6 Life Lessons from Aldous Huxley's Books

Friday, March 25, 2016

6 Life Lessons from Aldous Huxley's Books // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET
One of my favorite authors is Aldous Huxley. He was born in 1894 in England, and was quite ahead of his time with his writings. He wrote his first novel at age 17, and finished his career and life in California in the 1960s. Two of his books, Brave New World and Island, are on my top reads list, and I have highlighted at least half of each one. He was into psychedelic drugs, and some of his writings reflect deep thought that he had while on some of his 'trips', but it's profound nonetheless. His writings were so profound that he was nominated for several Nobel Literature prizes. 

I first read Brave New World when I found a note inside the book at the bookstore. Someone had handwritten a post-it saying to not be afraid of dystopia, and to give it a shot. I did, and loved it. Then, I read Island during a trying time in life. My mind exploded with contemplation because of his analysis of western civilization and I couldn't put it down. 

My favorite quotes are below, followed by the fascinating lessons or ideas they bring up. 

1. You can choose to love your life for all that it is. 

“All right then," said the savage defiantly, I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

"Not to mention 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 lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind."

There was a long silence.

"I claim them all," said the Savage at last.”
― Brave New World


We are lucky. We have the option to choose to love our lives, and feel everything in them. Some would say that it's better to not have anything bad happen to us ever, but if there were no bad, there would be no good. There would be no joy because we wouldn't feel it without anything to compare it to. This life is beautiful with all of its ups and downs. Just enjoy the ride.

2. Don't just take what is handed to you without deciding if you want it or not.

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


Brave New World is all about a future where we are all living the same lives and not free to think outside the box. This is very applicable to today because so many of us just follow the order of things and never think about what will make us happy. We just do what society tells us. Go to the corporate jobs so we can buy a house, fill it with stuff we don't need, and participate in activities that everyone says are cool but mean nothing to us. It's easy, the path is already set out. 

But... what if we came up with our own way? Think about what makes you truly happy, and pursue that. If it's the norm set up by society, then do that. If it's out of the box, then do that. Just be true to yourself and what really drives you. 

3. Define your belief system, and then follow it. 

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


So many people grow up in a religion and just go with the flow and never find what they truly feel to be their groundings within, or without, the religion. When you take a look at your belief system and actually define it for yourself, and set your own solid belief structure, you can know that you are living honestly on stable ground, within or without a religion.

4. Respect all of the different belief systems, we need them.

“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.”
― Island


It seems sometimes that religion is attacked for being close-minded or an old way of thinking. But, if you really look at it, mankind has always needed a way to make sense of the things that happen in life, and has always needed to create guideposts to help us along. We just need to find a way to define our world, and how to best get through it. Criticizing religious people for following a set path of beliefs that they feel is best for them is often hypocritical, because we likely are all doing the same thing, even if we aren't using God to help or guide us.  As long as humans exist, there will likely be some form of religious belief system to help them through it. We should respect our different beliefs. 

5. Be kind to the earth. 

“We shall be permitted to live on this planet only for as long as we treat all nature with compassion and intelligence.”
― Island


This world is a beautiful place full of naturally existing resources to sustain our lives. As long as we respect the earth and be kind to it, and continue to give back to it, instead of just take, it will be here to help us. When we overdraw the resources, then we suffer for it. Too much of this can actually be devastating to our futures. Sustainable and environmentally friendly living, green business practices, these are the things that give back to the earth. Otherwise these futuristic stories of the world dying and us having to leave, or a drastic population decrease, will actually have to be a real thing. 

6. Don't create your own misery by worrying about what might come.

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


As a born worrier, this sentence couldn't be more true. Half of the pain I've felt in my life was from worrying about potential problems instead of just facing the ones that came. Sometimes I created problems from worry, instead of just rolling with the punches. If I can remember to avoid doing this, half of my problems will melt away!

Check out Island and Brave New World for yourself. You may just find words of wisdom in his writings like I did. 

++ Have you read any of Aldous Huxley's books? If so, what ones? Any thoughts on the above quotes? 




You Might Also Like

3 comments

  1. I have never read either of these books, but I love the quotes you picked out! I especially love the one about Faith vs. Belief and how people don't always challenge what they learned growing up, but how important it is to do so for your own well-being.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the quotes you drew out of these books, particularly about two thirds of all sorrow being homemade - that really resonated with me. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I actually haven't heard of this author! He made some very poignant points. I'm actually still processing them all to see if I agree. But great food for thought!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by The Joy Blog! I hope you like what you have seen so far. Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments. I respond to almost every single comment.