New PDF release: Aldous Huxley and the Mysticism of Science

By June Deery (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230375057

ISBN-13: 9780230375055

ISBN-10: 0312159838

ISBN-13: 9780312159832

ISBN-10: 1349394823

ISBN-13: 9781349394821

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It could be that his 44 Aldous Huxley and the Mysticism of Science scientific externalization provided a more modest picture, a needed balance, at the height of Modernist anthropocentrism. Huxley wanted to contextualize human experience in relation to 'the Whole Truth'/2 to emulate the inclusiveness of a writer like Chaucer who omitted nothing, not even scientific fact. However, Huxley's panorama has none of Chaucer's warmth; in Huxley's case, to see everything means to stand back, far back. He talked about creating a fusion, a 'chemical compound' or amalgam of the human and nonhuman, the comic and tragic,33 but there is usually insufficient heat for this reaction.

Maartens, for instance, was 'An idiot where human relations were concerned, a prize ass in all the practical affairs of life' (Genius 43). He, Tantamount and Shearwater are cuckolded. But though Huxley here indulges in some shop-worn images, he does not perpetuate the most ingrained image of the obsessive, out-of-control scientist who is driven by the dark side of his nature (as in Faust, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, or Dr Strangelove), which is not to say that Huxley's scientists are benign either.

They puzzle themselves as well as each other. In addition, narrators are no longer reliable. No observer, in fact, is privileged. Some of this was due to Freud's exposure of inner divisions and irrationalities. But in Huxley's case it almost certainly also owes something to his understanding of quantum physics. Many of these features - barring unreliable narrators - are found in Huxley's work and each could be related to the discovery in subatomic physics of the radical limits of perception. Not that this implies a conscious relationship.

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Aldous Huxley and the Mysticism of Science by June Deery (auth.)

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Categories: Mysticism