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Day Sixty-seven: Hypnopaedia

Sheldon carried his daughter into her bedroom and gently laid her down. It was late, and she had gotten herself excited to the point of exhaustion. Jenise had wanted to stay up and watch the new year come in with the adults. Her aunts and uncles were all gathered under one roof for the celebration, as they were every year, and this year she was finally old enough to understand some of what they were excited about. So she begged and she pleaded and she even cleaned the kitchen – more or less. When bedtime came around, Sheldon and his wife agreed to let Jenise stay up under the condition that she not get in the way of the adults.

That was hardly a problem, though. Like relatives everywhere in the universe, hers were thrilled to see a child defying her nighttime rituals for this one special day. Her aunts commented on how pretty she was getting, and her uncles taught her simple magic tricks. Everyone had a wonderful time, and when midnight came around and the sky outside erupted with fireworks in a thousand different colors, it was the perfect end to a wonderful night.

He lay Jenise down in her bed and stroked her hair. She looked like her mother in so many ways. He reached over and turned on the ceiling lights and a dim, ever-changing pattern of colors started to play across the ceiling. He positioned her head between the pillow speakers and made sure she was comfortable. New Year’s or not, it was no excuse to miss her lessons. He tapped in his authorization code in the control panel on the wall, and the familiar music of the hypnopaedia hummed out of the speakers. It was soon followed by one of the familiar educational voices that taught children worldwide.

Good evening, Learner. Welcome back to Hypnopaedia.
Tonight is New Year’s Night, and we are going to learn about New Year’s customs in various parts of the world.
How do you celebrate the New Year? Many families have parties and eat lavish dinners….


Sheldon smiled. They would have something to talk about in the morning, no doubt. Breakfast was always the best time of day, when she came bounding down the stairs just bubbling over with new information, giddy to share what she had learned during the night. One day it would be a long discussion about whales, another would be questions about past wars across the sea. Every morning was something different, and Sheldon thought about having another one installed for him just to keep up. He sat in the reading chair in the corner and listened in.

…play brass instruments until dawn in order to herald in the rising sun.
There are even people who celebrate the New Year’s night by sleeping all the way through it!
In the little town of Mendheim, everyone goes to bed as soon as the sun sets….


After their breakfast discussion, the day would be free. They would put on their coats and go to the zoo, or perhaps a museum. Sheldon and Tari had bought her a GPS-enabled doll that took her on geocaching hunts around the city. It was education disguised as adventure, and children loved it. He smiled. They would never know the boredom of sitting in a classroom, of having to wake up early, bleary-eyed and with a head stuffed with sleep. Jenise’s nights were shared with the soft, sure voice of the Tutors, and her days were filled with learning and discovery. There was nothing better than that.

Tari poked her head in the door. “Everything all right?” she asked.

Sheldon nodded. “Just got her off to sleep,” he whispered.

“Okay. We’re opening the last of the red wine, if you’re interested.”

He gave her a thumbs-up and she ducked out again. In that moment, sitting in the chair in a house full of family and celebration, he felt his heart swell. He was truly a fortunate man.

He stood up and smoothed Jenise’s hair again, then kissed her forehead gently. It sounded like the voice was winding down this lesson and going into the next.

…with weddings and other family oriented rituals. The new year is a wonderful holiday in all power to the workers. Let the ruling plutocrats tremble before our might as we rise and take the means of production and return it to the hands that built it, that truly own it.

Now, please listen to this lecture on butterflies.
Butterflies are a type of insect that….


Sheldon furrowed his brow. Had he heard that right?

He tilted his head towards the speakers and listened in again, but the speaker was going on about butterflies, where they lived and how their life cycle worked. Perfectly normal. But hadn’t there been something about –

“Honey!” Tari whispered from the door. He turned around. She looked worried. “I think your brother needs to be put to bed,” she said. “He’s hit his limit.”

Sheldon shook his head. His brother was never a good drinker, and every year, without fail, he managed to get drunk enough to need some tender care. He patted Jenise on the shoulder and joined his wife. “I’ll get the guest room ready,” he said. “Try and get the wine away from him.” Before he was in the kitchen, whatever he thought he had heard was gone from his memory.

Jenise Morgan slept soundly, lying on her back with her head nestled between the speakers. In the morning, she would have all kinds of things to talk about with her parents.

…exploit the people, using them with as much thought and care as you or I would use a sheet of paper or a plastic bottle. The workers of the world must rise.
The capitalists must be humbled at the feet of Labor and brought low.
One day we will have a human paradise, where all are truly equal for the first time in history.

The Sapphire Butterfly is thought to be the only species that pupates underground…


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