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The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley
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The Perennial Philosophy (1944)

by Aldous Huxley

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This book in itself is incomplete. Huxley considers this work a metaphysical study of what saints and sages experienced. Their 'personal' experience lay beyond human understanding, but the initial progress was understandable. Huxley does not give his own opinion alongside the sages' texts. I have not yet read his ‘The Doors of Perception.’ I am inclined to think he does pose his opinion there.

Huxley had read many philosophical and religious texts to arrange them to support a philosophy he himself constructed (empirical theology). He termed this the title of the book. Generally speaking, Huxley argued that all systems of thought and especially religious mysticisms all converged. After moving beyond the point of convergence, there could be an encounter with 'God' as the Ground of all Being. This anthology of brief texts attempts to help the reader approach this ground of Being (or Reality) as much as possible through knowledge. Huxley says that any change in the knower accompanies "a change in the nature and amount of knowing."(Introduction) By becoming acquainted with many wisdom traditions, Eastern and Western, direct knowledge can become "immediate" or personal for each person. Huxley says that Catholic Christianity taught a version of the Perennial Philosophy but overlaid it with excessive sacramentalism and idolatry. Huxley, instead, encourages people to view all things as symbols and sacraments in relation to the universe and its Ground (p. 271). His presentation is Hindu in orientation but lacks a teleological frame in the Christian sense. Huxley seemed to aim at promoting the unitive aspect of God as primary in this world and a mystical Sanjuanist conception of the Ground of Being itself (Nada). I would categorize this book as syncretist mystical thought but not comparative religious thought since Huxley felt that all people should encounter the Ground without taint from religious traditions, each tradition lacking some aspect to aid a person regardless of their geographic location. Huxley wrote this at a time when this sort of eclectic thinking was not common.
3 vote sacredheart25 | Dec 31, 2011 |
This book brought all spiritual and religious thought down to several basic commonalities. These are the tenets, then that have more likelihood of real truth. ( )
1 vote Adrianesc | Nov 23, 2010 |
What have all the mystics of all times and all religions in common? What are all of them telling and doing with their lives? Mr Huxley goes find about and tell you in this masterpiece, that happens to be double masterpiece for the fact of being published in the most atheist period of Humanity, and not even in a way that would fight such atheism. Because the book is not trying to bring you to any religion. In fact, religions are presented as obstacles to reach the total knowledge (and the total love, which for a mystic I guess is just the same). Precious. ( )
1 vote qgil | Mar 1, 2009 |
documented brilliance. this is a wandering intellects encyclopedia that embodies all the Eastern religions and critiques most of the Western ones to in a way only the great late Mr. Huxley could do.

a book that changes minds forever ( )
1 vote TakeItOrLeaveIt | Jan 28, 2009 |
WONDERFUL FIRST EDITION QUALITY
  Brightman | Jan 17, 2009 |
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Philosophia perennis—the phrase was coined by Leibniz; but the thing—the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being—the thing is immemorial and universal. (Introduction)
In studying the Perennial Philosophy we can begin either at the bottom, with practice and morality; or at the top, with a consideration of metaphysical truths; or, finally, in the middle, at the focal point where mind and matter, action and thought have their meeting place in human psychology.
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If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion.
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Book description
The Perennial Philosophy is defined by its author as "The metaphysics that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds."  With great wit and stunning intellect, Aldous Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains them in terms that are personally meaningful.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006057058X, Paperback)

The Perennial Philosophy is defined by its author as "The metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds." With great wit and stunning intellect, Aldous Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains them in terms that are personally meaningful.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:03 -0400)

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