'Island' is a fictional story that contains powerful messages to become one's best self.
The main character in the novel, Will Farnaby, travels to an island called Pala to search for information about its oil reserves.
Through his search Will comes in contact with different aspects of Pala's society, which is based on a mix of Western principles and Eastern philosophy, and which results in a 'healthy' society.
One of the tools that contributes to this healthy society is the 'moksha-medicine', which is a mind-altering substance to expand consciousness.
Even though the critic has stated that this was one of Huxley's most pessimistic novels, maybe because the society he describes seems to have no chance of surviving, I found that it contains some useful principles to live a happy life, free from fear and worries.
For instance, in Pala there are mynah birds who repeat intermittently the words "Attention", and "Here and now, boys, here and now". This is a way to remind Pala's inhabitants to come back to the present moment all the time.
One of the most useful bits in this novel is the technique to deal with fear and worry, which a teacher explains to her pupils. The teacher asks her pupils to imagine a mynah bird, and then to imagine it having four legs, then changing colours, then dancing.
This is a way to train the imagination to become flexible. When we apply this same technique to what makes us anxious and fearful we can get to see the cause of our anxiety in a funny light and let go of the tension we may feel about it.
Another interesting idea in the novel is that of an alternative family structure. Instead of the family structure being formed by a 'closed' unity of one or two parents, and the children living with their own parents, Pala's society has an 'open' family structure in which there are 'clubs' of parents, and the children can choose to live with whoever of those parents they want at any time.
From my point of view, Huxley's novel contains many other interesting ideas, such as:
'Island' is a very interesting and mind-changing novel, which will surely bring you new points of view on a number of subjects.
"Start by being fully aware of what you think you are. It'll help you to become aware of what you are in fact."
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