” …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.