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The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell

by Aldous Huxley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,532452,519 (3.75)24
Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

The critically acclaimed novelist and social critic Aldous Huxley, describes his personal experimentation with the drug mescaline and explores the nature of visionary experience. The title of this classic comes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

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    The biology of human starvation by Ancel Benjamin Keys (Sylak)
    Sylak: Huxley took notes from this work for his sequel to 'The Doors of Perception', titled 'Heaven and Hell'. See appendix II of the 1959 Penguin copy.
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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
As I expected Aldous Huxley wrote a book that is very meaningful to me about different methods of getting thru doors to see what is real. I had not known that he had used mescaline as one of those methods, but he did; and what he wrote about that experience was enlightening. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
I found the first section of this book a little bland and boring on par with The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness by Alan Watts. In fact, they seem to mirror each other a little in what they say about the drug experience. However, I found the second half of the book, Heaven & Hell, much more enjoyable and interesting. In particular, the idea of a 'visionary' as opposed to a 'negative visionary'. I'm still mulling that over in my head as I write this. Bad trips and hell lie in the concentrated idea of individualism and the opposite laying in ego death and the destruction of self makes sense to me and is plainly engaging to my mind. I have had some experience with drugs especially cannabis and alcohol and with some hard drugs and hallucinogens as well. I've never seen heaven or hell while under the influence as Huxley and Alan Watts seem to have, save for spinning, vomiting, and really bad hangovers/mush-brain.
I would recommend this book, not so much the first part (The Doors of Perception), but for the second, (Heaven & Hell) and the included essay Drugs that Shape Men's Minds particularly because the line, "...others embark upon their course of slow suicide as a result of mere intimation and good fellowship because they have made such an "excellent adjustment to their group" - a process which, if the group happens to be criminal, idiotic or merely ignorant, can bring only disaster to the well-adjusted individual." Which really connected with me (a sort of unpleasant flashback to my youth). ( )
  Ranjr | Jul 13, 2023 |
I really wanted to like this book because I am reading book about the history of the psychedelic movement. I got it as an audiobook, but the speaker has a weird voice and I find the book impossible to follow. The book sounds like it was written while someone was high. ( )
  laurelzito | Sep 25, 2022 |
This is 79 pages and I could not be more bored if I tried. This book recounts the time the author took mescalin. One would think it would be a very mesmerizing read but it's actually dull as tombs.

Huxley's experience is described in the most boring and numbing words possible. This is frankly an absolute shock since I am quite fond of Brave New World. The telling is in some ways a stream of consciousness but also telling from the outside looking in while looking out from the inside...if that makes any sort of sense. Huxley seems to simultaneously describe the mescalin trip as it's happening to him and as he's being watched while having it. And this should be a very unique understanding but it just isn't. This brought me to:

DNF'd after 40 pages.

This will be leaving my collection.

**All thoughts and opinions are my own.** ( )
  The_Literary_Jedi | Apr 2, 2022 |
most interesting part is def the connections made bw (1) various mystical (non)conceptions of splendorous emptiness, (2) the xp of mescaline, and (3) the aesthetic meanings of material ornaments in religious art ( )
  sashame | Feb 16, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huxley, Aldousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ernst;, MaxCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything will appear to man as it is, infinite." - William Blake
Dedication
For M.
First words
It was in 1886 that the German pharmacologist, Louis Lewin, published the first systematic study of the cactus, to which his own name was subsequently given.
Quotations
But the need for frequent chemical vacations from intolerable selfhood and repulsive surroundings will undoubtedly remain.
There is always money for, there are always doctorates available in, the learned foolery of research into what, for scholars, is the all-important problem: Who influenced whom to say what when?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Contains "The Doors of Perception" AND "Heaven and Hell" - please don't combine with editions containing only one of these. While not always specified in the title, the German edition with the ISBN 3492200060 contains both works and is correctly combined here!
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Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

The critically acclaimed novelist and social critic Aldous Huxley, describes his personal experimentation with the drug mescaline and explores the nature of visionary experience. The title of this classic comes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

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