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Make Your Message Chime Through Brave New World Rhyme

aldoushuxleybravenewworld

It’s a classic dystopian novel. Remarkable vision from 1932.

Personal helicopters. Everyday supersonic travel. Multi-sense cinema. No parenthood. Human hatcheries. Total genetic engineering. Widespread human clones from ‘budding’. Unbudgable caste assigned upon embryo fertilisation. Unelected Controllers. Worship of yet another made-up deity, like every single one before Him. Individuality sublimated by conformity and obedience. Pneumatic promiscuity. Mandatory frequent doses of the happy pill of the age; soma. And hypnopaedia.

Hypnopaedia. Constant conditioning during sleep. Aural messages piped into the brain. Ones the World State deem necessary to ensure everybody toes the line. With success, as “everybody is happy nowadays”. Dreamy voices float mantras into the subconscious of juveniles. As they lie in their dorms, each age group gets the treatment specifically selected for their stage of development.

One of the many beauties of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, is that there’s never quite a central figure. Each time you attach to a potential hero, anti-hero or villain, they seem pushed to the sidelines pretty soon after.

The hero – and the villain as it turns out – is the Brave New World itself.

One player is Helmholtz Watson. Bred to be clever. An Alpha. A respected lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering (Dept of Writing). “Escalator-Squash champion [and] indefatigable lover”.

In his own words;

“I’m pretty good at inventing phrases-you know, the sort of words that suddenly make you jump, almost as though you’d sat on a pin, they seem so new and exciting even though they’re about something hypnopaedically obvious.”

The World State knew the power of rhymes to make a message stick. And they relentlessly pushed this button with neither mercy nor remorse.

For instance, a developing brain would receive “at least a quarter of a million warnings against solitude.”

One pair of lyrics crop up throughout;

“Ending is better than mending”
“The more stitches, the less riches”

Designed to indoctrinate the desire to consume.

Helmholtz notes,

“Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly-they’ll go through anything.”

And even more potent when there’s a rhyme. (Here’s but one wizened couplet example).

It is delicious how rapturous a rhyming sales pitch can be.

Let’s reclaim hypnopaedia for true good. Time for hypnopitchia.


Footnote: Helmholtz Watson’s Ode to Solitude. Which brought him damaging conflict with Authority. Delivered once, during his “usual course of Advanced Emotional Engineering for Third Year Students. Twelve lectures, of which the seventh is about rhymes. ‘On the Use of Rhymes in Moral Propaganda and Advertisement’ ”.

“Yesterday’s committee, Sticks, but a broken drum,
Midnight in the City, Flutes in a vacuum,
Shut lips, sleeping faces, Every stopped machine,
The dumb and littered places Where crowds have been:
… All silences rejoice, Weep (loudly or low),
Speak-but with the voice Of whom, I do not know.
Absence, say, of Susan’s, Absence of Egeria’s
Arms and respective bosoms, Lips and, ah, posteriors,
Slowly form a presence; Whose? and, I ask, of what
So absurd an essence, That something, which is not,
Nevertheless should populate Empty night more solidly
Than that with which we copulate, Why should it seem so squalidly?”

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