By Aldous Leonard Huxley
18 de maio de 2002
A SQUAT grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the
words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE,
and, in a shield, the World State’s motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.
The enormous room on the ground ﬂoor faced towards the north. Cold for
all the summer beyond the panes, for all the tropical heat of the roomitself,
a harsh thin light glared through the windows, hungrily seeking some draped
lay ﬁgure, some pallid shape of academic goose-ﬂesh, but ﬁnding only the glass
and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of a laboratory. Wintriness responded
to wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with
a pale corpse-coloured rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Onlyfrom
the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it borrow a certain rich and living
substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak
in long recession down the work tables.
“And this,” said the Director opening the door, “is the Fertilizing Room.”
Bent over their instruments, three hundred Fertilizers were plunged, as the Director of Hatcheries andConditioning entered the room, in the scarcely breathing silence, the absent-minded, soliloquizing hum or whistle, of absorbed
concentration. A troop of newly arrived students, very young, pink and callow,
followed nervously, rather abjectly, at the Director’s heels. Each of them carried
a notebook, in which, whenever the great man spoke, he desperately scribbled.
Straight from the horse’s mouth. It wasa rare privilege. The D. H. C. for Central
London always made a point of personally conducting his new students round
the various departments.
“Just to give you a general idea,” he would explain to them. For of course some
sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligentlythough as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as
possible.For particulars, as every one knows, make for virture and happiness;
generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fretsawyers
and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.
“To-morrow,” he would add, smiling at them with a slightly menacing geniality,
“you’ll be settling down to serious work. You won’t have time for generalities.
Meanwhile, it was a privilege. Straight from the horse’s mouth into the notebook. The boys scribbled like mad.
Tall and rather thin but upright, the Director advanced into the room. He had a
long chin and big rather prominent teeth, just covered, when he was not talking,
by his full, ﬂoridly curved lips. Old, young? Thirty? Fifty? Fifty-ﬁve? It was
hard to say. And anyhow the questiondidn’t arise; in this year of stability, A. F.
632, it didn’t occur to you to ask it.
“I shall begin at the beginning,” said the D.H.C. and the more zealous students
recorded his intention in their notebooks: Begin at the beginning. “These,”
he waved his hand, “are the incubators.” And opening an insulated door he
showed them racks upon racks of numbered test-tubes. “The week’s supply
of ova.Kept,” he explained, “at blood heat; whereas the male gametes,” and
here he opened another door, “they have to be kept at thirty- ﬁve instead of
thirty-seven. Full blood heat sterilizes.” Rams wrapped in theremogene beget
Still leaning against the incubators he gave them, while the pencils scurried illegibly across the pages, a brief description of the modern fertilizing process;...