In these 1959 lectures, Huxley brings his ""encyclopaedic ignorance"" to bear on the fundamental problems of our time--the relationship of the individual to society and to nature. The result is a fascinating display of professional dilettantism Drawing on ideas developed in The Doors of Perception and Brave New World, Huxley puts forward a vision of knowledge which combines science and morals as he discusses ecology, population growth, language, genetics, psychology, and other topics. Running throughout is his quasi-mystical sensibility which sees everything as part of a whole open to us through art and ""perceptual awareness,"" a conception he derives from Gestalt psychology and Eastern religions. A dialectic of optimism and pessimism is maintained as Huxley simultaneously enumerates the many forces at work which crush the individual and ravage the planet, while outlining the spiritual possibilities of his mystical unifying consciousness. Unfortunately, he gives no hints of how to get from the dim realities to the bright possibilities, contenting himself with the role of ""bridge builder."" The strange blend of common sense and idealism, of British empiricism and Zen, which characterizes these lectures makes them a stimulating inducement to rethink the way we think about our most pressing problems. Despite the date of its origin, a very contemporary book.