So at the conclusion of predictable but truly strange chain of events, I wound up spending the day at Aldous Huxley’s house in the Hollywood Hills with his widow, Laura, and some other folks (including Littlest Guy and Tenacious G), and had an odd kind of epiphany.
We were sitting out on the back patio, overlooking the canyon and looking up to the Hollywood sign, chatting, cutting up fruit and watching the kids play, when I realized that this scene – perhaps this exact scene – must have played out on this exact spot, except that the people standing around on the deck would have included Huxley, his friend and sometime writing partner Christopher Isherwood, and the rest of the wartime expatriate intellectual community.
Two of whom would have been Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, founders of the Frankfurt School and root figures in the rise of ‘critical theory’, one of the roots of what I would today call Bad Philosophy.
Huxley himself, with his search for transcendence, fits into the Romantic tradition which I’ve discussed as a further part of the cultural conflict in which we find ourselves.
I think that the cultural/philosophical battles are just now rising to everyone’s consciousness, and are not yet seen as critical, but will ultimately determine the outcome of this conflict.
And here I was sitting on that very patio, chowing down on excellent pineapples and pears, and realizing that I’m a part of a Reformation aimed in part at the very man whose lovely home I enjoyed today, and all his friends and colleagues.
Sometimes reality is just too damn weird.
(cross-posted at Winds of Change)