Aldous Huxley

The Doping of America

Posted on

“…That a dictator could, if he so desired, make use of [certain psychotropic chemicals] for political purposes is obvious. He could ensure himself against political unrest by changing the chemistry of his subjects’ brains and so making them content with their servile conditions. He could use tranquillizers to calm the excited, stimulants to arouse enthusiasm in the indifferent, hallucinants to distract the attention of the wretched from their miseries.”

Aldous Huxley

According to a new report, over 10% of the American population is on antidepressants! That doesn’t even include all of the other mind altering drugs that the pharmaceutical companies push on the people. Or the vast amounts of alcohol and illegal drugs in use.

Big Pharma is making big inroads. Those advertisements and the various ways that doctors are bought and persuaded to make sure that the drugs are prescribed is working. I bet they’ve got plans to increase the numbers even more.

All of this while medical marijuana is still a crime in most places. And those that self prescribe, well…that’s got to stop. The industrial prison system is awaiting you.

Obama’s health plan for all will surely get those antidepressants into your hands and you won’t need to smoke your medicine. Maybe they won’t have to deny any of the elderly or needy to pay for your dope but the money only goes so far. If you can take your pill and work, well…someone’s got to pay for all of it.

Brave New World anyone? Huxley warned us.

The number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled to 10.1 percent of the population in 2005 compared with 1996, increasing across income and age groups, a study found. An estimated 27 million Americans ages 6 and older were taking the drugs by 2005, while their use of psychotherapy declined, according to Columbia University researchers. The findings highlight the need for doctors who are not psychiatrists and prescribe the medicines to be trained to diagnose and manage depression so patients get the most effective treatment, said the study’s lead author, Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute. {NY Times}

About 6 percent of people were prescribed an antidepressant in 1996 — 13 million people. This rose to more than 10 percent or 27 million people by 2005, the researchers found.

“Significant increases in antidepressant use were evident across all sociodemographic groups examined, except African Americans,” Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University in New York and Steven Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia wrote in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

“Not only are more U.S. residents being treated with antidepressants, but also those who are being treated are receiving more antidepressant prescriptions,” they added.

More than 164 million prescriptions were written in 2008 for antidepressants, totaling $9.6 billion in U.S. sales, according to IMS Health.

Drugs that affect the brain chemical serotonin like GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) Paxil, known generically as paroxetine, and Eli Lilly and Co’s (LLY.N) Prozac, known generically as fluoxetine, are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant. But the study found the effect in all classes of the drugs.

Olfson and Marcus said out-of-pocket costs for psychotherapy and lower insurance coverage for such visits may have driven patients away from seeing therapists in favor of an easy-to-prescribe pill.

The rise in antidepressant prescriptions also is seen despite a series of public health warnings on use of antidepressant drugs beginning in 2003 after clinical trials showed they increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and teens.

In February 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added its strongest warning, a so-called black box, on the use of all antidepressants in children and teens. {more}

And we wonder why so many folks can’t even imagine that they and their children and grandchildren are slaves to dope and debt.

“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘Make us your slaves, but feed us.’ “ Aldous Huxley


Aldous Huxley interviewed by Mike Wallace (1958)

Posted on

Part 1

Huxley died on 22 November 1963, aged 69. Media coverage of his death was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on the same day.

Aldous Huxley Narrates ‘Brave New World’

Posted on


I came across this Bernard Herrmann album download from the 1956 CBS Radio Workshop production of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ with the actual radio production as narrated by Huxley himself.

It makes a nice audio CD that can be listened to on the road.

Huxley continues to be a prophetic voice that everyone should be familiar with.

Download here-.mp3: Side 1 and Side 2


Addendum to "Huxley Warned Us: parts 1 to 16 complete "

Posted on

See the original “Huxley Warned Us” post at World Peace

From the comments:

Blogger Jewishawareness said…
“I don’t know but tend to think that Huxley is not on the reading list of too many schools these days.” I think ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Anne Frank’s Diary,’ ‘Schindler’s Ark’ and the homo-erotic ‘Journals of Anais Nin,’ are the type of writing now considered as “essential” reading for our young volk. Unusually, there is a very good biography of Huxley available to all on Wikipedia, however, with your permission, I’d like to supplement this wonderful essay: “Huxley Warned Us: parts 1 to 16 complete” with this biography entry from ‘The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.’ Unlike Wikipedia, the online edition of ‘ODNB’ is only available to subscribing institutions and individuals, so I thought that readers who had appreciated and enjoyed the “Huxley Warned Us” piece, might also enjoy reading this scholarly biography. Huxley, Aldous Leonard (1894–1963), writer, was born at Laleham, a house near Godalming, Surrey, on 26 July 1894, the third son of Leonard Huxley (1860–1933), an assistant master at Charterhouse School and subsequently editor of the Cornhill Magazine, and his first wife, Julia Frances Huxley (née Arnold) (1862–1908) [see under Huxley, Leonard], an educator and daughter of the literary scholar Thomas Arnold (1823–1900), granddaughter of Dr Thomas Arnold (1795–1842) of Rugby School, and niece of Matthew Arnold (1822–1888). As a grandson of T. H. Huxley (1825–1895) and great-grandson of Dr Arnold, Aldous Huxley inherited a passionate interest in science, education, and human psychology. Mrs Humphry Ward [see Ward, Mary Augusta], the novelist, was his aunt; Julian Huxley (1887–1975) his eldest brother. Education and early career Huxley attended Prior’s Field in Surrey, a school founded by his mother on a progressive-education model. He continued at Hillside, a preparatory school adjacent to Charterhouse, where his father taught. The four children (Julian, Trevenen, Aldous, and Margaret) grew up in the shadow of Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘children from whom nothing but the best would be tolerated’ (Clark, 130). Huxley’s arrival at Eton College in autumn 1908 coincided with the first of the great traumatic experiences which marked his life and work: the unexpected death of his mother, Julia. The pale, blue-eyed boy with the oversized head had been very close to her; his devastation was complete, ‘as if a great explosion had taken place in the family’, according to Juliette Huxley (Julian’s wife): ‘it was to Aldous the irreparable loss, a betrayal of his faith in life’ (Hunt. L., Huxley, 1985). Then in 1911 Huxley was struck down by a staphylococcic infection in the eye (keratitis punctata) untreated over term-break at Eton. It left him purblind for eighteen months. A central theme in Huxley’s writing flowed from this disaster: sight and insight, light and shadow, transcendent vision and human opacity. At home Huxley taught himself to read Braille, to touch-type, and to play the piano. His eyesight improved to one-quarter of normal vision in one eye (he spent half a century experimenting with alternative therapies and surgery). With tutoring, he won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, to read English language and literature. By dilating his eyes with drops and using a large magnifying glass, Huxley was able to read sufficiently to win a first and the Stanhope prize in 1916. Huxley later noted that his adolescent near-blindness precluded his chosen career: ‘I had of course before I went blind intended to become a doctor but I couldn’t go on with that kind of scientific career because I couldn’t use a microscope’ (University of California, Los Angeles, Huxley, 1957). A few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War his older brother Trev, having failed to win a place in the civil service list, succumbed to a cyclical depression and committed suicide. In a letter Huxley reflected that it was the highest and best in his brother which caused his downfall: ‘his ideals were too much for him’ (Letters, 68). These tragedies left Huxley detached from the world; in time detachment turned to cynicism: few of his characters shared his brother’s idealism. Huxley’s Oxford career was characterized by intellectual jousting and the discovery of the French symbolist poets, particularly Mallarmé. Rake-thin and 6 feet 4½ inches tall, Huxley became a university character. His steps had the tentativeness of the ill-sighted. According to the fashionable journalist Beverley Nichols, ‘Quantities of Aldous Huxley reclined on my sofa, spreading over the cushions, and stretching long tentacles to the floor’ (Nichols, 136). Despite this imposing physical presence, Huxley exuded a quiet charm. He had an unforgettably mellifluous voice, and exhibited a formidable mental archive. Bertrand Russell—an occasional fellow guest with Huxley at Garsington Manor, home to Lady Ottoline Morrell—said he could tell which volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica the student Huxley was reading by the prominence of subjects with that letter in their conversation. At Garsington, Huxley consorted with the Sitwells, Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, and others in the Bloomsbury circle. In his writings—he started writing poetry but also short stories at Oxford—and often in person, Huxley managed controversy without belligerence. He had an unending, gentle curiosity which endeared him to most. After Oxford, Huxley moved briefly to London for a secretaryship at the Air Board, then taught at Repton School and at Eton, where among his students were Harold Acton and Eric Blair (George Orwell). By twenty-six Huxley’s poetry had matured into four volumes: The Burning Wheel (1916), Jonah (1917), The Defeat of Youth (1918), and Leda (1920), arguably his most powerful poetic statement. Virginia Woolf praised the ‘high technical skill and great sensibility’ of his writing, while Proust placed him in the first rank of young British authors. But Huxley’s need to finance a family drove him to work as a literary journalist for John Middleton Murry at The Athenaeum. On 10 July 1919 in Bellem, Belgium, he married Maria Nys (d. 1955), a Belgian refugee who had lived at Garsington. They had one son, Matthew, born in April 1920. They set up in a small flat in Hampstead, London, as Huxley moved on to the Westminster Gazette and Vogue; New York’s Century magazine published his short story ‘The Tillotson Banquet’. Huxley was proud of living by his pen. Early fiction Huxley’s first extended fiction—a novella, ‘The Farcical History of Richard Greenow’ (in Limbo, 1920)—echoes his years of pacifism and a brief stint as a Fabian at Oxford. It was his first novel, Crome Yellow (1921), based on goings-on at Garsington, which brought instant fame. This novel is the first of three ‘house party’ society novels, followed by Antic Hay (1923) and Those Barren Leaves (1925), which satirized social behaviour in post-war Britain using friends and family as fodder for incisive characterizations. The Morrells were particularly offended by their thinly disguised portraits in Crome Yellow; these led to a rift between Lady Ottoline and Huxley lasting for many years. Of Crome Yellow, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that ‘this is the highest point so far attained by Anglo-Saxon sophistication’; Huxley was ‘the wittiest man now writing in English’ (Watt, 73). The comic lightness of the novels was undermined by much wider social concerns. In Crome Yellow, Mr Scogan imagines the creation of ‘an impersonal generation’: ‘in vast state incubators rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires’ (p. 28), a theme developed in Brave New World (1932). Moreover, a dark thread runs through Huxley’s musings on corruption in the smart set; his characters are torn between pleasures of the flesh and an austere dedication to the spirit, and Huxley was willing to expose human frailty, to illuminate hypocrisy. We have in us a higher essence, Huxley suggested, but it is understood by apes. The early novels were interspersed with brilliant collections of short stories, including Mortal Coils (1922), Little Mexican (1924), and Two or Three Graces (1926). In Point Counter Point (1928) Huxley turned his friendship with D. H. Lawrence into an international best-seller, and in Proper Studies (1929) he abandoned social satire and took a more didactic direction. In these years Huxley found his three-a-year contract with his publisher Chatto and Windus (usually a volume of essays, short stories, and a novel) daunting. Huxley moved in a world of wit and erudition, ‘yet wore his learning lightly, with an off-hand, man-of-the world air which was disarming’ (Brooke, 6). Gertrude Stein considered him part of the ‘lost generation’, a group made cynical and numb by human suffering in the First World War. Yet Huxley’s own life in the mid-1920s was harmonious and satisfying. A round-the-world tour in 1925 brought him before readers in Bombay, Kyoto, and Los Angeles. With his royalties he purchased small villas in southern France (first in Bandol, then in Sanary) and a Bugatti convertible for Maria, specially stretched to accommodate his huge height. The Huxleys summered in Italy, at Forte dei Marmi, and in France. The period 1921 to 1933 was the most productive and perhaps the happiest of his life. As the 1930s opened, the Huxleys lived outside Paris in Suresnes, visiting London for the production of his plays, such as The World of Light (1931). Huxley published an enormous number of articles for the Hearst newspaper group and elsewhere, only recently collected (Sexton, Bradshaw). Key themes of the later, socially conscious Huxley, such as population control and the psychological roots of fascism, appear in these essays, and in publications such as Nash’s Pall Mall Magazine, Time and Tide, and The Star. He also worked on Now More than Ever (1931), a play based on the notorious Swedish financier Ivar Kreuger, which was his most explicit attack on the evils of free-market capitalism. In summer 1932 Huxley published Brave New World, which enhanced his fortunes and reputation as the best-known British novelist between the wars. It was an international best-seller, particularly in paperback editions in the 1950s, and was translated into twenty-eight languages. The novel, the first about human cloning, is a dystopia set five centuries in the future, when overpopulation has led to biogenetic engineering. Through computerized genetic selection, social engineers create a population happy with its lot. All the earth’s children are born in hatcheries, and Soma, a get-happy pill, irons out most problems. Huxley wrote to George Orwell suggesting that Nineteen Eighty Four’s vision of governmental autocracy was less likely than Brave New World’s society amusing itself to death: owing to infant conditioning and drugs ‘an all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced because they love their servitude’ (Letters, 604). In a new foreword written in 1946 Huxley had second thoughts. His original vision denied the possibility of social sanity, which in 1946 he considered the book’s ‘most serious defect’. He went on to catalogue the possibility of sanity, ‘the conscious and intelligent pursuit of man’s Final End’ (Brave New World, iii), and ‘unitive’ spiritual knowledge in his commentaries in the anthology The Perennial Philosophy (1946). In winter 1934 Huxley returned to England from France and took a seven-year lease on a flat in the Albany, Piccadilly, London, where he worked on Eyeless in Gaza (1936). This novel catapults the reader and its hero, Anthony Beavis, across time periods, a structure Huxley found both troubling and challenging. Like the chorus in Greek drama, the effect of this time-shifting is fatalistic and oddly moving. The book’s message, ‘I know what I ought to do, and I do what I oughtn’t’, is articulated repeatedly. This was Huxley’s most autobiographical fiction; upon publication, friends and family were again furious at their characterizations. Crisis and emigration Toward the end of 1934 Huxley suffered a severe writer’s block. He had hoped that London would inspire him, but its grey, sooty skies dimmed his vision. Maria Huxley wrote to friends of insomnia and ‘gloom, irritation, lack of work’ (Letters, 392). A niece recalls him as ‘stooped, intense, sort of tortured’ (private information). After fifteen years as England’s cynic, Huxley had exhausted his stock-in-trade. Physically and spiritually he sank to his nadir; bright, fishy eyes peered out from black-rimmed bottle-glass lenses, his face lined with worry. Pressures from his multi-book contract mounted. According to Sybille Bedford, the Huxleys’ house guest at Sanary and the Albany, and later Huxley’s biographer, Brave New World had become a burden to live up to. Huxley’s depression yielded to various therapies, including F. M. Alexander’s spine-straightening exercises. He also underwent a near-religious conversion to pacifism, a cause sweeping America in the early 1930s and England with the ‘Oxford oath’ against participation in armies. ‘The thing finally resolves itself into a religious problem’, he wrote to a friend (Letters, 398). Pacifism (and his new friend Gerald Heard) inspired him to give public lectures, which initially terrified him. Publication of Eyeless in Gaza (1936) did little to improve Huxley’s situation. His hankering after physical and spiritual re-education, and through these transcendence, was not well received by colleagues. C. Day Lewis called him ‘the prophet of disgust’, while Stephen Spender was unconvinced: ‘we had to wait for Aldous Huxley to propose that prayers are an exercise for the soul, like an elastic exerciser or a dose of Eno’s fruitsalts’ (Spender, ‘Open letter to Aldous Huxley’, Left Review, June 1936). Fellow pacifists, by July 1936 abandoning the creed in defence of Republican Spain, attacked the novel as muddled thinking. Finally in spring 1937 the Huxleys (with Gerald Heard and his friend Christopher Wood) sailed for New York and began a five-week car journey across the United States, summering in San Cristobal, New Mexico, where Aldous Huxley finished a volume of metaphysics and pacifism, Ends and Means (1937). Promised sales of his books to Hollywood studios—a promise never fulfilled—he continued west to Los Angeles and planned a speaking tour on pacifism around the country with Heard. At the end of this tour in January 1938 the Huxleys returned to California, attracted by its isolationism, its interest in Hinduism and Buddhism, and its clear, bright air which aided Huxley’s vision. Huxley, who had been an atheist in his youth, and who in his early fiction had derided Catholicism, protestantism, and Indian religions, became a Hindu Vedantist (with Buddhist leanings), along with Heard and Christopher Isherwood, whom he met in California. Huxley had been interested in religious mysticism from the mid-1930s but this interest was strengthened by his move to California and a study of the Veda. His most extensive writings on this are found obscurely in essays in Vedanta for the Western World, a magazine co-edited by Isherwood (1945), and in an introduction to Isherwood’s translation (with Swami Prabhavananda) of the Bhagavad Gita in 1944 (published in 1954). Screenwriting in Hollywood Though hoped-for sales to Hollywood film studios did not materialize, screenwriting jobs came through the assistance of Anita Loos. The Huxleys were soon enmeshed in Hollywood’s new immigrant community, which included Bertolt Brecht, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, and George Cukor. Huxley’s films were on topics of great personal interest: Madame Curie, a bio-pic drafted in 1938 (and later rewritten by F. Scott Fitzgerald); Pride and Prejudice also for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, (1940) and Jane Eyre (1943), whose screenplay Huxley wrote with the director Robert Stevenson and John Houseman. But Huxley found himself tethered to writers’ buildings and awaiting contract renewals. Disaffected by his meetings with studio executives, he wrote to his brother Julian that they ‘have the characteristics of the minds of chimpanzees, agitated and infinitely distractible’ (Letters, 439). Huxley, who worked as an active screenwriter for five years, was also derisive of Hollywood film, considering it a soporific, a bone to the poor, the powerless, and the plain who ‘are themselves and not somebody else’: ‘hence those Don Juans, those melting beauties, those innocent young kittens, those beautifully brutal boys, those luscious adventuresses. Hence Hollywood’ (The Olive Tree, 1936, 38–40). In the early 1940s the Huxleys settled into Santa Monica canyon, where many European expatriates lived, including Isherwood. The Huxleys were delighted by the oddities of California, such as what Maria called ‘its fancy un-dress costume’. The tide of screenwriters from abroad (H. G. Wells, P. G. Wodehouse, and Anthony Powell, among others) washed up in the banquet hall at W. R. Hearst’s San Simeon castle, the backdrop for Huxley’s After Many a Summer (1939; published in the United States as After Many a Summer Dies the Swan). Here Huxley satirized a classic American tycoon, while insisting that the quest for immortality by physical means is as pointless as the quest for fulfilment by possessions. Huxley’s first full-length biography, Grey Eminence (1940), was a study of Père Joseph, Cardinal Richelieu’s aide. This neglected work shows a cinematization of Huxley’s prose and some parallels with his own search for transcendence, as Père Joseph opens himself ‘to its purifying transforming radiance’ (p. 12). In 1942 Huxley used savings from his screenwriting work to buy a cottage in Llano del Rio in the Mojave desert. He wrote for the screen until America’s involvement in the Second World War, at which point the pacifist Huxley could not find (and was not asked to write) patriotic, win-the-war films. Later years In the midst of petrol and tyre rationing Huxley, in isolation, produced three extraordinary volumes as he approached his fiftieth birthday. The Art of Seeing (1942) is an autobiographical study of the physical rehabilitation methods of D. W. E. Bates, which greatly improved his vision. Huxley had practised the Bates method of visual re-education avidly throughout the war years and after, with regular tutorials. In January 1940 he wrote to Julian of a breakthrough: ‘Yesterday for the first time [since childhood] I succeeded, for short stretches, in getting a single fixed image from both eyes together’ (Letters, 450). But opinions in his circle of friends differed as to the effectiveness of this treatment. In The Art of Seeing, however, Huxley suggests that there is a parallel in the way physical discipline could perfect vision while spiritual discipline could perfect insight. Meanwhile The Perennial Philosophy (1946) was an effort to find common ground among the world’s religions in mysticism, and Time Must Have a Stop (1945), Huxley’s response to a world at war, took his concerns with spiritual discipline into fiction. The post-war years alternately haunted Huxley with visions of devastated cities and populations and hope that humanity might triumph over its increasingly potent weaponry. In Science, Liberty, and Peace (1946) and Ape and Essence (1949) he offered twin visions, light and dark, of humanity’s future. The former is a hopeful appeal to scientists to consider humane values in research. Ape and Essence, Huxley’s second novel of science fiction, is a darkly comic satire, in the form of a screenplay, of life in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. His play The Gioconda Smile (1948) was adapted for the screen as A Woman’s Vengeance, but except for fanciful projects such as Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and an adaptation of Cervantes for the cartoon character Mr Magoo, his film-writing career was firmly at an end. He was satirized as the ineffectual scriptwriter Boxley in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon (1941). In June 1948 the Huxleys left America for Europe for the first time since 1937. In England they found a warmer reception than earlier headlines in the press, such as ‘Gone with the wind up’, might have suggested. Many critics dismissed Huxley’s writings in America, considering him Barmy in Wonderland, as P. G. Wodehouse entitled one of his Hollywood novels. In a symposium organized by the London Magazine in 1955, of the work he had published while living in America only After Many a Summer was discussed, and that was roundly attacked. Huxley the Vedantist, the pacifist, the experimenter in education, health, and psychoactive phenomena, was disregarded. The Huxleys returned to the United States in autumn 1950. In the following spring Huxley had a recurrence of iritis following a bout of influenza, which may have shaped perhaps the darkest of his writings, The Devils of Loudun (1952), a historical recreation of a story of demonically possessed French nuns and exorcists. The depression which accompanied his physical illness only increased alongside Maria Huxley’s half-acknowledged cancer. Searching in May 1953 for personal balance, and for new ways of seeing, Huxley took a tablet of mescaline, the laboratory-synthesized derivative of the peyote cactus used for centuries by native Americans, which produced effects similar to those of LSD. Humphrey Osmond MD guided him through an odyssey which culminated in Huxley briefly retrieving the stereoscopic vision which had eluded him since his teenage years. Huxley had sought clear sight through pills, operations, visual retraining, and spiritual disciplines; it eluded him. Under the influence of mescaline he ‘saw as painters see’, as he wrote in an autobiographical account, The Doors of Perception (1953). A similar theme—the universality of transcendence—appears in Heaven and Hell (1956), while the quest for physical sight and vision (which characterized his American period), recurs in Themes and Variations (1950), in Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1956), and Brave New World Revisited (1958), as well as in major essays in American publications such as Esquire, in which he had a monthly column from July 1955 to April 1957, and World Review, in which he published the two-part essay ‘The double crisis’. Just over a year after Maria Huxley’s death on 12 February 1955, Huxley married Laura Archera, an Italian violinist, writer, and psychotherapist, on 19 March 1956. They moved into the Hollywood hills. Huxley had begun his last novel, Island (1962), an earnest, overlong story of an American cynic plane-wrecked on an island, and his recovery through participating in the island society’s unorthodox health and educational practices. In his last half-dozen years, Aldous Huxley—who twenty-five years before could barely be persuaded to speak in public—earned his living principally as a lecturer, including at the University of California, Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1960 a dentist in Kansas removed a pre-cancerous lesion incompletely, failing to stop what developed into cancer of the tongue. By 1962 this had metastasized throughout his body. Huxley refused surgery for the cancer because it would have impaired his speech. His declining health only increased the fervour with which he finished Island—‘this is what Brave New World should have been, and wasn’t’, his son Matthew said (private information)—although Huxley found a utopia far more difficult to write than a dystopia. His valedictory sense was hastened in May 1961 by a fire which destroyed his home in the Hollywood hills along with his manuscripts. Huxley was stoically detached about this. His stepdaughter Ellen Hovde described his final mood: ‘He is one of the few people who got more open and available as he grew older. I think by the time he died, he was very young’ (Hunt. L., Hovde, 1986). News of his death at his home, 6233 Mulholland Highway, Los Angeles, on 22 November 1963 was lost in coverage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Huxley was cremated in Los Angeles on 23 November 1963, and in 1971 his ashes were returned to England and interred on 27 October in his parents’ grave at Compton cemetery, Surrey. Subsequent reputation During his lifetime Aldous Huxley had two distinct audiences: first, a largely European and British one, for his potent satires of his social milieu; second, the audience created by the didactic writings of the 1950s, particularly The Doors of Perception, which, with Island, heralded the youth culture of the 1960s. For the second audience, Huxley’s appeal was social and philosophical, rather than literary. Later this audience gave way to a third, that was interested in his social prophecy, distanced from the bitter response to his experiments with psychedelics, which in England was extreme. ‘The Witch Doctor of California produces another prescription for his suffering tribe’, wrote Alistair Sutherland in typical response (Twentieth Century, May 1954). As late as 1989 the Oxford Companion to English Literature disregarded the work of his American years. The Aldous Huxley Centenary Symposium in 1994 in Münster, Germany, and the International Aldous Huxley Society which emerged from that gathering, reflect a continuing and widespread interest in Huxley, with two or three volumes of criticism appearing each year. Recent Huxley scholarship has made available new, and more complete, texts of his writing and has diminished the gap between appreciation of his early English (and European) years and his last quarter-century in the United States. Brave New World has returned to popular culture as the first novel about human cloning. Public radio in the United States and the BBC produced features and documentaries on him in the 1990s. Today Huxley is an icon of the avant-garde, a development which began with his friend Stravinsky composing the Variations for orchestra, subtitled ‘In Memory of Aldous Huxley’ in 1963–4 (also known as the ‘Huxley Variations’). In 1968 Huxley appeared on the cover of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: ‘we came up with a list of our heroes’, remembered Paul McCartney; ‘it was about time we let out the fact that we liked Aldous Huxley’ (Associated Press, 1 June 1987). This second audience bought sixteen printings of Island and twenty-three of The Doors of Perception. Huxley’s name has been memorialized in the name of a street in Los Angeles, and his life-size image commercialized in an advertisement for Bass ale in 1999. In forthcoming decades Huxley may be read not primarily as a novelist but as a metaphysical savant open to the psychological dimensions of healing and the psychic capacities of human intelligence. David King Dunaway Sources E. Bass, Aldous Huxley: annotated bibliography (1981) · S. Bedford, Aldous Huxley: a biography, 2 vols. (1973–4) · J. Brooke, Aldous Huxley (1954) · R. Clark, The Huxleys (1968) · D. Dunaway, Huxley in Hollywood (1989) · Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. G. Smith (1969) · J. Meckier, ed., Critical essays on Aldous Huxley (1996) · D. Watt, Aldous Huxley: the critical heritage (1975) · Hunt. L., Aldous Huxley oral history collection · U. Cal., Los Angeles, Aldous Huxley collection · J. Baxter, Hollywood exiles (1976) · D. Bradshaw, ed., The hidden Huxley (1994) · D. Dunaway, Aldous Huxley recollected (1999) · P. Firchow, Aldous Huxley: satirist and novelist (1972) · J. Huxley, Aldous Huxley, 1894–1963 (1965) · L. Huxley, This timeless moment (1968) · J. Huxley, ed., Aldous Huxley: a memorial volume (1963) · J. Sexton, ed., Aldous Huxley’s Hearst essays (1994) · J. Meckier, Aldous Huxley: satire and structure (1969) · B. Nichols, Are they the same at home? (1927) · private information (2004) · A. Huxley, foreword, Brave new world (1946) Archives Princeton University, New Jersey, letters · Stanford University, California, corresp. and literary papers | BL, letters to S. S. Koteliansky, Add. MS 48975 · BL, letters to Sydney and Violet Schiff, Add. MS 52918 · Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Sibyl Colefax · King’s AC Cam., letters to W. G. H. Sprott · King’s Lond., Liddell Hart C., corresp. with B. H. Liddell Hart · LPL, letters to H. R. L. Sheppard · U. Aberdeen, letters (with others) to J. B. Chapman · U. Reading L., letters to H. E. Herlitschka · Wellcome L., corresp. in Eugenic Society papers Likenesses W. Rothenstein, chalk drawing, 1922, Man. City Gall. · E. Kapp, drawing, 1924, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham · J. Collier, portrait, 1926, priv. coll. · A. Wolmark, ink and wash drawing, 1928, NPG · A. Wolmark, ink drawing, 1928, AM Oxf. · J. Davidson, terracotta head, 1930, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, National Portrait Gallery · P. Hamann, bronze cast of mask, 1930, NPG · D. Wilding, photograph, 1930–39, NPG · D. Low, caricatures, four pencil sketches, 1933, NPG · M. Ray, bromide print, 1934, NPG [see illus.] · G. Schrieber, pencil drawing, 1937, U. Texas · D. Low, double portrait, pencil, chalk and ink drawing, 1938 (with H. R. L. Sheppard), Tate collection · W. Suschitzky, two photographs, 1958, NPG · M. Petrie, bronze cast of head, c.1960, NPG · D. Bachardy, sketches, 1960–69, priv. coll. · F. Topolski, oils, 1961, U. Texas · C. Beaton, photograph, NPG · H. Coster, photographs, NPG · W. Rothenstein, drawing, repro. in Twenty-four portraits, 2nd ser. (1923) · W. Suschitzky, double portrait, photograph (with Julian Huxley), NPG · photographs, Hult. Arch. Wealth at death £14,186—in England: administration with will (limited), 27 Aug 1964, CGPLA Eng. & Wales

June 20, 2008 9:09 AM
Jewishawareness said…
Displaying an honesty that a plagiarist, like Einstein, could never bring himself to use, Sir Isaac Newton famously remarked, that if he’d seen further than other men, he’d done so only by “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Remembering Newton’s words and reading “Brave New World Revisited.” One cannot help but think of Huxley. Standing 6′ 5” – Aldous Huxley was certainly a physical giant. And while Huxley, the great visionary, could barely see past the end of his nose, he still fits the bill perfectly as its obvious Newton did not have 20/20 vision in mind when he coined his great metaphor. We might think of Aldous Huxley as one of nature’s great contradictions. A paradox, perhaps? The loss of his beloved mother when he was 14, gifted him the essential key of cynicism, armed with this, all free thinkers are able to release themselves from the shackles of this materialistic hell. Then, three years later, at the age of 17, he was struck by more fortuitous-misfortune (sic) when his eyesight was all but destroyed due to neglect of infection. This saved Huxley from almost certain death in the bloody slaughterhouse, laughingly called: The Great War, forcing him to develop an insight, so perceptive, so penetrating, that it might be fair to say, that far from being “disabled” by his condition, he had in fact been “enabled” and was now fit and ready to view the world as it truly was, and predict with uncanny accuracy; just what it would soon become. His early physical and emotional trauma could have ruined him. Instead, by arresting the process of development which society deems normal, but is in fact abnormal, he avoided the conditioning process that brings a child to adult maturity, devoid of spirit and accepting of a life held in check, working as a willing tax slave and always ready to do their duty as patriotic cannon fodder. These are what George W. Bush calls: “freedom loving people.” Those other “citizens” who fail this rite of passage often live out their days as “misfits and “trouble causers” hamstrung in life due to a myriad of “neuroses” and “personality disorders.” Fortunately, Huxley’s genius, fortitude and dogged determination were enough to keep him from the scrap heap, and we should all give thanks for that. In chapter III of BNWR, Huxley quotes the eminent philosopher and psychiatrist Dr Erich Fromm, in support of the notion that societies invert the truth about mental illness, and what actually causes it: “…We see, then, that modern technology has led to the concentration of economic and political power, and to the development of a society controlled (ruthlessly in the totalitarian states, politely and inconspicuously in the democracies) by Big Business and Big Government. But societies are composed of individuals and are good only insofar as they help individuals to realize their potentialities and to lead a happy and creative life. How have individuals been affected by the technological advances of recent years? Here is the answer to this question given by a philosopher-psychiatrist, Dr. Erich Fromm: Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so-called pleasure. Our “increasing mental sickness” may find expression in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are conspicuous and extremely distressing. But “let us beware,” says Dr. Fromm, “of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symptoms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting.” The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish “the illusion of individuality,” but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But “uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.” “Brave New World Revisited,” Chapter III. Later, another psychiatrist, R D. Laing, would say much the same thing when he challenged the right of Society to define its self as, collectively “sane” while imposing its will on those individuals it deemed to be “insane.” Laing focused his thinking on the disturbed individual in relation to his/her family. Families, of course, are components of society – Microsocieties, if you will. As pressure from the controlling elite is channelled through their proxy Governments, it then comes to bear directly upon individuals who in the main, gather together in intimate groups, which we call “family.” It is here, in this closed environment, that the destructive effects of our abnormal society are most often revealed. It’s no coincidence, that the “lone nut” who shoots dead a dozen school kids on his way to Macdonalds, is in fact, just that; a “lone nut” living alone deprived of family contact, In being isolated, he’s been denied the control and containment of the family unit. He has no “pressure cooker” in which to stew. Therefore, unlike the majority of “nuts” who let of steam in domestic privacy – the loner tends to blow his lid in public. The strength of freedom in Laing’s personality was undermined by his own demons. He was a rebel, but he was a boorish, boozy rebel, reduced to displaying himself to poor effect on late night chat shows. His brilliance and independence of mind were often upstaged by his own uncontrollable ill discipline, and his message would often be lost due to the tragic clown on display. When R D. Laing collapsed and died on a tennis court, it wasn’t just the coronary heart disease cited on his death certificate that had brought him to his knees. It was the years spent resisting the weight of Western society bearing down upon a man, who, though ill suited to the task, had chosen to promote the controversial truth: That modern society, is in fact; the cause of our ills and not the remedy. And, despite all his faults, we should remember Laing for that if nothing else. The real genius of Huxley’s “Brave New World Revisited” isn’t the message that it contains. For in giving you the message, he is in fact only stating the truth. The fact that 99% of people cannot see the truth for themselves does stand as a shocking indictment of our fellow man, but not as evidence of Huxley’s genius. His genius is evident in his coruscating prose. The text of his great work is as beautiful as it is convincing. How could you not believe what he was saying was the absolute truth? His work should stand on its own without any need for examination of meaning or explanation as to relevance. However, Mr Huxley did say that, matters, already bad in the 1950’s would continue to deteriorate markedly over the forthcoming 50yrs. And, so now, in 2008, we have on display here his masterpiece, dissected, section by section and explained, step by step – albeit brilliantly by “phaedrus” – simply because; due to the decline in education and intelligence, as predicted by Huxley, many people now need a guiding hand in order to understand what couldn’t be more obvious. The fact that this most brilliantly simple of essays has to be published in this form only goes to prove that Huxley was again, right on the money, when he wrote: “And along with a decline of average healthiness there may well go a decline in average intelligence. Indeed, some competent authorities are convinced that such a decline has already taken place and is continuing. “Under conditions that are both soft and unregulated,” writes Dr. W. H. Sheldon, “our best stock tends to be outbred by stock that is inferior to it in every respect. . . . It is the fashion in some academic circles to assure students that the alarm over differential birthrates is unfounded; that these problems are merely economic, or merely educational, or merely religious, or merely cultural or something of the sort. This is Pollyanna optimism. Reproductive delinquency is biological and basic.” And he adds that “nobody knows just how far the average IQ in this country [the U.S.A.] has declined since 1916, when Terman attempted to standardize the meaning of IQ 100.” Aldous Huxley was friends with Bertrand Russell and H G. Wells. This must have made for some lively conversations, as both Russell and Wells favoured World Government and NWO elitism. Despite this, I would recommend to your readers: “The Impact of Science on Society” by Russell and H G. Wells: “New World Order” which can be read online here: If only Huxley had had use of Mr Wells “Time Machine” By taking his clever but arrogant friends forward in time, he’d have surely convinced them as to the folly of their beliefs. However, I’m sure any satisfaction gained by Huxley, would have been offset by the dire confirmation of his own bleak predictions. In closing, might I thank whoever it was that laboured so brilliantly over this seminal work. This is the standard of work that should be the norm, rather than the exception to the rule. Sadly, this is seldom the case. Cheers.


Also see:

LSD and DYING. 2 – Aldous Huxley