Saturday, March 15, 2008

Huxley, and the meaning of words

Huxley, and the meaning of words




(article at above link)

This essay is a tribute to the victims of democracy: the long-suffering Palestinians, the traumatized Iraqis, ...black Americans, Native Americans. We're trained since childhood to ignore victims of democracy and to associate democracy – the word – with feelings of well-being and bonhomie. Aldous Huxley was well aware of the conditioning behind the emotive aspects of the word, as long ago as the 1920s: he knew it was sheer falsehood.



Excerpt:


When a Palestinian uses the word ‘democracy’, he means oppression. When a white, middle-class American uses the same word – well, he or she feels the reverse. When a Hindu uses the word ‘beef’, he definitely does not have the same sensations as a Muslim. And when a Frenchman says soixante-neuf, well, we have a fairly clear idea of what he is getting up - or down – to.

1 comment:

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