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Posts Tagged ‘Aldous Huxley’

President Biden is still being criticized for completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.  Here are some quotes and then some of my own passing thoughts about the last twenty years of neo-conservative hawkish foreign “action”…    —    KMAB
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of discussion.
    —     Plato
What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.
    —     Aldous Huxley
One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing;  that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
    —     Agatha Christie
Joshua / WOPR:  Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken:  Hello, Joshua.
Joshua / WOPR:  A strange game.  The only winning move is not to play.  How about a nice game of chess?
    —    A conversation between (Joshua) an A.I. system “programmed” to fight a thermonuclear war and its inventor (Falken).  The lines are from the movie:  “War Games“.
Invading Afghanistan was NOT a mistake.  The correct action should have concluded shortly after capturing / killing Bin Laden at Tora Bora, or not.  Either way, we should have withdrawn from Afghanistan within ninety days and told the the Taliban: “We don’t want to occupy or change your country, but you can be darn sure if you harbor terrorist again, we’ll be back.”  Iraq was a war of choice by the Bush / Cheney Administration.  They took advantage of the fear generated by “9/11” and manufactured reasons to invade there (Iraq).  I’m NOT saying either Saddam or the Taliban were “good” for their respective countries.  I am saying we had no business invading one and and trying to “nation build” in the other.  Both countries have a right to self-rule, no matter how poor we may view their choices.  The correct “moves” were “not to play” (in Iraq) and not to stay (in Afghanistan).  Nothing was settled in either country and it was (not) done at a tremendous cost to our military and their families.    —    KMAB
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On This Day In:
2020 I’m Guessing It’s Real
For One More Day
2019 Like Smartphones And FOMO?
Getting Ready For Halloween
2018 Nothing To Build On
2017 This One Is…
2016 Happy Is…
2015 Dare Yourself To
2014 Damned If You Do…
2013 On A Rainy Sunday
2012 Not Sure Anymore
2011 But What Does It Cost?
2009 Another Day, Another Diet…

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After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
   ―    Aldous Huxley
From:  “Music at Night and Other Essays
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On This Day In:
2017 Are You Looking Forward To A Trump Presidency?
2016 Three Errors From Eureka
2015 Limiting Choices
2014 Praise The Lord And Pass The Hypocrisy
That Sound
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
   ―    Aldous Huxley
From:  Complete Essays 2, 1926-29
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On This Day In:
2016 Starting To Stumble
2015 Begin Combat
I Am A Runner
2014 Just Dig ‘N It, Why?
2013 Additions
The Object Of Instruction
2012 Telling Her
2011 On Torture

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That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.
    —    Aldous Huxley
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On This Day In:
2015 Goals
2014 Switch To Dogs…
2013 Times Change
2012 Ashes Not Dust
2011 A Handful From Saudi
None Of This Happened
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But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.  He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly to comprehend.
   —    Aldous Huxley
From his novel: “The Doors Of Perception
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On This Day In:
2015 Not Today
Wicked
2014 …Am Too
2013 Credible?
2012 Both
2011 Risking Hidden Linkage

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Alone Praying

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
    —    Aldous Huxley
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On This Day In:
2014 A Full Man
2013 Off Defending The Universe
Taking Precautions
2012 Never, Never, Never
2011 Testing 1, 2, 3

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The mind is its own place, and the places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling.  Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten.  The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience.
    —    Aldous Huxley
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Between Me
2013 Beyond The Strings
2012 Saving The Union
2011 Still And Too Often

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Today I completed reading “The Doors Of Perception” (1954©), by Aldous Huxley.  This is a “classic” because it was written by a famous / distinguished author.  It is a very short work of less than eighty pages; well written and easy to zip through.  This is my second reading of the book.  I guess I first read the book back in the mid to late 1970’s, but it may have been as late as the early 1980’s – certainly before I reached thirty years old.  I have remembered almost nothing of the book, so it didn’t leave much of an early impression the first time through.  I had previously underlined a few excerpts to be included in my journal at some point.  I found many more interesting statements this second time through.
The book is essentially about a day spent “high” on peyote / mescaline.  The author read about the drug being used to treat some forms of mental illness and decided to try it under supervision (a doctor and his – Huxley’s – wife).  The book is a record of the experience and his thoughts immediately after the experiment.  At the time of the experiment, the drug was not illegal or on the controlled substance list.
Full disclosure:  although I had a misspent youth experiencing multiple controlled substances, “magic” mushrooms / peyote / mescaline was not one of them, so I have no direct experience to personally compare with Huxley’s.  I would say generally, Huxley’s description of “altered” states seems accurate, perceptive and well written.  Perhaps, too well written, as erudite writers sometimes beat you over the head with their education and sophistication.  Huxley is borderline here.
I believe I actually found Huxley’s after-the-fact comments and observations more interesting than his in-the-moment ones.  Huxley offered me a number of insights into human nature and the role of drugs in society and religion, which I confess gave me pause for thought.  You’ll read some of these in the next few months.  I haven’t decided whether I’ll comment on them or simply post them as written.
Final recommendation:  highly recommended reading!   The book is short, well written and offers interesting comments on the nature of man’s experience in the universe.
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On This Day In:
2014 A Wall Too High, A Bridge Too Far
2013 Glory = Danger
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2012 How Did We Get Here?
2011 Labor Day Weekend Mishmash
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The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.
    —    Dr. C. D. Broad
…Each one of us is potentially Mind at large.  But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive.  To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system.  What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet.  To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages.  Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born — the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people’s experiences, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things.
    —    Aldous Huxley
From his book:  “The Doors of Perception
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On This Day In:
2014 From The Top, Please…
2013 You Are The Stars
2012 Just One??
2011 Anything But

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We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves.  The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone.  Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain.  By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude.  Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies – all these are private and, at second hand, incommunicable.  We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves.
    —    Aldous Huxley
From his book: “The Doors of Perception
[To which I can only respond: “Yet.”    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 The Path Of Mastery
2013 Love’s Ignorance
2012 Here’s To Enjoyment
2011 Not Just The Facts, Ma’am

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I followed along Aldous Huxley’s path and started to develop what I jokingly called my Unified Field Theory of Religion.  My working hypothesis was that the cosmos was made up of spirit and matter, heaven and earth, and that humans consisted of both elements, a body and a soul, dust and divinity.  The mystical experience was what happened when the divine or God or Allah or whatever name you prefer breaks through the mundane in a particular soul and exposes it to the universal spirit.
    —    Matthew Polly
From his book:  “American Shaolin
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Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.
   —    Aldous Huxley
[And for those of you not quite up to speed on Latin: “Reading increases my existence“.   —    KMAB]
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The whole of modern civilization is based on the idea that the specialized function which gives a man his place in society is more important than the whole man, or rather is the whole man, all the rest being irrelevant or even positively harmful and detestable.  The low-brow of our modern industrialized society has all the defects of the intellectual and none of his redeeming qualities.
    —   Aldous. L. Huxley
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