Tex’s Briefs

Tex's Briefs


Once again, I am captivated by Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy, and this time, it’s his chapter on silence.  The following extended bit was written for publication in 1945.

The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise.  Physical noise, mental noise, and noise of desire–we hold history’s record for all of them.  And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence.  The most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio, is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes.  And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the ear-drums.  It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions–news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but merely create a craving for daily even hourly emotional enemas.  And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from ears, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s central core of wish and desire.  Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on woodpulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose–to prevent the will from every achieving silence.  Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination.  The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving.  Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify craving–to extend and intensify, that is to say, the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its divine Ground (218-19).

Tex’s Reduction

Tex's Reduction

I have mentioned this before, but I am enjoying so much reading The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley.  In fact, on a recent flight from DFW to Madrid on my way to Rome, I met a young woman who sat next to me and was traveling to Barcelona for a two week study in her masters program in international humanitarian action offered at Fordham University.  We had a lovely talk, and as we began to share our interests, I kept pulling out Huxley’s book to share passages, especially this one that begins on page 93:  ”Our present economic, social and international arrangements are based, in a large measure, on organized lovelessness.”  I must also admit that I had to share a Tex cartoon or two with her as well.  Anyway, Huxley’s book is one I’m still working through slowly and imagine I’ll have to start over again once I’m done.  Rich, rich stuff.

Tex’s Silver

Tex's Silver


These cartoons come to me from the oddest places, which means from pretty much anywhere.  Sometimes, they come from overhead conversations, responses to emails or Facebook comments or to a book I’m reading.  This one came to me on a recent transatlantic flight between Madrid and Chicago as I was unwrapping the packet of silverware that came with my afternoon meal.  I chose the chicken over pasta.

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