Who said: "Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you." - Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born in Godalming, in the south of England, in 1894.  Grandson of the prominent biologist T.H. Huxley and third child of the biographer Leonard Huxley, he was educated at Eton and went on to study at Balliol College, Oxford.  As a teenager he became practically blind for two years from keratitis (a condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed which can lead to scarring), which disqualified him from military service.

He wrote his first, unpublished, book in 1916, the same year he graduated from Oxford. After an unsuccessful year teaching at Eton (he is remembered as a hopeless teacher who could not keep discipline) he worked for three years at Athenaeum, a literary and scientific periodical which merged with the left wing The Nation in 1921 (and both merged with The New Statesman in 1931).  After leaving Athenaeum in 1921 he devoted himself largely to writing, and spent the best part of the next two decades in Italy with a short period in the 1920s when he worked at the Brunner and Mond chemical plant in the north of England, which partially inspired Brave New World.

He established himself as a major author with his first two published novels, Crome Yellow (1921) and Antic Hay (1923); satires on the pretensions of the contemporary English literary society. Two similar works followed: Those Barren Leaves (1925) and Point Counter Point (1928).  But he is undoubtedly best remembered for Brave New World (1932), a vision of a future dystopica in which psychological conditioning supports a scientifically determined and immutable caste system. 

In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, California with his wife and son. Soon after his friend Gerald Heard introduced him to Veda-Centric Hinduism; after which most of his writing reflected his growing interest in this philosophy, most notably The Perennial Philosophy (1946).  During World War II he also earned some money as a Hollywood writer on films such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.

Huxley was introduced to the psychedelic drug mescaline in 1953, and became a pioneer of self-directed drug use 'in search for enlightenment', taking his first dose of LSD in 1955.  He described his psychedelic drug experiences in a number of essays that were popular with the early hippies.  In 1960, five years after his first wife died of cancer and four years after he married his second, he was diagnosed with cancer.  He died on 22 November, 1963.  Media coverage of his death, and of C.S. Lewis, who died the same day, was overshadowed by the assassination of President Kennedy.


Apparently Aldous (pronounced OLDus or ALDus depending on who you ask) is from Old German meaning old.  It has never been a common name in England but can be found occasionally in records dating from the 15th century, usually in the region of East Anglia.


More quotes by Aldous Huxley

  • Maybe this world is another planet's hell.
  • To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
  • 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 fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.
  • Cynical realism is the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.
  • 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.
  • Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.
  • There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
  • Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes; and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the demons.
  • Dream in a pragmatic way.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  131Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.