Aldous Huxley: Ape and Essence – Review

An interesting little book. A lot of familiar Huxley tropes (conflicts between eastern and western philosophy and religion, warnings about the progression of technology, commentary on the dualistic elements of human nature, etc.) but written in a rather more experimental way. Certainly ahead of it’s time considering when it was released. I think if I had read this during my late teenage years it could have been one of my favorites along with Brave New world and Island.

And remember this,” he adds: “even without synthetic glanders, even without the atomic bomb, Belial could have achieved all His purposes. A little more slowly, perhaps, but just as surely, men would have destroyed themselves by destroying the world they lived in. They couldn’t escape. He had them skewered on both His horns. If they managed to wriggle off the horn of total war, they would find themselves impaled on starvation. And if they were starving, they would be tempted to resort to war. And just in case they should try to find a peaceful and rational way out of their dilemma, He had another subtler horn of self-destruction all ready for them. From the very beginning of the industrial revolution He foresaw that men would be made so over-weeningly bumptious by the miracles of their own technology that they would soon lose all sense of reality. And that’s precisely what happened. These wretched slaves of wheels and ledgers began to congratulate themselves on being the Conquerors of Nature. Conquerors of Nature, indeed! In actual fact, of course, they had merely upset the equilibrium of Nature and were about to suffer the consequences.

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