"The principle of sleep-teaching"
--Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
(First used officially in A.F. 214)
Huxley recounts the story of Little Reuben
) (of Polish
heritage) who, while sleeping in his crib
, hears a BBC
presentation by George Bernard Shaw
on his genius
. The next day, Little Reuben repeats the story perfectly to the fright of his parents
(they spoke only Polish
). A doctor
realized what had happened and tried to use the new technique
The problem was that the scientists attempted to use hypnopaedia as an instrument of intellectual education, which simply didn't work. Subjects could parrot back what they had heard, but they hadn't learned it.
However, such parroting (i.e. learning without thinking) is perfect for moral education! ("Moral education , which ought never, in any circumstances to be rational").
The children, all of which are brought up by the state in BNW, are given daily hypnopaedic training. For example, "Elementary Sex" or "Elementary Class Consciousness":
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides, they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."
Hypnopaedia: "the greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time"