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Collected Essays Collected Essays by Aldous Huxley
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“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays
“Disappointed in his hope that I would give him the fictional equivalent of “One Hundred Ways of Cooking Eggs” or the “Carnet de la Ménagère,” he began to cross-examine me about my methods of “collecting material.” Did I keep a notebook or a daily journal? Did I jot down thoughts and phrases in a cardindex? Did I systematically frequent the drawing-rooms of the rich and fashionable? Or did I, on the contrary, inhabit the Sussex downs? or spend my evenings looking for “copy” in East End gin-palaces? Did I think it was wise to frequent the company of intellectuals? Was it a good thing for a writer of novels to try to be well educated, or should he confine his reading exclusively to other novels? And so on. I did my best to reply to these questions — as non-committally, of course, as I could.

And as the young man still looked rather disappointed, I volunteered a final piece of advice, gratuitously. “My young friend,” I said, “if you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is to keep a pair of cats.” And with that I left him. I hope, for his own sake, that he took my advice.”
Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays
“If one would live well, one must live completely, with the whole being—with the body and the instincts, as well as with the conscious mind. A life lived, as far as may be, exclusively from the consciousness and in accordance with the considered judgments of the intellect, is a stunted life, a half-dead life.”
Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays
“Knowledge is always a function of being.”
Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays