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Go Lightly

 ” …Lightly, my darling. Learn to do everything lightly..”

~ Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) ~ author: Brave New World.   

Brave New World, for those that have not read it, is a dystopic novel about the future, published in 1932.  At a time between World Wars, in a society that championed science and research of the same, Huxley’s vision of a world society where the distancing of emotions, feelings, and like-thoughts, was the paramount principle. Bummer!

I read this novel in early high school from the recommended reading list. Upon completion, I remember thinking ‘if this is what the future holds, I think I’ll just go jump in the Han River.’  (Pssst…..I didn’t jump.) 

I sometimes wonder what dystopian-writers think as they view the events in a world five, ten, twenty, forty years later.  Is it “See? I was right!”  or  “Thank goodness I was just having a bad sausage night. Whew!”  Whether Huxley, Ayn Rand, George Orwell, Orson Wells, the Wachowski sisters [Matrix], M Night Shyamalan, Neal Shusterman, and countless other authors and film-makers I am (and am not) familiar with, there is, I believe, a group of individuals over time-immemorial who issue ‘wake-up calls’ when they observe “the masses” embracing mindless ‘obedience’ to the latest news,  fads, greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread. Simply because “someone said so.”

A well-remembered teaching from a college professor was:  ‘Nothing in and of itself is inherently good or bad. It’s what people DO with it that matters.’  The “Nothing” can be a tangible, or a belief structure, a dictated societal expectation / recommendation / soon to be ‘law’ (if one is not purposefully aware).  Therefore, for me, it is important I not grab the ball of twine and run with it, just cuz I read it on facebook, or someone tweeted a ‘you should’ or an ‘ain’t it awful.’ 

Investigate – multiple sources, not simply my ‘favorites’ (which usually I choose because I like that they agree with me – ha!).  Really investigate. Think. Listen. Make an informed-for-self decision. Be open to and allow that to change over time with more data. More thoughtful thinking. No more being a sheeple. 

I have come across the above Quote, decades and decades after reading his book, from a journal entry of Huxley’s, and thought ‘Wow, I wish I had read that at the time too!’  This, to me, is truly what a brave new wold advocacy is:

“There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, 

trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. 

That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling.

Learn to do everything lightly. 

Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.”

– Aldous Huxley.

Be brave. Be part of creating a current and brave new world. Don’t use fear and intimidation, catastrophizing and wanting to prove others’ wrong.  Yet, through it all,  go Lightly.