“Words, words, words.” And what’s in a word? Answer: corpses, millions of corpses. And the moral of that is, Keep Your Trap Shut; or if you must open it, never take what comes out of it too seriously. Katy kept our traps firmly shut. She had the instinctive wisdom that taboos the four-letter words (and a fortiori the scientific polysyllables), while tacitly taking for granted the daily and nightly four-letter acts to which they refer. In silence, an act is an act is an act. Verbalized and discussed, it becomes an ethical problem, a casus belli, the source of a neurosis.
The Genius & The Goddess
Aldous Huxley 1955
Cribb Comment: Keeping within the context of the entire novel, it appears that Huxley is illustrating the difficulty of resolving and unifying the antagonistic paradox he feels exists between spiritual grace (verbally expressed awareness and contemplation) and animal grace (instinctual physical behavior) in a union between two souls that each originate out of opposite ends of this spectrum. Elsewhere in the novel, he appears to suggest that “human grace” is also a part of this dynamic and that the complete spectrum must be incorporated together in unison if an individual is to attain the highest level of awareness and transcendence possible in our existence.
Blood beats in the ears. Beat, beat, beat. A slow drum in the darkness, beating in the ears of one who lies wakeful with fever, with the sickness of too much misery. It beats unceasingly, in the ears, in the mind itself. Body and mind are indivisible and in the spirit blood painfully throbs. Sad thoughts droop through the mind. A small pure light comes swaying down through the darkness, comes to rest, resigning itself to the obscurity of its misfortune. There is resignation, but blood still beats in the ears. Blood still painfully beats, though the mind has acquiesced. And then, suddenly, the mind exerts itself, throws off the fever of too much suffering and, laughing, commands the body to dance. The introduction to the last movement comes to its suspended, throbbing close. There is an instant of expectation and then, with a series of mounting trochees and a downward hurrying, step after tiny step, in triple time, the dance begins. Irrelevant, irreverent, out of key with all that has gone before. But man’s greatest strength lies in his capacity for irrelevance. In the midst of pestilences, he builds cathedrals; and a slave, he can think the irrelevant and unsuitable thoughts of a free man. The spirit is slave to fever and beating blood, at the mercy of an obscure and tyrannous misfortune. But irrelevantly, it elects to dance in triple measure—a mounting skip, a patter of descending feet.