Posts Tagged ‘The Doors Of Perception – book review’

Today I completed reading “The Doors Of Perception” (1954©), by Aldous Huxley.  This is a “classic” because it was written by a famous / distinguished author.  It is a very short work of less than eighty pages; well written and easy to zip through.  This is my second reading of the book.  I guess I first read the book back in the mid to late 1970’s, but it may have been as late as the early 1980’s – certainly before I reached thirty years old.  I have remembered almost nothing of the book, so it didn’t leave much of an early impression the first time through.  I had previously underlined a few excerpts to be included in my journal at some point.  I found many more interesting statements this second time through.
The book is essentially about a day spent “high” on peyote / mescaline.  The author read about the drug being used to treat some forms of mental illness and decided to try it under supervision (a doctor and his – Huxley’s – wife).  The book is a record of the experience and his thoughts immediately after the experiment.  At the time of the experiment, the drug was not illegal or on the controlled substance list.
Full disclosure:  although I had a misspent youth experiencing multiple controlled substances, “magic” mushrooms / peyote / mescaline was not one of them, so I have no direct experience to personally compare with Huxley’s.  I would say generally, Huxley’s description of “altered” states seems accurate, perceptive and well written.  Perhaps, too well written, as erudite writers sometimes beat you over the head with their education and sophistication.  Huxley is borderline here.
I believe I actually found Huxley’s after-the-fact comments and observations more interesting than his in-the-moment ones.  Huxley offered me a number of insights into human nature and the role of drugs in society and religion, which I confess gave me pause for thought.  You’ll read some of these in the next few months.  I haven’t decided whether I’ll comment on them or simply post them as written.
Final recommendation:  highly recommended reading!   The book is short, well written and offers interesting comments on the nature of man’s experience in the universe.
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