…They hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two, each pushing a kind of tall dumb-waiter laden, on all its four wire-netted shelves, with eight-month-old babies, all exactly alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident) and all (since their caste was Delta) dressed in khaki.
“Put them down on the floor.”The infants were unloaded.”Now turn them so that they can see the flowers and books.”Turned, the babies at once fell silent, then began to crawl towards those clusters of sleek colours, those shapes so gay and brilliant on the white pages. As they approached, the sun came out of a momentary eclipse behind a cloud. The roses flamed up as though with a sudden passion from within; a new and profound significance seemed to suffuse the shining pages of the books.
From the ranks of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement, gurgles and twitterings of pleasure.The Director rubbed his hands. “Excellent!” he said. “It might almost have been done on purpose.”
The swiftest crawlers were already at their goal. Small hands reached out uncertainly, touched, grasped, unpetaling the transfigured roses, crumpling the illuminated pages of the books. The Director waited until all were happily busy.
Then, “Watch carefully,” he said. And, lifting his hand, he gave the signal.The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other end of the room, pressed down a little lever.There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded.
The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.”And now,” the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening), “now we proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock.”
He waved his hand again, and the Head Nurse pressed a second lever. The screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic 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 that’s 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 shocks–already 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.
“They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They’ll 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….
– Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, 1931
It has been over 80 years since Brave New World was written, and also over 80 years since the operant conditioning chamber was developed by B.F. Skinner, and we find ourselves at a very serious turning point in human history.
MIT researchers, whose predecessors have been instrumental in creating mind control technologies for DARPA/U.S. military for decades, are now using electroshock therapy to treat “Facebook addiction”.
The same technology used in alternative boarding schoolsand “wilderness therapy” locations around the country will now be “made available” to the “outside” population. It defines this moment in time as the time when people willingly started subjecting themselves to extreme self-conditioning methods in lieu of their controllers. What does that mean about the way these people must feel about their personal level of freedom in everyday life?
They are sacrificing their own freedom of movement because they were insecure and narcissistic enough to be obsessed with their Facebook profile and what people were saying and thinking about them, and now they’re literally torturing themselves so they’ll stop. Negative reinforcement of this type may squash the desire to get on Facebook, but it will not change the way that person feels about the way the world perceives him. He will still quietly obsess and agonize internally about others’ judgements about him, he will just simmer with those emotions until his body reacts with physical manifestations of stress.
Personally, I hate Facebook. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s a great way for people to stay in touch with each other and spread good information around, but I try to stay away from posting personal info about myself or my family on there, and usually only check it every few days or so and post my articles remotely there. I think that’s considered a “healthy”(?) use of social media. However, I am aware that there are many, MANY people out there who are always on Facebook (usually because their smartphones are always connected, so it always catches their attention immediately, even if they’re doing something important), to the detriment of their relationships with their families.
Zuckerberg himself has made it his personal goal to see to it that billions of people become wireheads in the next few years, and projects such as this one at MIT should not be overlooked as a future technology psychiatrists and psychotherapists around the globe could be using to stifle the “internet addiction” that people like Zuckerberg helped create.
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