Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley:
Entertainment and religion can become the “opium of the people (p. 35)” says the man who promoted hallucinogenic drugs (The Doors of Perception) and religious mysticism (The Perennial Philosophy).
Constant amusement prevents us “from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation (p. 35).”
Those who spend their time in the “irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist” those who manipulate society (p. 36).
Modern dictators use propaganda that relies on “repetition” of slogans, “suppression” of facts, and “rationalization” of aroused “passions,” used to serve the State (p. 36).
Rational information is drowned out by irrelevant nonsense (p. 36).
Huxley advocates policies—like “educating for freedom” – as if they prevent tyranny.
Huxley became interested in mysticism and parasychology. Gerald Heard introduced him to Vedanta, meditation and vegetarianism.
He lectured on “Human Potentialities” at the University of California’s San Francisco Medical Center and at the Esalen Institute. These lectures helped start the Human Potential Movement.
Huxley was a friend of Jiddu Krishnamurti and Rosalind Rajagopal. He was involved in the founding of the Happy Valley School (now Besant Hill School of Happy Valley) in Ojai, California
The school was envisioned by Annie Besant, Guido Ferrando, Aldous Huxley, J. Krishnamurti, and Rosalind Rajagopal. The land was bought in 1927 by Besant. It opened its doors in Fall 1946 as the Happy Valley School. It was later renamed in July 2006 in Besant’s honor.
Speaking of entertainment, Ojai is the
home town of Steve Austin, the fictional astronaut in the 1970s
transhumanist / human potential TV series, The Six Million Dollar
Annie Besant was actively involved in the Fabian Society (The History of the Fabian Society by Edward R. Pease, 1916)
See the essay Annie Besant’s Quest for Truth: Christianity, Secularism, and New Age Thought by Mark Bevir, which also refers to Aldous Huxley as a New Age thinker
From the Wikipedia article on Aldous Huxley’s book, Doors of Perception: Huxley tried to connect drug use with spirituality:
Huxley concludes that mescaline is not enlightenment or the Beatific vision, but a “gratuitous grace” . . . Huxley maintains that the person who has this experience will be transformed for the better
Note that a mind-altering drug (“soma”) is essential to the scientific dictatorship portrayed in his novel, Brave New World, and it is a part of the required religious ceremonies.
Activism Point: Rational formula from the Bible for assessing organizations or persons who are asking for your money and/or claiming to have truth (including religions, governments, charities, medical institutions, pharmaceutical manufacturers, etc.) See Matthew 7:16-20:
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt a tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.