99 Inspiring Quotes By Aldous Huxley, The Author Of Brave New World
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English novelist, intellectual, satirist and essayist, who rose to prominence in the 20th century as one of the most important literary figures of the time. He was born in the influential Huxley family which was known throughout England for producing some of the finest minds in the country and he was no exception. He studied at Eton College and then at Oxford University, before embarking on a remarkably successful career as a writer. He was also the editor of the Oxford Poetry magazine during his life as a university student. Huxley’s most famous works as a novelist includes the novel ‘Brave New World’, ‘Point Counter Point’, ‘The Perennial Philosophy’ and ‘Island’ among others. He was also a prolific writer of non-fiction and one of the well-known works in that genre is the book ‘The Doors of Perception.’ Huxley had also worked on movie scripts and had also been an active travel writer. His life’s work as a literary figure of rare gift saw him elected to the Royal Society of Literature as the Champion of Literature. Here are some of the best quotes from Aldous Huxley’s life and work that would certainly appeal to the curious mind.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced. After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad. But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. Maybe this world is another planet’s hell. The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude. I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly. If one's different, one's bound to be lonely. I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex. There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception. I am I, and I wish I weren't. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach. I like being myself. Myself and nasty. The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him. One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Every man's memory is his private literature. All that happens means something; nothing you do is ever insignificant. That all men are equal is a proposition which at ordinary times no sane individual has ever given his assent. Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities. Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead. ...most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. No social stability without individual stability. Ironically enough, the only people who can hold up indefinitely under the stress of modern war are psychotics. Individual insanity is immune to the consequences of collective insanity. I ate civilization. It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then," he added in a lower tone, "I ate my own wickedness. I'd rather be myself," he said. "Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly. The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. For in spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. ...reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays.... I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery. To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs. Experience teaches only the teachable. Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol. One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies. It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder. We are all geniuses up to the age of ten. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. I want God, I want poetry, I want danger, I want freedom, I want sin. Ending is better than mending. Liberties aren't given, they are taken. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It is natural to believe in God when you're alone-- quite alone, in the night, thinking about death. Pain was a fascinating horror We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours. The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace,
The prurient ape's defiling touch:
And do you like the human race?
No, not much. It isn't a matter of forgetting. What one has to learn is how to remember and yet be free of the past. It's a little embarrassing that after 45 years of research & study, the best advice I can give people is to be a little kinder to each other. ...two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary. We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way. Did you eat something that didn't agree with you?" asked Bernard. The Savage nodded. "I ate civilization. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning, truth and beauty can't. I can sympathize with people's pains, but not with their pleasure. There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness. The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different. The trouble with fiction," said John Rivers, "is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense. A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul. A man can smile and smile and be a villain. But then every man is ludicrous if you look at him from outside, without taking into account what’s going on in his heart and mind. My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing. When people are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them. The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the non-intellectuals have never stirred. Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today. So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable. We don't want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling falsehood. Don't try to behave as though you were essentially sane and naturally good. We're all demented sinners in the same cosmic boat - and the boat is perpetually sinking. Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves. Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement. I was born wandering between two worlds, one dead, the other powerless to be born, and have made, in a curious way, the worst of both. The more a man knows about himself in relation to every kind of experience, the greater his chance of suddenly, one fine morning, realizing who in fact he is... I'm claiming the right to be unhappy. We live together, we act on, and react to one another; but always, and in all circumstances, we are by ourselves. It isn’t only art that is incompatible with happiness, it’s also science. Science is dangerous, we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled. Hug me till you drug me, honey;
Kiss me till I'm in a coma. Nobody can have the consolations of religion or philosophy unless he has first experienced their desolations. What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when anthrax bombs are popping all around you? Those who meant well behaved in the same way as those who meant badly. Happiness has got to be paid for. You're paying for it, Mr. Watson–paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too. Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision. Universal education has created an immense class of what I may call the New Stupid, hungering for certainty yet unable to find it in the traditional myths and their rationalizations. I know the outer world as well as you do, and I judge it. You know nothing of my inner world, and yet you presume to judge that world. Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. Words form the thread on which we string our experiences. We shall be permitted to live on this planet only for as long as we treat all nature with compassion and intelligence. Perhaps it's good for one to suffer. Can an artist do anything if he's happy? Would he ever want to do anything? What is art, after all, but a protest against the horrible inclemency of life?
Habit converts luxurious enjoyments into dull and daily necessities.
The optimum population is modeled on the iceberg- eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above.
Man is an intelligence, not served by, but in servitude to his organs.
They're old; they're about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now"
"But God doesn't change"
"Men do though
These are the sort of things people ought to look at. Things without pretensions, satisfied to be merely themselves.
Back to culture. Yes, actually to culture. You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books. Can you say something about nothing?