Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Pourquoi bavarder avec lui ?

Souvent comparé et cantonné à l’ombre de George Orwell, l’oeuvre d’Aldous Huxley mérite bien plus que cela. Dans son roman le plus connu (voir ci-dessous), publié plus de quinze ans avant le 1984 d’Orwell, il fait preuve d’une intuition qui est chaque jour plus proche de notre réalité quotidienne : il pressent que le totalitarisme se maintiendra à l’avenir non pas seulement à la force des armes et des privations mais par une gestion savante des désirs de confort, de sécurité et de paix sociale.

PS : nous n’avons pas encore pris le temps de les traduire en français, nous vous prions de nous en excuser (toute aide est la bienvenue…).

Nos lectures et extraits :

Brave New World, 1932

Préface de 1946

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

“The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing.”

Chapter I.

“‘And that,’ put in the Director sententiously, ‘that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.’”

Chapter III.

“‘Back to culture. Yes, actually to culture. You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books.’”

“‘[…] When people are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them.’”

Chapter IV.

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

Chapter X.

“‘[…] The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray. It is better than one should suffer than that many should be corrupted. […] Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itself.’”

Chapter XII.

“But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose – well, you didn’t know what the result might be. In was the sort of idea that might easily recondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes – make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge.”

“The intoxication of success had evaporated; he was soberly his old self; and by contrast with the temporary balloon of these last weeks, the old self seemed unprecedentedly heavier than the surrounding atmosphere.”

“‘Well, I’d rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here.’”

“One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that you should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies.”

Chapter XVI.

“‘[…] Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, non of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.’”

Chapter XVII.

“‘But I like the inconveniences.’
‘ We don’t,’ said the Controller. ‘We prefer to do things comfortably.’
‘But I don’t want comfort, I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.’
‘In fact,’ said Mustapha Mond, ‘you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.’
‘All right, then,’ said the Savage defiantly, I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’”

Chapter XVII.

“The work gave him an intense pleasure. After those weeks of idleness in London, with nothing to do whenever he wanted anything, but to press a switch or to turn a handle, it was pure delight to be doing something that demanded skill and patience.”

 

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