Monday, October 23, 2006

Huxley / Flaubert - Is this All?

Aldous Huxley shows the precise nature of the dilemma:

My preoccupation with the subject of mysticism - an interest partly positive, partly negative; a fascination that was also hostile - dates back to my youth. The title of my first volume of undergraduate verse, The Burning Wheel, is derived from Boehme, whom I read while still at Oxford...The negative interest became positive in the early Thirties, not as the result of any single event so much as because all the rest - art, science, literature, the pleasures of thought and sensation - came to seem... "not enough." One reaches a point where one says, even of Beethoven, even of Shakespeare, "Is this all?"

If Huxley needed the illuminated realms of psychedelia, it is because, in the end, “all the rests” do not deliver…

From the realms of Psychedelia to the Aesthetic cult of Beauty:

"For me, there is only beautiful verse in the world, well-turned, harmonious, singing sen­tences, beautiful sunsets, moonlit nights, colourful paintings, marble sculptures of antiquity, and striking faces. Beyond that, nothing. I would rather have been Talma than Mirabeau because he lived in a more pure sphere of beauty. I pity birds in a cage as much as enslaved peoples. In all of politics, there is but one thing that I understand, riots”. (Flaubert, Letter to Louise Colet, 6-7 August 1846).

Madame Bovary, c’est moi….