By June Deery (auth.)
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Extra resources for Aldous Huxley and the Mysticism of Science
We remember that Keats toasted 'Confusion to the memory of Newton' because the latter 'destroyed the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to a prism'. 28 His fear was that science (or 'natural philosophy') would 'clip an Angel's wings' and 'Conquer all mysteries by rule and line' ('Lamia', Complete Poems 41433). As though to demonstrate just that, one of Huxley's characters gleefully reveals that heavenly clouds are actually formed by 'the earth's excrementitious dust', thereby tarnishing the very 'symbol of human idealism' (Barren 89).
One example is the description of visual perception in the novel Point Counter Point: It was the season of tulips .... Atoms in the sun vibrated and their trembling filled all space. Eyes felt the pulses as light; the tulip atoms absorbed or reverberated the accorded movements, creating colours for whose sake the burgesses of seventeenth-century Haarlem were prepared to part with hoarded guilders. (253) There is just enough information for this to constitute a brief lesson, but one that is forced and irrelevant to the narrative situation.
536) Huxley illustrates the operationalist idea that time is something we measure and can do so in different ways. The same time interval is experienced subjectively at different psychological rates. As for the corpse lying in front of them: meanwhile, from the air, the invisible hosts of saprophytics had already begun their unresisted invasion. They would live among the dead cells, they would grow, and prodigiously multiply and in their growing and procreation all the chemical building of the body would be undone, all the intricacies and complications of its matter would be resolved, till by the time their work was finished a few pounds of carbon, a few quarts of water, some lime, a little phosphorous and sulphur, a pinch of iron and silicon, a handful of mixed salts - all scattered and recombined with the surrounding world - would be all that remained of Everard Webly's ambition to rule and his love for Elinor, of his thoughts about politics and his recollections of childhood, of his fencing and good horsemanship.
Aldous Huxley and the Mysticism of Science by June Deery (auth.)