Author: Aldous Huxley. Date first posted: Sep. 11, wiser, more conducive to a quiet life, to leave Loudon and start afresh in some other parish? Grandier. HUXLEY’S MASTERPIECE AND PERHAPS THE MOST ENJOYABLE BOOK ABOUT SPIRITUALITY EVER WRITTEN..” — Washington Post Book WorldAldous. Note. In this short text, Aldous Huxley puts forward the hypothesis that the evils we ascribe to religious intolerance and obscurantism are instead a product of.

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And yet, in some sublimely Pickwickian sense, the parson was revils sorcerer. I mean, if you’re looking for something that deals with actual demon possession, or a piece of lurid fiction dealing with similar subject matter, this book probably isn’t what you’re looking for. Huxley is extremely well- and widely read, freely mixing passages in the original, archaic French and Latin.

The Devils of Loudun

The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley. True, a generalized and long-continued habit of overindulgence in sexuality may result, as J. Again, huxleh may still sound more interesting than it actually is. There has been an escape from selfhood, a downward passage into a state of pure physiological excruciation.

No such scruples restrain the revolutionary leader, who hates the status quo and has only one wish – to create a chaos on which, when he comes to power, he may impose a new kind of order. We see that in the way they’ve treated their own clergy and brother and sisterhood. Alcohol is but one of the many drugs employed by human beings as avenues of escape from the insulated self.

Probably I haven’t read enough. Horizontal self-transcendence is of the utmost importance.

The Devils of Loudon by Aldous Huxley () (read in ) > Books & Movies > earthli News

Such drug-induced changes may be manifestly for the worse, may be at the price of present discomfort and future addiction, degeneration and premature death. But, devild enough, he never devile at any length about this beatific vision of the Absolute in the relative. But partisanship is a complex passion which permits those who indulge in it to make the best of both worlds.

Similar theophanies are sometimes experienced by alcoholics, and there are probably moments in the course of intoxication by almost any drug, when awareness of a not-self superior to the disintegrating ego becomes briefly possible.


Through never-ending trials and appeals, enough ‘subjective’ evidence is garnered to sell the court on the ‘fact’ that Urbain is guilty of sorcery and was the huxleu why the Loudun nuns and louson prioress were possessed.

The fact that most of those who take part in these affairs are temporally dehumanized by herd-posion is of no account in comparison with the fact that their dehumanization may be used to consolidate the religious an political powers that be.

Few people now believe in the Devil; but very many enjoy behaving as their ancestors behaved when the Fiend was a reality as unquestionable as his Opposite Number.

Dead drunk, the Negro was an easy prey. But these occasional flashes of revelation are bought at an enormous price. In the personages of other times and alien cultures we recognize our all too human selves and yet are aware, as we do so, that the frame of reference within which we do our living has changed, since their day, out of all recognition, that propositions which seemed axiomatic then are now untenable and that what we regard as the most self-evident postulates could not, at an earlier period, find entrance into even the most boldly speculative mind.

In the course of the last six or seven generations, the power of religious organizations to do evil has, throughout the Western world, considerably declined.

Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun. Appendix ()

It speaks to a reader devoted to truth and careful analysis who holds the author and the reader to superlative standards. It is the finite divorced from the Eternal.

A crowd is the social equivalent of a cancer. In case you’re thinking this is all sort of flaky, I should mention that he also devotes considerable attention to psychology and psychiatry, as well.

Our conception of a vast intermediate world of subconscious mental activity, much more extensive and, in certain respects, more effective than the activity of the conscious self, was unthinkable. Dvils mean, it’s too bad more people haven’t read or even heard of it.

But you cannot oversimplify without distorting the facts. It’s just the kind of a story that shocks and fascinates with every its turn, that compresses so much of the darkness and nastiness a human is capable of. There are many others, not so well trodden as these great descending highways, but leading no less surely to the same infra-personal goal.


Conspicuous among these is the temptation to acquire power by pandering to men’s insatiable craving for downward self-transcendence. When the shell of the ego has been cracked and there begins to be a consciousness of the tne and physiological othernesses underlying personality, it sometimes happens that we catch a glimpse, fleeting but apocalyptic, of that aldojs Otherness, which is the Ground of all being.

Later, when they had come to power, it was only in relation to foreigners and selected scapegoats that they permitted herd-intoxication to run its full course. Such charms and spells are common to every nation and country, and are practiced by the priests and people of every religion.

By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself.

What is true of drugs is true, mutatis mutandisof elementary sexuality. It’s interesting, because at times he makes ironic or even sarcastic comments, and that’s normally the refuge of a weaker writer, a writer who sneers at the world, dismisses the very idea of demon possession or even plain alxous spirituality as quaint fantasy.

Herded into mobs, the same men and women behave as though they possessed neither reason nor free will. I also enjoyed how in the end he was able to bring us back to the original thesis in regard to how our decisions play a larger role in our endless search for transcendence other than what we choose to project from our cherry picked beliefs.

And there would also be no war, no odium theologicum or ideologicumno systematic intolerance, no persecution. LoudunFrance. Of the natural narcotics, stimulants and hallucinators there is, I believe, not a single one whose properties have not been known from time immemorial.

Any escape, even by a descending road, out of insulated selfhood makes possible at least a momentary awareness of the not-self on every level, including the highest.