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Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - NEW

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Brave New World - Aldous Huxley -  NEW

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - NEW Novel

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a 1932 novel by Aldous Huxley. Set in the London of AD 2540 (632 A.F. in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, biological engineering, and sleep-learning that combine to change society. Brave New World is the story of a futuristic World State where all emotion, love, art, and human individuality have been replaced by social stability. An ominous warning to the world's population, this literary classic is a must-read.

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in feeling discontent. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, and a perverse distaste for the pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress-Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

The world the novel describes is a dystopia, presented satirically: humanity lives in a carefree, healthy, and technologically advanced society; however, art, science, religion, and all other forms of human expression have been sacrificed to create this Brave New World. Warfare and poverty have been eliminated and everyone is permanently happy due to government-provided conditioning and drugs. The irony is that all of these things have been achieved by eliminating many things that humans consider to be central to their identity - family, culture, art, literature, science, religion (other than idolization of "our Ford", Henry Ford, who is seen as the father of their society), and philosophy. It is also a hedonistic society, deriving pleasure from promiscuous sex and drug use, in the form of soma, a powerful psychotropic rationed by the government that is taken to escape pain and bad memories through hallucinatory fantasies, referred to as "Holidays". Additionally, social stability has been achieved and is maintained via deliberately engineered and rigidly enforced social stratification.

About the Author Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Aldous Huxley was a humanist and pacifist, and he was latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.

, Huxley spent much of his time at Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, working as a farm labourer. Here he met several Bloomsbury figures including D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell and Clive Bell. Later, in Crome Yellow (1921) he caricatured the Garsington lifestyle. In 1919 he married Maria Nys (10 September 1898 - 12 February 1955), a Belgian woman he met at Garsington. They had one child, Matthew Huxley (19 April 1920 - 10 February 2005), who had a career as an epidemiologist. The family lived in Italy part of the time in the 1920s, where Huxley would visit his friend D. H. Lawrence. Following Lawrence's death in 1930, he edited his letters (1933).

In 1937, Huxley moved to Hollywood, California with his wife Maria, son Matthew, and friend Gerald Heard. He lived in the U.S., mainly in southern California, until his death, but also for a time in Taos, New Mexico, where he wrote Ends and Means (published in 1937). In this work he examines the fact that although most people in modern civilization agree that they want a world of "liberty, peace, justice, and brotherly love", they have not been able to agree on how to achieve it. Heard introduced Huxley to Vedanta, meditation, and vegetarianism through the principle of ahimsa. In 1938 Huxley befriended J. Krishnamurti, whose teachings he greatly admired. He also became a Vedantist in the circle of Swami Prabhavananda, and introduced Christopher Isherwood to this circle. Not long after, Huxley wrote his book on widely held spiritual values and ideas, The Perennial Philosophy, which discussed the teachings of renowned mystics of the world.

Huxley became a close friend of Remsen Bird, president of Occidental College. He spent much time at the college, which is in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles. The college appears as "Tarzana College" in his satirical novel After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (1939). The novel won Huxley that year's James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Huxley also incorporated Bird into the novel.During this period Huxley earned some Hollywood income as a writer. In March 1938, his friend Anita Loos, a novelist and screenwriter, put him in touch with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer who hired Huxley for Madame Curie which was originally to star Greta Garbo and be directed by George Cukor. (The film was eventually filmed by MGM in 1943 with a different director and stars.) Huxley received screen credit for Pride and Prejudice (1940) and was paid for his work on a number of other films, including Jane Eyre (1944). However, his experience in Hollywood was not a success. When he wrote a synopsis of Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney rejected it on the grounds that "he could only understand every third word". Huxley's leisurely development of ideas, it seemed, was not suitable for the movie moguls, who demanded fast, dynamic dialogue above all else.

With respect to details about the true quality of Huxley’s eyesight at specific points in his life, there are differing accounts. Around 1939, Huxley encountered the Bates Method for better eyesight, and a teacher, Margaret Corbett, who was able to teach him in the method. In 1940, Huxley relocated from Hollywood to a 40-acre (160,000 m2) ranchito in the high desert hamlet of Llano, California, in northernmost Los Angeles County. Huxley then said that his sight improved dramatically with the Bates Method and the extreme and pure natural lighting of the southwestern American desert. He reported that for the first time in over 25 years, he was able to read without glasses and without strain. He even tried driving a car along the dirt road beside the ranch. He wrote a book about his successes with the Bates Method, The Art of Seeing which was published in 1942 (US), 1943 (UK). It was from this period, with the publication of the generally disputed theories contained in the latter book, that a growing degree of popular controversy arose over the subject of Huxley’s eyesight.

It was, and to a noticeable extent, still is widely held that, for most of his life, since the illness in his teens which left Huxley nearly blind, that his eyesight was exceedingly poor (despite the partial recovery which had enabled him to study at Oxford). For instance, some ten years after publication of The Art of Seeing, in 1952, Bennett Cerf was present when Huxley spoke at a Hollywood banquet, wearing no glasses and apparently reading his paper from the lectern without difficulty:

"Then suddenly he faltered—and the disturbing truth became obvious. He wasn't reading his address at all. He had learned it by heart. To refresh his memory he brought the paper closer and closer to his eyes. When it was only an inch or so away he still couldn't read it, and had to fish for a magnifying glass in his pocket to make the typing visible to him. It was an agonizing moment."

On the other hand, Huxley's second wife, Laura Archera Huxley, would later emphasize in her biographical account, This Timeless Moment: "One of the great achievements of his life: that of having regained his sight." Here, she portrays the accomplishment as both metaphorical and considerably physiological in nature, attributing that which she cites J. Krishnamurti as naming the spirit of "freedom from the known", which she suggests that Huxley applied, nonexhaustively, in writing The Art of Seeing and utilizing the Bates Method. After revealing a letter she wrote to the Los Angeles Times disclaiming the label of Huxley as a "poor fellow who can hardly see" by Walter C. Alvarez, she tempers her more abstract claims with the admission:

"...Although I feel it was an injustice to treat Aldous as though he were blind, it is true there were many indications of his impaired vision. For instance, although Aldous did not wear glasses, he would quite often use a magnifying lens..."

Laura Huxley proceeds to elaborate a few nuances of inconsistency peculiar to Huxley's vision. Her account, in this respect, is discernibly congruent with the following sample of Huxley's own words from The Art of Seeing:

"The most characteristic fact about the functioning of the total organism, or any part of the organism, is that it is not constant, but highly variable."

Nevertheless, the topic of Huxley’s eyesight continues to endure similar, significant controversy, regardless of how trivial a subject matter it might initially appear. On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating Orwell on "how fine and how profoundly important the book is". In his letter to Orwell, he predicted: "Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience."

After World War II Huxley applied for United States citizenship, but his application was continuously deferred on the grounds that he would not say he would take up arms to defend the U.S., so he withdrew it. Nevertheless, he remained in the country, and in 1959 he turned down an offer of a Knight Bachelor by the Macmillan government. During the 1950s Huxley's interest in the field of psychical research grew keener, and his later works are strongly influenced by both mysticism and his experiences with psychedelic drugs. In October 1930, the occultist Aleister Crowley dined with Huxley in Berlin, and to this day rumours persist that Crowley introduced Huxley to peyote on that occasion. He was introduced to mescaline (considered to be the key active ingredient of peyote) by the psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1953. On 24 December 1955, Huxley took his first dose of LSD. Indeed, Huxley was a pioneer of self-directed psychedelic drug use "in a search for enlightenment", famously taking 100 micrograms of LSD as he lay dying. His psychedelic drug experiences are described in the essays The Doors of Perception (the title deriving from some lines in the book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake), and Heaven and Hell. Some of his writings on psychedelics became frequent reading among early hippies. While living in Los Angeles, Huxley was a friend of Ray Bradbury. According to Sam Weller's biography of Bradbury, the latter was dissatisfied with Huxley, especially after Huxley encouraged Bradbury to take psychedelic drugs.

In 1955, Huxley's wife, Maria, died of breast cancer. In 1956 he married Laura Archera (1911-2007), also an author. She wrote This Timeless Moment, a biography of Huxley. In 1960 Huxley himself was diagnosed with cancer, and in the years that followed, with his health deteriorating, he wrote the Utopian novel Island, and gave lectures on "Human Potentialities" at the Esalen institute, which were fundamental to the forming of the Human Potential Movement. On his deathbed, unable to speak, Huxley made a written request to his wife for "LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular". According to her account of his death, in This Timeless Moment, she obliged with an injection at 11:45 am and another a couple of hours later. He died at 5:21 pm on 22 November 1963, aged 69. Media coverage of his death was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on the same day, as was the death of the Irish author C. S. Lewis. This coincidence was the inspiration for Peter Kreeft's book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley (Kreeft 1982). Huxley's ashes were interred in the family grave at the Watts Cemetery, home of the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton a village near, Guildford, Surrey, England.

Huxley's only child, Matthew, was also an author, as well as an educator, anthropologist, and prominent epidemiologist. His work ranged from promoting universal health care to establishing standards of care for nursing home patients and the mentally ill to investigating the question of what is a socially sanctionable drug. Matthew's first marriage, in April 1950, was to documentary filmmaker Ellen Hovde, and ended in divorce in 1961. His second wife, author and Washington Post food columnist Judith Wallet Bordage, whom he married on 22 March 1963, died in 1983. He was survived by his third wife, Franziska Reed Huxley, and two children from his first marriage, Trevenen Huxley (b. 20 October 1951) and Tessa Huxley (b. October 1953).

 

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