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The Perennial Philosophy
Aldous Huxley
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The Perennial Philosophy

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  2,232 ratings  ·  101 reviews
The Perennial Philosophy is defined by Huxley as "The metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things & lives & minds." With great wit & intellect, Aldous Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains them in terms that are personally meaningful.
"Both an anthology & an interpretation of t
Published (first published 1944)
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This book redefined the way I look at religion. It speaks of the philosophy which connects all religions, and should be used as a way of relating to one another.

I found this particular passage quite engaging:

"The invention of the steam engine produced a revolution, not merely in industrial techniques, but also much more significantly in philosophy. Because machines could be made progressively more and more efficient, Western man came to believe that men and societies would automatically register
Conrad Johnson
Like I have stated before elsewhere, I truly believe the Golden Age of American Literature has passed. Very few authors write anymore about universal, deeply philosophical themes that capture and reflect the essence of our culture and society and, if they do, publishers will most likely ignore them and hardly anyone will read them. Instead, we have a market flooded with superficial and redundant themes that offer artificial escapes from pressing societal problems. Think about it. Who was the las ...more
Bryon Medina
Dec 28, 2007 Bryon Medina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ...anyone who cares.
Dear Aldous Huxley,
I know that you where pronounced dead a long time ago, but because of this book, you are a living presence in my life today.
Thank you,
Everyone should read this book. It is one of the best inspirational, inquisitive philosophy texts I have ever read.
I picked this book up almost two decades ago coming off a run Robert Anton Wilson and a deep interest in Eastern Philosophies, particularly Taoism. I had never finished the book at the time as the real life of a young adult took sway. Coming back almost 20 years later this book still holds it's allure.

This is not an easy book to digest and Huxley did an amazing job presenting such a succinct overview of the Perennial Philosophy drawing from so many resources, it's just plain awe-inspiring. The e
Paul Gleason
I first read this book when I was on a Huxley kick when I was a teenager. Brave New World inspired me to read everything I could get my hands on by him. Needless to say, The Doors of Perception was more my speed then than The Perennial Philosophy.

I recently read Mike Scott's autobiography, Adventures of a Waterboy, and discovered that this book meant a lot to him and his spiritual life. I picked up a copy at the library and felt a spark of recognition: I'd read this book before but was too young
Huxley is referring to the perennial philosophy as those universal truths that span culture and religion. He shows in this book how all of the ancient traditions implemented these truths...or didn't. He is clearly very erudite and the book is full of quotes from early "saints", from both the East and the West.

While much of the material is quite interesting I wondered if he didn't write the book simply to show how Christianity has 'gone wrong'. His anti-Christian bias is pretty obvious.

This book
Theresa Leone Davidson
Huxley examines a whole host of religions, from Buddhism to Catholicism and everything in between, explaining what the enduring philosophy of each is and what similarities they have to one another. In the end he makes the brilliant point that no matter how different each religion may be, they are, at their core, seeking the exact same thing. Anyone remotely interested in religion should read this. Highly recommend!
"Puffing Billy has now turned into a four-motored bomber loaded with white phosphorus and high explosives, and the free press is everywhere a servant of its advertisers, of a pressure group, or of the government. And yet, for some inexplicable reason, the travellers (now far from gay) still hold fast to the religion of Inevitable Progress -- which is, in the last analysis, the hope and faith (in the teeth of all human experience) that one can get something for nothing. How much saner is the Gree ...more
Written in 1945, the book is an anthology of the Perennial Philosophy and contains vast examples as extracts from scriptures and/or other type of writings from various religious: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc.

The central idea of the perennial philosophy is that there exists Divine Truth, Divine Reality which is one and universal, and that different religions are different ways to express that one Truth. However as Huxley writes this one Divine Reality cannot be directly an
This is a very noteworthy book, but the author's style is such that I couldn't bear to continue reading it, on several tries; maybe in a few years I'll try yet again. Some writing styles are a total slog for one person, but fine or prefered for another.
Huxley gets to the root of The Thing by examining religious texts from around the world. He finds out what they have in common to get to the parts that are not human projection, idolatry, and bullshit. It's all around us and we are part of It.
Dylan Grant
All I can say is... WOW! Aldous Huxley is a genius. I read his "Brave New World" before (his most popular work) and was thoroughly impressed. It is the perfect prophetic dystopian novel (much more accurate than Orwell's 1984). Indeed, this book is almost a perfect companion to Brave New World because it shows what Aldous Huxley actually DOES believe in (whereas Brave New World shows what he DOESN'T believe in i.e. consumerism, hedonism, etc)

In this very philosophical work of comparative religion
The New York Times once called "The Perennial Philosophy" (written in 1943) one of the most important books of the 20th century, and with good reason. Aldous Huxley, through extensive research and a true knowledge of divine Ground, explores the major (and a few minor) religions of the world, stripping their respective man-made dogmas and reveals the common spiritual thread that runs through all of them.

The book is well-organized, subdivided into the major categories such as 'Faith', 'Time and Et
Tomaj Javidtash
This book is a gem, a must read, for people with even the slightest interest in the esoteric dimension of religions, any religion. It is a lucid presentation of exalting and inspiring quotes from mystics and saints throughout history. I believe it is the most comprehensive book on the subject of Sophia Perennis from the point of view of its practitioners.
Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Augustine, Shankara, etc. are among the many others whose memorable words about the Ground of Being are presented in
Ronald Wise
I had no idea what "Perennial Philosophy" referred to when I checked out this book and began reading it. When I learned in the first sentence that it referred to the "divine Reality", I had doubts that I would be able to endure it. However, Huxley's overview of the spiritual proved very interesting in discussing the various aspects of man's pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. Some of his comparisons of the Muslim and Christian efforts in that pursuit were so strikingly pertinant to current event ...more
There is a lot to chew over in this book, I think I am going to have to come back for another going over.
Huxley presents his synopsis of spiritual systems, suggesting there are core principles common to all human spirituality, which are constantly refound and reinterpreted in each system. This is essentially a digest of spiritual writers, it has lots of interesting and important ideas, and extensive quotes to help you get a handle on them. Huxley himself seems to be blown away in enthusiasm and
Justina Hayden
Aug 15, 2009 Justina Hayden rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: spiritual seekers who have not yet settled
This book explain the ways in which ALL the world's religions, taken at their core, express the "Perennial Philosophy". He quotes at length from Catholic saints, Martin Luther, the Vedantas, the Tao te Ching, George Fox, the Upanishads, the writings of many Buddhists, and so on. I know I've left some out; I'm not looking at the book as i write, and it has been probably 10 years since I read it last.

Nonetheless, a major formative book for my life, which I discovered when I was 13 or 14 and have b
CV Rick
Lest anyone doubt that one of the greatest philosophers of the modern age is Aldous Huxley I give you The Perennial Philosophy. Huxley boils all religious tradition into its basic universal truths. It is through this discovery that he finds what he is good in the best teachings and what is manipulative in its tenets.

I am constantly amazed by the breadth of thought that Aldous Huxley explored during his lifetime and how relevant that five years today. I will probably be thinking about this volume
Ron Krumpos
Anyone who is interested in comparative mysticism 'must' read this book. Aldous Huxley, although controversial, did a marvelous job of collecting quotations of mystics of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, grouped by subject matter.

"The Perennial Philosophy" is one of the books in the primary bibliography of my free ebook on comparative mysticism" at and one of the first that I had read on the topic.
Rational truth can be defined as ideas, definitions, facts, and concepts "about" reality. Mystical truth perhaps can be defined as a direct intuitive apprehension "of" reality. Huxley does a terrific job in using the mystics from the East and the West to help us to understand this most important kind of truth.
This is boring me. Why? Perhaps I've read too many of the primary texts and don't care what Huxley has to say or how he cobbles them together. *I* can do that for myself. I'm afraid that this one, after having lived in the bathroom awhile, is going back to the library.
This book is dense, but well worth the effort to finish. I read it in very small chunks (2-3 pages a day) over period of a few months. It opened my eyes to the nature of religion, spirituality, and humanity in ways that I will be contemplating for a long time to come.
Jeremiah Ross
Huxley was one of the last of a breed of intellectual that was neither ashamed of his occidental culture, nor allowed it to irrevocably taint his understanding of the other. It is a position that seems relegated to the first half of the 19th century.

The crux of the book: a seemingly universalist foray into the commonalities between the more esoteric religious scriptures. This includes Sufism, Buddhism , Taoism, and a very heavy dose of Catholicism and Hinduism. You almost get the impression tha
Jenny Nielsen
This PS edition of Perennial Philosophy is entirely worth it for the inlcusion of Huxley's essay, "On Beliefs" in the back of the book. A better critique of science has never been put in print.
Joe Faraci
This is one of those books that peeled the veil from my eyes.
Chris Chester
tl;dr A dense anthology of approaches for attaining unitive knowledge of the transcendent Ground of all being for the Universalists out there.

I originally approached The Perennial Philosophy because I saw a passage of it quoted in another book — it was a mini-rant that Huxley indulges in about the cultists for the religion of progress. He rails against the way that nationalism, revolutionism, and an obsession with technological progress (what he calls "acts of hubris directed against Nature) get
Malinda Lee
This book is not perfect. It takes a lot for granted and it glosses over any points that contradict the central thesis. And yet, The Perennial Philosophy is possibly the most important, transformative book I have ever read. It changed the way I think about spirituality. Not to mention, it reads like pure poetry. I can't bring myself to give it any fewer than 5 stars.

By piecing together writings from leading mystics of different religions, Huxley aims to paint a picture of the "Highest Common Fa
Huxley is quite the thinker, and he's gathered together a lot of great excerpts from the work of various religious and spiritual writers. Yet, aside from being oddly boring for all the intelligence on display, his Perennial Philosophy seems a bit confused. His take is very religious--it's all about the search for capital G God--but he's not at all keen on organized religion...only then also, he kind of is. The search is within and the trappings of religion distract--unless they don't. Or somethi ...more
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  • Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness
  • Nature, Man and Woman
  • The Phenomenon of Man
  • Integral Spirituality
  • Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World's Religions
  • Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings
  • Rational Mysticism: Spirituality Meets Science in the Search for Enlightenment
  • The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion (Collected Worksl)
  • Critique of Religion and Philosophy
  • History as a System and other Essays Toward a Philosophy of History
  • Selected Writings
  • Process and Reality
  • The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • The Awakening of Intelligence
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
More about Aldous Huxley...
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“It is only when we have renounced our preoccupation with "I," "me," "mine," that we can truly possess the world in which we live. Everything, provided that we regard nothing as property. And not only is everything ours; it is also everybody else's.” 50 likes
“The man who wishes to know the "that" which is "thou" may set to work in any one of three ways. He may begin by looking inwards into his own particular thou and, by a process of "dying to self" --- self in reasoning, self in willing, self in feeling --- come at last to knowledge of the self, the kingdom of the self, the kingdom of God that is within. Or else he may begin with the thous existing outside himself, and may try to realize their essential unity with God and, through God, with one another and with his own being. Or, finally (and this is doubtless the best way), he may seek to approach the ultimate That both from within and from without, so that he comes to realize God experimentally as at once the principle of his own thou and of all other thous, animate and inanimate.” 19 likes
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