt understand about the flowers. Why go to the trouble of making it psychologically impossible for Deltas to like flowers?
Patiently the D.H.C. explained. 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 flowersflowers 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 didnt 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.
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