WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID BRADSHAW
For over a hundred years the Pacific island of Pala has been the scene of a unique experiment in civilisation. Its inhabitants live in a society where western science has been brought together with eastern philosophy and humanism to create a paradise on earth. When cynical journalist, Will Farnaby, arrives to search for information ab
The theme is pure Huxley: intelligent, open-minded man gets shipwrecked on a remote tropical island where the native population has managed to create a utopia. The man meets a variety of people over a period of days who explain Pala's (the name of the island) unique culture.
The story is actually a successi...more
This book is like a savory meal that is extremely good for you. Or any activity that is rewarding in all the right ways. Hardin's 'Tragedy of the Commons' comes to mind, or more a massive extension on its logic in a world where there's a country that fully accepts it. Will brings enough cynicism into the utopia to put up a good fight, but his acceptance...more
Island is an active dialogue between relatively few characters who bring Huxl...more
He learns to embrace a parallel if not complementary way of living. The Palanese integrate teachings across philosophies (not just religions) of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity and accept the spectrum of individuals (m...more
On seeing that online listing, I was reminded that I had read the book about a decade after it was originally published (in 1962), while I was in high school. Although most of us growing up in the 1960s were...more
Huxley's last novel is one of his most flawed. It is his Utopia, contrasting with his masterpiece, Brave New World. Basically, the island of Pala is a hippie paradise; a Buddhist state in the Indian Ocean, with a drug to bring higher consciousness (like LSD, in which Huxley was interested, was supposed to). Western journalist Will Farnaby is washed ashore on Pala, and falls for the charm of its inhabitants.
The novel basically consists of a g...more
The skeleton of a plot exists solely to set up Socratic exchanges between the shipwrecked, cynical Brit and his fantastically benevolent island hosts -- which in turn are vehicles for us to learn about how the island (Pala) became such a fantastic place.
The thing is, the Palanese answers to society's deepest problems are, at root, so simplistic and absurd that they don't provide m...more
I read this after Huxley's series of lectures, "The Human Situation". That is perhaps more readable than Island, and gives more background for some of his ideas. For instance, the practice in Pala of introducing...more
While all dystopias and utopias are comments on society, and almost all utopia/dystopia authors have an agenda which they would like the reader to come to after reading the work,...more
He is right in his assertion that a personal transformation is key and must come first. That political solutions will never work. However I take issue with his advocacy of mind expanding drugs. Perhaps a good experience with LSD is necessary to jolt the sleeper out of...more
It is pre...more
Part of the problem with this book was timing. I was craving a book with a pretty straightforward plot, since I haven't read one in awhile. Based on the back cover, this fit the bill, but 100 pages in, it still didn't. There was a bit of a story shaping up, but mostly Huxley was waxing poetic philosophy, and I wasn't in the mood.
All in all, it wasn't that bad. But at this moment there are at least 50 books on my bookshelves that I'm really excited ab...more