New Here?
     
Posts tagged "Aldous Huxley"

Another Week Ends: Too Much Fun, Deflating Pikachu, Rock’N’Roll Church, Lovely Creatures, Facebook Grief, Self-Control, and The Forbidden Apple

Another Week Ends: Too Much Fun, Deflating Pikachu, Rock’N’Roll Church, Lovely Creatures, Facebook Grief, Self-Control, and The Forbidden Apple

1. “Are We Having Too Much Fun?” asks Megan Garber, in this week’s Atlantic, re-examining the objections of renowned tech-skeptic Neil Postman.

Postman cautioned against a society focused too heavily on entertainment — a bitter pill to serve this Golden Age of TV that so often leaves us viewing life as a well-crafted episode. Moreover, Garber argues, when our entertainment is also our news (think late-night comedy-satire-journalism), politics become part of the joke, and apathy is sure to follow. Consider, too, all of those Harambe memes, and the more recent memes inspired by the United fiasco. On the one hand, should we be taking these things more seriously? On the other hand…

Scrolling through Instagram to see the…

Read More > > >

PZ’s Podcast: Mystic Traveler

69beb7a301876b0c0ac7cb7955465776EPISODE 215

What are we all looking for in this life…? The new being, rebirth, meeting your inner child again for the first time. However you name it, whatever you make of it, the truth of reality is this: we all withhold a few things from everyone including and especially from ourselves. We lose so much in the withholding and the repression, which is quite understandable. But there is hope! You can go forward through going backward. Aldous Huxley did it. He became a theological psychologist par excellence, and we can follow his lead. A graced archeological excavation can produce so much in the way of the teleological imagination.

 

The introduction to this cast is done by Bill Borror and Scott Jones, co-hosts of New Persuasive Words. Scott also hosts The Mockingcast.

The Difference Between the Prophecies of Orwell and Huxley

A provocative quote from the introduction to Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, ht VH:

brawndo2“Contrary to common belief even among the educated, [Aldous] Huxley and [George] Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’ In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”

The Loneliest Question: Knowing Ourselves from the Stories We Tell

The Loneliest Question: Knowing Ourselves from the Stories We Tell

Another reflection–this time on the illusive nature of identity and memory–from the pen of Charlotte Hornsby.

Sarah’s dad says it best. Beaming his blue eyes past the camera, he squints and asks, “How is it we talk and talk without conveying somehow what we’re really like?” This conundrum lies at the heart of Stories We Tell, the documentary Sarah Polley shaped out of hours of interviews with all the key players in her mother’s life, most notably her biological father and the man she discovered wasn’t her biological father. Through the stories of her mother’s marriage, career and secret affair, a…

Read More > > >

PZ's Podcast: What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) and Fraulein Doktor

PZ’s Podcast: What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) and Fraulein Doktor

Episode 104: What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)

This one is about defense.

Someone said that human beings are “covered by thirty or forty skins or hides, like an ox’s or a bear’s, so thick and hard.” That’s not especially good to hear.

Someone else said to me recently, “Well, Paul, you have a toe on the road.” (I could have belted him!)

“Poor poor pitiful me” (L. Ronstadt). Yet it’s true.

Every time you think one of those “skins or hides” has slid off you, another one appears, lying in its place.

What does it take to get through to a person, meaning:…

Read More > > >

PZ's Podcast 100 & 101: Eternity and I Feel Like I Win When I Lose (plus Reception Address)

PZ’s Podcast 100 & 101: Eternity and I Feel Like I Win When I Lose (plus Reception Address)

EPISODE 100: Eternity

Didn’t The Beach Boys sing something called “Hang On To Your Ego”? I guess it was a kind of “Not!”.

Well, this talk concerns death and the “art” of dying. What dies when you die physically? What lives on? What, if anything?

Consider the following observation from The Genius and the Goddess (1955):

“In the process of living as one ought to live, Helen had been dying by daily installments. When the final reckoning came, there was practically nothing to pay.” (p. 14)

Who was dying there? What was left? I’d like to know. That’s the the task I set in trying…

Read More > > >

PZ's Podcast 98-99.5: Reflections in a Golden Eye, A Night at the Bardo and Got to Have a Hundred

PZ’s Podcast 98-99.5: Reflections in a Golden Eye, A Night at the Bardo and Got to Have a Hundred

Episode 98: Reflections in a Golden Eye

This is a little “onesy” and posits your current media/avocational/move-television/music-iPod interest as a sort of “true north” of your life, of what’s really going on inside you, and therefore outside you.

What I mean is, the books you like, the TV show you can’t miss, the music you just have to download: those are indicators of what you’re currently looking for — in life, for life, from life.

Two odd and devastating sentences from 20th Century literature tell this story. One is from The Genius and the Goddess (1955) by Aldous Huxley, and the other is…

Read More > > >

PZ's Podcast 90-94: The Rest of Your Life, Sequels, G-d (Robinson Crusoe on Mars), Falsification and My New Program

PZ’s Podcast 90-94: The Rest of Your Life, Sequels, G-d (Robinson Crusoe on Mars), Falsification and My New Program

Episode 90: “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”

The song’s not actually that great. But the title!

This talk concerns your profession, and tries to say what I wish someone had said to me: I wish someone had said this to me when I was 21 and flailing around looking for something to do. I wish someone had said it to me when I was 41 and looking for something better to do. And I wish someone would say it to me when I’m 64 and still flailing around.

The original thought here comes from a paragraph towards the end…

Read More > > >

PZ's Podcast, 84-89: Yvette Vickers, Protestant Episcopal SuperMarionation I&II, Bette Davis Eyes, Tana and Tahrir, and Pacific Overtures

PZ’s Podcast, 84-89: Yvette Vickers, Protestant Episcopal SuperMarionation I&II, Bette Davis Eyes, Tana and Tahrir, and Pacific Overtures

Thanks again for your patience with us this past week. As you’ll see, while the site slept, some of us were busy!

Episode 84: Yvette Vickers (f. 4.27.11)

Newspapers and blogs seem to settle for the categorical in reporting such events as the discovery, on April 27, 2011, of the body of Yvette Vickers in her house in Benedict Canyon.

Yvette Vickers’s death becomes a “bizarre” event, and gets linked to the Gothic, even, as it applies to the kinds of movies in which she appeared. (She gave knockout performances, by the way, in her two “legacy” films: Attack of the 50…

Read More > > >

Aldous Huxley on the Dangers of Misplaced Seriousness

Aldous Huxley on the Dangers of Misplaced Seriousness

Some light post-Christmas reading for you, from his novel After Many a Summer Dies the Swan:

Misplaced seriousness — the source of some of our most fatal errors. One should be serious, Mr. Propter had said, only about what deserves to be taken seriously. And, on the strictly human level, there was nothing that deserved to be taken seriously except the sufferings men inflicted upon themselves by their crimes and follies.

No, a good satire was much more deeply truthful. The trouble was that so few good satires existed because so few satirists were prepared to carry their criticism of human values…

Read More > > >

PZ's Podcast: Canned Heat and Under Satan's Sun

PZ’s Podcast: Canned Heat and Under Satan’s Sun

EPISODE 77: Canned Heat

I’m reaching here, for a useful and accurate definition of the human being. I found one, an interesting one, in the middle of a 1939 novel entitled After Many a Summer Dies the Swan.

That one-sentence definition, tied in my own mind to a recent study of Fritz Lang’s movie from 1929 entitled Woman in the Moon, proved fruitful — fruitful in understanding our old devil Ego, and why ‘he’/’she’ works the way ‘he’/’she’ does.

As They sang once, before a giant forum of human history, “I’m going up the country, baby don’t you want to go.”

Will you come…

Read More > > >

Simultaneously the Pillars and the Dynamite: A Few from Aldous Huxley's Time Must Have a Stop

Simultaneously the Pillars and the Dynamite: A Few from Aldous Huxley’s Time Must Have a Stop

For whatever reason, the only novel of Aldous Huxley’s that gets much airtime these days is the dystopian classic Brave New World (1932). Occasionally you hear about The Doors of Perception, if only for its role in inspiring Jim Morrison (ugh). It’s a shame, because not only is Huxley far less dippy than the Lizard King association would suggest, his prophetic streak went much further than soma. 1944’s Time Must Have a Stop is just one example of what this expatriate British mystic was capable of, as the handful of quotes below hopefully illustrate. In the first, a description of…

Read More > > >