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Mentary display of lust the Fact of Personality 87A religious chant to control sexual desire Give me Detumescence 90Hierarchy of values using books from the Los Angeles Public Library as fuel In goes The Phenomenology of Spirit out comes the corn bread And damn good bread it is 91Subversion of an obvious morality one not reuiring religion to elucidate My duty towards my neighbor is to do my best to prevent him from doing unto me what I should like to do unto him 95How religion corrupts the masses By the smoky and intermittent light of torches we see the faces of a great congregation Tier above tier like massed gargoyles spouting the groundless faith the subhuman excitement the collective imbecility which are the products of ceremonial religion spouting them from black eyeholes from uivering nostrils from parted lips 108Who s to blame If you want social solidarity you ve got to have either an external enemy or an oppressed minority They re what the Jews were under Hitler what the bourgeois were under Lenin and Stalin what the heretics used to be in Catholic countries and the papists under the Protestants If anything goes wrong it s always the fault of them138The burden of self determination How tedious is a guilty conscience How tedious for that matter an unguilty one 153Rationality vs instinct You think too much You mustn t think If you think it sex stops being fun 158About individuality the courage to ignore the majority to reject dogma to be oyful in Nature Huxley s Source What s the good of thinking about other people Let s think about ourselves Let s think how happy we could be 193 Though I adored Brave New World and therefore considered myself familiar with its famous author I had never even heard of Ape and Essence before stumbling across it on one of the dustier shelves in the local library Never again will I make the mistake of relegating an author to the one book wonder list This little 150 page book is so utterly bizarre eerie beautiful and perfect that from the very first reading it has leapt straight into my list of all time favourites Brave New World makes it very clear that Huxley had a huge problem with the egotistical nationalism of modern society Ape and Essence takes this view to an extreme and though I agreed with many of his points it was the writers unusual and elouent way of getting them across that made me fall in love The story is told in two sections The first only 25 pages long is from the point of view of a screen writer who finds a rejected screenplay entitled Of Ape and Essence and goes on a Dirty Secrets journey to meet the author The second much longer part is the transcription of this screenplay It details how the world has been destroyed through atomic warfare and human kind worship the devil Beliel as they cannot face the idea that they are in fact to blame for their own destruction Such an inherently human trait the fear of guilt the need to feel blameless I suppose this is where the term scapegoat comes in handy The prose is strange and uite beautiful with a narrator who speaks in poetry and details that come from the screenplay nature of the work Potential soundtracks are mentioned as are details such as close up on or wide shot of Voices fade out as Narrator speaks again The themes are all politically charged a warning against selfish hedonism and eually deprivation and self harm caused by religion and patriotism Lines include Church and State Greed and Hate Two baboon persons In one Supreme Gorilla and The longer you study modern history the evidence you find of Beliel s Guiding Hand these lines fall far short of giving any idea as to the odd beauty of the writing but I wanted to include them anywayuite honestly writing a short review of this book is near impossible it would be all too easy to write an essay like discussion dissection dissertation of Huxley s ideas about religion war politics etc but I think to do so would in fact be detrimental to the book itself at leasst without having the anaylitical skills to do itustice I will leave the in depth analysis to a possible future thesis but by not going in depth there is little to say here other than this is a book that begs for many readings and I will do so very happily I strongly suggest you do the same There are times and this is one of them when the world seems purposefully beautiful when it is as though some mind in things had suddenly chosen to make manifest for all who choose to see the supernatural reality that underlies all appearances I was reading Ape and Essence in a sunlit park when I was struck by this line It emitted a beacon of light that folded back on itself and enveloped these words this book my hands my legs the ground under my feet the park the city its surrounding forests the seas and the planet in a golden glow that made me look at it all with a disposition that was generous than ever I ve got a weak spot for sumptuous prose whether carefully crafted or welling up from a natural spring but it s been since reading GK Chesterton and Charles Dickens that I ve been so smitten with man s way of words Ape and Essence made me discover that Huxley belongs up there with the other wizards of writingThe fact that the strongest point of this book is its prose doesn t help me in reviewing it very effectively I can t hope to emulate it obviously Weaving some kind of metaphor around it with silly beacons of light folding back on themselves can tell you something about the effect it had on me but it doesn t convey what it is in its essence Its essence can only be experienced through direct contact with this book Much like with a song people can tell you it s good but it s only upon hearing it for yourself that you can truly be immersed into what other people s opinions unsuccesfully tried to convey Brilliance Simple basic brilliance I could present you with some uotes a selection of flowers grown and cultivated in this bright author s garden patch of a book but they d whither in my clumsy hands out in this cold reviewSo what else can I do to convince you to read this aside from maladroitly trying to describe its beauty beyond expression I can try by mentioning this tells the stories that Fahrenheit 451 and Lord of the Flies tried to tell only with humour and grace and that it did so way before those well known books That it paints the picture of a grey post apocalyptic world but with colour and poetry That it dissects modern society in a way that is as pertinent today as it was when it was first written That it recognises both the ape and the essence within all of us that amidst the bleak remnants of a collapsed society it offers an optimistic vision a convincing explanation of why evil can t endure That it made me smile Faced with the limits of my reviewing prowess in the face of this work of congenial genius I decided to give you another flower A small one a description of a woman that wears the same expression this book would if it had a face Cherish it give it warmth and let its scent convince you to explore this story for yourself In a minute or two she is lying uite still in the crook of his arm Sighing happily she opens her eyes looks up at him and smiles with an expression of tenderness to which the dimples add a ravishingly incongruous hint of mischie. Epared for the moral degradation they meet Ape and Essence is Huxley's vision of the ruin of humanity told with all his knowledge and imaginative geniu.
After reading Brave New World while still in the public schools either in A Ranchers Vow (Sons of Silver Springs) (Sons of Silver Springs) (Harlequin Intrigue junior or senior high I went into a Huxley phase purchasing and reading his Brave New World Revisi Huxley hits the proverbial nail on the head with this biting dystopian satire of the dangers of democracy We see it in our daily lives of the dangers of an ill educated populace able to vote and elect dangerous individuals However the problem lies perhaps not in democracy but the criteria we use for people to ualify and allowed to vote Plus a media completely controlled by an oligopoly of billionaires who have their own agenda This story is interesting as it was writtenust at the beginning of the Cold War between communism and democracy Tallis is a scriptwriter and two Hollywood writers find a copy of his film script that falls off a truck taking thousands of rejected scripts to an incinerator They are fascinated by the the Ape and Essence script and decide to track down the author but alas Tallis is dead We are then in the second part of the book presented with the film script and dialogue The story takes place in 2108 a hundred years after the planet was destroyed by nuclear weapons in the Third World War A ship approaches the Californian coast with the crew of the Canterbury a ship carrying the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition New Zealand was spared the worse of the war as no one thought they were worth nuking Botanist and mother s boy Dr Alfred Poole a botanist and mother s not is the hero and is captured by the locals who worship the devil who they call Belial They live in a society where sex it outlawed except on one day a year for breeding purposes It is a society where women are basically slaves and any deformed babies are killed prior to the breeding orgy in a religious ceremony Poole becomes valuable as a scientist to create better crops and falls for Loola He then has to make a decision about whether to stay or escape to a liberal community across the Mojave desert Glad I read this satire of the way that people continue to conduct war and kill off our own kind for the most superficial reasons such as religious color and of course those old chestnuts freedom and nationalism While I was reading this book I laughed and realized this is where DEVO got all their shit from Huxley back in the 1930 s said in this brilliant novel that while we technologically advance we will behave and like crazed apesThe Truth Behind De Evolution I m sure the Mothersbaugh and Casale Brothers read this book than a few times when they attended Kent State in Ohio Huxley switches time span gears like crazy veering from a Darwinian 1930 s Busby Berkeley musical to a cold bleak sci fi fable all taking place in the sleazy Eden that is Hollywood Huxley has given us a Jean Harlow worthy glam sci fi novel There s never been a book like Ape and Essence It really will blow your mind I think I ve read this book at least 20 times Cruelty and compassion come with the chromosomesI ve elected to storm into the ranks of Huxley like a Korean antihero in a Vengeance film This is a peculiar fruit There was much from which I recoiled I feel at moments that History had made the novel look foolish and impotent The reasons to dislike this were LegionThe novel s thrust is a rejected screenplayThe narrative then is couchedin satirical and cinematic termsspeaking of a futurea world devastated by nuclear exchangeKiwis having no strategic importanceSet out to trawl the ruinsSub Saharan Africa as wellThough Huxley leaves us with but an ill hud parenthesisBack to the New Zealanders Broaching the California shores100 years after the mushroom cloudsHe finds a strange tribal societyOne worshiping the DiabolicalFor what else could govern theirHaphazard hungry livesSex is outlawed except for yearly festival of frenzythe mutated offspring are sacrificed for their inherentMisdeedThere is a classic information dumpThe devil obviously arrivedin the Scientific MethodWithout a humanizing temperRadioactive fallout was DestinyIt is this final exchange of ideas which redeems the novel so similar to Brave New World though here we substitute Shelley for Shakespeare There is an annoying glibness to this but it appears a farce than anything meaningful or resonant whereas the Orgy Porgy scenes in Brave New World will haunt me forever There wasn t a corresponding moment in Ape and Essence of the timeless Parody ust parody America the FearfulFear turns democracy into tyranny Perhaps fear is the foundation of democracy the fear of material or spiritual loss Isn t that the sentiment behind the dispersion 0f power in constitutional government If so the Trump phenomenon may be an inevitable conseuence of democratic politics And the thing to be feared mostI am reading Ape and Essence written in 1948 while the racist Trump rally is taking place in North Carolina Chants of Send her back are being directed at black congresswomen by the Evangelical Christian crowd Huxley has his crowd at a not dissimilar rally shouting Church and StateGreed and Hate Two baboon personsIn one Supreme Gorilla Ape and Essence is actually a screenplay contained within this novel of post World War II paranoia in America The narrator of the screenplay makes the context clear And fear my good friends fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life Then it was fear of the godless Russians who were intent on taking away America s Christian heritage Today it is fear of Central Americans and women with headscarves who well threaten to take away America s Christian heritageHuxley understood the problem of democracy as well as de Tocueville did As his narrator says Today thanks to that Higher Ignorance which is our knowledge man s stature has increased to such an extent that the least among us is now a baboon the greatest an orangutan or even if he takes rank as a Saviour of Society a true Gorilla It is not inapt I think to perceive the North Carolinans and their political hero in exactly this way The problem is not the Gorilla who is merely a somewhat defective human being the problem is the baboons who use democracy as a means to exercise their fear and hatred without fingerprints Cruelty and compassion come with the chromosomes says the narrator Which one gets switched on is a matter of culture of the habits and social training to which we all are exposed Something has gone deeply wrong in the culture of America It has happened before in other democratic states but rarely with such global publicity and even rarely with such unified support from the rank and file religionists of Christianity Ends are ape chosen only the means are man s The narrator laments The apes are in charge from the bottom up Democracy it seems releases the Blowfly in every individual heart The leech s kiss the suid s embrace the prurient ape s defiling touch And do you like the human race No not muchI read this book in high school after I had finished Brave New World Almost back to back Ape and Essence is a story within a story a screenplay written by one of the semi autobiographical characters The screenplay is rescued from the Hollywood reject bin and after the finders find the author on his desert hacienda the screenplay then becomes the novel The uote above is Huxley speaking his own mind. In February 2108 the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war
As well as the recluse author s The screenplay is a great literary device by which Huxley becomes twice removed in a sense from the themes and ideas articulated therein The screenplay relates a tale of post nuclear war society where survivors from New Zealand rediscover what s left of California and find humans there have devolved into I won t spoil it Ape is a much ambitious novel than BNW and satirizes in less than 200 pages Hollywood Southern California the insanity of the Cold War science human nature a smorgasbord of targets all deftly skewered with the inimitable Huxley wit In character and plot development Ape is a mature and compelling novel than the allegorical BNW although the latter seems like the accurate prediction of our future as a species Prurient apes indeed Confession I actually bought and read the Bantam paperback edition with the cover shown for this review the ambiguous menacing face above the two naked people Truth to tell the cover hooked me to buy the book Two guys from Hollywood are talking about stuff One of them is the first person narrator the other is a guy who s gotten a mistress despite the fact that he didn t really want one and now he s in trouble with his wifeI m making it sound way interesting than it actually is I spaced out while reading some of their discussion which was about Gandhi getting murdered and the nature of marxism and fascism and politics and whateverIn the middle of the philosophy I shut the book and read the summary on the back In February 2108 the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors Yeah no relation to what I was reading I had the weird feeling the book s cover had been replaced you knowSo as the two Hollywood guys walk around a truck filled with manuscripts headed for the incinerator takes a sudden turn and three scripts fall out Two are declared to be crap one is read by the two friends who go in search of the mysterious writer but find out that he died a few weeks before and has no family but his neighbors piece together a short history of the guy which whateverAnd then the script is reproduced in its entirety and well to be honest no wonder it was heading to the incinerator It starts with SYMBOLISM and baboons who act like humans and who have Albert Einsiteins on leashes making them create weapons which let them destroy the world Very symbol much wow More spacing out on my side I had to re read some of this stuffLater on New Zealanders go off to explore the world since they re the only ones who apparently escaped the nuclear war because nobody cared much about them go New Zealand They land in America somewhere next to LA and one of the characters a botanist is captured by a tribe of genetically mutated people who have extra fingers toes and pairs of nipples who have mating seasons and who are dead set on worshiping the devil seeing him as a cause of the world s destructionI m making this sound interesting again It s all very symbolic and philosophical and the priests keep explaining how the devil convinced humanity to self destruct So the New Zealand dude gets left behind by his colleagues falls in love with one of the natives and runs off with her in search of a colony of other humans because the devil worshipers hate people who have sex out of mating seasonSymbolism poking fun at humanity philosophising about the world poetry thrown everywhere random words your eyes will skip over and less fun than Brave New World All chantingGive me DetumescenceGive me DetumescenceGive me DetumescenceIn a post apocalyptic world destroyed by the nefarious nationalistic exploitation of science Huxley offers up a supremely hilarious post apocalyptic satire In Los Angeles a new religion has arisen where the Devil as Belial has substituted God while maintaining all other aspects of today s structured institutions of faith Using this simple device he penetratingly skewers organized religion effectively than with direct criticism Along the way he delights in puncturing the mystiue of Hollywood and the carefree mid twentieth century lifestyle of Southern California These are perennial Huxley themes in his fiction and non fiction but nowhere does he present them in such an over the top funny way The satire is hilarious continuous and irreverent There was hardly a single page that I didn t laugh or smile Yes this is a very very serious book but it s a true comedy all the sameMorals abound throughout Memorable uotations flow from every page ironies are exploited to the embarrassment of the various Religions Huxley s voice is confident but never pretentious pushing tactful to the ultimate limits Some reviewers claim to be offended by the several scenes of sexual debauchery Good Huxley made his pointAlways at risk in any dystopia seem to be women and their treatment in Ape and Essence is particularly chilling identified insultingly as vessels of the Unholy Spirit they are relegated only to menial labor and ritualized reproduction Huxley s vessels are almost certainly a contributing inspiration to Margaret Atwood s later frightening novel of Christian theocracy The Handmaid s Tale where women have the same functions in her fearsome dictatorial societyI loved this book It is now my favorite Huxley work and is likely to remain so having only a few left to read Among so many messages that he leaves us with particularly in this book the most important is Judge for yourself what is Right and Moral don t blindly accept the combined degenerate will of the Herd From his early intelligent comedies of manners then appearing as central to the classic Brave New World and in his insightful essays that single message is never absent never contraindicated Here are a few marvelous uotations from Ape and Essence illustrating many of the concepts in the book Much is satire interpret them in that light you might be offended That s alright Huxley would say form your own opinionThe origin of World War Three Vertical stripes horizontal stripes knots and crosses eagles and hammers Mere arbitrary signs But every reality to which a sign has been attached is thereby made subject to its signand because of the flags it immediately became right and proper for the one with the foreskin to disembowel the one without a foreskin and for the circumcised to shoot the uncircumcised rape his wife and roast his children over slow fires 41 page numbers from the first edition 1948Danger of Science Ends are ape chosen only the means are man s 45Satirical maternal repression of our academic hero Too full of an unnatural piety to marry he has spent half a lifetime surreptitiously burning Feeling that it would be a sacrilege to ask a virtuous young gentlewoman to share his bed he inhabits under the carapace of academic respectability a hot and furtive world where erotic phantasies beget an agonizing repentance and adolescent desires forever struggle with the maternal precepts 82Conflict between natural desires and religious suppression of same The Seventh Commandment the Facts of Life But there is also another Fact to which one cannot react by a mere departmentalized negation or a no less frag. Ut the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are uite unpr.
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Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family He spent the latter part of his life in the United States living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963 Best known for his novels and wide ranging output of essays he also published short stories poetry travel writing and film stories and scripts Through his novels and es