T H Huxley Essays

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A prominent defender of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, he was the grandfather of Julian, Aldous and Andrew Huxley.

He was a critic of organised religion and devised the words "agnostic" and "agnosticism" to describe his own views.

His mystical predisposition and pre-New Age predilections fitted in perfectly with his adopted home.

Although his reasons for moving here were the terrain and the clear and abundant southwestern light, there was also, as it turned out, an affinity for cults and spiritual disciplines which, then as now, made him a kindred spirit in Los Angeles.

In a way very different from you or me, Huxley inhabited an “inner world” and, despite publicly held positions on a wide variety of social and political issues, it was in that interior world that he conducted his most painstaking research.

Although in his last years he immersed himself completely, the preoccupation with mysticism was apparent from his earliest works, even in “Crome Yellow.” It is a mistake to see it as the aberration of a writer fading into his twilight years.

Rarely has there been an essayist-novelist-sage who, from the vantage point of the 1920s and ‘30s, prophesied the events of our contemporary world so accurately. He predicted the invention of surface-to-air missiles, genetic engineering, pharmacological highs and the insidious colonization of society by media and advertising interests.

22, 1963--for while the President espoused a “new frontier,” it was Huxley who to a large extent discovered one. Huxley and great-nephew of classicist Mathew Arnold, was deeply embroiled in our modern agenda: overpopulation, birth-control, polluted oceans, dwindling forests, the absorption of human values by an all-engulfing science and technology.

For such people mysticism, like space-travel for the astronomers, represents the unconquered universe--the last hold-out against verifiable human knowledge.

When he is following his hunches and soaring on the wings of speculation, we experience a dazzling flight through vast and unexpected landscapes, but sometimes his zeal grounds him and then it is a little like being buttonholed by a Hare Krishna loony in an airport lounge.


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