Knowledge and Understanding 
A Lecture by Aldous Huxley
Plus Selected Questions and Answers (
Second Edition*)

Audio CD,  $11.95 + Shipping (& Taxes in California)

"Although genius is an overused term, in my opinion the word perfectly applies to Aldous Huxley–a man for whom thinking itself was an art. In Knowledge and Understanding, a lecture given at the Hollywood Vedanta Temple, he explores the very nature of mental processes. His spontaneous exchanges in the intimate Question/Answer section serve as further insight to the man."

—Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It gets directly at the heart of the revolution that Huxley was trying to instigate - specifically, to challenge the Western mind to consider a truth that transcends mere knowledge, a truth that is experiential and that the Eastern mind knows as enlightenment. And Huxley does a brilliant job of articulating the nature and benefits of that deeper truth.

Dana Sawyer, author of Aldous Huxley: A Biography

In the course of Aldous Huxley’s long association with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, he was an important contributor to the Society’s literary heritage. His Vedanta-related body of work includes articles, essays, and introductions, and he was the editorial advisor of Vedanta and the West for eleven years.

He  lectured at both the Hollywood and Santa Barbara temples. Knowledge and Understanding, as well as the informal question/answer session that followed, was recorded on a wire recorder and has been digitally transferred  by the Vedanta Archives and mastered by mondayMEDIA. The audio quality of the Question/Answer session is less than studio standard, but the spontaneous exchanges reveal a personable Huxley. Traditionally, the speaker and interested audience members would assemble in the "Green House" living room for discussion.

Knowledge and Understanding (1955) showcases Huxley’s wide-ranging intellect, his socially prophetic vision, and is peppered with wit. This lecture is a must for Huxley fans and scholars.

Produced in conjunction with Vedanta Archives, which is in the process of organizing and restoring a wealth of materials collected over decades.

Running Time: 78 minutes
Produced in conjunction with Vedanta Archives and Vedanta Press

*Second Edition: When we sent the disc out for review, Kendra Smith noted that Aldous Huxley had a deeper voice than what she had heard on the first edition disc. In preparing for large-run replication, Jon listened to as many recordings of Huxley as he could find. As a result, he determined that the transfer from  wire recording had sped up the voice. It was adjusted to more closely reflect both the register and speed of Huxley's speech. 

However, there was not enough time on the disc to include all the questions that are on the first edition. Also, the order of the Q&A was altered. In both editions, the Q&A session is a selection of questions and answers.

From Bill Moyers' website (See Source):

Who was more prophetic, Orwell or Huxley?

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”

Mike Wallace interviews Aldous Huxley on U.S. Politics 1958



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