Utopian Society Thinkers Aldous Huxley Part 2

About the famous utopian thinker and writer Aldous Huxley and history of his planned utopia PALA written about in Island.


ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963)

In 1935 he became a pacifist. Later he grew interested in self-awareness, Eastern religions, homeopathy, dianetics, and other ideas and disciplines on and beyond the fringes of conventional Western thought. The Huxleys moved to Los Angeles in the late 1930s and lived there on and off for the rest of their lives.

Huxley first experimented with mescaline in 1953, and later he tried other drugs. His book about his experiences, The Doors of Perception, was popular with members of the 1960s drug culture.

Saintly and thoughtful as he was, Huxley had a fine sense of humor. For example, when his brother Julian talked about the aristocracy of genes, Aldous answered, "You mean blue genes?"

Toward the end of his life, with typical humility, he said, "It's a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'"

His Utopia: PALA

As described in Island, written in the early 1960s, Pala is an island between Sri Lanka and Sumatra, isolated by its lack of a harbor. Its culture combines the customs of native Polynesians and the utopian ideas of a Scottish surgeon who visited it in the 1840s.

Unlike many South Seas utopias, Pala is no primitive, "know-nothing" paradise. It has electricity, heavy industry, and scientific agriculture. Credit unions handle money transactions. The society, kept by population control at about 2 million, is neither capitalist nor socialist. Palans neither overconsume nor do they spend money on war, and hunger and other human evils do not exist on their island. The ruling principle is moderation.

Potential tyrants and the mentally retarded are identified early in life by medical tests and are immediately treated. Children are trained in the use of the senses through methods combining biochemistry, mesmerism, Oriental religions, Western psychology, psychedelic drugs and the ideas of the saints as well as those of John Dewey.

The pervading philosophy of the island is summed up by: "Believing in eternal life never helped anybody to live in eternity. Nor, of course, did disbelieving. So stop all your pro-ing and con-ing (that's the Buddha's advice) and get on with the job."

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