2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cerebral Infarction and Increased Human Percepton
What does Zen, Hindu and various forms of meditation have in common with poor diet, fasting and starvation, with self inflicted body wounds that bring on infection, with chanting songs and poems that hyperventilate, with yogic breathing exercises? Cerebral Infarction, or as Huxley words as inhibiting the brain's cerebral reduction valve, draining the required...
Published on Dec 17 2003 by R. Schwartz
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is an interesting book -- it is really two books in one -- "The Doors of Perception", in which Huxely recalls his first experience using mescalin, and "Heaven and Hell", which is considerably more speculative. Of the two, the latter is by far the better book. The former deals mainly with the mescalin experience itself, which I can assure you,...
Published on Sept. 12 2000 by gsibbery
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cerebral Infarction and Increased Human Percepton,
What does Zen, Hindu and various forms of meditation have in common with poor diet, fasting and starvation, with self inflicted body wounds that bring on infection, with chanting songs and poems that hyperventilate, with yogic breathing exercises? Cerebral Infarction, or as Huxley words as inhibiting the brain's cerebral reduction valve, draining the required glucose to maintain a filtered, that is a reduced amount, of reality to be perceived for the survival of the human species. Whether this science is empirically true or not, the connection is most certainly there. One can find such revelatory and hallucinogenic experiences in the Hindu Upishads and Vedas, the Old and New Testaments and all cultures which have mystical experiences. The Catholic mystics called this experience the "gratuitous grace."
Anotherwards, these various forms of ancient religious exercises were designed to allow greater portions of reality to be perceived by otherwise a limited and filtered human mind that only perceives limited amounts of reality. And both in ancient times with the use of etheogenic/hallucinogenic plants, and now in modern times with laboratory extraction and use of such plants this opening of perception (doors of perception) of the human mind, are opened to allow such beneficial observation.
According to Huxley, this is not an escape to utopia, nor an ultimate answer, however it is an experience that will ever change the human in a most beneficial way, where he will never quite be the same but will have a newer and deeper understanding of art, creativity and perception as never before. Not as a simple recreational tool, but an advancement for the intellectual.
I agree with his assessment.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where have I been?,
I'm amazed that this book has escaped me for so long. That it is not more popular is beyond my grasp.
Originally published as two separate publications, THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION AND HEAVEN AND HELL is an argument for the use of hallucinogens, hoping to expand the consciousness of the common man. The bad news? There hasn't been a drug produced that can guarantee a positive experiece for everyone, so there's the danger of the bad trip.
Whether you believe in this way of thinking or not, I challenge you to read this remarkable piece of literature from one of the most free-thinking and open-minded writers of the last century. "Doors" is a first person account of Huxley's mescalin trip" and it's a great way to experience this without having to actually go "through" it.
Other books you might want to check out:
The Electric Acid Koolaid Test by Tom Wolfe
Katzenjammer by Jackson McCrae
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Brave New World by Huxley
4.0 out of 5 stars How the band The Doors were named,
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One of the first heavily psychedelic books ever. Who would have dreamed that hippiedom started when it did.
Spawned the name of the band 'The Doors'.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful read.,
I haven't read Huxley in a long, long time. Clearly, it's been too long. Just reading this book is a pleasure, as it is always a pleasure reading the words of any thoughtful person who can really handle the language. Huxley's descriptions of his Mescaline-induced experience are vivid and fascinating. The conclusions he draws from his 'trip' are equally fascinating. The tragedy is that the voices of people like Huxley, who understood the powerful potential of psychedelics as agents of healing, got swamped under the noise of others for whom such chemicals seem to have served as little more than entertainment, or easy avenues to enlightenment.
This book comes from a time before there were 'sides' to the drug issue. It predates a lot of the cultural upheaval we typically associate with psychedelics. It is a wonderful little book (you can read 'The Doors of Perception' and 'Heaven and Hell' in a single day if you try). If nothing else, you'll be able to say, afterward, that you've read Huxley.
5.0 out of 5 stars a visionary classic,
It's been a long time since I've touched any illicit drug. I remember in my teens I went through my Rimbaud phase of experimentation to see if I could write poetry under pot. But as with drunkenness, creative writing while you're high has little or no good effect. Often it's not even possible to create in such a state. The notion that you'll get all these visions and reach a higher creative reality is all, unfortunately, bullsh*t. However, in very moderate doses, drugs and alcohol can help stimulate an artist's creativity.
"The Doors of Perception" was the result of Aldous Huxley taking an hallucinogenic called mescaline to see what would happen to him. He sat down and closed his eyes, waiting for it to take effect. When he next opened his eyes, his perception of everything was completely altered. Even the flowers in the vase were different. Huxley referred to this mystical experience as a "sacramental vision of reality" and "the miracle, moment by moment, of naked reality."
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley in one of his most sincere investigations,
I've always felt that Aldous Huxley was the most versatile thinker of England the last century. His huge culture allows him to explore all the known items. I must recognize that with the astonishing exception of a brave new world, his novelist approach he doesn't have much to offer. I'd rather prefer his meticolous essays in multiple directions.
This book, in particular may be a good star for all who pretend to get into the Huxley's world.
I read that book in the middle of the seventies, and the first you acknowledge is the visible enchantment that gives to every note. In fact, Huxley was a fan of William Blake, and that explains the title "The doors of perception" (Jim Morrison was too a fervient reader of Blake).
The approach given for Huxley in the doors is like he and us were in an opened conference with no restrictions of any subject.
The explanations above the different ways you may reach of reducing the efficiency of the "third eye" is ravishing. You read page after with anxiety for absorbing every little comentary or observation. The links inmediatly leads you to Loudun's demons (which served to ken Russell for making a film entitled The demons, with Oliver Reed) (in my point of view his most complete work),
Heaven and hell is an autobiografical experience, in which he is under the effects of the mescaline, a plant used in Mexico. This mind journey is supported by recordings made in company with his wife and a friend of them. So this reading is just an overlapping of all the process.
In the seventies, too many things shocked the world. The end of Vietnam's war, The Watergate affair, the prizes of oil established by the OPEC in 1973. Those were the days in which Marcuse and Erich Fromm hold a wide audience all around the world.
And in this sense this book became a landmark , because the huge amount of items that troubled to Huxley , such he refers us in an new visit to a brave new world, The island (is the other side of the coin respect anew brave world), Huxley added to his no limits territories, a true example of what you may define like a reinassance man. In this category , you can include thinkers and writers like Bertrand Russell, Ortega and Gasset, Ernesto Sabato, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade, Paul Diel, Jean marie Domenach, to name just a few.
This book, if you're really are interested for knowing the essential facts that happens in your mind when you are disturbed by your own choice, will offer a crude but enriched analysis.Don't be afraid just thinking the information may be dated.
I'm talking about the first step ypou may climb in oreder to follow you bliss in this sense. The links you can do are no ending. All depends about your inner convictions and interest areas, like investigator, universitary student, common reader or mythology investigator . The sky is the limit.
You will be always rewarded.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reading, but too spculative at the end.,
I liked this book right from the start, maybe because it supports my views upon life, but at the same time it challenges my view upon drugs through my views upon life.
Aldous Huxley describes a state of Suchness as a state where everything just exists, there is no real value in this state of mind except that there is beauty in everything, it's a kind of objective state distanced from the beholders self. To Aldous Huxley this is a state he reaches with mescalin, and the attainment of this state is the argument for drugs, because as he says, this is the way that people ought to see things. Huxley believes that we would be better human beeings if we reach into to this Other World, this state of distance from our own egos, and I believe he is right. We would probably be more peaceful, more open minded, more accepting and more forgiving, but as he points out, this is also a state of inactivity. This mind at large is a very observative and percieving state, and the beholder might even forget or ignore even his/her own basic needs like food. We aren't productive enough to sustain our own living in this condition.
I think that I know this state of mind well, with all it's blessings and pittfalls, even though I don't take any drugs (except from beer). Anyway I have started to wonder if I could extend this state of mind with mescalin, and wether it would be any good? My principal standing is that no drugs are needed in order to extend the experience of life, that's why I almost never have taken any kind of medication, even though I might suffer from pain. Also freedom is very valuable to me, so addiction scares me away form drugs. But if we had a perfect drug with no addiction, why not have this expereience? Why not once in a while? And why not all the time?
I think that Huxley himself answers this question very well in his book Brave New World, although its a long tim ago that I read it (6-7 years). I definitly need a brush-up on it. I read this as a critique of the ignorant state of mind of all the inhabitants in the Bave New World. I loved this book by all my heart and would recommend that you read it after reading Doors of Perception.
Another book that I will recommend highly is "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman. This book is about another kind, but omnipresent drug, called television. This book might give you an idea of why drugs/television are no good solution. Drugs are just a too simple push-a-button-and-be-happy solution, the good has no proportions without the harsh to put it into perspective. Personally many of my great Mind at Large experiences have come to me after climbing a volcano, after walking 80 km in 14 hours or just by experiencing an extremely beautiful landscape while travelling.
Some of us might be more prdisposed to this Mind at Large than others, but I believe in David Keirseys theory that each of us are in fact satisfied with beeing the kind of person we are. Maybe we envy traits of others, but if the trade-off is our own abilities, we would rather like to be ourselves. "Please Understand Me II" by David Keirsey is a phenomenal book.
The reason for only giving this book 4 stars is that it get's a little too speculative towards the end.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting viewpoints from a different perspective,
"The Doors of Perception" is essentially a commentary by Huxley describing his experience with Mescaline. What I found most interesting was that it is written from the perspective of a very well-educated intellectual who, while high on Mescaline, observes and waxes mystical and philosophical on art (paintings), of all things. This was funny in an odd sort of way, reading an obviously passionate art appreciator discuss the merits of various artists and works of art while using a hallucinagenic drug, - however not understanding a lot myself about the history of painted artwork I think much of his commentary was lost on me. In addition to criticizing art he also commented in general on the nature of the mind and the connection between the mind, hallucinagens and mystical experience, etc.
In "Heaven and Hell", Huxley discusses the nature and history of mystical experience, or as he tends to refer to it "visionary experience". Again, he focuses strongly on the role of art (mostly painting) throughout history as being evocative of mystical visions and it's almost as if he is discussing the mystical implications of art throughout history as much as he is discussing the mystical experience itself.
While interesting, I found his approach a bit too intellectual for my tastes, and his fixation with art a bit beyond my reach considering I know little of art and had no frame of reference with which to personally evaluate his examples and comparisons (not being familiar with the specific works and artists that he was using for examples). Also, compared to the wealth of written material and research available today on the subjects of hallucinagens, mysticism, and transpersonal psychology I felt that his material was a bit outdated.
Nevertheless, these books are worth reading and he makes many interesting points.
5.0 out of 5 stars Like taking your mind on a psychotropic voyage,
This book is in the top three mind-expanding reads I've indulged in. The kind of book which made me question the reality I knew. And at the same time, it reminded me of my "oneness" with sights, sounds and ideas around me. Aldous Huxley's writing style took me to a place I'd been to before. And explained to me the beauty of it in a way which blew my mind.
I highly recommend it for fans of psychedelia and new age ideas.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Groundbreaking Work,
The only reason I gave this book only 4 stars instead of five is that the second essay, _Heaven and Hell_, struck me as rather weak. Taken by itself, _Doors of Perception_ is definitely a 5 star work. This book is a watershed moment in the psychedelic literature movement. It is beautifully written, with a clear and understandable style. Huxley has a particular knack for knowing when he has come up against the unknowable, and is able to recognize the unknowable for what it really is. He sort of maps out the edges of the unknowable, highlighting what is within the grasp of our knowledge, while defining a clear boundary demarcating the realms of knowledge that can only become known in another life. This, of course, was the book that inspired the great philosopher Terrance McKenna, and after reading it, you might also become inspired to try to become the next great philosopher. _Doors of Perception_ is notable in that it triggers a desire for knowledge rather than simply expounding data. This is definitely a good thing, and the reader can't help but be infected with a love for the astonishment and wonder that philosophy can provide.
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The Doors of Perception: and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley (Paperback - Oct. 6 2004)
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