Author: Aldous Huxley. Date first posted: Sep. 11, wiser, more conducive to a quiet life, to leave Loudon and start afresh in some other parish? Grandier. HUXLEY’S MASTERPIECE AND PERHAPS THE MOST ENJOYABLE BOOK ABOUT SPIRITUALITY EVER WRITTEN..” — Washington Post Book WorldAldous. Note. In this short text, Aldous Huxley puts forward the hypothesis that the evils we ascribe to religious intolerance and obscurantism are instead a product of.

Author: Daikasa Digul
Country: Nicaragua
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Personal Growth
Published (Last): 22 May 2005
Pages: 323
PDF File Size: 14.93 Mb
ePub File Size: 12.88 Mb
ISBN: 256-7-32287-170-1
Downloads: 64726
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Tojasho

This is a nonfiction novel, based on historical evidence, but embellished by Aldous Huxley’s notions of what the people involved thought and experienced. At first sight it would seem obvious that the way down is not and can never be the way up.

Insofar as they are incarnated minds, subject to physical decay and death, capable of pain and pleasure, driven by craving and abhorrence and oscillating between the desire for self-assertion and the desire for self-transcendence, human beings are faced, at every time and place, with the same problems, are confronted by the same temptations and are permitted by the Order of Things to make the same choice between unregeneracy and enlightenment.

These, if they ‘take,’ result in a reintegration of broken-down personalities on a somewhat higher level. We must now consider a strictly physiological method of escape from insulated selfhood, the way of corporal penance.

The louron encourages his followers to manifest this last and worst symptom of herd-intoxication and then proceeds to direct their koudon against his enemies, the holders of political, economic, and religious power.

But that’s not really what it’s about, either. What a fascinating, what a fruitful field for experiment! He cites well documented psychic phenomena ESP, for example as evidence of a world beyond the strictly physical world as we understand it. Theory has undergone a change, but not practice; for in practice millions upon millions of civilized then and women continue to pay their devotions, not to the liberating and transfiguring Spirit, but to alcohol, to hashish, to opium and its derivatives, to the barbiturates, and the other synthetic additions to the age-old catalogue of poisons capable of causing self-transcendence.

The professional moralists who inveigh against drunkenness are strangely silent about the equally disgusting vice of herd-intoxication—of downward self-transcendence into subhumanity by the process of getting together in a mob. At Oneida elementary sexuality was not only successfully civilized; it was made compatible with, and subordinate to, a form of Protestant Christianity, sincerely preached and earnestly acted upon.

It’s interesting, because at times he makes ironic or even sarcastic comments, and that’s normally the refuge of a weaker writer, a writer who sneers at the world, dismisses the very idea of demon possession or even plain old spirituality as quaint fantasy.

The Devils of Loudon by Aldous Huxley () (read in ) > Books & Movies > earthli News

By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself. An interesting look into the religion, superstition, and power struggles that defined an epoch.


However; if you focus only on the story of Grandier’s martyrdom, presented in perhaps too realistic shades of grey, you I found a Vintage Classics paperback version of this book in the Warsaw airport a while back, and reading it caused me to immediately buy several more of Huxley’s books. The ruling minorities make use of their subjects’ craving for downward self-transcendence in order, first, to amuse and distract them and, second, to get them into a sub-personal state of heightened suggestibility.

For those who are wondering, this read like part story and part book report. When in revolutionary opposition, they encouraged the mobs under their influence to become destructively violent.

There was no point at which I felt as though I was in the midst of a load of spooky b. And it’s sort of about everything. Their defence against crowd-delirium and its often disastrous consequences is, in all too many cases, far less adequate. One of Huxuley’s message is that in exorcising imaginary demons you can summon real ones, not only that but the persecution of witches, or whatever the current undesirable type of person is, propagandises their power, and creates more of them.

In France there is now one retailer of alcohol to every hundred inhabitants, more or less. The fact that most of those who take part in these affairs are temporarily dehumanized by herd-poison is of no account in comparison with the fact that their dehumanization may be used to consolidate the religious and political powers that be. But partisanship is a complex passion which permits those who indulge in it to make the best of both worlds.

Against excessive sexuality, as against excessive drug-taking, societies seem to be able to protect themselves with some degree of success.

Exploring the world around him, primitive man evidently ‘tried all things and held fast to that which was good’. Under Operative Witchcraft I class all charms hkxley spells, whether used by a professed witch or professed Christian, whether intended for good or huxleyy, for killing or curing. There are long, historical sections as well as treatises on the mind of the average citizen of France or the world, for that matter at the time.

Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun. Appendix ()

Maybe I just haven’t read enough. To begin with, there are more people to the square mile than ever before, and the means of transporting vast herds of them from considerable distances, and of concentrating them in a single building or arena, are much more efficient than in the past. So long as we are confined within our insulated selfhood, we remain unaware of the various not-selves with which we are associated – the organic not-self, the subconscious not-self, the collective not-self of the psychic medium in which all our thinking and feeling have their existence, and the immanent and transcendent not-self of the Spirit.

The story was adapted into a stage play inwhich was then adapted into the controversial Ken Russell film The Devilswhich starred Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed.


It can be brought about through self-identification with any human activity, from running a business to research in nuclear physics, from composing music kf collecting stamps, from campaigning for political office to educating children or studying yuxley mating habits of birds. As for the Chinese drug addict, he could be relied upon to make no trouble for his conquerors.

The destructive violence which is the final symptom of herd-intoxication is not invariably directed outward.

Drugs, elementary sexuality and herd-intoxication – these are the three most popular avenues of downward self-transcendence. Instances of crowd-delirium culminating in gratuitous destructiveness, in ferocious self-mutilation, in fratricidal savagery without purpose and against the elementary interests of all concerned, are to be met with on almost every page of the anthropologists’ textbooks and – a little less frequently, but still with dismal regularity – in the histories of even the most highly civilized peoples.

Were the exorcisms really an attempt by concerned priests to save the souls of the nuns?

The Devils of Loudun

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Sorry, but I didn’t. These discussions of the state of psychology, science and sociology at the time are fascinating, if a bit long-winded.

At the present time the destinies of the world are in the hands of self made demoniacs – of men who are possessed by and who manifest the looudon they have chosen to see in others. Then I would end the novel at, or very briefly after Grandier’s death. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Xevils poison it secretes depersonalizes its constituent members to the point where they start to behave with a savage violence, of which, hkxley their normal state, they would be completely incapable.

When the prioress of a local convent goes off her gourd, her obsession with Grandier is the key to his undoing. He is far more interested in personal power, in climbing the Church ladder and in boinking pretty young things. In all cases where it can be made to serve the interests of the men controlling church and state, downward self-transcendence by means of herd-intoxication is aldlus as something legitimate, and even highly tbe. The self-transcendence is invariably downward into the less than human, the lower than personal.

I have distinguished between demagogues and religionists, on the ground that the latter may sometimes do some lohdon, whereas the former can scarcely, in the very nature of things, do anything but harm. I mean, if you’re looking for something that deals with actual demon possession, or a piece of lurid fiction dealing with similar subject matter, this book probably isn’t what you’re looking for.