"Man approaches the unattainable truth through a succession of errors." -- Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 — 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts.
Aldous Huxley was a humanist and pacifist, and he was latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.
By the end of his life Huxley was considered, in some academic circles, a leader of modern thought and an intellectual of the highest rank, and highly regarded as one of the most prominent explorers of visual communication and sight-related theories as well.
"A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.""A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.""A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.""A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.""A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.""A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it.""After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.""All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.""Amour is the one human activity of any importance in which laughter and pleasure preponderate, if ever so slightly, over misery and pain.""An intellectual is a person who's found one thing that's more interesting than sex.""An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.""Beauty is worse than wine, it intoxicates both the holder and beholder.""Bondage is the life of personality, and for bondage the personal self will fight with tireless resourcefulness and the most stubborn cunning.""Chastity - the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions.""Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.""Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.""Cynical realism is the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.""De Sade is the one completely consistent and thoroughgoing revolutionary of history.""Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.""Dream in a pragmatic way.""Europe is so well gardened that it resembles a work of art, a scientific theory, a neat metaphysical system. Man has re-created Europe in his own image.""Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.""Every man's memory is his private literature.""Every person who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves, to multiply the ways in which they exist, to make life full, significant, and interesting.""Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying.""Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you.""Experience teaches only the teachable.""Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.""Feasts must be solemn and rare, or else they cease to be feasts.""From their experience or from the recorded experience of others (history), men learn only what their passions and their metaphysical prejudices allow them to learn.""God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.""Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects... totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.""Habit converts luxurious enjoyments into dull and daily necessities.""Happiness is a hard master, particularly other people's happiness.""Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.""I can sympathise with people's pains, but not with their pleasures. There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness.""I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.""I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.""Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.""If human beings were shown what they're really like, they'd either kill one another as vermin, or hang themselves.""It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'try to be a little kinder.'""It takes two to make a murder. There are born victims, born to have their throats cut, as the cut-throats are born to be hanged.""It was one of those evenings when men feel that truth, goodness and beauty are one. In the morning, when they commit their discovery to paper, when others read it written there, it looks wholly ridiculous.""It's with bad sentiments that one makes good novels.""Like every man of sense and good feeling, I abominate work.""Like every other good thing in this world, leisure and culture have to be paid for. Fortunately, however, it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay.""Man is an intelligence in servitude to his organs.""Maybe this world is another planet's hell.""Men do not learn much from the lessons of history and that is the most important of all the lessons of history.""Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.""Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know.""Most of one's life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.""My fate cannot be mastered; it can only be collaborated with and thereby, to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only its noisiest passenger.""My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.""Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the country in which the office is held.""One of the great attractions of patriotism - it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.""Orthodoxy is the diehard of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it forget.""People intoxicate themselves with work so they won't see how they really are.""Perhaps it's good for one to suffer. Can an artist do anything if he's happy? Would he ever want to do anything? What is art, after all, but a protest against the horrible inclemency of life?""Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.""Science has explained nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness.""Several excuses are always less convincing than one.""So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable.""Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers.""Specialized meaninglessness has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hallmark of true science.""Speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.""Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.""Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.""That all men are equal is a proposition to which, at ordinary times, no sane human being has ever given his assent.""That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.""That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.""The author of the Iliad is either Homer or, if not Homer, somebody else of the same name.""The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.""The finest works of art are precious, among other reasons, because they make it possible for us to know, if only imperfectly and for a little while, what it actually feels like to think subtly and feel nobly.""The impulse to cruelty is, in many people, almost as violent as the impulse to sexual love - almost as violent and much more mischievous.""The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.""The most distressing thing that can happen to a prophet is to be proved wrong. The next most distressing thing is to be proved right.""The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.""The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.""The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.""The proper study of mankind is books.""The quality of moral behavior varies in inverse ratio to the number of human beings involved.""The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm.""The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar... Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen.""The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency.""There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.""There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all its virtues are of no avail.""There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.""There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness.""There isn't any formula or method. You learn to love by loving - by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done.""There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.""There's only one effectively redemptive sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-will to make room for the knowledge of God.""Those who believe that they are exclusively in the right are generally those who achieve something.""Thought must be divided against itself before it can come to any knowledge of itself.""To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.""To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.""Uncontrolled, the hunger and thirst after God may become an obstacle, cutting off the soul from what it desires. If a man would travel far along the mystic road, he must learn to desire God intensely but in stillness, passively and yet with all his heart and mind and strength.""We are all geniuses up to the age of ten.""We participate in a tragedy; at a comedy we only look.""What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.""What we feel and think and are is to a great extent determined by the state of our ductless glands and viscera.""What with making their way and enjoying what they have won, heroes have no time to think. But the sons of heroes - ah, they have all the necessary leisure.""Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one's never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.""Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.""You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.""You should hurry up and acquire the cigar habit. It's one of the major happinesses. And so much more lasting than love, so much less costly in emotional wear and tear.""Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty - his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure."
Aldous Huxley was born in Godalming, Surrey, UK in 1894. He was the third son of the writer and school-master Leonard Huxley and first wife, Julia Arnold who founded Prior's Field School. Julia was the niece of Matthew Arnold and the sister of Mrs. Humphrey Ward. Aldous was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, the zoologist, agnostic and controversialist ("Darwin's Bulldog"). His brother Julian Huxley and half-brother Andrew Huxley also became outstanding biologists. Huxley had another brother Noel Trevenen (1891—1914) who committed suicide after a period of clinical depression.
Huxley began his learning in his father's well-equipped botanical laboratory, then continued in a school named Hillside. His teacher was his mother who supervised him for several years until she became terminally ill. After Hillside, he was educated at Eton College. Huxley's mother died in 1908, when he was fourteen. In 1911, he suffered an illness (keratitis punctata) which "left [him] practically blind for two to three years". Aldous's near-blindness disqualified him from service in the First World War. Once his eyesight recovered sufficiently, he was able to study English literature at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1916 he edited Oxford Poetry and later graduated with first class honours.
"I believe his blindness was a blessing in disguise. For one thing, it put paid to his idea of taking up medicine as a career...His uniqueness lay in his universalism. He was able to take all knowledge for his province."
Following his education at Balliol, Huxley was financially indebted to his father and had to earn a living. He taught French for a year at Eton, where Eric Blair (later known by the pen name George Orwell) and Stephen Runciman were among his pupils, but was remembered as an incompetent and hopeless teacher who couldn’t keep discipline. Nevertheless, Blair and others were impressed by his use of words. For a short while in 1918, he was employed acquiring provisions at the Air Ministry.
Significantly, Huxley also worked for a time in the 1920s at the technologically-advanced Brunner and Mond chemical plant in Billingham, Teesside, and the most recent introduction to his famous science fiction novel Brave New World (1932) states that this experience of "an ordered universe in a world of planless incoherence" was one source for the novel.
Huxley completed his first (unpublished) novel at the age of seventeen and began writing seriously in his early twenties. His first published novels were social satires, beginning with Crome Yellow (1921).
During the First World War, Huxley spent much of his time at Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, working as a farm labourer. Here he met several Bloomsbury figures including Bertrand Russell and Clive Bell. Later, in Crome Yellow (1921) he caricatured the Garsington lifestyle. In 1919 he married Maria Nys (10 September 1899 — 12 February 1955), a Belgian woman he met at Garsington. They had one child, Matthew Huxley (19 April 1920 — 10 February 2005), who had a career as an epidemiologist. The family lived in Italy part of the time in the 1920s, where Huxley would visit his friend D. H. Lawrence. Following Lawrence's death in 1930, Huxley edited Lawrence's letters (1933).
Works of this period included important novels on the dehumanizing aspects of scientific progress, most famously Brave New World, and on pacifist themes (for example, Eyeless in Gaza). In Brave New World Huxley portrays a society operating on the principles of mass production and Pavlovian conditioning. Huxley was strongly influenced by F. Matthias Alexander and included him as a character in Eyeless in Gaza.
In 1937, Huxley moved to Hollywood, California with his wife Maria, son Matthew, and friend Gerald Heard. He lived in the U.S., mainly in southern California, until his death, but also for a time in Taos, New Mexico, where he wrote Ends and Means (published in 1937). In this work he examines the fact that although most people in modern civilization agree that they want a world of "liberty, peace, justice, and brotherly love", they have not been able to agree on how to achieve it.
Heard introduced Huxley to Vedanta (Veda-Centric Hinduism), meditation, and vegetarianism through the principle of ahimsa. In 1938 Huxley befriended J. Krishnamurti, whose teachings he greatly admired. He also became a Vedantist in the circle of Hindu Swami Prabhavananda, and introduced Christopher Isherwood to this circle. Not long after, Huxley wrote his book on widely held spiritual values and ideas, The Perennial Philosophy, which discussed the teachings of renowned mystics of the world. Huxley's book affirmed a sensibility that insists there are realities beyond the generally accepted "five senses" and that there is genuine meaning for humans beyond both sensual satisfactions and sentimentalities.
Huxley became a close friend of Remsen Bird, president of Occidental College. He spent much time at the college, which is in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles. The college appears as "Tarzana College" in his satirical novel After Many a Summer (1939). The novel won Huxley that year's James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Huxley also incorporated Bird into the novel.
During this period Huxley earned some Hollywood income as a writer. In March 1938, his friend Anita Loos, a novelist and screenwriter, put him in touch with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer who hired Huxley for Madame Curie which was originally to star Greta Garbo and be directed by George Cukor. (The film was eventually filmed by MGM in 1943 with a different director and stars.) Huxley received screen credit for Pride and Prejudice (1940) and was paid for his work on a number of other films, including Jane Eyre (1944).
However, his experience in Hollywood was not a success. When he wrote a synopsis of Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney rejected it on the grounds that "he could only understand every third word". Huxley's leisurely development of ideas, it seemed, was not suitable for the movie moguls, who demanded fast, dynamic dialogue above all else. For Dick Huemer, during the 1940s, Huxley went to the first of a five meetings' session to elaborate the script of Alice in Wonderland but never came again. For author John Grant, although the movie's character the Caterpillar displays some characteristics familiar from Huxley's discussion of his experiments with hallucinogens, Huxley's contribution to the movie is nonexistent.
On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating Orwell on "how fine and how profoundly important the book is". In his letter to Orwell, he predicted:
"Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience."
After the Second World War Huxley applied for United States citizenship. His application was continuously deferred on the grounds that he would not say he would take up arms to defend the U.S. He claimed a philosophical, rather than a religious objection, and therefore was not exempt under the McCarran Act. So, he withdrew his application. Nevertheless, he remained in the country, and in 1959 he turned down an offer of a Knight Bachelor by the Macmillan government. During the 1950s Huxley's interest in the field of psychical research grew keener, and his later works are strongly influenced by both mysticism and his experiences with psychedelic drugs.
In October 1930, the English occultist Aleister Crowley dined with Huxley in Berlin, and to this day rumours persist that Crowley introduced Huxley to peyote on that occasion. He was introduced to mescaline (considered to be the key active ingredient of peyote) by the psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1953. Through Dr. Osmond, Huxley met millionaire Alfred Matthew Hubbard who would deal with LSD on a wholesale basis. On 24 December 1955, Huxley took his first dose of LSD. Indeed, Huxley was a pioneer of self-directed psychedelic drug use "in a search for enlightenment", famously taking 100 micrograms of LSD as he lay dying. His psychedelic drug experiences are described in the essays The Doors of Perception (the title deriving from some lines in the book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake), and Heaven and Hell. Some of his writings on psychedelics became frequent reading among early hippies. While living in Los Angeles, Huxley was a friend of Ray Bradbury. According to Sam Weller's biography of Bradbury, the latter was dissatisfied with Huxley, especially after Huxley encouraged Bradbury to take psychedelic drugs.
In 1955, Huxley's wife, Maria, died of breast cancer. In 1956 he married Laura Archera (1911—2007), also an author. She wrote This Timeless Moment, a biography of Huxley. In 1960 Huxley himself was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, and in the years that followed, with his health deteriorating, he wrote the Utopian novel Island, and gave lectures on "Human Potentialities" at the Esalen institute, which were fundamental to the forming of the Human Potential Movement.
On his deathbed, unable to speak, Huxley made a written request to his wife for "LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular". According to her account of his death, in This Timeless Moment, she obliged with an injection at 11:45 am and another a couple of hours later. He died at 5:21 pm on 22 November 1963, aged 69. Huxley's ashes were interred in the family grave at the Watts Cemetery, home of the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton, a village near Guildford, Surrey, England.
Media coverage of his death was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on the same day, as was the death of the Irish author C. S. Lewis who also died on 22 November. This coincidence was the inspiration for Peter Kreeft's book A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley.
Huxley's only child, Matthew Huxley, was also an author, as well as an educator, anthropologist, and prominent epidemiologist. Aldous Huxley is also survived by two grandchildren.
Association with Vedanta
Beginning in 1939 and continuing until his death in 1963, Huxley had an extensive association with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, founded and headed by Swami Prabhavananda. Together with Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, and other followers he was initiated by the Swami and was taught meditation and spiritual practices.
In 1944 Huxley wrote the introduction to the "Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God", translated by Swami Prabhavanada and Christopher Isherwood, which was published by The Vedanta Society of Southern California.
From 1941 through 1960 Huxley contributed 48 articles to Vedanta and the West, published by the Society. He also served on the editorial board with Isherwood, Heard, and playwright John van Druten from 1951 through 1962.
Huxley also occasionally lectured at the Hollywood and Santa Barbara Vedanta temples. Two of those lectures have been released on CD: Knowledge and Understanding and Who Are We from 1955.
After the publication of The Doors of Perception, Huxley and the Swami disagreed about the meaning and importance of the LSD drug experience, which may have caused the relationship to cool, but Huxley continued to write articles for the Society's journal, lecture at the temple, and attend social functions.
Crome Yellow (1921) attacks the Victorian and Edwardian social principles that led to World War I and its terrible aftermath. Together with Huxley's second novel, Antic Hay (1923), the book expresses much of the mood of disenchantment of the early 1920s. It was intended to reflect, as Huxley stated in a letter to his father, "the life and opinions of an age which has seen the violent disruption of almost all the standards, conventions and values current in the present epoch."
Huxley's reputation for iconoclasm and emancipation grew. He was condemned for his explicit discussion of sex and free thought in his fiction. Antic Hay, for example, was burned in Cairo and in the years that followed many of Huxley's books were received with disapproval or banned at one time or another.
Huxley, however, said that a novel should be full of interesting opinions and arresting ideas, describing his aim as a novelist as being 'to arrive, technically, at a perfect fusion of the novel and the essay'; and with Point Counter Point (1928), Huxley wrote his first true 'novel of ideas', the type of thought-provoking fiction with which he is now associated.
One of his main ideas was pessimism about the cultural future of society, a pessimism which sprang largely from his visit to the United States between September 1925 and June 1926. He recounted his experiences in Jesting Pilate (1926): "The thing which is happening in America is a reevaluation of values, a radical alteration (for the worse) of established standards", and it was soon after this visit that he conceived the idea of writing a satire of what he had encountered.
Brave New World (1932) as well as Island (1962) form the cornerstone of Huxley's damning indictment of commercialism based upon goods generally manufactured from other countries. Indeed also, Brave New World (along with Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Yevgeni Zamyatin's We) helped form the anti-utopian or dystopian tradition in literature and has become synonymous with a future world in which the human spirit is subject to conditioning and control. Island acts as an antonym to Brave New World; it is described as "one of the truly great philosophical novels".
He devoted his time at his small house at Llano in the Mojave Desert to a life of contemplation, mysticism, and experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs. His suggestions in The Doors of Perception (1954) that mescaline and lysergic acid were 'drugs of unique distinction' which should be exploited for the 'supernaturally brilliant' visionary experience they offered provoked even more outrage than his passionate defense of the Bates method in The Art of Seeing (1942). The book went on to become a cult text in the psychedelic 1960s, and inspire the name of the rock band The Doors (it was originally derived from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" ). Huxley appears on the sleeve of The Beatles' landmark 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
With respect to details about the true quality of Huxley's eyesight at specific points in his life, there are differing accounts. Around 1939, Huxley encountered the Bates Method for better eyesight, and a teacher, Margaret Corbett, who was able to teach him in the method. In 1940, Huxley relocated from Hollywood to a ranchito in the high desert hamlet of Llano, California in northernmost Los Angeles County. Huxley then said that his sight improved dramatically with the Bates Method and the extreme and pure natural lighting of the southwestern American desert. He reported that for the first time in over 25 years, he was able to read without glasses and without strain. He even tried driving a car along the dirt road beside the ranch. He wrote a book about his successes with the Bates Method, The Art of Seeing which was published in 1942 (US), 1943 (UK). It was from this period, with the publication of the generally disputed theories contained in the latter book, that a growing degree of popular controversy arose over the subject of Huxley’s eyesight.
It was, and to a noticeable extent, still is widely held that, for most of his life, since the illness in his teens which left Huxley nearly blind, that his eyesight was exceedingly poor (despite the partial recovery which had enabled him to study at Oxford). For instance, some ten years after publication of The Art of Seeing, in 1952, Bennett Cerf was present when Huxley spoke at a Hollywood banquet, wearing no glasses and apparently reading his paper from the lectern without difficulty: "Then suddenly he faltered...and the disturbing truth became obvious. He wasn't reading his address at all. He had learned it by heart. To refresh his memory he brought the paper closer and closer to his eyes. When it was only an inch or so away he still couldn't read it, and had to fish for a magnifying glass in his pocket to make the typing visible to him. It was an agonizing moment."
On the other hand, Huxley's second wife, Laura Archera Huxley, would later emphasize in her biographical account, This Timeless Moment: "One of the great achievements of his life: that of having regained his sight." Here, she portrays the accomplishment as both metaphorical and considerably physiological in nature, attributing that which she cites J. Krishnamurti as naming the spirit of "freedom from the known", which she suggests that Huxley applied, non-exhaustively, in writing The Art of Seeing and utilizing the Bates Method. After revealing a letter she wrote to the Los Angeles Times disclaiming the label of Huxley as a "poor fellow who can hardly see" by Walter C. Alvarez, she tempers this: "Although I feel it was an injustice to treat Aldous as though he were blind, it is true there were many indications of his impaired vision. For instance, although Aldous did not wear glasses, he would quite often use a magnifying lens." Laura Huxley proceeds to elaborate a few nuances of inconsistency peculiar to Huxley's vision. Her account, in this respect, is discernibly congruent with the following sample of Huxley's own words from The Art of Seeing. "The most characteristic fact about the functioning of the total organism, or any part of the organism, is that it is not constant, but highly variable." Nevertheless, the topic of Huxley’s eyesight continues to endure similar, significant controversy, regardless of how trivial a subject matter it might initially appear.