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The Doors of Perception

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  4,937 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Sometimes a writer has to revisit the classics, and here we find that "gonzo journalism"—gutsy first-person accounts wherein the author is part of the story—didn't originate with Hunter S. Thompson or Tom Wolfe. Aldous Huxley took some mescaline & wrote about it some 10 or 12 years earlier than those others. The book he came up with is part bemused essay & part mys ...more
Hardcover, First Edition (U.K.), 63 pages
Published 1954 by Chatto & Windus
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Rafael George Not yet; but probably today I'll get it. I don't know from where I got this one but I was organizing stuffs and found it written down.
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November 22, 1963. That fateful day. Yes, the day Huxley died. His last words were “LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.” He took psychedelic drugs less than a dozen times in his life, but he always did so with a deep spiritual purpose, never casually. The Doors of Perception is a detailed account of the first time. The title 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,
Chance Maree

Increasingly, I'm learning that perception is far more complicated than I ever imagined. Sight, as an example, isn't simply eyes acting like cameras, sending image data to the brain for interpretation. An article in the online journal, Nature, described the mechanism by which the brain "sees" what our eyes are going to see before our eyes see it. This is why we don't view the world through what would otherwise look like a hand-held camera. Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Med
William Strasse
I need to read more Huxley...maybe I'll finally dig in to the copy of "The Perennial Philosophy" that I've started on several times (although probably not until after "A Brief History Of Everything"...those two at the same time would be just masochistic.)

Although I did get a lot out of this book, the single thing that really made an impact was the discussion of our brain as a sensory-limiting mechanism which is concerned most of the time with filtering out all but what we need for survival at an
Lindu Pindu
Huxley. Not on my list of great writers, but an interesting person with ideas.

There are more illuminating books on psychoactive substances, but this would perform well as a primer for those completely brainwashed into thinking that drug-takers are dazed hippies. I see them/us as *seekers*, people seeking to believe in something they can see and experience in an age where we don't take words like mind, soul, reason for granted anymore. This is exactly the point of view Huxley uses here. Also, im
My friend Amanda who dated & married this guy based on their shared obsession with Nick Cave said I had to read this book in Oz. They even got it out for me at the library. I read it. It was alright. My genuine reaction was that this is a lazy short-cut...everything he described, you could achieve drug-free from mind-training and if my tibetan meditation teacher had to spend 30 yrs in some cave up in the Himalayas doing this and lazy people want to pay $30 and take a short-c ...more
Nick Allen
My hopes were partially fulfilled in the second half of the essay, in which Huxley examined the natural human urge to experience the world through the lens of any kind of drug or alcohol, and how this relates to current legal policy and common conceptions of mental well-being. However, most of the essay carried the kind of underlying tone of semi-religious reverence for the effects of drugs that I hear all too much of from the kids at college. The idea that the human brain can have knowledge of ...more
If I was only rating The Doors of Perception, I would be giving it 5 stars. True, when I read its 50 brilliant pages in a single sitting I was feeling the first effects of a flu infection that I was hoping was going to be fought back before it could take a firm hold (so far so good), but I'm reasonably confident that the impression it made on me was genuine, and not a product of any fevered flights of fancy.
So: The Doors of Perception. It's fascinating, insightful, and provided more food for tho
Mike Awtry
Huxley's writing is brilliant and a joy to read. The work is littered throughout with so much religious and philosophical allusions, which adds to the thoughtful depth. I found it to be quite fascinating.

However, his conclusions leave empty. Essentially, it's religion achieved through chemistry. And his conception of religion focuses purely on the subjective. It's no surprise that he refers to Eckhart, Boehme, and eastern philosophy so often; he looks only at the "inner light" rather than consi
Kyle van Oosterum
In 1936, Huxley boldly became the guinea pig of an experiment testing the effects of Mescaline (active ingredient in Peyote) on humans. After having ingested the mystical drug, he recounted his experience 20 years later.

Almost instantly he enters a state of transfiguration, wildly more vivid than his subjective and banal consciousness. Every innocuous object has as much relevance as the birth of the universe, and everything silent and unmoving seems to scream its importance. With this spiritual
David Ceballos Correa
Una obra maestra. Un libro valiente y revelador, de una lucidez perturbadora, no apto para menores de treinta (es broma, no hay que ser siempre tan graves, tan). La importancia del ensayo consiste en describir y alcanzar un estado que Huxley llama de "Inteligencia Libre" (una pésima traducción, pésima, dado que en el original es "Mind at Large", algo así como "Mente en Extensión", lo cual es consistente con todos los argumentos que en lo posterior desarrolla), un estado en el que la conciencia p ...more
John Spillane
When he talks about things other than his drug experience, essentially me telling you about a dream I had, i.e. art or literature he's pretty interesting but that's prob only 20-30% of the book. Short though, so there was no reason not to audiobook it.
Daniel Gonçalves
In 1952, Huxley, an already well established writer and intellectual decides to ingest a dose of Mescalin. He records the entire process and later sits to write - rather poetically - his experience with the hallucinogenic drug. This is his authentic testimony.

In this memoir, Huxley indulges in a careful description of his visions and thoughts whilst under the effect of the drug. His vicarious experience inflicted him with a shift in perception. At the end of it, a vivid description - he proposes
I went into Aldous Huxley's "The Doors of Perception" with no expectations, which is how a good friend told me I should approach any book rather than the spiritual and emotional awakening I have been spoiled into wanting, and so I was not surprised when I did not get one. But what I did get is an honest treatise from a profound and respected wordsmith about his experience with the psychoactive mescaline and that dimension alone would have been enough for me to enjoy this little book.
But reading
Aldous Huxley will always be one of my favourite writers as he has a way of capturing my imagination in a unique way. I read Brave New World when I was about fourteen years old and was blown away. I have since reread it a few times, and each time I am equally amazed.

I found this book in my dad's library when I was eighteen, and took to it immediately. I could not help but be swept up by Huxley's writing style, his intellectual examination of the drugs effects and the theories he applies to his o
In this very short book, Aldous Huxley - probably best known as the author of Brave New World - takes mescaline and chronicles his experiences with the mind-altering drug.

I found Huxley's thoughts on what he described as the "Mind at Large", and how mescaline helped to turn off the brain's "reducing valve" to be very interesting. However, in describing his experiences he often discussed artists and philosophers with whom I'm not overly familiar. Not willing to put in the effort to look all of t
Aaron Kent
Another street find. If you're like me, you've always avoided this book due to it being the namesake of the band, The Doors. The Doors constitute everything I find distasteful about the 1960s. This is a wonderful little book which describes a mescalin trip and then offers a small amount of philosophy and opinion on art, music and the need to find a middle ground between the mindset of science and some form of spiritual search for self. I find Huxley's telling so much more powerful because it lac ...more
For those too pussy to try drugs, or for pussies who need one last push into being convinced to try drugs, The Doors of Perception is a highly influential short story of a white man's journey of self-discovery (sound familiar?). Only through the magic of methamphetamine (or, oops, apparently mescaline), is Aldous Huxley able to appreciate the world around him and achieve a "higher" being while you pigs lay on the battlefield of conformity and rot away unaware of your untapped potential. Yet this ...more
Huxley nos lleva por camino a través de su (literal) viaje por la experiencia del peyote o más certeramente, su principio activo: la mescalina. Nos lo describe de forma tan detallada y expresiva que vamos, hasta se antoja. Su punto de vista sobre la mescalina y sus efectos son bastante interesantes, pues su reflexión es que la mescalina sirve para "abrir las puertas de la percepción" que nos han sido cerradas por nuestro propio cerebro, para nuestra supervivencia. Así que todo lo que Huxley narr ...more
Después de quitarle el barniz de crónica de drogas, lo que queda de The doors of perception es una justificación utilitarista para regular el uso de las psicodélicas. Para Huxley el valor de esas drogas no está en la experiencia de su uso ni en sus posibles despliegues creativos, sino en una versión implícita del cálculo felicífico de Bentham: las drogas son buenas o malas en la medida en que nos distraigan de hacer cosas más (auto)destructivas. Piensa a la mezcalina como un peldaño hacia la som ...more
Arash Kamangir
پاراگراف آخر کتاب رو سه بار گوش کردم و هنوز متحیرم ازش.
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. WILLIAM BLAKE

Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor and limited that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul.
Faith Bradham
One of my friends is a hardcore Huxley fan, and recommended this to me. I had no idea what it was about, and when I picked it up and realized it was about mescalin, I was pretty amused, given my friend's personality.

I found The Doors of Perception pretty interesting, especially when he talked about how it made him view the visual aspects of life... his trousers, the chair, etc. However, I got a little skeptical when it came to the social aspect - that basically everything bad in society can be
Tomáš Sekerka
Pár celkem zajímavých názorů a teorií k popřemýšlení, ale moc dobře se mi to nečetlo.
Steve Johnson
Quite interesting read with some very nice observations. The things Huxley describes in his mescalin trip, and more importantly, the things he has learned from it, are very much in line with my own experiences with psychedelics (magic mushrooms). I have never tried mescalin (yet), but even with magic mushrooms which are supposed to be less potent I already experienced many things Huxley describes, about 'Is-ness', about the beauty of existence. Huxley draws some great conclusions and mostly writ ...more
Poe Wilson
Real rating: 5.2/10
Read by and passed along by those wishing to cement a certain association with drug use, but the reality is this work is not some ground breaking state of being. Drugs were readily used during the Great Binge through out the social classes meaning that there was all ready a collective understanding of what these narcotics were doing to humanities perception, thus the perception of narcotics being a doorway to a higher spiritual awareness is left at the wayside or the college d
What artistes or mystics see or experience – is a thought which had always crossed my mind. Does an artiste see the world differently than us, the lesser mortals, or are they merely equipped with better expressive power? Mystics often fail to put their experiences into words – does that mean that we should discount their experiences as hallucinations or imaginations of fertile mind?

The answers to these questions were not apparent and often we took sides based upon our prejudices on such issues.
Anthony Lechner
I am indebted to this little book. How could one not be interested in the experience of feeling colors and seeing music? Every human is faced to answer the question about the meaning of existence, but how often do we hear conversations attempting to truly unravel this mind perplexing idea? Not too often. And even worse, how often do we really engage in our day to day perceptions? Haven’t they just become a mere habit in our lives, something we use without thinking, without looking deeper or cons ...more
This was the first book of the book club I belong too in 2015. All I can say is that the members of the book club I'm in would love to get there hands on some mescaline so that we could experience some of the things Huxley is talking about. Overall I think him sharing his experience is interesting to read but having the experience would be better. He was very descriptive about many of the objects he observed during his trip and drew vivid pictures in the readers mind. Im glad it was a short read ...more
Rebecca Jones
I read and reread much of this book often flipping back and paying deliberate attention to specific portions numerous times. The first time through Huxley came off as haughty arrogant and condescending. In fact he even admitted this perspective took place in an astonishingly detailed account of his mescaline experiment.

He took mescaline under the observation and guided by his friend who was studying the drug. So an account of course seems reasonable but the clarity of his thoughts many of which
Puri Kencana Putri
It is a very short note written by Huxley through its personal experiment when he encountered the profound side of his life with a help of mescaline or traditionally known peyote. As a personal note, Huxley tried to open all the Doors in Wall, to had a consistent breakthrough in life by kept questioning it, kept comparing it, kept experiencing it with the help of chemical door or I don't know, should I say it as organic door (?) called mescaline.

Surely, it seems like indescribable lifetime expe
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Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and es ...more
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“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.” 361 likes
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend” 129 likes
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