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Note that some of the top quotes on Goodreads were actually not from the book but from Huxley on other occasions, and some were from Brave New World Revisited , a follow-on retrospective Huxley published 26 years later. I skipped those in favor of only including quotes from the original book. I also took all quote versions from the 2007 Vintage edition for extra consistency.
3. “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”
9. “‘All right then,’ said the Savage defiantly, ‘I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’ ‘Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.’ There was a long silence. ‘I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last.”
25. “Often in the past he had wondered what it would be like to be subjected to some great trial, some pain, some persecution; he had even longed for affliction. […] Now that it looked as though the threats were really to be fulfilled, Bernard was appalled. Of that imagined stoicism, that theoretical courage, not a trace was left.”
29. “Looking at the two pots, he had to laugh. ‘But the next one will be better,’ he said, and began to moisten another piece of clay. To fashion, to give form, to feel his fingers gaining in skill and power—this gave him an extraordinary pleasure. […] They worked all day, and all day he was filled with an intense, absorbing happiness. ”
36. “Once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose—well, you didn’t know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily recondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes—make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true.
Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible.”
48. “You got rid of them. Yes, that’s just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them… But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy.”
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - 50 Best Quotes
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