Aldous Leonard Huxley

Aldous Leonard

English Novelist, Short-Stories, Playwright and Editor including Brave New World and Oxford Poetry

Author Quotes

We lie to ourselves, in order that we may still have the excuse of ignorance, the alibi of stupidity and incomprehension, possessing which we can continue with a good conscience to commit and tolerate the most monstrous crimes.

We are human because, at a very early stage in the history of the species, our ancestors discovered a way of preserving and disseminating the results of experience.

We are confronted by the great paradox of human life. It is our conditioning which develops our consciousness; but in order to make full use of this developed consciousness, we must start by getting rid of the conditioning which developed it.

Ultimate Reality is not clearly and immediately apprehended except by those who have made themselves loving, pure in heart and poor in spirit.

To be a member of a crowd is an experience closely akin to alcoholic intoxication. Most human beings feel a craving to escape from the cramping limitations of their ego, to take periodical holidays from their all too familiar, all to squalid little selves. As they do not know how to travel upwards from personality into a region of super-personality and as they are unwilling, even if they do know, to fulfill the ethical, psychological and physiological conditions of self-transcendence, they turn naturally to the descending road, the road that leads down from personality to the darkness of subhuman emotionalism and panic animality.

Thoughts and actions are good, when they make us, morally and spiritually, more capable of realizing the God who is ours, imminently in every soul and transcendently as that universal principle in which we live and move and have our being. They are bad when they tend to reinforce the barriers which stand between God and our souls, or the souls of other beings.

Those who believe that they are exclusively in the right are generally those who achieve something.

There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all the virtues are of no avail.

The most propitious environment for equality is constituted by a society where the means of production are owned cooperatively, where power is decentralized, and where the community is organized in a multiplicity of small, interrelated but, as far as may be, self-governing groups of mutually responsible men and women.

The moralists cease to be realistic and commit idolatry inasmuch as they worship, not God, but their own ethical ideals, inasmuch as they treat virtue as an end in itself and not as the necessary condition of the knowledge and love of God – a knowledge and love without which that virtue will never be made perfect or even socially effective.

The law which we must obey, if we would know God as love, is itself a law of love. To those who obey the law come what St. Paul termed the three fruits of the spirit: peace, love, joy.

The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not be doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.

The final end and purpose of every human being is the unitive knowledge of God’s being.

The ideal man is the non-attached man. Non-attached to his bodily sensations and lusts. Non-attached to his cravings for power and possessions. Non-attached even to science and speculation and philanthropy.

The actual technique of prayer - the kneeling, the hiding of the face in the hands, the uttering of words in an audible voice, the words being addressed into empty space - helps by its mere dissimilarity from ordinary actions of everyday life to put one into a devout frame of mind.

Sit down before fact as a little child be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.

Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unhewn marble of great sculpture.

Phrases like “war of attrition” protect the mind from contact with the particular realities of mangled flesh and putrefying corpses.

Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be.

Mystical experience… is a direct intuition of ultimate reality.

Most of one's life ... is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.

Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape and the longing to transcend themselves, if only for a few moments, is and always has been one of the principal appetites of the soul.

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.

Industrialism is the systematic exploitation of wasting assets. In all too many cases, the thing we call progress is merely an acceleration in the rate of that exploitation.

In the spiritual life, every cause is also an effect, and every effect is at the same time a cause.

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Aldous Leonard
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English Novelist, Short-Stories, Playwright and Editor including Brave New World and Oxford Poetry