Jan 21, 10
Read in January, 2010
I wouldn't exactly classify this book (which is actually a combination of two separate works) as essential reading, but it was, for the most part, interesting. The first half is a fascinating record of Huxley's experimentation with mescalin and the altered perceptions achieved by the experience. He also makes an nuanced case for the responsible, enlightened, recreational use of mind-altering drugs. The second half of the work is more dry and philosophical. Huxley larges spends his time dissecting the ways various cultures have tried to achieve visionary experiences. On the surface, this sounds like a fascinating venture. In practice, though, I found it to be a bit tedious. Huxley was a wonderfully inventive writer, but I could only read about his musings on the ecstatic, visionary qualities of polished stone for so many pages, before I became incurably bored. Altogether, I think the book was worthwhile, and it was a super quick read, but I can't say that everyone should rush out and get a copy.