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Happy birthday, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).

Aldous Huxley painted portrait IMG_7518


“It's curious," he went on after a little pause, "to read what people in the time of Our Ford used to write about scientific progress. They seemed to have imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't. And, of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered.… We've gone on controlling ever since. It hasn't been very good for truth, of course. But it's been very good for happiness. One can't have something for nothing. 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.”
- Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
whswhs
Jul. 26th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
A number of years ago, chorale's niece was reading Brave New World for her high school English class. Her mother read it as well, as she read all of her children's assigned books. And she asked us about what we thought of the book, and if it was alarming that Huxley was advocating things like cloning and sexual promiscuity and drug use. She was much relieved when we said that Huxley was writing it as a satire and a warning; that hadn't even occurred to her. It was an instructive conversation.
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 28th, 2013 11:58 am (UTC)
It was an instructive conversation.

Oh wow. It sounds like it. The thought that this idea hadn't even occurred to her... boggles my mind more than a bit. It's not as if those things are glorified in the book. Quite the opposite.

That said, I admire her for reading along with her children's assigned books - and asking questions about them, too. It's a refreshing change from parents who either don't pay attention to what their kids are reading at all or try to ban books they've never even opened once.
ankh_hpl
Jul. 26th, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
Sad thing is, a lot of people seem to be voluntarily making this same shift in emphasis every day. A gramme is better than a d*mn, you know!
eldritchhobbit
Jul. 28th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
So very true.

"Everybody's happy nowadays."
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )