Ape and Essence

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Huxley, Aldous. Ape and Essence. New York: Harper & Brothers / London: Chatto & Windus, 1948.

A frame narrative, centered in a bitter post-apocalypse satire set mostly in California after World War III, with the work's relevance pointed out by I. F. Clarke in Voices Prophesying War (ch. 6, "From the Flame Deluge to the Bad Time") as a sign of its post-World-War-II time and for its attack on the not just misguided utopianism (as in Huxley's earlier Brave New World) or on nationalism (natural enough after World War II) but "technological progress" (and progress generally) going back, significantly, to the industrial revolution (Clarke pp. 171-73). Clarke quotes in full the key passage, as does, as of December 2020, the Wikipedia article on Ape and Essence. ("Belial" is the personification of evil: the devil.)

Progress -- the theory that you can get something for nothing; the theory that you can gain in one field without paying for your gain in another; the theory that you alone understand the meaning of history; the theory that you know what's going to happen fifty years from now; the theory that, in the teeth of all experience, you can foresee all the consequences of your present actions; the theory that Utopia lies just ahead and that, since ideal ends justify the most abominable means, it is your privilege and duty to rob, swindle, torture, enslave and murder all those who, in your opinion (which is, by definition, infallible), obstruct the onward march to the earthly paradise. Remember that phrase of Karl Marx's: 'Force is the midwife of Progress.' He might have added -- but of course Belial didn't want to let the cat out of the bag at that early stage of the proceedings -- that Progress is the midwife of Force. Doubly the midwife, for the fact of technological progress provides people with the instruments of ever more indiscriminate destruction, while the myth of political and moral progress serves as the excuse for using those means to the very limit.[1]

The drama classification here is because APE AND ESSENCE within Huxley's satire is in the form (mostly) of an unproduced film script.[2]