But in a less obvious, more fundamental way, one was guilty by just being imperviously oneself, by being content to remain a spiritual embryo, undeveloped, undelivered, unillumined. In part, at least, I am responsible for my own maiming, and on the hand that is left me there is blood and the black oily smear of charred flesh.

Look at any picture paper or magazine. News (and only evil is news, never good) alternates with fiction, photographs of weapons, corpses, ruins, with photographs of half naked women. Pharisaically, I used to think there was on casual connection between these things, that, as a strict sensualist and aesthete, I was without responsibility for what was happening in the world. But the habit of sensuality and pure aestheticism is a process of God-proofing. To indulge in it is to become a spiritual mackintosh, shielding the little corner of time, of which one is the centre, from the least drop of eternal reality. But the only hope for the world of time lies in being constantly drenched by that which lies beyond time. Guaranteed God-proof, we exclude from our surroundings the only influence that is able to neutralize the destructive energies of ambition, covetousness and the love of power. Our responsibility may be less spectacularly obvious than theirs; but it is no less real.

– Aldous Huxley, Time Hust Have a Stop

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