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Aldous Huxley, fully named Aldous Leonard Huxley, was born in 1894 in England. His grandfather was Thomas Henry Huxley, a prominent biologist. His father was Leonard Huxley, a man of letters and biographer. His brother, Andrew Fielding Huxley, became a psychologist and his other brother, Julian Huxley, became a biologist. While studying at Eton, Aldous became partially blind because he had keratitis, caused by an injury or infection in your eye. Even though his condition made it extremely difficult for him to read, he graduated from Balliol College in 1916. After graduating, he published his first book, ‘Athenaeum’ and began focusing on his career of writing. Much of Aldous Huxley’s time was spent living in Italy, but he then settled in California in the 1930s.
After his first two novels, ‘Crome Yellow’ (1921) and ‘Antic Hay’ (1923), were published he was then considered an established author. In 1932, Huxley published Brave New World, in this book he expressed his strong distrust in technology and politics, the publishing of this book was a turning point in his career. After moving to America, Huxley published his book, ‘After Many a Summer Dies the Swan’ (1939), this novel focused on the American culture.
Some of his later works included: The Devils of Loudun (1952), a psychological study on the nuns that were supposedly victims of being possessed by demons, and The Doors of Perception (1954), a book in which he expressed his experiences while on a drug called mescaline, which is a natural hallucinogen that is found in certain cactus plants. He published a final novel, Island, in 1962 before he passed away the following year on November 22, 1963.
Aldous Huxley Quotes
- “For in spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody.” – Aldous Huxley
- “It’s with bad sentiments that one makes good novels.” – Aldous Huxley
- “People will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.” – Aldous Huxley
- “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Music at Night and Other Essays’
- “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” – Aldous Huxley
- “I ate civilization. It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then, I ate my own wickedness.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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?” – Aldous Huxley
- “There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Brave New World’
- “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unshown marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.” – Aldous Huxley
- “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Maybe this world is another planet’s h*ll.” – Aldous Huxley
- “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution” – Aldous Huxley
- “There’s only one effectively redemptive sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-will to make room for the knowledge of God.” – Aldous Huxley
- “The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.” – Aldous Huxley
- “I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Brave New World’
- “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left.” – Aldous Huxley
- “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Point Counter Point’
- “To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Never have so many been manipulated so much by so few.” – Aldous Huxley
- “An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than s*x.” – Aldous Huxley
- “The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.” – Aldous Huxley
- “All that happens means something; nothing you do is ever insignificant.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” – Aldous Huxley
- “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Brave New World’
- “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” – Aldous Huxley
- “There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all its virtues are of no avail.” – Aldous Huxley
- “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Collected Essays’
- “The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency.” – Aldous Huxley
- “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” – Aldous Huxley
- “A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley
- “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” – Aldous Huxley
- “My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.” – Aldous Huxley
- “I am I, and I wish I weren’t.” – Aldous Huxley
- “A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author’s soul.” – Aldous Huxley
- “People often ask me what is the most effective technique for transforming their life. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is just be a little kinder.” – Aldous Huxley
- “I like being myself. Myself and nasty.” – Aldous Huxley, ‘Brave New World’
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley
- “If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.” – Aldous Huxley
- “You should hurry up and acquire the cigar habit. It’s one of the major happinesses. And so much more lasting than love, so much less costly in emotional wear and tear.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Dictators can always consolidate their tyranny by an appeal to patriotism.” – Aldous Huxley
- “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.” – Aldous Huxley
Video – Summary of Huxley’s Brave New World
Enjoy this excellent fun animated overview of Huxley’s most influential book Brave New World.
Our friends over at SparkNotes provide an excellent short overview of the book. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you are a Huxley fan!
If you’re a reader, you may want to check out some of Aldous Huxley’s published novels. He was known to be one of the best writers of his time. Use some of these quotes to teach about Aldous Huxley, in a school project, or just for personal use to get you thinking.
He is a well-known author in the world of books and some of these quotes are bound to inspire you along with make you consider the ideas he is expressing.
Image Credit: “Aldous Huxley – Ya flotamos en un mundo Huxleyano y Platonaniano” by Antonio Marín Segovia is licensed underCC BY-NC-ND 2.0