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By Aldous Huxley

Ends and capacity (an Enquiry Into the character of beliefs and Into the equipment hired for his or her awareness) is a booklet of essays written by way of Aldous Huxley. It was once released in 1937. The ebook comprises illuminating tracts on battle, faith, nationalism and ethics.

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4 The same magnetism of life understood as surface and depth that we have seen in the intimate sphere holds good in the public sphere, using that term in its broadest sense to cover all other social relations. Although the very definition of the public sphere rules out as an element of its magnetism thoughts, words, and deeds that are shuttered from general view because they are private, the other elements reemerge here with increased force. The sedimentation of thought and practice over time; the tension between the past and the memory of the past, the present and constructions of the present; the pressure of an inner structure on empirical practice; the veiling of significant stakes—all are magnified in the public sphere because of its panoramic sweep, which takes in not two or three people but two hundred, or two thousand, or two million.

10 That if an oppressed class could be won by lies then surely it would be won by truth is a curious deduction, and only an extraordinary rationalist could make it. However, it shows the same respect for the intelligence of the popular masses of modern society that Marx’s and Engels’s words always do show, as long as they do not refer specifically to the peasantry. This would count as a significant qualification in light of the number of peasants in the world and the role that peasant culture plays as a source of metaphors for nationalist ideology, were it not for the fact that the peasants were already a doomed class in Marx’s and Engels’s imaginations.

31 These concrete contradictions between political and civil society, between the state as the reflection of social unity and of social division, and between unalienated and alienated social power, weigh against Engels’s claim, so often assumed to be a snapshot of Marx’s political theory, that “in reality . . ”32 They consequently weigh against any equation of Marx’s theory with this reductive idea. At his most suggestive, Marx reveals the civic nation to be a double reality of unity and division with complex implications for modern politics that he never traces out.

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