T H Huxley Essays

T H Huxley Essays-58
Although he first made his mark as a novelist, he was never very comfortable in the genre.

Although he first made his mark as a novelist, he was never very comfortable in the genre.

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For such people mysticism, like space-travel for the astronomers, represents the unconquered universe--the last hold-out against verifiable human knowledge.

When he is following his hunches and soaring on the wings of speculation, we experience a dazzling flight through vast and unexpected landscapes, but sometimes his zeal grounds him and then it is a little like being buttonholed by a Hare Krishna loony in an airport lounge.

Rarely has there been an essayist-novelist-sage who, from the vantage point of the 1920s and ‘30s, prophesied the events of our contemporary world so accurately. He predicted the invention of surface-to-air missiles, genetic engineering, pharmacological highs and the insidious colonization of society by media and advertising interests.

22, 1963--for while the President espoused a “new frontier,” it was Huxley who to a large extent discovered one. Huxley and great-nephew of classicist Mathew Arnold, was deeply embroiled in our modern agenda: overpopulation, birth-control, polluted oceans, dwindling forests, the absorption of human values by an all-engulfing science and technology.

In chapters like “Distraction,” Huxley exhorts us to abandon the trivial and the inconsequential, which, in his view, diverts us from the jollies of the higher consciousness.

In such moments, it is as if he is denying God a “happy hour” or a Sunday morning goof-off with the funny papers.

A prominent defender of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, he was the grandfather of Julian, Aldous and Andrew Huxley.

He was a critic of organised religion and devised the words "agnostic" and "agnosticism" to describe his own views.

After writing a brace of biting social satires (“Crome Yellow” and “Antic Hay”), he produced his Utopian nightmare “Brave New World,” which did for the 1930s what George Orwell’s “1984" was to do for the postwar generation.

Throughout, he wrote essays, religious tracts, political analyses, newspaper articles, even drama criticism.


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