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The Doors of Perception

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,622 Ratings  ·  276 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
Paperback, 79 pages
Published February 1st 1970 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1954)
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Carl Macki Anything by Rumi, Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna, The politics of Experience by R.D. Laing, and…moreAnything by Rumi, Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna, The politics of Experience by R.D. Laing, and the Urantia Book and A Course in Miracles..(less)
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Oct 17, 2012 B0nnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Apr 10, 2013 Chance Maree rated it really liked it

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
Jun 10, 2009 William Strasse rated it it was amazing
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
Nick Allen
Sep 03, 2014 Nick Allen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mike Awtry
Apr 06, 2014 Mike Awtry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Las puertas de la percepción es un ensayo narrado en primera persona que relata los efectos que produce en el cerebro una droga llamada mescalina. Aldous Huxley reivindica la utilización de drogas para librarnos de las limitaciones mentales y poder percibir una realidad con menos filtros mentales o válvulas reductoras, opinión que no comparto.

La segunda mitad del libro está plagada de reflexiones filosóficas. El autor analiza los valores de nuestra sociedad y el sistema educativo. "Gastamos actu
Feb 06, 2012 Ugh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 25, 2015 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In terms of the writing itself, The Doors of Perception is a solid 4 or 5 star level; it’s a superbly written book. Also, there are a few interesting (if poorly considered) ideas proposed in the book about the nature of reality as it relates to the way in which the human mind perceives it. The only aspect of the book ultimately worth reading about, though, is the description of Huxley’s experience on mescaline itself, told moment to moment as he experienced it.

The huge drawback of the book (and
Kyle van Oosterum
Feb 22, 2016 Kyle van Oosterum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Daniel Gonçalves
Apr 03, 2015 Daniel Gonçalves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 22, 2015 Rachi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
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
May 30, 2013 Wis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 08, 2012 Justin rated it liked it
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
Feb 01, 2013 Aaron Kent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
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
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
Tyler Lowery
I've had my eye on this book since I read Amusing Ourselves to Death, which I reviewed earlier this year. I read a couple of comments about this essay here and there on Reddit and thought this might be a good place to reenter Huxley's writing without jumping back into a full novel. So, without looking too much further into the book, I gave it a listen.

From the offset, I knew it was an essay bout his experience with the drug mescaline over the course of an afternoon. After taking the drug, Huxley
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
Oct 27, 2015 user12504947 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Kevin Hull
Dec 31, 2014 Kevin Hull rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretentious, drug-promoting new age nonsense that surely holds the record for most name-drops in under 80 pages. Notable in that it inspired the name (and some of the lyrics) of legendary rock band The Doors.
Arash Kamangir
Nov 18, 2015 Arash Kamangir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
پاراگراف آخر کتاب رو سه بار گوش کردم و هنوز متحیرم ازش.
Wyatt Receveur
Jun 09, 2016 Wyatt Receveur rated it it was ok
Not great. Basically a one idea book, not original (Heidegger's big essay on aesthetics covers much the same ground) and, in English fashion, unbearably pompous in places. Characterized by the same kind of bland scientific optimism and slapdash thinking found in Island.
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.
Dani Schechtel
Feb 24, 2016 Dani Schechtel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steve Johnson
Sep 15, 2015 Steve Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.” 396 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” 145 likes
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