Sunday, August 16, 2009

A few words of wisdom from Aldous Huxley

Wanted to share this.

A measure of detachment from egoism [worship of self] and alter-egoism [worship of some group/ideal in place of oneself - eg, nationalism - in essence, anything short of worship of the divine] is essential even if we would make contact with the secondary aspects of cosmic reality. Thus, in order to be fruitful, science must be pure. That is to say, the man of science must put aside all thoughts of personal advantage, of "practical" results, and concentrate exclusively on the task of discovering the facts and coordinating them in an intelligible theory. In the long run, alter-egoism is as fatal to science as egoism. Typical of alter-egoistic science is that secretive, nationalistic research which accompanies and precedes modern war. Such science is dedicated to its own stultification and destruction, as well as to the destruction of every other kind of human good.

These are not the only detachments which the man of science must practice. He must liberate himself not only from the cruder egoistic and alter-egoistic passions, but also from his purely intellectual prejudices - from the trammels of traditional thought-patterns, and even of common sense. Things are not what they seem; or, to be more accurate, things are not only what they seem, but very much else besides. To act upon this truth, as the man of science must constantly do, is to practice a kind of intellectual mortification.


From the essay "Man and Reality" by Aldous Huxley, printed in Huxley and God, (c) 1992 by Jacqueline Hazard Bridgeman (ed.)

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