Who is Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly fifty books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems.
Born into the prominent Huxley family, he graduated from Balliol College, Oxford with an undergraduate degree in English literature. Early in his career, he published short stories and poetry and edited the literary magazine Oxford Poetry, before going on to publish travel writing, satire, and screenplays. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death. By the end of his life, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the foremost intellectuals of his time. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times and was elected Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1962.
Aldous Huxley Quotes
1. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
2. Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.
3. After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
4. 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.
5. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
6. Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.
7. Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.
8. The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
9. If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.
10. I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.
11. The real 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.
12. I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.
13. An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.
14. There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
15. I am I, and I wish I weren’t.
16. 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.
17. One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.
18. It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.
So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
19. The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.
20. I like being myself. Myself and nasty.
21. Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.
22. Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.
23. Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
24. Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.
25. All right then,” said the savage defiantly, I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat, the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”
There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
26. Every man’s memory is his private literature.
27. We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.
28. Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
29. All that happens means something; nothing you do is ever insignificant.
30. Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
31. There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
32. The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.
33. No social stability without individual stability.
34. It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling.
35. To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
36. That all men are equal is a proposition which at ordinary times no sane individual has ever given his assent.
37. I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.
38. I ate civilization. It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then,” he added in a lower tone, “I ate my own wickedness.
39. Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.
40. Chastity—the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions, he added parenthetically, out of Remy de Gourmont.
41. 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.
42. Every man with a little leisure and enough money for railway tickets, every man, indeed, who knows how to read, has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.
43. The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
44. A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the 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.
45. 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.
46. For in spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody.
47. The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend
48. Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.
49. Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
50. Experience teaches only the teachable.
51. In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. The essential substance of every thought and feeling remains incommunicable, locked up in the impenetrable strong-room of the individual soul and body. Our life is a sentence of perpetual solitary confinement.
52. To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.
53. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.
54. I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.
55. 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.
56. Deprived of their newspapers or a novel, reading-addicts will fall back onto cookery books, on the literature which is wrapped around bottles of patent medicine, on those instructions for keeping the contents crisp which are printed on the outside of boxes of breakfast cereals. On anything.
57. A love of nature keeps no factories busy.
58. There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol.
59. Ending is better than mending.
60. It is natural to believe in God when you’re alone– quite alone, in the night, thinking about death.