Who Will Be Brave in Huxley’s New World?

Who Will Be Brave in Huxley’s New World? by Cynthia Chung for Strategic-Culture

No wonder that the Tavistock Institute and the CIA became involved in looking at the effects of LSD and how to influence and control the mind.

 “ ‘Science?’….’Yes,’ Mustapha Mond was saying, ‘that’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled…I’m interested in truth, I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history…But we can’t allow science to undo its own good work. That’s why we so carefully limit the scope of its researchers…We don’t allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged…Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness…[but] People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years’ War. That made them change their tune all right. What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? That was when science first began to be controlled – after the Nine Years’ War. People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We’ve gone on controlling ever since. It hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it, Mr. Watson – paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.’ “

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

Where does one start in discussing the famed fiction novel of Huxley? Although most agree that there is a definite brilliance to the piece, most are also confused as to what was Huxley’s intention in writing the extremely influential dystopic vision. Was it meant to be taken as an exhortation? An inevitable prophecy? Or rather…was it meant as an Open Conspiracy?

What do I mean by an Open Conspiracy?

If we are going to talk about such things our story starts with H.G. Wells, whom Aldous acknowledged he was most certainly influenced by, particularly by Wells’ novels “A Modern Utopia,” “The Sleeper Awakes,” and “Men Like Gods,” when writing his “Brave New World.”

Although Aldous is quoted as referring to Wells as a “horrid, vulgar little man,” (Wells was indeed not a very likeable individual) it was not for reasons one might first assume. Aldous did share a Wellsian perspective in that society should be organised based on a caste system. Perhaps this was one of the reasons Aldous was so fascinated with learning about India’s Hindu religious beliefs and practices, which had coexisted for centuries with a deeply ingrained caste system to which India is still struggling to remove itself from to this day. This is not to say that one caused the other, or that Hinduism has not offered a plethora of great works and insights, but that it had become corrupted and thoroughly intertwined with upholding India’s caste system at some point one cannot deny; that it was used to justify a system of hierarchy from slave to the god-like state of a Brahmin and that British imperialists had always been greatly fascinated by this form of social organization one cannot deny.

Aldous was always interested in the subject of religion, but more so for its uses in behaviourism and mental conditioning achieved through such techniques as entering states of trance where an individual’s suggestibility could be manipulated. Hypnopædia was not just some quirky sci-fi concoction. It is also why Aldous was so interested in the work of Dr. William Sargant, whom Aldous repeatedly refers to in his writings and lectures and who was involved with the Tavistock Institute and MKUltra. More on this in Part two.

These spiritual/religious studies are what shaped the core thesis of Aldous’ book “Doors of Perception” which is considered the instruction manual for what started the counterculture movement. The title is influenced by the poet William Blake who wrote in 1790 in his book “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,”:

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