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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Enemies of Freedom: Brave New World to Brave New World Revisited, by Mutalik-Desai

Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited  Aldous Huxley

Here is an abstract of presentation at Balliol College, U. of Oxford, on 3rd September, 2013, by Dr. A. A. MUTALIK-DESAI, Dharwad, India.

Aldous Huxley Symposium 1-4 September | Balliol College

Enemies  of  Freedom:  Brave  New  World  to  Brave  New  World  Revisited:  (Aldous  Huxley’s  Reassessment  in  the 1950s), by A.  A.  MUTALIK-DESAI,  Dharwad,  India
    That all through his life Aldous Huxley was concerned with a utopian order is a staple of Huxley scholarship. Also acknowledged is his advocacy of humanely utilizing known frontiers of knowledge to make life wholesome and worthwhile, to build “a desirable society....[in which the] highest [human] potentialities” might be actualized. In this respect Huxley moved away from the choices John Savage was given. In a letter to Leonard Huxley  (1932) he said, “at moments like the present,...the great world is like one vast lunatic asylum.”

      In BNWR (1959), after witnessing three decades of political upheavals, ideological extremes, financial crises and a world war, Huxley once again examined the enemies of  freedom. They were the same as before: pressures of exploding over-population, more ominous was the ever-growing level of militarization, unbridled nationalism, frightening centralization of power, wheels of propaganda (whether in democracies or totalitarian regimes) spinning off self-aggrandizing falsehoods, increasing dominance of the “hidden persuaders,” attempts at controlling the human mind employing the newest tools proffered by applied science, continued neglect of the kind of education, verbal and non-verbal, which free societies need, and which education can move one closer to reason and compassion and to diversity rather than a deterministic and Procrustean model. What was Huxley’s panacea in 1959?  Actualize human, desirable potentialities. Turn inward. Look to eastern religions, “Applied Mysticism,” the Tantrick approach, Hindu and Buddhist notions of love, auto-suggestive techniques. His trust in wise employment of drugs was perennial: “If pharmacological methods work in illness, might they not also work in health”? In sum, he looked far and wide where there was even a glimmer of hope. Unlike other futurists he frequently returned to the challenges implicit in his utopian dreams. Nicolas Berdiaeff’s wise counsel he had heeded even in 1932.       
    I hope to examine his unwavering dedication to the cause and his prescriptions.

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1 comment:

Mayank Bhatt said...

Huxley remains - surprisingly - so relevant even today.

Mayank Bhatt

“Just living is not enough... One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." -- Hans Christian Andersen

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