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The Devils of Loudun The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley
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“The world' is man's experience as it appears to, and is moulded by, his ego. It is that less abundant life, which is lived according to the dictates of the insulated self. It is nature denatured by the distorting spectacles of our appetites and revulsions. It is the finite divorced from the Eternal. It is multiplicity in isolation from its non-dual Ground. It is time apprehended as one damned thing after another. It is a system of verbal categories taking the place of the fathomlessly beautiful and mysterious particulars which constitute reality. It is a notion labelled 'God'. It is the Universe equated with the words of our utilitarian vocabulary.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“Sex can be used either for self-affirmation or for self-transcendence — either to intensify the ego and consolidate the social persona by some kind of conspicuous ‘embarkation’ and heroic conquest, or else to annihilate the persona and transcend the ego in an obscure rapture of sensuality, a frenzy of romantic passion, more creditably, in the mutual charity of the perfect marriage.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
tags: sex, truth
“The untutored egotist merely wants what he wants. Give him a religious education, and it becomes obvious to him, it becomes axiomatic, that what he wants is what God wants, that his cause is the cause of whatever he may happen to regard as the True Church and that any compromise is a metaphysical Munich, an appeasement of Radical Evil.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“Those who crusade not for God in themselves but against the devil in others, never succeed in leaving the world better, but leave it as it was or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was before the crusade began.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“A nyilvános kivégzéseket nem azért tiltották be, mert ez volt a többség akarata, hanem azért, mert a különösen érzékeny reformerekből álló kisebbség elegendő befolyással rendelkezett ahhoz, hogy betiltassa őket. Bizonyos szempontból a civilizációt meghatározhatjuk úgy, hogy módszeresen megtagadnak az emberektől egyes lehetőségeket arra, hogy barbár módon viselkedjenek.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“A hell, from which one can be saved by a quibble that would carry no weight with a police magistrate, cannot be taken very seriously.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
tags: hell
“The boy, called Urbain, is now fourteen years old and wonderfully clever. He deserves to be given the best of educations, and in the neighborhood of Saintes the best education available is to be had at the Jesuit College of Bordeaux. This celebrated seat of learning comprised a high school for boys, a liberal arts college, a seminary, and a School of Advanced Studies for ordained postgraduates. Here the precociously brilliant Urbain Grandier spent more than ten years, first as schoolboy, and later as undergraduate, theological student and, after his ordination in 1615, as Jesuit novice. Not that he intended to enter the Company; for he felt no vocation to subject himself to so rigid a discipline. No, his career was to be made, not in a religious order, but as a secular priest.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“At the outset of his career circumstances seemed to authorize the most sanguine of these expectations. For at twenty-seven, after two years of advanced theology and philosophy, young Father Grandier received his reward for so many long semesters of diligence and good behavior. By the Company of Jesus, in whose gift it lay, he was presented to the important living of Saint-Pierre du Marché at Loudun. At the same time, and thanks to the same benefactors, he was made a canon of the collegial church of the Holy Cross. His foot was on the ladder; all he now had to do was to climb. Loudun, as its new parson rode slowly toward his destination, revealed itself as a little city on a hill, dominated by two tall towers—the spire of St. Peter’s and the medieval keep of the great castle. As a symbol, as a sociological hieroglyph, Loudun’s skyline was somewhat out of date. That spire still threw its Gothic shadow across the town; but a good part of the townspeople”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“were Huguenots who abhorred the Church to which it belonged. That huge donjon, built by the Counts of Poitiers, was still a place of formidable strength; but Richelieu would soon be in power and the days of local autonomy and provincial fortresses were numbered. All unknowing the parson was riding into the last act of a sectarian war, into the prologue to a nationalist revolution. At”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“At the city gates a corpse or two hung, moldering, from the municipal gallows. Within the walls, there were the usual dirty streets, the customary gamut of smells, from wood smoke to excrement, from geese to incense, from baking bread to horses, swine and unwashed humanity. Peasants,”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“No man can concentrate his attention upon evil, or even upon the idea of evil, and remain unaffected. To be more against the devil than for God is exceedingly dangerous.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
tags: devil, evil, god
“To think about events realistically, in terms of multiple causations, is hard and emotionally unrewarding. How much easier, how much more agreeable to trace each effect to a single and, if possible, a personal cause!”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“As priest he asked himself whether he took this woman to be his wedded wife, and as bridegroom he answered in the affirmative, he slipped the ring upon her finger. As priest he invoked a blessing, and as groom he knelt to receive it. It was a fantastic ceremony; but in defiance of law and custom, of Church and state, they chose to believe in its validity. Loving one another, they knew that, in the sight of God, they were truly married.* In the sight of God, perhaps—but most certainly not in the sight of men. So far as the good people of Loudun were concerned, Madeleine was merely the latest of their parson’s concubines—a little sainte nitouche, who looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but in fact was no better than she should be; a prude who had suddenly revealed herself as a whore and was prostituting her body in the most shameless manner to this cassocked Priapus, this goat in a biretta. Among”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“To change a vocabulary is easy; to change external circumstances or our own ingrained habits is hard and tiresome.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“In this respect, the least intolerable book of seventeen-century devotion would be Traherne's "Centuries of Meditations". For this English poet and theologian, there is no question of a God set up against the creation. On the contrary, God is to be glorified through the creation, to be realized in the creation - infinity in a grain of sand and eternity in a flower. The man who, in Traherne's phrase, "attains the World" in disinterested contemplation, thereby attains God, and finds that all the rest has been added.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“To Urbain Grandier, for example, the Good Fairy had brought, along with solid talents, the most dazzling of all gifts, and the most dangerous -eloquence.
Spoken by a good actor - and every great preacher, every successful advocate and politician is, among other things, a consummate actor - words can exercise an almost magical power over their hearers. Because of the essential irrationality of this power, even the best-intentioned of public speakers probably do more harm than good. When an orator, by the mere magic of words and a golden voice, persuades his audience of the rightness of a bad cause, we are very properly shocked. We ought to feel the same dismay whenever we find the same irrelevant tricks being used to persuade people of the rightness of a good cause. The belief engendered may be desirable, but the grounds for it are intrinsically wrong, and those who use the devices of oratory for instilling even right beliefs are guilty of pandering to the least creditable elements in human nature.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“One of these advantages, as Laubardemont was quick to realize, consisted in this: that it was now possible (through the mouth of a devil who had been duly constrained in the presence of the Sacrament) to flatter the Cardinal in an entirely new and supernatural manner. In the minutes of an exorcism of May 20, 1634, written entirely in Laubardemont’s hand, we read the following: “Question: ‘What do you say about the great Cardinal, the protector of France?’ The devil answered, swearing by the name of God, ‘He is the scourge of all my good friends.’ Question: ‘Who are your good friends?’ Answer: ‘The heretics.’ Question: ‘What are the other heroic aspects of his person?’ Answer: ‘His work for the relief of the people, the gift of government, which he has received from God, his desire to preserve peace in Christendom, the single-minded love he bears to the King’s person.’” It was a handsome tribute and, coming as it did, direct from hell, it could be accepted as the simple truth.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“By those who get a kick out of this sort of thing (and they are very numerous) inhumanity is enjoyed for its own sake, but often, nonetheless, with a bad conscience. To allay their sense of guilt, the bullies and the sadists provide themselves with a creditable excuses for their favorite sport. Thus, brutality toward children is rationalized as discipline, as obedience to the Word of God - "he that spareth the rod, hateth his son". Brutality toward criminals is a corollary of the Categorical Imperative. Brutality toward religious or political heretics is a blow for the True Faith. Brutality toward members of an alien race is justified by arguments drawn from what may once have passed for Science. Once universal, brutality toward the insane is not yet extinct - the mad are horribly exasperating. But this brutality is no longer rationalized, as it was in the past, in theological terms. The people who tormented Surin and the other victims of hysteria or psychosis did so, first, because they enjoyed being brutal and, second, because they were convinced that they did well to be brutal. And they believed that they did well, because, ex hypthesi, the mad had always brought their own troubles upon themselves. For some manifest or obscure sin, they were being punished by God, who permitted devils to besiege or obsess them. Both as God's enemies and as temporary incarnations of radical evil, they deserved the be maltreated. And maltreated they were - with a a good conscience and a heart-warming sense that the divine will was being done on earth, as in heaven.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“There are many people for whom hate and rage pay a higher dividend of immediate satisfaction than love. Congenitally aggressive, they soon become adrenaline addicts, deliberately indulging psychically stimulated endocrines. Knowing that on self-assertion always ends by evoking other and hostile self-assertions, they sedulously cultivate their truculence. And, sure enough, very soon they find themselves in the thick of a fight. But a fight is what they most enjoy; for it is while they are fighting that their blood chemistry makes them feel most intensely themselves. "Feeling good", they naturally assume that they *are good. Adrenalin addiction is rationalized as Righteous Indignation and finally, like the prophet Jonah, they are convinced, unshakably, that they do well to be angry.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“The central ceremony of Ritual Witchcraft was the so-called "Sabbath" - a word of unknown origin having no relation to its Hebrew homonym. Sabbaths were celebrated four times a year - on Candlemass Day, February 2nd, on Rood Mass Day, May 1st, on Lammas Day, August 1st, and on the eve of All Hallows, October 31st. These were great festivals, often attended by hundreds of devotees, who came from considerable distances. Between Sabbaths there were weekly "Esbats" from small congregations in the village where the ancient religion was still practiced. At all high Sabbaths the devil himself was invariably present, in the person of some man who had inherited, or otherwise acquired, the honor of being the incarnation of the two-faced god of the Dianic cult. The worshipers paid homage to the god by kissing his reverse face - a mask worn, beneath an animal's tail, on the devil's backside. There was then, for some at least of the female devotees, a ritual copulation with the god, who was equipped for this purpose with an artificial phallus of horn or metal. This ceremony was followed by a picnic (for the Sabbaths were celebrated out of doors, near sacred trees or stones), by dancing and finally by a promiscuous sexual orgy that had, no doubt, originally been a magical operation for increasing the fertility of the animals on which primitive hunters and herdsmen depend for their livelihood. The prevailing atmosphere at the Sabbaths was one of good fellowship and mindless, animal joy. When captured and brought to trial, many of the who had taken part in the Sabbath resolutely refused, even under torture, even at the stake, to abjure the religion which had brought them so much happiness.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“Preaching is an art, and in this, as in all other arts, the bad performers far outnumber the good.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“The complement of works, imagining and emotions is faith - not faith in the sense of belief in a set of theological and historical affirmations, nor the sense of a passionate conviction of being save by someone else's merits, but faith as confidence in the order of things, faith as a resolutely acted upon in the expectation that what began as an assumption will come to be transformed, sooner or later, into an actual experience, by participation, of a reality which, for the insulated self, is unknowable.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“Mr. Adam and his fellow apothecaries sold Perpetual Pills of metallic antimony. These were swallowed, irritated the mucous membrane as they passed through the intestine, thus acting as a purgative, and could be recovered from the chamber pot, washed and used again, indefinitely. After the first capital outlay, there was no further need for spending money on cathartics. Dr. Patin might fulminate and the Parlement forbid; but for the costive French bourgeois, the appeal of antimony was irresistible. Perpetual Pills were treated as heirlooms and after passing through one generation were passed on to the next.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“When public executions were abolished, it was not because the majority desired their abolition; it was because a small minority of exceptionally sensitive reformers possessed sufficient influence to have them banned.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“No man can concentrate his attention upon evil, or even upon the idea of evil, and remain unaffected. To be more against the devil than for God is exceedingly dangerous. Every crusader is apt to go mad. He is haunted by the wickedness which he attributes to his enemies; it becomes in some sort a part of him.
Possession is more often secular than supernatural. Men are possessed by their thoughts of a hated person, a hated class, race or nation. 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 evil they have chose to see in others. They do not believe in devils; but they have tried their hardest to be possessed - have tried and been triumphantly successful. And since they believe even less in God than in the devil, seems very unlikely that they will ever be able to cure themselves of their possession. Concentrating his attention upon the idea of a supernatural uncommon among secular demoniacs. But his idea of good was also supernatural and metaphysical, and in the end it saved him.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“For example, those who have experimented with hypnosis find that, at a certain depth of trance, it happens not too infrequently that subjects, if they are left alone and not distracted, often associated with a perception of light and of spaces vast but not solitary. Sometimes the entranced person feels impelled to speak about his or her experience. Deleuze, who was one of the best observers in the second generation of Animal Magnetists, records that this state of somnambulism is characterized by a complete detachment from all personal interests, by the absence of passion, by indifference to acquired opinions and prejudices and by "a novel manner of viewing objects , a quick and direct judgment, accompanied with an intimated conviction...Thus the somnambulist possesses at the same time the torch which gives him his light and the compass that points out his way. "This torch and this compass", Deleuze concludes, " are not the product of somnambulism; they are always in us, but the distracting cares of the world, the passions and, above all, pride, and attachment to perishable things prevent us from perceiving the one and consulting the other." (Less dangerously and more effectively than the drugs which sometimes produce "anesthetic revelations" hypnotism temporarily abolishes distractions and allays the passions, leaving the consciousness free to occupy itself with what lies beyond the haunt of the immanent maniacs.) "In the new situation," Deleuze continues, "the mind is filled with religious ideas, with which, perhaps, it was never before occupied".”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“How is true possession to be distinguished from fraud or the symptoms of disease? The Church prescribes four tests - the language test, the test of preternatural physical strength, the test of levitation and the test of clairvoyance and prevision. If a person can on occasion understand, or better still, speak a language, of which, in his normal state, he is completely ignorant; if he can manifest the physical miracle of levitation or perform unaccountable feats of strength, and if he can correctly predict the future or describe events taking place at a distance - then that person may be presumed to be possessed by devils. (Alternatively, he may be presumed to be the recipient of extraordinary graces; for in many instances divine and infernal miracles are, most unhappily, identical. The levitation of saintly ecstatic is distinguishable from the levitation of ecstatics demoniacs only in virtue of the moral antecedents and consequences of the event. These moral antecedents and consequences are often hard to assess, and it has sometimes happened that even the holiest persons have been suspected of producing their ESP phenomena and their PK effects by diabolic means.)”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
“Few people now believe in the Devil; but very many enjoy behaving as their ancestors behaved when the Fiend was a reality as unquestionable as his Opposite Number. In order to justify their behavior, they turn their theories into dogmas, their bylaws into First Principles, their political bosses into Gods and all those who disagree with them into incarnate devils. This idolatrous transformation of the relative into the Absolute and the all too human into the Divine, makes it possible for them to indulge their ugliest passions with a clear conscience and in the certainty that they are working for the Highest Good. And when the current beliefs come, in their turn, to look silly, a new set will be invented, so that the immemorial madness may continue to wear its customary mask of legality, idealism and true religion.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
tags: god
“Deleuze's findings are confirmed by those of an experienced woman psychiatrist who for many years has made a study of automatic writing. In conversation this lady has informed me that, sooner or later, most automatists produce scripts in which certain metaphysical ideas are set forth. The theme of these scripts is always the same: namely, the the ground of the individual soul is identical with the divine Ground of all being. Returning to their normal state, the automatists read what they have written and often find it in complete disharmony with what they have always believed.”
Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun