The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley was copywrited in 1954. A decade later, when I was 18 and contemplating the psychedelic adventure, it was still the best book available to help illumnate the trail. There were other powerful auto biographies of substance using individuals. Huxley offered erudie, spiritual, at times gorgeous reports back from the the other side of the veil. “Come on in, the water’s fine” I heard him say. To me he offered a rationale, an explanation (the reducing valve metaphor) and a modal (approach it with reverence and you may touch God) for how to behave. They all remain unchallenged foundations of my Psychedelic adventures. It’s almost an extended essay not a full book. Thus it’s a pretty quick read (always a plus for my quickly bored mind). Huxley writes beautifully and meaningfully about how useless and meaningless words can be when attempting to describe the Psychedelic experience. His modal of a man using psychedelics to seek beauty, adventure, knowledge and God has defined the best parts of who I have aspired to be my whole life.Thank you Aldous. I presume I may call you Aldous after the intimate time we spent together.
As you read his different visual metaphores and similes you might note that Huxley had extremely poor eyesight; perhaps that’s why he’s so good at those visual allusions.
Here’s the original review:
THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION
This is, perhaps, the best known and most read of all the psychedelic/Entheogen literature. Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, was considered one of the leading ‘public intellectuals’ of the twentieth century. His brother, Julian, states that he was always interested in the ‘strangeness of things’. Starting with a mescalin trip in 1953 he describes his trips and seeks meaning and understanding of the strange miracle that is life and of being human in particular. This book was, for several decades, the only reliable account of what happened while taking what were then called PSYCHEDELICS. Many of his insights have lost some of their power over the course of time. This book may have been the origin of the idea that the brain is a ‘reducing valve’ which filters out a great deal of the incoming sensory data so that the brain can make sense of everything. The correlary is that LSD allows more of that data in. This book remains, however, a seminal work of the psychedelic literature that poses questions and offers postulates that remain the intellectual foundation of the movement. A must read. Today, some editions include the extended essay “Heaven and Hell”, which I confess I could not force myself to wade through and several short essays on painters which I also found uninteresting. His wife reports that his desire was to die while tripping. She reports he requested 100 micrograms IM which she administered in two doses a few hours before his death. A CLASSIC, SOMEWHAT DATED BUT A GREAT READ WHERE SOME OF THE BASIC INTERPRETATIONS OF THE LSD EXPERIENCE WERE FIRST CODIFIED.
Perhaps one of you will add a review of HEAVEN AND HELL.