Aldous Huxley Short Biography and Quotes
Aldous Huxley early life
Aldous Huxley was born July 26, 1894-1963, he was an English novelist, poet and critic. Blind in one eye from the age of 17 he was unable to pursue his chosen career in science, so in turn pursued and received his B.A. in English from Balliol College, Oxford in 1915. He published his first poetic works in 1916 followed by a second volume in 1920.
Aldous is possibly best known for his dystopian book “Brave New World”. This book can be considered a reflection of Aldous Huxley’s opinions, fears and true life experiences. His Utopian society, set in London, reflects the rigidly structured London of his youth. He also felt different and separate from others because of his high intelligence level. This is another running theme in his text. One section of the book also depicts a dramatic scene where one of the main characters, John the Savage, loses his mother due to over medication and is doesn’t completely understand his feelings about the loss of his mother, but then flies into a rage. Huxley lost his mother to cancer at the age of 14 and may have felt much in the same way as his character John.
Huxley completed “Brave New World” in just four months and it became a best seller almost immediately. The story is very well written and easy to follow. The futuristic setting is an interesting one. Sex is given freely, there are no monogamous relationships and love is not ‘natural’. People are deterred from having any emotional bond with each other and no one has a mother, they are all born from a test tube. Drugs are given to the characters in order to maintain societal order, and the characters emotional order. It is interesting to note that the name of the drug that calms them down is called Soma, which is a muscle relaxant prescribed today. They would even take a Soma vacation, they would go into a hospital and take high amounts of Soma for stress relief. At the time, decided for them, that their life should end, people would check into a hospital and be given enough Soma to kill them. As with everything else in this society it was done without a fight.
Personally Huxley was concerned about, society’s possible overpopulation, too much government control and manipulations done by advertising, sales and even methods of sleep teaching and brainwashing.
Aldous Huxley Interview with Mike Wallace Huxley's thoughts of the future, not completley accurate but interesting
My favorite Aldous Huxley Quotes
- “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
- “Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.”
- “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”
- “Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.” And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.
Aldous Huxley, Ape of Innocence
- “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
- “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
- “Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”
- “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.”
- “Every man's memory is his private literature.”
Throughout Huxley's life he wrote and published over 47 books and many critical essays on an array of subjects, and even worked as a screen writer at times. Another one of his later and perhaps most read was called works was named “Doors of Perception”. It was a study in took mescaline and wrote about his clearness of thought and a truer understanding of religious philosophy. This book became a hit with the then California Hippie generation and got widespread criticisms both positive and negative. The “Doors of Perception” inspired the name of Jim Morrison’s band “The Doors” and many wrote songs and even some plays were inspired by this work.
Not long after publication of “The Doors of Perception” Huxley began to experiment with LSD and became a friend of Timothy Leary. Aldous Huxley was an interesting character who published many works that in my opinion, were advanced for his time. He had a talent for seeing the possibilities of the future, analyzing the possible problems and benefits of certain societal beliefs and practices. I strongly suggest that you take a look at some of his works, they are very interesting.
Timothy Leary interview and discussion with Art Linkletter about the effects of drugs
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