Alan Wightman's Reviews > Point Counter Point

Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley
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's review
Nov 03, 2010

really liked it
Read from August 01 to September 18, 2008 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Point Counter Point is a tragicomedy about a group of London intellectuals and/or members of the leisured class in the 1920s. Despite cynical and fun-making elements, Huxley allows his characters to formulate a series of profound and serious ideas, amongst them being:

(a) Why do people bother with worrying about liberty, democracy and politics, when they should just get on with living their lives
(b) It is easier to live the life of the intellectual, to live in a world purely of ideas, than it is to succeed in the art of life – to be on good terms with your colleagues, friends, spouse and children.
(c) Art is so much purer and more discriminating than life. In the sense that lurid accounts of orgies never discuss fatigue, boredom or hiccoughs
(d) You cannot properly separate the mind from the rest of the body. Any attempt to live a super-pure existence by living entirely in the mental will result in one becoming simply less than human

And so on.

Huxley is so sharp, so clever and so observant that it is a pleasure to be in his company. Yet he is so cutting about the intellectual pursuits that one can’t but feel guilty that one has the leisure and self-indulgence to be reading such a clever book. One should be undertaking some arduous proletariat task, or at least interacting with one’s fellow man. Or possibly indulging in one of those orgies (although, says Huxley, wickedness becomes as routine and uninteresting as anything else after a while).

So many little ideas, compared with Brave New World, which has one huge, overarching notion that there must be more to life than the simple pursuit of pleasure, or even happiness. But Point Counter Point seems much more natural, less clunky, than Brave New World’s 1932 attempt to be 24th century seems in 2008.

In summary, Point Counter Point is really good
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