Committee of Public Administrators in Criminal Justice
This report summarizes my experiences and impressions resulting from my month-long visit to the World State, primarily the city of London. My escort, Bernard Marx, introduced me to all aspects of their society and took me through the life of a person born into their world from the moment of their creation in the Central London Hatchery to their deaths in the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying. He introduced me to the characteristics of the social state including the social classes, how children are raised, how people make a living, the scientific advancements of their world, and the social results of the application of these advancements. In particular, the society has been significantly affected by the use of conditioning of their young and the widespread legal use of a drug called soma. The motto of the World State is "Community, Identity, and Stability" and it should be noted that there is no more war, crime, or poverty. So it does appear to that the motto has been achieved. Although this has happened at great cost to important values, such as the family unit, and individual rights and freedoms, such as individual choice and possibility of achievement, that are available and dearly prized here in the United States of America in 2002.
Mr. Marx introduced me to the science of the World State by taking me to the Central London Hatchery (Huxley, 1-11). Here, the state has taken over the parenting function and children are no longer born to women. In fact, the whole idea of mothers and fathers is considered scandalous and shameful. Instead, the children are grown from egg and sperm donations in artificial environments. The World State has taken this control even one step further, as the offspring are altered during the development process at several steps. The first of these involves the Bokanovsky process, where the dividing eggs are arrested during cell division. This produces multiple buds from the egg where each can be grown into a human that is identical to those that budded from the same fertilized egg (4). Thus, up to 96 identical persons can be produced from one egg. Mr. Marx emphasized that this process of producing groups of identical persons was an important part the stability of the society, as it was mass production applied to the human, especially useful for the production of large numbers of lower class workers.
The interference in the development of the fetus goes even further. Intentional stunting of the physical and mental growth of the lower classes, by injection of poisonous alcohol into the fetus, is used to produce the different social classes. Specifically, there are five class levels -- Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Epsilon - with intermediate plus and minus states for each class, each mentally and physically predestined by their treatment during development to that class. Not only are the levels of intelligence and physical abilities set, but the fetuses can be preconditioned to be comfortable in certain environments, like high heat or constant tumbling, if that is useful for their future employment. Mr. Marx was distinctly uncomfortable relating this information to me, and it was a shock to find out that the Hatchery intentionally damaged the fetus to make it more suitable for the low level work it would be expected to carry out. I suspect that this was personally distressing to Mr. Marx for a completely other reason. Although he was of the Alpha plus class, he was distinctly shorter than most and seemed less confident and assertive than others I met in this class. Certainly being physically or mentally different, especially in a way that could be intentionally induced during development, is not an easy thing to live with in this society.
Mr. Marx went on to introduce to me how the children are raised by the state in this society (Huxley, 13-25). The different classes are distinguished from each other by the color of their clothing. Using "neo-pavlovian" techniques, the state conditions the children of the lower classes to be afraid of books and nature, as these things are considered to interfere with their work and their ability to consume goods. Each class is trained for its intended work. Alphas and Betas go to schools of varying quality and are taught to read and write. Delta, Gamma, and Epsilon persons are given training appropriate for their work. Mr. Marx emphasized how the mental and physical abilities were well suited to the jobs they were supposed to have, so that they would never aspire to anything more complex. This resulted in a happy worker.
A further aspect of the raising of the children involved night, or hypnopaedia, conditioning (16). While the children sleep, the ideas that they are to adopt are played over and over again underneath their pillow and the ideas are subconsciously absorbed. Mr. Marx told me these ideas form the basis of their society and include training in class consciousness and identity with their own class, the idea that everyone works for everyone else, the idea that everyone belonged to everyone else, even sexually, and the evil of being alone. Many of these conditioned ideas are repulsive to the ethics and morals of today's society, as they go against much of what is considered important individual freedoms in our society. However, because these children are exposed to nothing else, they don't seem to realize that there might be other ways to live their lives. Thus, this conditioning, i.e., the training in what is normal and what is abnormal, is a very important part of the control that the state has over its future citizens.
Another important part of the control of the state that Mr. Marx introduced to me was the use and distribution of soma, a legal drug in the World State (40). Mr. Marx referred to "soma holidays" where persons take the drug, fall into a type of sleep, and are transported mentally into a very pleasant place in their mind. Depending on the dosage, the holiday can be as short as an hour or as long as several days. Smaller dosages of soma are also taken to deal with difficult problems without stress and anxiety and during a kind of religious ceremony that will be discussed further below. Unlike the drugs in our society, there does not appear to be physical side- or after-effects with soma and the drug is completely legal. The distribution is controlled by the government and appears to be part of the worker's wage, especially for the lower classes. The use of soma does seem to be a key component of the stability of the society, as it appears to blunt emotional difficulties that occur.
One place where soma plays an important part is the remaining remnants of religion. Mr. Marx took me to an interesting meeting called a "Solidarity Service" (52). Groups of twelve persons, six men and six women, meet every two weeks in special rooms in the Fordson Community Singery, a huge complex. The point of the service is to make the twelve people be one, "come together, to be fused, to lose their twelve separate identities in a larger being" (53). That larger being is Ford -- seemingly Henry Ford, the inventor of mass production for his model T. cars. Evidence of his worship is through out the world. Instead of making the sign of the cross, as Catholics do now, the sign of a "T" is made across the abdomen. Even the dates have been changed to be "A. F." Or After Ford, that is the years after the introduction of the Model T, which is considered the start of a new era. This ceremonial merging of the twelve individuals is achieved through singing, dancing, and taking a high dosage of soma. Ultimately, as the dancing and singing reach its heights, the lights dim and the group engages in an orgy. Mr. Marx confided in me that he sometimes finds the ceremony less than satisfying, but he did say that he was unusual in that respect as most of society found it an important part of their identity in the World State.
When I tried to explain our world to Mr. Marx he said that there were some parts of his World State that had not been civilized and that it sounded similar to our world. He had visited the uncivilized part of the World State, called "Reservations" and described it as being populated by "Savages" (66-77). He described some kind of primitive tribe living on top of a mesa, and had witnessed some kind of snake-handling ritual. Listening carefully to his descriptions, it sounded like something out of the mid-1800s, for there was still significant disease and other things that have been overcome here in 2002. However, it is difficult to determine how much of the problems that Mr. Marx described were in comparison to the antiseptic world that he had grown up in…