I read Brave New World in my teens and then again in my mid-20s. Both times I thought, “I really should read more of Huxley’s work,” and then . . . I did not. I came across The Devils of Loudon while researching my book, The Infernal Library. On the face of it, it is a work of history set in France in 1632, exploring a famous case of demonic possession that supposedly afflicted an entire convent of nuns. There were exorcisms and a local priest who was blamed for the diabolical goings-on and burned at the stake. But Huxley was writing after the war, and he also had more contemporary forms of “demonic possession” on his mind. The Devils of Loudon is fascinating as a historical, social and psychological study—and full of insights that are chillingly relevant for our own times. Close to the start, Huxley dashes off a handful of paragraphs in which he neatly anatomizes the disastrous social effects of partisan loyalty; the words could have been written yesterday.
“Bowhead whales are the jazz singers of the Arctic. You don’t know what they’re going to do. They inject novelty,” said University of Washington oceanographer Kate Stafford.
Over three years a single underwater microphone captured 184 distinct bowhead whale songs, according to Stafford’s study in…Biology Letters. That’s remarkable because there are probably only a couple hundred males in an area between Greenland and Norway to make the songs, Stafford said.
Strengthening the senses is fascinating. We are our senses and during experience windows such as these, when the nights are filled with endless stars and a bit of a chill, you can do no better than to huddle by candle light wrapped in warm blankets to witness the ascent of the full moon, Spring Fever edition.
The fever is a kind of sweet madness and when the awareness rests within it, the effects can be spectacular. The sense of losing oneself to something greater is evoked by the practices and the sense of being a natural life force energy is sublime.