MARS HILL AUDIO Reprint 9

Caitrin Nicol, "Brave New World at 75"

(from The New Atlantis, Spring 2007)

"It is easy to imagine that we see the shadows of our society in Huxley's vision of the future. But could it be that our insistence on seeing Huxley's book as an exceedingly successful prophecy actually prevents us from recognizing its real insight? Is there a way for us to understand the book free of the great distorting influence of our own times?" That's what Caitrin Nicol accomplishes in this essay which combines a survey of contemporary reviews of Brave New World with some thoughtful reflections on happiness and freedom. Read by Ken Myers. 44 minutes

  • Description
    “‘The future is the present projected,’ said Aldous Huxley. ‘Our notions of the future have something of that significance which Freud attributes to our dreams. And not our notions of the future only: our notions of the past as well. For if prophecy is an expression of our contemporary fears and wishes, so too, to a very great extent, is history.’ . . .”
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    “RATIONAL FUTURES—The critical reception of Brave New World was largely chilly. . . . H.G. Wells was downright offended. ‘A writer of the standing of Aldous Huxley has no right to betray the future as he did in that book,’ Wells said. . . .”
  • Description
    “MOLDING MEN—Julian Huxley and [J. B. S.]Haldane were cofounders of the Journal of Experimental Biology along with Lancelot Hogben, a geneticist who saw his work as ‘the elimination of holistic concepts by the ruthless application of mechanistic logic.’. . . .”
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    “FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS—This ‘illusion of freedom’ was cast into a clearer light by a reviewer who discerned that the temptation to sacrifice liberty to end suffering often becomes an attack on the reality of the liberty itself. . . . .”
  • Description
    “FINDING RESPONSIBILITY—[Rebecca]West’s reading anticipated the decentralized way that many of the particular scientific and cultural furnishings of Huxley’s world have made appearances in ours.. . . .”