The intellectual tourist : a study of Aldous Huxley's spirituality.

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Legg, Raymond
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Middle Tennessee State University
This dissertation defines the nature and development of Aldous Huxley's spirituality. It concludes that his spirituality is best defined under the heading of universal utilitarianism rather than mysticism as some critics suggest. The study focuses on three of Huxley's works and shows how they reflect his spiritual odyssey. The dissertation shows that this odyssey was facilitated by Huxley's heritage, his intellectual development, and his rejection of spiritual convention. The dissertation also shows that the discontinuity which is characteristic of his writing is not only a vital clue to interpretation of his work, but also the key to understanding the intricate nature of his spiritual life.
Chapter I established the significance of family, death, disease, and intellectual predisposition on shaping Huxley's spirituality. Chapter II defines the nature of that spirituality in terms of the similarity it exhibits with the spiritual perspectives developed during the Enlightenment.
Using Huxley's adaptation of eighteenth-century spirituality as the pattern, Chapters III, IV, and V show how three of his early works reflect that pattern and his attempts at redefining it in a modern context. Covering the novels Point Counter Point (1928) and Brave New World (1932), and his first play, The World of Light (1931), these chapters show how Huxley struggled to articulate a new approach to spirituality predicated upon intellect and synthesis rather than faith. These chapters conclude that Huxley was never able to achieve the kind of synthesis he sought. They conclude that the key element to spiritual contentment, faith, was always just beyond Huxley's grasp. The inability to believe reduced him to being an intellectual tourist in the spirit realm rather than a mystic. It reduced him to satisfying himself with something less than what he sought because he died never having achieved his goal of a Brave New Spirituality.