City Tech, Fall 2016

Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning, is it really that unordinary?

The first five chapters of Brave New World introduces the nature of this strange and cruel future. Both physically and mentally conditioning people from conception at the Incubation Centers to death at the Crematoriums conditioning plants (p.76), it paints a very bleak image of attaining a perfect society; society is perfect when everything is neatly outlined, preordained, and can be repeated ad infinitum, so long as you have the necessary resources/labour to do so…just like a factory.

Which brings me to my main point, do you think that this conditioning is really that strange? Hyperbole, most definitely, but to think that this sort of thing doesn’t even happen in our own society would be a lie to oneself. Sure we don’t “deprive embryos of oxygen” (p. 24), but commercialization in Western society is definitely conditioning people to believe they like the things they like.

“’And that,’ put in the Director sententiously, ‘that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.’” (p.26)

So long as the person is happy, what harm is there in influencing a person’s decisions in life…is probably what big businesses use to comfort themselves when they make their advertisements to get people to buy their products.

“’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 hat they consume manufactured articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks.’” (p.31)

[INSERT SPORT HERE] is exactly what I think of when I see this quote. People who are obsessed with football/baseball/basketball/soccer/hockey buy their favourite team’s jersey, caps, the sports equipment to try it themselves, and other team memorabilia. Even more, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest holiday for commercialism, where most people who attend the broadcast are not there to watch their teams compete but are instead openly admitting that they are watching advertisements out of enjoyment.

Need more examples of the influence marketing has on people? Think about gangster rap music and how it influences minorities to be criminals. Think about product placement that is on television and movies, how it makes people want to look like that and thus have a need to buy it. Think about the mindless consumer who has brand loyalty, whether it’s for iPhone or Android, Playstation or Xbox, Mac or PC. Think about the colour preference in your own caste and how it makes you feel better when you’re part of your own group rather than in the other…oh wait, that’s from the book (p.35)

“Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest of granite…” (p. 36) and so too do the tiny blips of subliminal ideas play a role in shaping a person’s tastes and preferences in our own modern world; drilling their way into one’s subconscious till it becomes not one’s opinion, but fact.

Government and morality prevent the extremity from actually happening, but if corporations were fully in control of society, Ford’s T-Model would surely be a virtue in our gospels today…


  1. Sky Captaina - Alex S

    What seems to be the issue is that people lack the ability to see that they are being controlled, they wish to be apart of a group, to fit in. That is why outcast are normally the more sane people, so long as they do not do very odd things, then they are out of their minds and can not think rational thoughts. Want a world full of people who do not watch sports, buy hats and team jerseys? Make them hate people. that one thing that happens naturally over time as one or two people who are bullied everyday for years, they will hate other people before ever meeting them. They avoid doing the same things as those they hate, they will want to do better and past them. They will think of ways of ways of hurting them, but they will never do it. Why you ask? Because them they become what they hated, flawed humans vs the superior beings they are now. Most people are human and so they see other people as such. Using this, those who hate them can walk among them and not be contaminated by them. Seen but not understood, they want the world with different eyes. they see the stupidity of watching a sport vs playing it or dong some else productive and fun. How pointless it is to cheer for something when you have no effect on the outcome. They watch the world go round, see the changes, and have no one to talk to about it. Because they are alone, isolated, all they see are humans, they can not see each other easily. They may not be the smartest but what they say is above what most people thing about.

    However after years of being in the world and heading to bet out those they hate. they end up near filtered human beings. Ones who also wish to seek knowledge for many different reasons, but they are better then those kids who long ago hurt and hated them. And along the way they most likely found some lights in the dark, people who they could be around not hate everything in the world and have talks about the universe, technology, good shows that have some meaning to them.

    anyway, two things are needed to make people not mindless consumers, drive and imagination, good support also does not hurt.

    Rise above the rest, leave them to their fate that they themselves weave to choke on.

    • Sky Captaina - Alex S

      Also the understanding that if you can get something just as good for less that will also later longer, that it is better to not a team related item so as to not be called out on it, and many other small things that should be thought to them by there parents and family, while keeping their freedom and understanding about consequences, good morals and values. something, something that is very hard to do or repeat, something that is unique and happened over time that can not even be tracked, even if it was written down at the time of each occurrence. Impossible to understand, the human mind and it’s hidden workings. Internal and external. Small lights in the dark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.