Quotes from ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley

Read the review for the book

These are a few excerpts from the book:

Some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently – though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible. For particulars, as every one knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fret-sawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.

That is the secret of happiness and virtue–liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.

What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.

“Reuben was the child of Polish-speaking parents.”
The Director interrupted himself. “You know what Polish is, I suppose?”
“A dead language.”
“Like French and German,” added another student, officiously showing off his learning.
“And ‘parent’?” questioned the D.H.C.
There was an uneasy silence. Several of the boys blushed. They had not yet learned to draw the significant but often very fine distinction between smut and pure science. One, at last, had the courage to raise a hand.
“Human beings used to be …” he hesitated; the blood rushed to his cheeks. “Well, they used to be viviparous.”
“Quite right.” The Director nodded approvingly.
“And when the babies were decanted …”
“’Born,’” came the correction.
“Well, then they were the parents–I mean, not the babies, of course; the other ones.” The poor boy was overwhelmed with confusion.
“In brief,” the Director summed up, “the parents were the father and the mother.” The smut that was really science fell with a crash into the boys’ eye-avoiding silence. “Mother,” he repeated loudly rubbing in the science; and, leaning back in his chair, “These,” he said gravely, “are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts are unpleasant.”

“You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s: History is bunk. History,” he repeated slowly, “is bunk.”
He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather wisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk–and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk–and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom–all were gone. Whisk–the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk …

Home, home–a few small rooms, stiflingly over-inhabited by a man, by a periodically teeming woman, by a rabble of boys and girls of all ages. No air, no space; an understerilized prison; darkness, disease, and smells. And home was as squalid psychically as physically. Psychically, it was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies, what dangerous, insane, obscene relationships between the members of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children ( her children) … brooded over them like a cat over its kittens; but a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, “My baby, my baby,”

Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended. There must be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon their axles, sane men, obedient men, stable in contentment.

Government’s an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists.

She looked at Bernard with an expression of rapture, but of rapture in which there was no trace of agitation or excitement–for to be excited is still to be unsatisfied. Hers was the calm ecstasy of achieved consummation, the peace, not of mere vacant satiety and nothingness, but of balanced life, of energies at rest and in equilibrium. A rich and living peace.

It was as though he had never really hated Popé before; never really hated him because he had never been able to say how much he hated him. But now he had these words, these words like drums and singing and magic. These words and the strange, strange story out of which they were taken (he couldn’t make head or tail of it, but it was wonderful, wonderful all the same)–they gave him a reason for hating Popé; and they made his hatred more real; they even made Popé himself more real.

Murder kills only the individual–and, after all, what is an individual?

One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies.

Linda had been a slave, Linda had died; others should live in freedom, and the world be made beautiful. A reparation, a duty. And suddenly it was luminously clear to the Savage what he must do; it was as though a shutter had been opened, a curtain drawn back.

Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations 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.

“But God doesn’t change.”
“Men do, though.”
“What difference does that make?”
“All the difference in the world,” said Mustapha Mond.

It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end

“Then you think there is no God?”
“No, I think there quite probably is one.”
“Then why? …”
Mustapha Mond checked him. “But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In premodern times he manifested himself as the being that’s described in these books. Now …”
“How does he manifest himself now?” asked the Savage.
“Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren’t there at all.”

The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; Providence takes its cue from men.

The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society; Providence takes its cue from men.

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.

3 comments

  1. >Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended. There must be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon their axles, sane men, obedient men, stable in contentment.<>”Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations 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.”<>It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end<<

    clap clap clap … Huxley nails it! (and I am taking this as my next FB status :P)

    Like

    1. Aah! The formatting is screwed. I need to edit my comment. Please provide an option to edit comments!

      Like

    2. Hahaha. Feel free to do so. These quotes are under the public domain :P

      Like

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