Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Revolution of the Mind: The Dreams of Aldous Huxley

by Erik G. Magro

About Huxley

On July 26, 1894 in Surrey, England, Aldous Leonard Huxley was born into a well-established, prominent family with a rich history of distinguished intellectuals on both sides who were highly esteemed among the English aristocracy. His father was Dr. Leonard Huxley, the venerated scientist and writer, and his grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, was the famously outspoken biologist who helped develop the theory of evolution alongside Charles Darwin. Huxley's brother, Sir Julian Huxley, was also a distinguished biologist and eugenics advocate who would go on to charter and become the first Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); his unique position in the world council helped provide Huxley with priceless insight for many literary works (Martin). At sixteen, Huxley nearly went blind due to an eye illness that altered his path in life from a scientist to a writer. His literary career began at Oxford where he met writers like Lytton Strachey and Bertrand Russell and had a relationship with D. H. Lawrence. He published his first book in 1916, The Burning Wheel; a collection of poems followed by three more poem anthologies (Pradas). In his twenties, Huxley wrote for a series of magazines, namely, Athenaeum, House and Garden, and Vogue, but he would gain notoriety for his novels during this time. In 1921, Crome Yellow, was published followed by two comedies, Antic Hay (1923) and Those Barren Leaves (1925), which would earn him acclaim from critics for the important social issues he raised. Proceeding works include essays examining philosophical and cultural issues and novels reflecting his background influences in science. His personal best-selling novel was Point Counter Point (1928), but his highest literary achievement is the visionary future look at a spiritually bereft society in a one-world technocratic state in his classic novel, Brave New World (1932).

In 1937, Huxley moved to California to find work in Hollywood writing screenplays, but in the following decades he would turn to deeper spiritual pursuits in eastern mysticism and psychedelic explorations (Pradas). These pilgrimages were recorded and expounded upon in a series of revolutionary works including Heaven and Hell (1956), and Island (1962). By the 1960s, Huxley was a cult figure in the drug culture he helped spawn and even inspired some of the most famous rock groups; the Beatles used his image on the Sgt. Pepper's album cover and The Doors rock band borrowed their name from his psychedelic manifesto, The Doors of Perception (1954) which Huxley actually borrowed from a poem of William Blake's. At age 72, Aldous Leonard Huxley died of cancer on November 22, 1963, the very day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. His work includes 47 novels, and slews of essays, plays, reviews, poems, histories, and public speeches.


Like his contemporary, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley was fascinated by the rigid social structure he saw erected throughout his lifetime and projected the extreme climax of that structure in his work. Also like his Fabian Socialist counter-part, many of his novels would later be interpreted as warnings wrapped in science-fiction plots of a technocratic one-world dictatorship. However, what his novels primarily consisted of were not fiction, but blueprints commissioned by various world councils for a true-life future one-world socialist government, or as his Fabian mentor, H.G. Wells (protégé of T.H. Huxley), referred to and used as a title for one of his popular novels, The New World Order (1940). Wells authored another book, The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution (1928), which openly examines how this New World Order could be attained, ostensibly for world peace and human evolution. Orwell's novel, 1984 (1948), portrayed life under the NWO system as a cruel and micromanaged society and expounded on the psychological ("double-think") and semantically-deceitful strategies ("double-speak") to make it acceptable to the masses, but most importantly by keeping society in a constant state of fear with manufactured terrorism, wars, and Malthusian catastrophes, and hence, willing to capitulate freedom for a sense of security under the all-seeing eye of "Big Brother" to the point where ignorance and slavery are universally taught as virtues. Much of Huxley's work centered on the scientific methodology for keeping all populations outside the elite minority in a permanently autistic-like condition and actually in love with their servitude. In Brave New World, the primary tools for this are brain-chemical altering vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs made mandatory by the state for the population to take. Though not prophetic, Huxley's revelations of the methods are manifesting today with activity in the World Health Organization (branch of the UN) and in the US with the recent passage of the semantically-Orwellian-sounding legislation, New Freedom Initiative, which calls for the entire population to undergo regular psychological screenings to increase psychotropic drug prescriptions for all citizens, as outlined by the New Freedom Commission. But what Huxley calls a "wire head" population is the ultimate goal of keeping a micro-chipped population under utter mental and physical domination; again the "science fiction" and "open conspiracy" of a matrix control-grid nightmare looms before the planet in official government plans reported in 2002, ostensibly for improving the quality of life for all humanity:

A draft government report says we will alter human evolution within 20 years by combining what we know of nanotechnology, biotechnology, IT and cognitive sciences. […] Leading to telepathy, machine-to-human communication amplified personal sensory devices and enhanced intellectual capacity. People may download their consciousnesses into computers or other bodies even on the other side of the solar system, or participate in a giant "hive mind", a network of intelligences connected through ultra-fast communications networks. "With knowledge no longer encapsulated in individuals, the distinction between individuals and the entirety of humanity would blur," the report says. "Think Vulcan mind-meld. We would perhaps become more of a hive mind - an enormous, single, intelligent entity." Armies may one day be fielded by machines that think for themselves […] The report says the abilities are within our grasp but will require an intense public-relations effort to "prepare key organisations and societal activities for the changes made possible by converging technologies", and to counter concern over "ethical, legal and moral" issues. Education should be overhauled down to the primary-school level to bridge curriculum gaps between disparate subject areas (Cochrane).

Themes Huxley wrote about later in life, like drug glorification, parapsychology, and ancient mysticism rooted in the occult (practical magic and witchcraft), were introductory social-steps to lay the groundwork for the New World Order to emerge on a grand-unified scale. The extensive counter-culture values Huxley wrote of, he would grandfather in America with the aid of his family connections to an array of powerful international societies, funds from various prominent foundations, extensive media coverage, and numerous counter-parts such as psychologist, drug guru, mystic, and CIA-asset, Timothy Leary, writer Ken Casey, poet Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Alan Watts, and other pioneers of the beatnik, hippie, and punk cultures. Also instrumental was Huxley's influence on clandestine government-sponsored mind control operations (à la Manchurian candidate projects) in the 1950s, known as MK-ULTRA - all fueled by LSD from Sandoz Labs (where Albert Hofmann, famously stumbled upon the formula for lysergic acid diethylamide-25) in Switzerland. In the 1960s, Huxley's literary themes emerged in life: the youth revolution was ripe for the Tavistock Institute-groomed "British Invasion" of "rock" groups, mind-warping escapades, and a massive social shift away from earlier value systems and the pressures of the Vietnam War. A multi-generational seed was firmly planted for the dawning of the Aquarian (new) age whose decadent fruits would bear the spiritual darkness indispensable for the New World Order to thrive in the future.

Plot of Brave New World

Aldous Huxley's most outstanding work, Brave New World, was largely regarded as an instant classic because it was so unlike anything when he wrote it and still stands the test of time today. The futuristic look at civilization in some ways is more relevant today than ever before, as the once alien world has begun to resemble the world of today. The story begins in a post-world holocaust in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford) with a director giving an upper-class group of Alpha students a tour in London of a human embryo factory called the Hatchery. The director explains the fertilizing, decanting, and conditioning process to produce thousands of nearly identical embryos assigned for various caste groups of the World State. At infancy, the elite Alphas are designed to be attractive, intelligent leaders, while the Betas under them are slightly less attractive and intelligent as compared to the Alphas. Next in descending order are the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Like the others, the Epsilons are programmed with chemical treatments and brainwashing techniques to be happy with their position in life and to only mingle with members of their own caste system, in this case, Epsilons are stunted and stupefied with vaccines and whose roles are to menial labor and live on reservations. To keep order in the "Utopian" World State, all forms of strong emotions, desires, and human relationships have been removed from society.

Later, Alpha student Bernard asks fellow student Lenina if she would like to accompany him to the Savage reservation in New Mexico, to which she accepts. While visiting, the two Alphas are shocked to witness religious rituals and all the aged and illness, which are completely foreign to the World State. Lenina has to take Soma medication, to cope with this. Later they meet John, a lost member of the World State who has grown up with books on Science and Shakespeare, and invite him and his mother to return with them. As it turns out, John is the son of the director of the Alphas, who resigns in shame from his peers who are nervous at him being a "father". Soon Bernard, whom earlier felt awkward because he did not feel strong or attractive enough to be an Alpha, becomes popular because of his discovery and sleeps with slews of Alpha women. John, too, becomes a person of fame and has a mutual attraction to Lenina, but refuses to sleep with her on their first date, which is customary in the World State.

As John tours the World State, he becomes increasingly disturbed by how hypnotized and sterile people behave. Still attracted to Lenina, his feelings are deeper than lust, but Lenina is confused because he has not slept with her. Intrigued by John, Lenina becomes infatuated with him and one day attempts to seduce him under the influence of Soma but John rejects her advances with force and curses her. Later, John learns his mother is in the hospital about to die as she has been on Soma ever since their arrival to the World State. As she dies by John's side, Alpha children stand around for death conditioning, but wonder why she is so unattractive. As John meets a group of Deltas receiving Soma rations, he urges them to rebel and begins throwing the rations out a window, causing a riot. After police quell the riot with Soma vapor, John is arrested and taken to see the regional leader, Mond, who discusses the hedonistic philosophy behind the Utopian World State and how it was in the interest of keeping everyone happy that all strong emotions are erased with Soma and that religion, art, and science be eradicated from public consumption. John, however, argues that Soma is dehumanizing and how life is not worth living without creativity and spirituality. For this reason, God is replaced with Ford in the World State.

Afterwards, John retires to a lighthouse where he gardens and practices self-flagellation under his strange multi-world religion to purify himself. As several onlookers see this, reporters soon gather to film the ritual for news reports and make "feelies" (instead of movies) of it. After seeing the feely, large crowds descend on the lighthouse and demand to see John whip himself. Lenina soon appears with open arms to John, but he threatens her with the whip, yelling, "Kill it! Kill it!" Caught up with the intensity of emotions in the moment, the crowd begins to have an orgy in which John takes part. The following day, disgusted, angry, and ashamed for giving in to the lifestyle of the "utopian" society, he takes soma and hangs himself.


Most critics of Huxley agree that Brave New World, was ahead of its time and a warning of how current trends could get out of control and lead to a cold, lifeless dictatorship. As one journalist states: "Aldous Huxley was uncannily prophetic, a more astute guide to the future than any other 20th- century novelist. Even his casual asides have a surprising relevance to our own times" (Murray). It is interesting to consider, however, if the future societies he wrote about were born out of his imagination or from advanced insider knowledge gleaned from elite scientific and government policy directors and the most preeminent members of society with whom he was associated throughout his life. Huxley's grandfather, Thomas Henry, was a giant in the field of biology as was his brother Julian, who was on the cutting edge in the world of science and a great influence on the social applications and education of science in the world through the UN. Under the tutelage of H.G. Wells, the concepts of T.H. Huxley were passed on to leading thinkers like George Orwell, and Huxley himself who both applied them in their work.


Huxley's ideas in Brave New World, were not far-fetched whims, but a carefully planned progression of global leaders who could determine the course of society through centralized powers, and with startling similarities to today's world. His dark, sci-fi, satirical-comedy was a vehicle for him to introduce quite startling, future shock events to take place. While in the novel the ideas are portrayed as sinister, in life Huxley actually advanced society toward such ends by turning cultural values upside down- the only way such bizarre ideas in Brave New World could possibly come to fruition. Huxley himself could be describe as an "Alpha" student in that he was raised into a family of the highest privileges with all the best education, and groomed as a leader in his field with full open-door access to an array of powerful societies in film, media, academia, and science, whose ventures were backed with grants and who also helped determine the course of society. Being well versed in the mechanics of psychology and Pavlovian techniques, much of Huxley's works, like Brave New World, were psychological operations (psy-ops) presented as warnings in order to condition the population into being accustomed to the ideas he presented as the inevitable evolution of man. Most readers (at least in the past) naturally side with the alienated feelings of John in Brave New World and associate the multi-world religious views that he practices as some sort of rebellion -a spiritual escape from the evil clutches of the "Utopian" society- when in reality the New World Order system which Huxley and his family and friends all worked for will actually foster a multi-faceted one world religion as the corner-stone to help bind all nations under such a one world government.

Works Cited

* A., Matthew. "Aldous Huxley: The Author and His Times." Somaweb.org. 20 Dec. 2004. 19 Apr. 2005.
* Cochran, Nathan. "US Report Fortells of Brave New World." SMH.com.au. 23 July 2002. 19 Apr. 2005.
* Lombardi, Esther. "Brave New World." About. 19 Jan. 2005. 19 Apr. 2005.
* Martin, Beth. "Aldous Huxley." Think Quest. 1999. 19 Apr. 2005.
* Murray, Nicholas. "Prophet of Our Present." The Guardian Unlimited. 13 Apr. 2002. 19 Apr. 2005.
* Pradas, Mireia F. "Biography." Universitat de València Press. 21 Jan 2000. 19 Apr. 2005.


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