Quotes by Aldous Huxley

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Aldous Leonard Huxley (July 26, 1894 November 22, 1963) was a British writer who emigrated to the United States. He was a member of the famous Huxley family who produced a number of brilliant scientific minds. Best known for his ...

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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.

Most human beings have an infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
I can sympathize with people's pains, but not with their pleasures. There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness.
If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution -- then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise.
An atheist is a person who has no invisible means of support
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.
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.
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.
Man approaches the unattainable truth through a succession of errors.
Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored.
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
We participate in tragedy. At comedy we only look.
Most of one's life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.
Every man's memory is his private literature.
The quality of moral behavior varies in inverse ratio to the number of human beings involved.
After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Uncontrolled, the hunger and thirst after God may become an obstacle, cutting off the soul from what it desires. If a man would travel far along the mystic road, he must learn to desire God intensely but in stillness, passively and yet with all his heart and mind and strength.
You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.
There's only one effectively redemptive sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-will to make room for the knowledge of God.
Science has explained nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness.
Those who believe that they are exclusively in the right are generally those who achieve something.
There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
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.
Most ignorance is evincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know.
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.
I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.
Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.
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?
There are confessable agonies, sufferings of which one can positively be proud. Of bereavement, of parting, of the sense of sin and the fear of death the poets have eloquently spoken. They command the world's sympathy. But there are also discreditable anguishes, no less excruciating than the others, but of which the sufferer dare not, cannot speak. The anguish of thwarted desire, for example.
Ignore death up to the last moment; then, when it can't be ignored any longer, have yourself squirted full of morphia and shuffle off in a coma. Thoroughly sensible, humane and scientific, eh?
Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
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.
The finest works of art are precious, among other reasons, because they make it possible for us to know, if only imperfectly and for a little while, what it actually feels like to think subtly and feel nobly.
It takes two to make a murder. There are born victims, born to have their throats cut, as the cut-throats are born to be hanged.
Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.
The amelioration of the world cannot be achieved by sacrifices in moments of crisis; it depends on the efforts made and constantly repeated during the humdrum, uninspiring periods, which separate one crisis from another, and of which normal lives mainly consist.
Classic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. ROLLING IN THE MUCK IS NOT THE BEST WAY OF GETTING CLEAN.
Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unshown marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.
Pure Spirit, one hundred degrees proof -- that's a drink that only the most hardened contemplation-guzzlers indulge in. Bodhisattvas dilute their Nirvana with equal parts of love and work.
There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all the virtues are of no avail.
We are all geniuses up to the age of ten.
Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.
Facts are ventriloquists dummies. Sitting on a wise man's knee they may be made to utter words of wisdom; elsewhere, they say nothing, or talk nonsense, or indulge in sheer diabolism.
Experience teaches only the teachable.
The only completely consistent people are the dead.
The brotherhood of men does not imply their equality. Families have their fools and their men of genius, their black sheep and their saints, their worldly successes and their worldly failures. A man should treat his brothers lovingly and with justice, according to the deserts of each. But the deserts of every brother are not the same.
What we feel and think and are is to a great extent determined by the state of our ductless glands and viscera.
I have discovered the most exciting, the most arduous literary form of all, the most difficult to master, the most pregnant in curious possibilities. I mean the advertisement. It is far easier to write ten passably effective Sonnets, good enough to take in the not too inquiring critic, than one effective advertisement that will take in a few thousand of the uncritical buying public.
Most ignorance is invincible ignorance.We don't know because we don't want to know.
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.
Words from the thread on which we string our experiences.
Most vices demand considerable self-sacrifices. There is no greater mistake than to suppose that a vicious life is a life of uninterrupted pleasure. It is a life almost as wearisome and painful -- if strenuously led -- as Christian's in The Pilgrim's Progress.
So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, the Caesars and Napoleons will arise to make them miserable.
Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects... totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.
Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty -- his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.
Thought must be divided against itself before it can come to any knowledge of itself.
A life-worshipper's philosophy is comprehensive. He is at one moment a positivist and at another a mystic: now haunted by the thought of death and now a Dionysian child of nature; now a pessimist and now, with a change of lover or liver or even the weather, an exuberant believer that God's in his heaven and all's right with the world.
People will insist on treating the mons Veneris as though it were Mount Everest. Too silly!
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.
The history of any nation follows an undulatory course. In the trough of the wave we find more or less complete anarchy; but the crest is not more or less complete Utopia, but only, at best, a tolerably humane, partially free and fairly just society that invariably carries within itself the seeds of its own decadence.
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.
One of the many reasons for the bewildering and tragic character of human existence is the fact that social organization is at once necessary and fatal. Men are forever creating such organizations for their own convenience and forever finding themselves the victims of their home-made monsters.
If it were not for the intellectual snobs who pay -- in solid cash -- the tribute which philistinism owes to culture, the arts would perish with their starving practitioners. Let us thank heaven for hypocrisy.
Speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.
Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.
Cant is always rather nauseating; but before we condemn political hypocrisy, let us remember that it is the tribute paid by men of leather to men of God, and that the acting of the part of someone better than oneself may actually commit one to a course of behavior perceptibly less evil than what would be normal and natural in an avowed cynic.
Orthodoxy is the diehard of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it forget.
We are living now, not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science, but in a rather grisly morning-after, when it has become apparent that what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends.
Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.
Science and art are only too often a superior kind of dope, possessing this advantage over booze and morphia: that they can be indulged in with a good conscience and with the conviction that, in the process of indulging, one is leading the higher life.
Man is an intelligence, not served by, but in servitude to his organs.
Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.
Good is a product of the ethical and spiritual artistry of individuals; it cannot be mass-produced.
A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it.
The condition of being forgiven is self-abandonment. The proud man prefers self-reproach, however painful --because the reproached self isn't abandoned; it remains intact.
It's with bad sentiments that one makes good novels.
Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers.
A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.
Specialized meaninglessness has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hall-mark of true science.
From their experience or from the recorded experience of others (history), men learn only what their passions and their metaphysical prejudices allow them to learn.
That all men are equal is a proposition to which, at ordinary times, no sane human being has ever given his assent.
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 rumor.
Now, a corpse, poor thing, is an untouchable and the process of decay is, of all pieces of bad manners, the vulgarest imaginable. For a corpse is, by definition, a person absolutely devoid of savoir vivre.
A large city cannot be experientially known; its life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it.
But a priest's life is not supposed to be well-rounded; it is supposed to be one-pointed -- a compass, not a weathercock.
Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.
A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.
Beauty for some provides escape, who gain a happiness in eyeing the gorgeous buttocks of the ape or Autumn sunsets exquisitely dying.
Abused as we abuse it at present, dramatic art is in no sense cathartic; it is merely a form of emotional masturbation. It is the rarest thing to find a player who has not had his character affected for the worse by the practice of his profession. Nobody can make a habit of self-exhibition, nobody can exploit his personality for the sake of exercising a kind of hypnotic power over others, and remain untouched by the process.
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.
Industrial man --a sentient reciprocating engine having a fluctuating output, coupled to an iron wheel revolving with uniform velocity. And then we wonder why this should be the golden age of revolution and mental derangement.
Like every man of sense and good feeling, I abominate work.
The Dickensian Christmas-at-Home receives only perfunctory lip-service from a press which draws a steady income from the catering and amusement trades. Home-made fun is gratuitous, and gratuitousness is something which an industrialized world cannot afford to tolerate.