Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Aldous Huxley

1894 – 1963 CE

With deep insight and keen intelligence, Aldous Huxley for decades using almost every form of media to provide a penetrating commentary on contemporary civilization. Described as “the prophet of the 20th century,” he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature 7 times. He brought into spotlight a vivid image of both the unconscious dark and potential brightness of our evolving technology, social, and political forms animating the dangers of consumption, conformity, technology dependence, indulgence, and pleasure-seeking as well as the potential of the perennial philosophy, finding deep meaning, understanding the sense and not just the words, experiencing the sacredness of each moment.

Eras

Sources

Brave New World

Island

Perennial Philosophy

Unlisted Sources

Brave New World Revisited (1958)

Collected Essays (1959)

Crome Yellow (1921)

Erewhon, Introduction

Eyeless in Gaza (1938)

Proper Studies

Quotes by Aldous Huxley (118 quotes)

“On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”

Chapters: 79. No Demands

Themes: Mistakes

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“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.”

Chapters: 55. Forever Young

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“A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now… but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera… will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.”

Chapters: 35. The Power of Goodness

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“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”

from Brave New World

Chapters: 68. Joining Heaven & Earth

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“All that happens means something; nothing you do is ever insignificant.”

from Crome Yellow (1921)

Chapters: 34. An Unmoored Boat

Themes: Sacred World

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“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you'd collapse. And while you people are over consuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”

from Island

Chapters: 58. Goals Without Means

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“Belief is the systematic taking of unanalyzed words much too seriously. Paul's words, Mohammed's words, Marx's words, Hitler's words---people take them too seriously, and what happens?…sisters of charity selflessly tending the victims of their own church's inquisitors and crusaders.”

from Island

Chapters: 71. Sick of Sickness

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“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. — John the Savage”

from Brave New World

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

Themes: Poetry God

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“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.”

Chapters: 58. Goals Without Means

Themes: Death and Dying

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“Dualism... Without it there can hardly be good literature. With it, there most certainly can be no good life.”

from Island

Chapters: 39. Oneness

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“Everybody strains after happiness, and the result is that nobody's happy.”

Chapters: 78. Water

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“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

Chapters: 10. The Power of Goodness

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“For every traveller who has any taste of his own, the only useful guidebook will be the one which he himself has written.”

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

Themes: Books Travel

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“Give us this day our daily Faith, but deliver us, dear God, from Belief.”

from Island

Chapters: 71. Sick of Sickness

Themes: Fanaticism Belief

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“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.”

Chapters: 56. One with the Dust

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“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

Chapters: 29. Not Doing

Themes: Change

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“I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.”

Chapters: 70. Inscrutable

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“I'm sick. I've eaten civilization and I'm sick.”

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Civilization

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“If you want to live at every moment as it presents itself, you've got to die to every other moment.”

Chapters: 40. Returning

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“In religion all words are dirty words. Anybody who gets eloquent about Buddha, or God, or Christ, ought to have his mouth washed out with carbolic soap.”

from Island

Chapters: 56. One with the Dust

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“Is it a mad society or a sane one? And even if it's pretty sane, is it right that anybody should be completely adjusted to it?”

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

Themes: Conformity

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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard… Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them… throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly.”

Chapters: 63. Easy as Hard

Themes: Fear Less is More

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“It’s embarrassing to tell you this, but it seems to come down mostly to just learning to be kinder.”

Chapters: 69. No Enemy

Themes: Kindness

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“life is short and information endless: nobody has time for everything.”

Chapters: 20. Unconventional Mind

Themes: Time

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“Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.”

Chapters: 48. Unlearning

Themes: Ignorance

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“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”

Chapters: 62. Basic Goodness

Themes: Appreciation

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“Never have so many capable writers warned mankind against the dangers of wrong speech—and never have words been used more recklessly by politicians or taken more seriously by the public.”

Chapters: 66. Go Low

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“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!”

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Conformity

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“Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there.”

from Island

Chapters: 80. A Golden Age

Themes: Travel

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“Nothing costs enough here.”

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Meaningfulness

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“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them, finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons.”

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

Themes: Belief Karma

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“Our civilization being what it is, you've got to spend eight hours out of every twenty-four as a mixture between an imbecile and a sewing machine… It's humiliating and disgusting. But there you are. You've got to do it… Do the job then, idiotically and mechanically; and spend your leisure hours in being a real complete man or woman.”

Chapters: 72. Helpful Fear

Themes: Livelihood

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“Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves.”

Chapters: 81. Journey Without Goal

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“Successfully (whatever that may mean) or unsuccessfully, we all overact the part of our favorite character in fiction.”

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

Themes: Illusion Success

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“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”

Chapters: 80. A Golden Age

Themes: Technology

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“Technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials. The illumination of a city, for example, was once a rare event, reserved for victories and national holidays, for the canonization of saints and the crowning of kings. Now it occurs nightly and celebrates the virtues of gin, cigarettes and toothpaste.”

Chapters: 80. A Golden Age

Themes: Technology Virtue

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“That which, in the language of religion, is called ‘this world’ is the universe of reduced awareness, expressed, and, as it were, petrified by language.”

Chapters: 3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

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“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.”

Chapters: 42. Children of the Way

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“The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Fanaticism

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“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”

Chapters: 76. The Soft and Flexible

Themes: Longevity Old Age

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“The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar... Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen.”

Chapters: 41. Distilled Life

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“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: Moral Freedom

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“This Power Elite directly employs several millions of the country´s working force in its factories, offices and stores, controls many millions more by lending them the money to buy its products, and, through its ownership of the media of mass communication, influences the thoughts, the feelings and the actions of virtually everybody. To parody the words of W. Churchill, never have so many been manipulated so much by few.”

Chapters: 13. Honor and Disgrace

Themes: Greed Wealth

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“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.”

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Health

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“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.”

Chapters: 41. Distilled Life

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“To suppose that people can be saved by studying and giving assent to formulae is like supposing that one can get to Timbuctoo by poring over a map of Africa.

from Perennial Philosophy

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

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“devotees of the apocalyptic religion of Inevitable Progress [believe] that the Kingdom of Heaven is outside you and in the future.

from Perennial Philosophy

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

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“If I only knew who in fact I am, I should cease to behave as what I think I am; and if I stopped behaving as what I think I am, I should know who I am.”

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“It is only by making psychological and moral experiments that we an discover the intimate nature of mind and its potentialities.”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“No amount of theorizing can tell us as much about divine Reality as can be directly apprehended by a mind in a state of detachment, charity and humility.”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“Unfortunately, familiarity with traditionally hallowed writings tends to breed... a kind of reverential insensibility, a stupor of the spirit, an inward dearness to the meaning of the sacred words.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Ignorance

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“The organized Christian churches have persisted in the fatal habit of mistaking means for ends… that souls are saved if assent is given to what is locally regard as the correct formula, lost if it is withheld… The over-valuation of words and formulae so fatally characteristic of historic Christianity.”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“In later Buddhist philosophy… language is a main source of the sense of separateness and the blasphemous idea of individual self-sufficiency… the infatuating delusion of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘mine.’”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“Because technology advances, we fancy that we are making corresponding progress all along the line… that we only have to go on being yet cleverer to achieve social order, international peace and personal happiness.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Technology

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“More systematically than any other religion, Buddhism teaches the way to spiritual knowledge in its fullness as well as its heights, in an through the world as well as in an through the soul.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Buddhism

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“The incomparable landscape painting of China and Japan was essentially a religious art, inspired by Taoism and Zen Buddhism; in Europe on the contrary, landscape painting and the poetry of ‘nature worship’ were sealer arts which only arose when Christianity was in decline”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Art

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“What’s in a name? — practically everything… We give the stuff good names—moksha-medicine, reality revealer, a truth-and-beauty pill. And we know, by direct experience, that the good names are deserved.”

from Island

Themes: Medicine Health

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“[Meditation cultivates] the state of mind that makes it possible for the dazzling ecstatic insights to become permanent and habitual illuminations… and by getting to know oneself to the point where one won’t be compelled by one’s unconscious to do all the ugly, absurd, self-stultifying things that one so often finds oneself doing.”

from Island

Themes: Meditation

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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.”

from Island

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“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you'd collapse.”

from Island

Themes: War Consumerism

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“While you people are over-consuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”

from Island

Themes: Materialism

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“All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.”

from Island

Themes: God

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“Two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary.”

from Island

Themes: Suffering

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“Given the nature of spiders, webs are inevitable. And given the nature of human beings, so are religions. Spiders can't help making fly-traps, and men can't help making symbols. That's what the human brain is there for - to turn the chaos of given experience into a set of manageable symbols.”

from Island

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“You forget to pay attention to what's happening. And that's the same as not being here and now.”

from Island

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“[We are] victims of the same twentieth-century plague. Not the Black Death, this time; the Gray Life.”

from Island

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“History is the record of what human beings have been impelled to do by their ignorance and the enormous bumptiousness that makes them canonize their ignorance as a political or religious dogma”

from Island

Themes: History

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“‘You're assuming,' said Dr. Robert, 'that the brain produces consciousness. I'm assuming that it transmits consciousness.”

from Island

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“You prefer to use Pavlov for brainwashing, Pavlov for selling cigarettes and vodka and patriotism. Pavlov for the benefit of dictators, generals and tycoons… but Pavlov could be used for good purposes, for friendliness and trust and compassion.”

from Island

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“In the country of the insane, the integrated man doesn’t become king… He gets lynched.”

from Island

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“Start by being fully aware of what you think you are. It’ll help you to become aware of what you are in fact.”

from Island

Themes: Know Yourself

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“If only good intentions were enough to make good poetry!”

from Island

Themes: Poetry

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“[Recipe for a setting-sun world]: Take one sexually inept wage-slave, one dissatisfied female, two or (if preferred) three small television-addicts; marinate in a mixture of Freudism and dilute Christianity; then bottle up tightly in a four-room flat and stew for fifteen years in their own juice.”

from Island

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“[Recipe for a rising-sun world]: Take twenty sexually satisfied couples and their offspring; add science, intuition and humor in equal quantities; steep in Tantrik Buddhism and simmer indefinitely in an open pan in the open air over a brisk flame of affection.”

from Island

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“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

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“They thought they would improve on Nature by turning dry prairies into wheat fields, and produced deserts; chopped down vast forests to provide the newsprint demanded by that universal literacy which was to make the world safe for democracy, and got wholesale erosion, pulp magazines and the organs of Fascist, Communist, capitalist and nationalist propaganda... the free press is everywhere the servant of its advertisers, of a pressure group, or of the government.”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditional lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms, has a place in every one of the higher religions... treated again and again, from the standpoint of every religious tradition and in all the principal languages”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Hinduism

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“It is only when we have renounced our preoccupation with ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘mine,’ that we can truly possess the world in which we live… And not only is everything ours; it is also everybody else's.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Egolessness

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“Maps are symbols, and even the best of them are inaccurate and imperfect. But to anyone who really wants to reach a given destination, a map is indispensably useful”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly—they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

from Brave New World

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“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly—they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

from Brave New World

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“...most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”

from Brave New World

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“...reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays.”

from Brave New World

Themes: Shambhala Reality

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“If one's different, one's bound to be lonely.”

from Brave New World

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“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”

from Brave New World

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“'Did you eat something that didn't agree with you?' asked Bernard. The Savage nodded. 'I ate civilization.'”

from Brave New World

Themes: Civilization

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“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

from Brave New World

Themes: Control Slavery

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“Back to culture. Yes, actually to culture. You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books.”

from Brave New World

Themes: Culture

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“God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make a choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.”

from Brave New World

Themes: Materialism God

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“We don't want to change. Every change is a menace to stability.”

from Brave New World

Themes: Change

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“It isn’t only art that is incompatible with happiness, it’s also science. Science is dangerous, we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled. ”

from Brave New World

Themes: Science Art

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“A love of nature keeps no factories busy.

from Brave New World

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“I'd rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here.”

from Brave New World

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“It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free—to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.”

from Brave New World

Themes: Freedom

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“'All right then,' said the savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy… the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat… the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind. I claim them all.'”

from Brave New World

Themes: Problems

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“Of all social, moral, and spiritual problems, that of power is the most chronically urgent and the most difficult of solution... Growing with every successive satisfaction, the appetite for power can manifest itself indefinitely”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Power

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“Success—'the bitch-goddess, Success' in William James's phrase—demands strange sacrifices from those who worship her.”

from Proper Studies

Themes: Ambition Success

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“Liberties are not given, they are taken.”

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“Beauty is worse than wine, it intoxicates both the holder and the beholder.”

Themes: Desire Beauty

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“knowledge of God is possible only to those who 'have ceased to cherish opinions'—even opinions that are as true as it is possible for verbalized abstractions to be”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Opinion

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“This state of 'no-mind' exists on a knife-edge between the carelessness of the average sensual man and the strained over-eagerness of the zealot for salvation.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Fanaticism

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“The great Mohammedan theologian, Al-Ghazzali, had similarly turned from the consideration of truths about God to the contemplation and direct apprehension of Truth-the-Fact, from the purely intellectual discipline of the philosophers to the moral and spiritual discipline of the Sufis.”

from Perennial Philosophy

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“One of the most lively of the dead... Butler was of the true Chaucerian lineage—a solitary voice crying—or rather gently and ironically murmuring–in the wilderness of Victorian zeal... he lives wherever men think about crime... happiness... the purpose and human significance of the machine... and the misplaced zeal for 'progress.'


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“The best of the most atrocious, zeal is always intoxicating. A world without zeal would be a world deprived of many simple but savage pleasures: but at least half its present excuses for interfering and bullying would have been taken away from it.”

from Erewhon, Introduction

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“Excess in some form or another is probably inseparable from the highest human achievements. But this fact takes away nothing from the value of the Golden Mean... Moderation and common sense are humble, homely virtues; but they are the highest to which most of us can aspire.”

from Erewhon, Introduction

Themes: Middle Way

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“Zealots there are in crowds; but the masters of moderation are few and far between. Of these few the first and greatest is Chaucer... Unfortunately, he lived at a time when modern English was still in formation.. a thousand treasures of humane, unzealous wisdom have remained for 400 years almost undiscoverably buried int eh depths of Chaucer's Middle English.”

from Erewhon, Introduction

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“Erewhon is a book of criticism—criticism by means of direct comparison... The general tendency of all the criticisms in Erewhon is the same; they are all directed against that excessive zeal which has always tended to make life in our countries so unnecessarily painful. Thus, the Erewhonians regarded crime as a disease and disease as a crime... If criminals are merely sick, then our sadism toward them remains unmitigated sadism and cannot disguise itself as a zeal for righteousness.”

from Erewhon, Introduction

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“Any confusion of castes, any assumption by one man of another man's vocation and duties of state, is always say the Hindus, a moral evil and a menace to social stability.”

from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Hinduism

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“This history of Europe during the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance is largely a history of the social confusions that arise when large numbers of those who should be seers abandon spiritual authority in favor of money and political power.”

from Perennial Philosophy

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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.”

from Collected Essays (1959)

Themes: History

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“there is only Cone faith for which large masses of us are prepared to die and kill, and that faith is nationalism... With the 57 varieties of tribal gods, nationalism is the religion of the 20th Century.”

from Brave New World Revisited (1958)

Themes: Nationalism

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“Chastity—the most unnatural of the sexual perversions.”

from Eyeless in Gaza (1938)

Themes: Sex

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“An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.”

from Brave New World Revisited (1958)

Themes: Lies

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“The Marxian formula, 'religion is the opium of the people,' is reversible, and one can say, with even more truth, that 'opium is the religion of the people.'”

from Brave New World Revisited (1958)

Themes: Socialism

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“Beauty is worse than wine, it intoxicates both the holder and the beholder.”

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