Jun 23, 2008

Aldous Huxley (1)

Hello, next up more classic sci-fi, 75 years after the book was written , nevertheless a rather contemporary futuristic vision im afraid..Coming weeks more on Aldous Huxley and his works, today with part 1 of an adaptation of his frightning Brave New World...aswell as the full text of the novel.


Aldous Huxley was born in 1894 in England to two very aristocratic parents, Leonard and Julia Huxley. Huxley’s family possessed both scientific and literary fame throughout Europe. Indeed young Aldous had much to live up to. As a teenager, Huxley was enrolled in Eton, the legendary university. Soon he developed a bizarre eye disease which left him blind for over two years. Needless to say, this event dramatically changed Huxley, who decided to be a writer instead of a medical doctor. He reminisces, "...I should infallibly have killed myself in the much more strenuous profession of medicine." However, Huxley was no stranger to work, even in the literary world. The great author had an incredibly productive writing career for nearly four decades, concluding at the time of his death in November of 1963.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1932 while he was living in France and England (a British writer, he moved to California in 1937). By this time, Huxley had already established himself as a writer and social satirist. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines, had published a collection of his poetry (The Burning Wheel, 1916) and four successful satirical novels: Crome Yellow in 1921, Antic Hay in 1923, Those Barren Leaves in 1925 and Point Counter Point in 1928. Brave New World was Huxley's fifth novel and first attempt at a dystopian work.

The world the novel describes is a dystopia, presented satirically: humanity lives in a carefree, healthy, and technologically advanced society; however, art, science, religion, and all other forms of human expression have been sacrificed to create this "Brave New World". Warfare and poverty have been eliminated and everyone is permanently happy due to government-provided conditioning and drugs. The irony is that all of these things have been achieved by eliminating many things that humans consider to be central to their identity - family, culture, art, literature, science, religion (other than idolization of "our Ford", Henry Ford, who is seen as the father of their society), and philosophy. It is also a hedonistic society, deriving pleasure from promiscuous sex and drug use, in the form of soma, a powerful psychotropic rationed by the government that is taken to escape pain and bad memories through hallucinatory fantasies, referred to as "Holidays".

Huxley was able to use the setting and characters from his futuristic fantasy to express widely held opinions, particularly the fear of losing individual identity in the fast-paced world of the future. An early trip to the United States gave Brave New World much of its character.

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"Brave New World" was originally broadcast as the series premiere, in two parts, on January 27 and February 3rd, 1956. Aldous Huxley himself narrated this hour long adaptation of his dystopic novel of a quickly nearing future in which society manufactures babies for specific roles in life and people control and mellow their experience with the drug Soma.... The government uses technology and science, not threats and bribes, to control its population.

Aldous Huxley - Brave New World Pt 1 (23mb)

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Some quotations by Aldous Huxley...

"We are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy, who have always existed and presumably will always exist, to get people to love their servitude. This is the, it seems to me, the ultimate in malevolent revolutions."

"Given the fact that there are these 20% of highly suggestible people, it becomes quite clear that this is a matter of enormous political importance, for example, any demagogue who is able to get hold of a large number of these 20% of suggestible people and to organize them is really in a position to overthrow any government in any country."

"If there are 20% of the people who really can be suggested into believing almost anything, then we have to take extremely careful steps into prevent the rise of demagogues who will drive them on into extreme positions then organize them into very, very dangerous armies, private armies which may overthrow the government."

"The really interesting thing about the new chemical substances, the new mind-changing drugs is this, if you looking back into history it’s clear that man has always had a hankering after mind changing chemicals, he has always desired to take holidays from himself, but this is the most extraordinary effect of all that every natural occurring narcotic stimulant, sedative, or hallucinogen, was discovered before the dawn of history. "Man was apparently a dope-bag addict before he was a farmer, which is a very curious comment on human nature."

the full text of Aldous Huxley - Brave New World (rtf) (220kb)

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


Anonymous said...

another classic piece ! i am always looking forward to the things you come up with , thanks for putting so much time and effort into maintaining this blog , i´ve discovered a lot of stuff through you - harry lime

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this Huxley broadcast. I first read the book some twenty years ago! Looking forward to Part 2. Great blog - All the best, kd.