Ends and Means  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ends and Means (an Enquiry Into the Nature of Ideals and Into the Methods Employed for Their Realization) is a book of essays written by Aldous Huxley. It was published in 1937. The book contains illuminating tracts on war, religion, nationalism and ethics, and was cited as a major influence on Thomas Merton in his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain.


The behaviour of the insane is merely sane behaviour, a bit exaggerated and distorted. The abnormal casts a revealing light upon the normal. Hence the interest attaching, among other madmen, to the extravagant figure of the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis prided himself upon being a thinker. His books, indeed, contain more philosophy then pornography. The hungry smut-hound must plough through long chapters of abstract speculation in order to find die cruelties and obscenities for which he hungers. De Sade's philosophy was the philosophy of meaninglessness carried to its logical conclusion. Life was without significance. Values were illusory and ideals merely the inventions of cunning priests and kings. Sensations and animal pleasures alone possessed reality and were alone worth living for. There was no reason why anyone should have the slighest consideration for anyone else. For those who found rape and murder amusing, rape and murder were fully legitimate activities. And so on.

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