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. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts. Huxley spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death.
Aldous Huxley was a humanist, pacifist, and satirist, and he was latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.
By the end of his life Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time and respected as an important researcher into visual communication and sight-related theories as well.
Good is a product of the ethical and spiritual artistry of individuals; it cannot be mass-produced.
Europe is so well gardened that it resembles a work of art, a scientific theory, a neat metaphysical system. Man has re-created Europe in his own image.
Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
The quality of moral behaviour varies in inverse ratio to the number of human beings involved.
The poet's place, it seems to me, is with the Mr. Hydes of human nature.
The business of a seer is to see; and if he involves himself in the kind of God-eclipsing activities which make seeing impossible, he betrays the trust which his fellows have tacitly placed in him.
Thought must be divided against itself before it can come to any knowledge of itself.
Man approaches the unattainable truth through a succession of errors.
Feasts must be solemn and rare, or else they cease to be feasts.
Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.
Cynical realism—it's the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.
Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one's never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.
If human beings were shown what they're really like, they'd either kill one another as vermin, or hang themselves.
People will insist on treating the mons Veneris as though it were Mount Everest. Too silly!
What we feel and think and are is to a great extent determined by the state of our ductless glands and viscera.
I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.
There are few who would not rather be taken in adultery than in provincialism.
Like every other good thing in this world, leisure and culture have to be paid for. Fortunately, however, it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay.
A large city cannot be experientially known; its life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it.
All urbanization, pushed beyond a certain point, automatically becomes suburbanization.... Every great city is just a collection of suburbs. Its inhabitants ... do not live in their city; they merely inhabit it.
Single-mindedness is all very well in cows or baboons; in an animal claiming to belong to the same species as Shakespeare it is simply disgraceful.
Morality is always the product of terror; its chains and strait-waistcoats are fashioned by those who dare not trust others, because they dare not trust themselves, to walk in liberty.
A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it.
A bad book is as much of a labour to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.
Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.
It's with bad sentiments that one makes good novels.
Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.
Those who believe that they are exclusively in the right are generally those who achieve something.
It had the taste of an apple peeled with a steel knife.
Civilization means food and literature all round. Beefsteaks and fiction magazines for all. First-class proteins for the body, fourth-class love-stories for the spirit.
If only people would realize that moral principles are like measles.... They have to be caught. And only the people who've got them can pass on the contagion.
Dying is almost the least spiritual of our acts, more strictly carnal even than the act of love. There are Death Agonies that are like the strainings of the Costive at stool.
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?
The impulse to cruelty is, in many people, almost as violent as the impulse to sexual love—almost as violent and much more mischievous.
Which is better: to have Fun with Fungi or to have Idiocy with Ideology, to have Wars because of Words, to have Tomorrow's Misdeeds out of Yesterday's Miscreeds?
Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.
I can sympathise with people's pains, but not with their pleasures. There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness.
Where beauty is worshipped for beauty's sake as a goddess, independent of and superior to morality and philosophy, the most horrible putrefaction is apt to set in. The lives of the aesthetes are the far from edifying commentary on the religion of beauty.
Bondage is the life of personality, and for bondage the personal self will fight with tireless resourcefulness and the most stubborn cunning.
A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumour.
De Sade is the one completely consistent and thoroughgoing revolutionary of history.
Man is an intelligence, not served by, but in servitude to his organs.
What with making their way and enjoying what they have won, heroes have no time to think. But the sons of heroes—ah, they have all the necessary leisure.
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.
A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.
Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unhewn marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.
Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.
The philosophy of action for action, power for the sake of power, had become an established orthodoxy. "Thou has conquered, O go-getting Babbitt."
An ideal is merely the projection, on an enormously enlarged scale, of some aspect of personality.
Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying.
Noonday upon the Alpine meadows
Pours its avalanche of Light
And blazing flowers: the very shadows
Translucent are and bright.
It seems a glory that nought surpasses-
Passion of angels in form and hue-
When, lo! from the jewelled heaven of the grasses
Leaps a lightning of sudden blue.
Dimming the sun-drunk petals,
Bright even unto pain,
The grasshopper flashes, settles,
And then is quenched again.