"Autobiographies of great nations are written in three manuscripts – a book of deeds, a book of words, and a book of art.
Of the three, I would choose the latter as truest testimony." - Sir Kenneth Smith, Great Civilisations

"I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine." - Leo Tolstoy

I have never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think the pleasures of not writing are so
great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again. - John Updike

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour
is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Monday, November 11, 2013

Aldous Huxley - Bio, Quotes, and Select Video

 
Aldous Huxley quotes
600+ found on link - http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3487.Aldous_Huxley

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
 
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
 
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
 - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.”
 - Aldous Huxley

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
 
“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations 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.”
 
“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.”
 
“I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.”
 
“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”
 
“An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.”
 
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. "Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does." They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”
 
“If one's different, one's bound to be lonely.”
 
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.”
 
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
 
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
 
“I like being myself. Myself and nasty.”
“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”
 
“I am I, and I wish I weren't.”
 
“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
 
“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”
 
“All that happens means something; nothing you do is ever insignificant.”
 
“Chastity—the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions, he added parenthetically, out of Remy de Gourmont.”
 
“The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.”
 
“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”
 
“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.”
 
“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”
 
“Every man's memory is his private literature.”
 
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
 
“Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.”
 
“Ironically enough, the only people who can hold up indefinitely under the stress of modern war are psychotics. Individual insanity is immune to the consequences of collective insanity.”
 
 
 
Biography
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley /ˈhʌksli/ (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and a prominent member of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death.
 
Huxley was a humanist, pacifist, and satirist. He later became interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism,[1][2] in particular Vivekananda's Neo-Vedanta and Universalism.[3] He is also well known for his use of psychedelic drugs.
 
By the end of his life Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time.[4]
 
 
 
 
Biography.com
 
Aldous Huxley was born July 26, 1894, in Godalming, England. He published his first book in 1916 and worked on the periodical Athenaeum 1919–1921. Thereafter he devoted himself largely to his own writing and spent much of his time in Italy until the late 1930s, when he settled in California. He established himself as a major author in his first two published novels, Crome Yellow and Antic Hay.
 
 
 

EGS.edu
 
Aldous Huxley, was a British writer. He was born on July 26, 1894 and died on November 22, 1963. He would become most specifically known to the public for his novels, and especially his fifth one, Brave New World, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Aldous Huxley was born on July 26th 1894 in Godalming in the Surrey county in southern England. He would be the son of the English schoolteacher and writer Leonard Huxley (1860 - 1933) and of Julia Arnold (1862 - 1908). More than literature, however, Aldous Huxley would in fact be born into a family of renowned scientists, with two of his three brothers, Julian and Andrew, who would be eminent biologists and a grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, who would be a famous, controversial naturalist in his time, nicknamed as “Darwin’s Bulldog”.

Aldous Huxley would come to be known mostly as a novelist and essayist but he would also write some short stories, poetry, travelogues and even film scripts. In his novels and essays Aldous Huxley would always play the role of a critical observer of accepted traditions, customs, social norms and ideals. Importantly, he would be concerned in his writings with the potentially harmful applications of so-called scientific progress to mankind.


At the age of 14 Aldous Huxley would lose his mother and he himself would subsequently become ill in 1911 with a disease that would leave him virtually blind. As if all of this was note enough, his other brother, Noel, would kill himself in 1914. Because of his sight he would not be able to do the scientific research that had attracted him earlier. Aldous Huxley would then turn himself to literature. It is important to note that in spite of a partial remission, his eyesight would remain poor for the rest of his life. This would not, however prevent him from obtaining a degree in English literature with high praises.

While continuing his education at Balliol College, one of the institutions at Oxford University in England, Aldous Huxley would not longer be financially supported by his father, which would make him having to earn living. For a brief period in 1918, he would be employed as a clerk of the Air Ministry, which would convince him that he does not want a career in either administration or business. As result, his need for money would lead him to apply his literary talents. It is around those days that he would become friends with the famous writer D.H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930) at Oxford.

Aldous Huxley would finish his first novel, which he would never publish, at the age of seventeen, and he would decisively turn to writing at the age of twenty. At that point he would publish poems and also become a journalist and art critic. This would allow him to frequently travel and mingle with the European intelligentsia of the time. He would meet surrealists in Paris and would as a result of all of this write many literary essays. Aldous Huxley were to be deeply concerned about the important changes occurring at the time in Western civilization. They would prompt him to write great novels in the 1930s about the serious threats posed by the combination of power and technical progress, as well as about what he identified as a drift in parapsychology: behaviorism (as in his Brave New World). Additionally he would write against war and nationalism, as in Eyeless in Gaza (1936), for example.

One of his most known novels, and arguably his most important, would be Brave New World. Aldous Huxley would write it in only four months. It is important to note that at that time Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945) was not yet in power in Germany and that the Stalinist purges had not yet begun. Aldous Huxley had therefore not been able to tap into the reality of his time the dictatorial future he would have the foresight to write about before it had happened. Indeed here Aldous Huxley imagined a society that would use genetics and cloning in order to condition and control individuals. In this future society all children are conceived in test tubes. They are genetically conditioned to belong to one of the five categories of populations, from the most intelligent to the stupidest.
 
Brave New World would also delineate what the perfect dictatorship would look like. It would have the appearance of a democracy, but would basically be a prison without walls in which the prisoners would not even dream of escaping. It would essentially be, as Aldous Huxley tells us, a system of slavery where, through entertainment and consumption the slaves “would love their servitude”. To many this would and still does resonate with the contemporary status quo. The title of the book comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1610 - 1611), Act 5 Scene 1. Aldous Huxley’s novel would in fact eventually be made into a film in 1998. Although this one contains many elements from the book, the film would however portray a rather different storyline.

In 1937 he would write a book of essays entitled Ends and Means: an Enquiry Into the Nature of Ideals and Into the Methods Employed for Their Realization in which he would explore some of the same themes:

“A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.”

In 1958 Aldous Huxley would publish Brave New World Revisited, a collection of essays in which he would think critically about the threats of overpopulation, excessive bureaucracy, as well as some hypnosis techniques for personal freedom. While Aldous Huxley’s early works would clearly be focused on defending a kind of humanism, he would become more and more interested in spiritual questions. He would particularly become interested in parapsychology and mysticism, which would be a subject matter on which he would also write a lot about. It is not really surprising, therefore, that in 1938 Aldous Huxley would become a friend of religious philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986), considered by some to be a mystique himself, largely because of his early association with the Theosophical Society, from which he would powerfully break away from. In any case, Huxley would become a great admirer of this one’s teachings and would encourage him to put his insights in writings. Aldous Huxley would even write the forward for Jiddu Krishnamurti’s The First and Last Freedom (1954). Tellingly, Huxley would state after having listened to one of Krishnamurti’s talks:
 
“... the most impressive thing I have listened to. It was like listening to a discourse of the Buddha - such power, such intrinsic authority...”

In 1937, the writer would move to California and became a screenwriter for Hollywood. At the same time he would continue writing novels and essays, including the satirical novel After Many a Summer (1939) and Ape and Essence (1948). In 1950 the American Academy of Arts and Letters would award him the prestigious Award of Merit for the Novel, a prize that had also been bestowed to illustrious writers such as Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) and Thomas Mann (1875 - 1955). Aldous Huxley would also be the author of an essay on the environment that would greatly inspire future ecological movements.

The 1950s would be a time of experiences with psychedelic drugs for him, especially LSD and mescaline, from which he would write the collection of essays The Doors of Perception (1954), which would become a narrative worshipped by hippies. The book would also inspire the famous singer Jim Morrison (1943 - 1971), to call his band “The Doors”. Aldous Huxley himself had found the title of the book in William Blake’s (1757 - 1827) The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

By the end of his life Aldous Huxley would be considered by many as a visionary thinker. The so-called “New Age” school of thought would often quote his mystical writings and studies of hallucinogens, and in fact it continues to do so today. Considered one of the greatest English writers having written 47 books, Aldous Huxley would die at the age of 69 in Los Angeles on November 22 1963, the same day as President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Aldous Huxley would be cremated and his ashes would be buried in the family vault in the UK.


 
Aldous Huxley interviewed by Mike Wallace : 1958 (Full)
 
 
 
 
Aldous Huxley on human thought and expression
(lecture on language)
 
 
 
 
Aldous Huxley - Speech at UC Berkeley, The Ultimate Revolution 1962
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thomas Merton Quotes & Sayings

 
Love Always Wins
 

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.” ~ Thomas Merton, Love and Living
 
"In technological society, in which the means of communication and signification have become fabulously versatile, and are at the point of an even more prolific development, thanks to the computer with its inexhaustible memory and its capacity for immediate absorption and organization of facts, the very nature and use of communication itself becomes unconsciously symbolic. Though he now has the capacity to communicate anything, anywhere, instantly, man finds himself with nothing to say. Not that there are not many things he could communicate, or should attempt to communicate. He should, for instance, be able to meet with his fellow man and discuss ways of building a peaceful world. He is incapable of this kind of confrontation. Instead of this, he has intercontinental ballistic missiles which can deliver nuclear death to tens of millions of people in a few moments. This is the most sophisticated message modern man has, apparently, to convey to his fellow man. It is, of course, a message about himself, his alienation from himself, and his inability to come to terms with life.“ ~ Thomas Merton, Love and Living
 
“If I had a message to my contemporaries it is surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success . . . If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live. If you have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted.” ~ Thomas Merton, Love and Living
 
 
 
 
Wikipedia Bio (Link)
 
Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968), was an Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.
 
Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice and a quiet pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews, including his best-selling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teenagers flocking to monasteries across the US, and was also featured in National Review's list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century. Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton has also been the subject of several biographies.
 
Merton's influence has grown since his death and he is widely recognized as an important 20th-century Catholic mystic and thinker. Interest in his work contributed to a rise in spiritual exploration beginning in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. Merton's letters and diaries reveal the intensity with which their author focused on social justice issues, including the civil rights movement and proliferation of nuclear arms. He had prohibited their publication for 25 years after his death. Publication raised new interest in Merton's life.

 



 
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”  ~ Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude 
 

Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu


~ Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

 
“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them” ~ Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
 
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. ~ Thomas Merton
 
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
 
 
 
“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.” ~ Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
 
“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.” ~ Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
 
“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
 
 
 
“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.” ~ Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
 
“Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.” ~ Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas
 
“If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men--you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.” ~ Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation
 
“Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
 
 
 
“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.” ~ Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
 
“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
“Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.” ~ Thomas Merton
 
 
 
Amazon Link
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thomas Merton with his students at Bellarmine University