Mother, monogamy, romance.
The Director leads the students to the garden, where several hundred naked children are playing. The Director remarks that “in Our Ford’s day,” games involved no more than a ball or two, a few sticks, and maybe a net. Such simple apparatus did nothing to increase consumption. In the current World State, all games, like “Centrifugal Bumble-puppy,” involve complicated machines.
The Director is interrupted by the cries of a little boy sitting in the bushes. It soon becomes clear that the little boy, for some reason, is uncomfortable with the erotic play in which the children are encouraged to participate. After the boy is whisked off to see the psychologist, the Director astounds the students by explaining that sexual play during childhood and adolescence used to be considered abnormal and immoral. When he begins to explain the deleterious effects of sexual repression, a man interrupts him. The Director reverently introduces the man as “his fordship” Mustapha Mond. At the complex, four thousand electric clocks simultaneously strike four, marking the shift change. Henry Foster and Lenina each head up to the changing rooms in preparation for their date. While heading to the rooms, Henry snubs Bernard Marx who is said to have an unsavory reputation.
The narrative suddenly begins to shift back and forth between three different scenes, splicing in Mustapha Mond’s speech to the boys with scenes of Henry’s conversation in the male changing room and Lenina’s conversation in the female training room. This SparkNote will describe Mond’s speech first, and then the two changing room conversations.
The students are overwhelmed by meeting Mond, the Resident Controller for Western Europe, and one of only ten World Controllers. Mond quotes Ford, saying, “History is bunk” (an actual quote from the real-life Henry Ford) in order to explain why the students have not learned any of the history that the Director explains to them. The Director glances at him nervously. He has heard rumors that Mond keeps forbidden books, such as Bibles and poetry collections, locked in a safe. Mond, aware of the Director’s unease, condescendingly reassures him that he does not plan to corrupt the students.
Mond begins to describe life in the time before the World State began its policy of tight control over reproduction, child-rearing, and social relations. He likens the narrow channeling of emotion and desire to water under pressure in a pipe. One hole produces a strong jet. However, many small holes produce calm streams of water. Strong emotion, inspired by family relationships, sexual repression, and delayed satisfaction of desire, goes directly against stability. Without stability, civilization cannot exist. Before the existence of the World State, the instability caused by strong emotions led to disease, war, and social unrest that resulted in millions of deaths and untold suffering and misery.
Mond describes the initial resistance to the World State’s use of hypnopaedia, the caste system, and artificial gestation. But after the Nine Years’ War, which involved horrible chemical and biological warfare, an intense propaganda campaign, including the suppression of all books published before a.f. 150, began to weaken the resistance. Religion, Shakespeare, museums, and families all passed into obscurity. The date of the introduction of the Model T was chosen as the start of the new era, and all crosses had their tops cut off to make them into Ts. Six years of pharmaceutical research yielded soma, the perfect drug. The problem of old age was solved, and people could now retain the mental and physical character of youth throughout life. No one was allowed to sit alone and think. No one was allowed “leisure from pleasure.”