Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited (1958) commences thus:
The soul of wit may become the very body of untruth. However elegant and memorable, brevity can never, in the nature of things, do justice to all the facts of a complex situation. On such a theme one can be brief only by omission and simplification. Omission and simplification help us to understand — but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our comprehension may be only of the abbreviator’s neatly formulated notions, but not of the vast, ramifying reality from which these notions have been arbitrarily abstracted.
Freedom of Inquiry should be our most precious value, it seems, because no other value carries within itself the necessity — and the instructions — to inquire further: Why is this my highest value? Why should this be our world’s highest commitment? Why do humans band together over time and circumstance to find or create order, to foster understanding, to “build more stately mansions” for a global soul, a “Self” that started eons ago and now reflects upon its own growing significance.
No other value is similarly self-correcting — where “what it is” depends on what the human condition (?) makes of “it” and hence of itself. The “vast, ramifying reality” of which Huxley writes is the clay from which we now create an ever-stranger New World.
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