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The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley

The Perennial Philosophy (original 1944; edition 2004)

by Aldous Huxley (Author)

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Title:The Perennial Philosophy
Authors:Aldous Huxley (Author)
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2004), 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:to-read, aldous-huxley, perennial-philosophy

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The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley (1944)



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"Talk as much philosophy as you please, worship as many gods as you like, observe all ceremonies, sing devoted praises to any number of divine beings - liberation never comes, even at the end of a hundred aeons, without the realization of the Oneness of Self." - Shankara (pg. 208)

"You are as holy as you wish to be." - Ruysbroeck (pg. 145)

A very thought-provoking book. ( )
  Matthew_Nelson | Dec 6, 2018 |
It's a good book in principle, but rather repetitive, and a touch too religious in its own way, rather than philosophical. I am not sure of the value of transcending the illusion of "I", in favour of being "nothing", or "everything", according to the book. I leave you with a quote I liked at p.83, "Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit; it is its own fruit, its own enjoyment. I love because I love". ( )
  Princesca | Mar 27, 2018 |
I guess you might be skeptical about the value of an annotated book of readings organized by topic like this one—is this heavy spirituality, or some cheap Greatest Hits album that’s never, seemingly, as good as any of the studio albums from which it springs? (To overexplain, that’s funny because Huxley is so scholarly.) But it’s really a great book, in its own right, and not just a shortcut to or introduction to, 47 other great books or whatever. It’s a version of the old philosophy of God and God-Knowledge, not locked into the myopia and division of creed and cult, modern sloppiness and laziness, or anti-modern reaction, fear, and division.

It’s something you can learn from, and more than once. It’s better than some of the more recent books on “philosophy”, and then there’s the—irrelevant, yet relevant—fact that it’s going to inform you in a way far beyond what you’ll get through the radio.... When people think of the past, they have these very common working-class memories of the recent past, the current past of living memory: what bullying used to be like fifty years ago, etc. But advancements have always come from people who are above the level of the masses, and some people being above the level of the masses dates back to deep historical times: ancient writings.
1 vote smallself | Feb 22, 2018 |
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.
4 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 |
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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.
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)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Examines well-known works on Western mysticism and the writings of Asian and Muslim mystics to provide an overview of the "Philosophia Perennis." Includes a "P.S." with a brief biography of Huxley and an article "Belief" which was not included in the original publication.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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