About the book

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.  Goodreads

Year published: 1932

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Quotes from the book


Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

Don’t just exist, seek to be fully alive

  • Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today.
  • I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.
  • 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.
  • Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations 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, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.
  • All right then,” said the savage defiantly, I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.” “Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat, the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence. “I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.

It is better to live your own authentic life, than acting out of conformity

  • I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.
  • Isn’t there something in living dangerously?
  • No social stability without individual stability.
  • That is the secret of happiness and virtue — liking what you’ve got to do.
  • “I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”
  • Well, I’d rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here.
  • Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it, Mr. Watson–paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.

Don’t let potential remained unlived inside you

  • Not quite. I’m thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feel that I’ve got something important to say and the power to say it—only I don’t know what it is, and I can’t make any use of the power.
  • Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?

It can be difficult to be different from others

  • I am I, and I wish I weren’t.
  • If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.

Don’t wallow in remorse, pick yourself up and move on  

  • Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.

Words are a powerful tool for expressing the truth

  • Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.
  • I believe one would write better if the climate were bad. If there were a lot of wind and storms for example…

…but great truths are hard to express

  • Can you say something about nothing?
  • Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.

Nature is the art of God

  • A love of nature keeps no factories busy.
  • God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make a choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.

Solitude puts you in touch with God

  • It is natural to believe in God when you’re alone– quite alone, in the night, thinking about death.

Humanity has great potential for both good and evil

  • The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray.
  • Those who meant well behaved in the same way as those who meant badly.
  • When people are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them.
  • There was a thing called Heaven; but all the same they used to drink enormous quantities of alcohol.
  • I ate civilization. It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then,” he added in a lower tone, “I ate my own wickedness.”

Mass indoctrination is beliefs blindly accepted

  • People believe in God because they’ve been conditioned to.
  • We don’t want to change. Every change is a menace to stability.
  • One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.
  • It isn’t only art that is incompatible with happiness, it’s also science. Science is dangerous, we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.
  • We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters.
  • 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.

Mass indoctrination desensitises civilisation to their innate humanity & beauty

  • Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning, truth and beauty can’t.
  • Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
  • In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
  • Back to culture. Yes, actually to culture. You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books.
  • …most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution..
  • What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when anthrax bombs are popping all around you?
  • …reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays….
  • Round pegs in square holes tend to have dangerous thoughts about the social system and tend to infect others with their discontents.

A consumer society generates waste rather than quality

  • Ending is better than mending.
  • The more stitches, the less riches.
  • To be excited is still to be unsatisfied.