I read "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley recently and didn't know until right towards the end if I liked the book or not. I thought it was fascinating that a book written in 1932 could be so current and that the core issues of the book could just as easily be debated today as they would have been back then. It was definitely a thought-provoking book.
The quotes I liked best were almost to the end of the book and were in almost direct contrast with the rest of the story, but that contrast is what makes the story so interesting and worth contemplating.
"We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way- to depend on no one- to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man- that it is an unnatural state- will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end...."
"A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that his distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false- a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses."
"But all the same," insisted the Savage, "it is natural to believe in God when you're alone- quite alone, in the night, thinking about death..."
"But people are never alone now," said Mustapha Mond. "We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it's almost impossible for them ever to have it."
When I think of the world we live in today and the parallels that could be drawn between it and the "utopian" world described in the book it makes me even more grateful that I know of God, I believe in God, and I receive guidance from Him.
This book made me grateful for every painful experience I've had and for the normal irritations, grievances, and hardships of life; we can't have real joy without also having known real pain. This book shows very clearly that a "perfect" world would be perfectly awful.