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Aldous Huxley



You probably know Aldous Huxley from his novels, of which the most famous is Brave New World, which presents a terrifying picture of a future world where individual freedom is suppressed in the name of science and order. Huxley is also known for his experiments with hallucinogenic drugs in the 1950s. But he was also a pacifist and a member of the Peace Pledge Union.

Many of his writings examine the philosophy of pacifism, and conclude that it is the only rational way to bring peace. Huxley saw that war cannot bring peace, because violent methods cannot create nonviolent results. He said that ‘People love to talk about a war to end war; they do not love to talk about a peace to end war.’

Huxley developed these ideas in his book Ends and Means, and in various articles which are gathered in a PPU publication - Pacifism and Philosophy. In the title essay, Huxley states clearly: ‘Our end is peace. How do we propose to realise this end? Experience makes it abundantly clear that, if we want to be treated with trust and affection by others, we must ourselves treat those others with trust and affection. If we play dirty tricks on them, we shall engender resentment, fear and hatred. Politicians affirm their desire to preserve peace; but the means they use are wholly inappropriate.’

Huxley saw that peace is possible if we recognise it is possible and are prepared to work for it. ‘In 1600 duelling may have seemed to many intelligent people a law of nature. But the fact remains that we have abolished duelling. There is no reason why we should not abolish war.’
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