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Huxley and god essays on religious experience
the nature of things, a religion of mere symbols is not likely to be very satisfying. He could, he senses, write something more important. Where there is no vision, the people perish; and if those who are the salt of the earth lose their savour, there is nothing to keep that earth disinfected, nothing to prevent it from falling into complete decay. A politically and culturally marginalized reactionary remnant resists, Savage-like; but barring a massive revaluation of values, it seems likely, as Huxley grimly forecast in 1946, that the horror may be upon us within a single century. And finally it exists as a special kind of feeling or intuition a sense of the oneness of all things in their divine principle, a realization (to use the language of Hindu theology) that thou art That, a mystical experience of what seems self-evidently. That Huxley knew this is revealed by Monds reading to the Savage from Cardinal Newman and Maine de national geographic comparative essays Biran on how only the young and prosperous can be independent of God, and how aging, afflicted, death-conscious people turn to God for compensation. Only soulless fun and sex remain. Preventing awareness of God motivates Monds suppression of A New Theory of Biology, which addresses the conception of purpose, as heretical and dangerous and potentially disruptive. The pursuit of happiness is one of the traditional rights of man; unfortunately, the achievement of happiness may turn out to be incompatible with another of mans rights namely, liberty.
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Peering into the future of biochemistry and pharmacology, he foresees the development of powerful but nearly harmless drugs, but also notes that even if these were invented, theyd raise important questions about use and abuse, about whether their availability would make human beings ultimately happier. Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, both works of nonfiction, were based on his experiences while taking mescaline under supervision. And without a transcendent God to stretch our souls upward, to demand that we become more than we were, no truly compelling motive to self-transcending virtue exists. Though death is regarded like any other physiological process, suffering increasingly terrifies Americans, as witness the rising popularity. In the present case, millions of patients who had no real need of the tranquilizers have been given the pills by their doctors and have learned to resort to them in every predicament, however triflingly uncomfortable.
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