Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Huxley criticized the excess of scientific progress, which may bring to the worship of technology, stifling emotional life, human passions, intellectual activity. Man must not be dominated by the obsession of scientific progress to the detriment of spiritual life. Aldous Huxley was born in Surrey on July 28th, 1894. He came of a family that for several generations had played a leading part in English life, especially in the field of biology and physiology. moreover, his mother was a niece of the poet Mathew Arnold. This family background influenced Huxley's thought and writings, especially his concern with public issues and social developments, which make his works a meeting-point of literature and science.
He had just begun his secondary education at Eton when his mother died of cancer; two years later, he was forced to leave school because of an eye disease which left him almost blind, and continued his studies privately. Only in 1913, after recovering the use of one eye, he was able to enter Balliol College, Cambridge. One year later his existence was again disrupted by the outbreak of World War I and by his brother Trevenen's suicide.
On leaving university in 1916, he began to devote himself to writing, mainly poetry, essays and journalism. He met D.H. Lawrence, for whom he had an unbounded admiration. In 1921 he published his first novel, Crome Yellow, a satirical and highly intelligent portrait of various intellectuals of the day. This work set the pattern for all of Huxley's novels, which were similarly acute and amusing studies of modern life.
In 1919 he had married a Belgian war refugee, Maria Nys, and the couple now began to travel widely. Frequent visits to Italy enabled him to keep up his friendship with D.H. Lawrence and his wife visited the United States, and in New Mexico he met up with D.H. Lawrence again and, partly under the latter's influence, he began to explore other aspects of experience, including mysticism, Hindu philosophy and occult phenomena. From the later 1930s onward, Huxley's mind was moving restlessly towards religion and transcendentalism , considering the possibility of genuine religious and mystical enlightenment. In 1937 he finally obtained an almost total recovery of his sight. After a long struggle with cancer, Huxley died in the USA in 1963.