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Huxley, Aldous Leonard
Huxley, Aldous Leonard, 1894-1963, English author; grandson of T.H. HUXLEY. After writing critical essays and symbolist poetry, he turned to the novel. Crome Yellow (1921), Antic Hay (1923), and Point Counter Point (1928) all depict social decadence. Brave New World (1932) describes a nightmarish 25th-cent. Utopia. Other works include Eyeless in Gaza (1936) and Ape and Essence (1948). In later years he was strongly interested in mysticism and Eastern philosophy. Huxley also published many short stories and essays.
"Religion is for people who have not yet had a spiritual experience."
Which is better: to have Fun with
Fungi or to have Idiocy with Ideology, to have Wars because of Words, to have
Tomorrow's Misdeeds out of Yesterday's Miscreeds?
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. "Culture and the Individual," in Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (1931-1963) (ed. by Horowitz and Palmer, 1977).
Horowitz and Palmer are the parents of Winona Ryder.
I'm afraid of losing my obscurity.
Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Miss Thriplow, in Those Barren Leaves, pt. 1, ch. 1 (1925).
Death and Dying
Ignore death up to the last
moment; then, when it can't be ignored any longer, have yourself squirted
full of morphia and shuffle off in a coma. Thoroughly sensible, humane
and scientific, eh?
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Bruno Rontini, in Time Must Have a Stop, ch. 26 (1944). But in his 1936 novel Eyeless in Gaza, ch. 31, Huxley wrote, "Death . . . the only thing we haven't succeeded in completely vulgarizing."
To associate with other like-minded people in small,
purposeful groups is for the great majority of men and women a source of
profound psychological satisfaction. Exclusiveness will add to the pleasure
of being several, but at one; and secrecy will intensify
it almost to ecstasy.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Beyond the Mexique Bay, "Chichicastenango" (1934).
A bad book is as much of
a labour to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Point Counter Point, ch. 13 (1928).
Feasts must be solemn and
rare, or else they cease to be feasts.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Do What You Will, "Holy Face" (1929).
Experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a
doss-house. It is a matter of sensibility and intuition,
of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention
at the right moments,
of understanding and coordinating. Experience is not what happens to a
man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Texts and Pretexts, Introduction (1932).
A child-like man is not a
man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who
has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults
have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. "Vulgarity in Literature" (1930; repr. in Music at Night and Other Essays, 1949).
Thought is barred in this
City of Dreadful Joy and conversation is unknown.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British novelist. Jesting Pilate, pt. 4 (1926).
Cities and City Life
A large city cannot be experientially known; its
life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Beyond the Mexique Bay, "Oaxaca" (1934).
Intellect and Intellectuals
Science and art are only
too often a superior kind of dope, possessing this advantage over booze
and morphia: that they can be indulged in with a good conscience and with
the conviction that, in the process
of indulging, one is leading the "higher life."
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Ends and Means, ch. 14 (1937).
has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hall-mark of
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Ends and Means, ch. 14, "Beliefs" (1937).
Jim Morrison found the name "The Doors" for his rock band in the title of Aldous Huxley's book _The Doors of Perception_ (which in turn was taken from poem _The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell_ by William Blake), which extolls the use of hallucinogenic drugs. The Doors were originally called the Psychedelic Rangers.
Aldous Huxley was born in Surrey, England in 1894. He received an upper class education, and most of his writings reflect his education. He suffered an illness in his teens that left him completely blind for two years. He eventually regained some of his vision, but it remained seriously impaired for most of his life. He experimented with
hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and mescaline in the late forties. He continued to write about the possible uses of psychedelic drugs for transcendent, mystical experiences in the 1960s; these writings had a profound influence on sixties counterculture. Huxley began his writing career as a satirist of the British upper class. As he grew older, he became more interested in writing about questions of philosophical and ethical significance. Many of his writings deal with the conflict between the interests of the individual and society. He often dealt with the question of profound self- realization within the context of social responsibility. _Brave New World_ addresses this conflict in a fictional future in which free will and individuality have been sacrificed to achieve complete social stability. Huxley's _Brave New World_ is painfully clumsy at moments and brilliantly funny at others. It also raises some difficult questions about the nature of moral choices. The novel concentrates on the various abuses of power made possible by science. Huxley does not present his dystopian novel as an impetuous rant against science, but as a sobering warning. The brave new world isn't an evil world because of science, but because power hungry individuals have misused it maliciously.