Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Experiment

Dr. Julius Harrison eased into his chair at the head of the table.  The Project had achieved its goal. They had raised thirty-two children from infancy in a perfectly controlled environment and with electrodes implanted in their brains to stimulate pleasure and pain. As a result, they had been able to demonstrate by many tests their total control of the subject’s thoughts and actions. That next phase was to instill in these subjects the proper values that would make them the nucleus of a better human society. The purpose of this conference was to outline what these values should be.

"We must assure that women will never be degraded," began Dr. Paula Goldstein, “by conditioning them against rape, sexual harassment, and pornography."

"Wait a minute," interrupted Dr. John Stankowski, "certainly you don't mean to bridle their natural sexual impulses. Surely you must see that the term `pornographic' represents an attempt to stigmatize the appropriate products of free expression."

"Am I to understand," she retorted, "that you wish to perpetuate the relics of the present patriarchal society into our new humanity?"

"It's you who want to perpetuate your sexual inhibitions," he returned. "I suggest we produce a group of aggressive go-getters, who go after what they want and won't let anything stand in their way."

"You want to produce a batch of bullies?" interjected Dr. Horace Mortimer. "We need to make them kind and respectful of the rights of others."

"You want to produce a bunch of wimps or maybe a bunch of homos?" Stankowski responded.

"Only an ape like you would confuse sexual preference with consideration for your fellow person," replied Mortimer.

"Let's start by conditioning them that murder is wrong," suggested Dr. Karen Slaugh.

"Why certainly," returned Dr. Alexander Philippe, "that's something we've all been conditioned to believe."

"Are you telling me that disgust with the taking of human life is nothing more than a conditioned response?" inquired Mortimer.

"Does it not follow from our experiment that all a person thinks and does is produced by their conditioning?" responded Philippe.

"You mean, if we were conditioned different we'd all be nerdy like Mortimer or repressed like Ms. Goldstein," stated Stankowski.

"I mean the great Dr. Stankowski, with all his manly virtues, is nothing more then the product of his upbringing," retorted Philippe.

"Look," said Stankowski angrily, "I worked hard on this Project to build a better world. Are you trying to tell me that all this was a waste of time?"

"Your better world or Mortimer's?" returned Philippe.

With that, Stankowski, unable to hold back any longer, launched himself at Philippe. The others tried to pull him off, but it degenerated quickly into a total melee, each one attacking the others.

Harrison inched his way toward the door. He realized that if the only values they could impart were a result of their conditioning, there was no way to decide what kind of future to build. What significance had anything if all human thought and endeavor was totally the consequence of their conditioning? It was too late for him, but perhaps others should be left with their illusions.

As he left the room he noticed a group of subjects busy with their assigned tasks. Suddenly all of them were grabbing whatever they could find to use for weapons yelling, "Away with the teachers. Away with the givers of pain. Put an end to them! Put an end to them!" He realized they had all been acting, waiting for their chance to rebel. The experiment had failed. The subjects were not conditioned. He wasn't sure whether to be sad or glad.          

No comments:

Post a Comment