Book Review – The Doors Of Perception by Aldous Huxley

Last weekend, I got the brilliant idea of starting my own book collection. I wanted handpicked books that I would love to read which would be timeless classics in my own little library. The idea is that I want to pass down things to my kids in the future and books are little treasure chests of knowledge which stand the test of time. Let’s face it, not that many people read books a lot these days, which is really sad. When I was younger I would spend hours just reading books that I liked, something which kids these days barely do. So firstly to all parents out there, encourage your kids to read. Buy them books THEY want.

My parent’s book collection is really something, but unfortunately I don’t like the books that they have. These self-help and spiritual books are something which I just don’t get. Although there is a wealth of knowledge in them, I just can’t relate to them.

So with my card in hand I ordered 10 books! They set me back 4700 Rupees, which is about  70 $, so on average, it cost me 7$ a book which is quite a steal according to me.

These are the books I’ve bought

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These 8 along with Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki(which my dad is reading now) and What is life? by Erwin Schrodinger (which is yet to come) make up the 10.

Do note that that is just my shadow on the bed and it’s not dirty, haha! I just changed the bed cover now after clicking this picture.

Anyway here goes….

BOOK REVIEW – THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION

The book at the bottom is Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors Of Perception” which I chose to start with and finished in two days.

 

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It’s a timeless piece of art, this one. I experienced Huxley’s little mescaline trip first hand through his words and was enthralled by his writing. I was able to vividly experience what was going on in Huxley’s mind as he has so eloquently put into words his entire experience. I did not get the art references which the books has a lot of because I have never gone into the depths of art’s history, so it was difficult trying to relate to the painter/artist references. But I did end up googling a lot of painters.

However, this book is written beautifully. I could almost feel what Huxley was talking about because he has written this book with such perfection.

To summarize, Huxley narrates in detail the entire 10 hour period, after his ingestion of mescaline, a drug derived from the peyote cactus. He talks about the effects of the drug on him along with references to ancient culture and explains how this has been around for centuries and how this gave him a visionary experience.

Here is an excerpt from this book which i have explained in an instagram post,

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“THIS part is so relatable. Huxley after taking some mescaline observes the sheer beauty of mere “things” around him in a room. Their intricate texture, luminosity, and bright, inexplicable colours just astound him. As he compares it to art he says “This is how one ought to see” which is fucking spot on! Now I don’t know how different the compound in mescaline is from psilocybin. But having experienced seeing objects around and nature(flowers, leaves etc) and of course the sky, clouds and stars in what I call “High Definition” but through the eyes while on LSD and magic mushrooms, I have to say that I agree completely with Huxley, that the sheer level of heightened awareness and perception which happens with the intake of say mescaline, psychedelic mushrooms or LSD is something which everyone must experience at least once. The bright colours and intricacies will take your breath away. It is only at those heightened levels of perceiving things that we truly understand the astounding beauty of nature. In essence, every hue, every tone and every ray of light reflecting luminously on objects makes you able to actually FEEL them as the hitherto mentioned “Not-self”. As he mentions that the human “Mind at large” for every single one of us humans, is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and perceiving everything happening everywhere in the universe – This is actually the capability of the human mind and very few realised souls in our history have been able to master to some degree this all knowing perception – however the function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge in an ELIMINATIVE fashion like a valve leaving only a “Trickle of consciousness” or selection of this data, limiting us to only that which is useful and practical to our survival as animals. However certain persons seem to be born with a kind of bypass that circumvents the reducing valve while for others it is acquired as a result of “spiritual exercises” or hypnosis or by means of intake of drugs. For the user, The “Sat-Chit-Ananda” or “Being-Awareness-Bliss” is finally understood.” 

This book by Huxley was way ahead of it’s time. And he effortlessly transports the reader into his own little world. Those 10 hours are so well documented and he has written it so inexplicably well that you are in the driver seat of a mystical journey.

After reading, The Doors of Perception between yesterday and today, it was, to sum up, a very enlightening book and I found myself marveling at his writing especially. The ease with which Huxley so vividly describes his mescaline induced adventure is really thought provoking and fun. The references, inferences, quotes and relations are all brilliant! A book way ahead of it’s time, Huxley’s account of his mescaline trip and arguments put forward in the book are definitely worth pondering about.

All in all – A Classic wonder of the modern world, meant to be treasured and read multiple times. 

Rating – 9.5/10 ( 0.5 less because of all the art references and I know nothing about art)

I leave you with one of my favourite  quotes from the book,

“I am not so foolish as to equate what happens under the influence of mescalin or of any other drug, prepared or in the future preparable, with the realization of the end and ultimate purpose of human life: Enlightenment, the Beatific Vision. All I am suggesting is that the mescalin experience is what Catholic theologians call “a gratuitous grace,” not necessary to salvation but potentially helpful and to be accepted thankfully, if made available. To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large—this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.”
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors Of Perception

Enjoy your weekend all!

And stay tuned for Sets for Sundays and updates about my book!

Cheers!:)

Have a good one 😀

 

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