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Half an hour after swallowing the drug I became aware of a slow dance of golden lights . . .

Among the most profound explorations of the effects of mind-expanding drugs ever written, here are two complete classic books—The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell—in which Aldous Huxley, author of the bestselling Brave New World, reveals the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. This new edition also features an additional essay, "Drugs That Shape Men's Minds," which is now included for the first time.

Topics: Essays, 1950s, 1960s, Drugs, Art & Artists, Counterculture, Spirituality , Social Science, Philosophical, Mystical, 20th Century, Male Author, and British Author

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061892820
List price: $10.99
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Seemed more a commentary on art than description of his trips.more
Visionary piece more
I read this around the time I first experienced hallucinogens for myself in the late 60s. This book had a profound effect on my thinking at the time. I really should re-read it and find out if I see it differently all these years later. What do you think? Ha!more
Reads like no other book - mesmerising! The title incidently, is where the band 'The Doors' took their name from.more
This was an interesting read, especially in the reference frame of more modern research on human perception. Our knowledge of the inner workings of the brain has expanded considerably since Huxley's days, but he's got the basic idea narrowed down surprisingly well. It's quite a testament to how reality can be explored by looking into within.What especially stands out in this book is the quality of the writing. Huxley has extraordinary ability to convey exotic internal experiences in text, and it's no wonder the book gained quite a following during the rise of the hippie movement. I disagree with the spiritual implications Huxley drew from his experiences, but the parallels to how artists perceive the world are doubly interesting. Transporting, indeed!more
This particular reading had my mind space cornered in several areas of subjective reality. Huxley's illucidating writing was defined and very subjective of course from his own experience with the ontological experiences of perception. Subjectivity begets subjectivity, and the beauty which is invoked within this text is provacative beyond reasonable doubt, and in my opinion unparralled by any other pschedellic laureate from this particular era. Huxley was well into his fifties when Albert Hoffman's LSD came to market; leading me to believe Aldous had quite the foundation of intellect and knowledge to extrapolate upon. And the greatest Door of Perception...Huxley's wife administering LSD directly into his blood, while he lay dying in the hospital, sending him to the heavens on Nov. 22, 1963....the day John F. Kennedy was assasinated...."People are strange, when you're a Stranger"more
As did AA co-founder Bill Wilson and former senator Eugene MacCarthy and Ram Doss and manyh others, Huxley writes of the experience of ingesting mescalinl, also known as peyote, a drug that southwest American natives have used for eons as a spiritual aid. he explained things that put its proper use into place for me. When I was raging and thinking hurtful things, if I had dropped that or LSD then I would have had a "bad trip," but now that I have a serene heart and a loving soul, I want to have some; i want the experience.more
Huxley's theory is that the mind takes in all sorts of incredible experiences but that it then filters those (through what he calls the "reducing valve") into what we're conscious of. In the first part of the book, The Doors of Perception, he experiments with peyote. He has a psychiatrist present and records everything he says, so the account of his actions and experiences is presumably reliable. This part of the book was highly entertaining. He is fascinated by details like chair legs, and he sees cosmic significance in them. He also advocates allowing the use of peyote over alcohol and tobacco because he thinks it has fewer downsides (and because he thinks people will always seek some kind of drug-induced escape from their lives). In the second part of the book, Heaven and Hell, he talks about "transporting" artwork--stained glass, jewels, and certain kinds of paintings. He thinks that the colors and ways of representing landscapes are similar to what people experience when they have visions of an "other world" or heaven, and we like these because they give us a glimpse of that world. He also argues that while for most visionaries the visions are blissful, for some, like schizophrenics, visions of this other world are terrifying and hellish. At the end, he includes a couple of short sections on the various ways to have visions--carbon dioxide, strobe lights, fasting, etc. I thought his comments on fasting were really interesting. He speculates that people in earlier times had more religious visions because they were malnourished and engaged in more religious fasting, and the lack of vitamins affects brain chemistry enough that the "reducing valve" is opened to allow for visionary experiences. I read the more scientific sections with skepticism because I'm not sure Huxley is a reliable source, but the book is nonetheless interesting and often entertaining.more
I enjoyed Huxley's perspective as a research subject experiencing the effects of mescalin for the first time. Also enjoyed the description of art/artists and how Huxley sees art history as connected to the visionary experience of a 'mescalin taker.'more
It was good- but pretty matter-of-fact. I felt as though he was just recounting what he did. It was interesting, but nothing novel or inspirational for me- probably because I had already known.more
Huxley's "The Doors of Perception" is one of the most interesting books i've encountered. Obviously, its notable for its account of an experiment with the drug mescalin, found in peyote. The fundamental notion of the work is that the mind acts, in its most normal and evolved state, as a "reducing valve." The world of perception is way too intense for one mind to encounter so it seeks to reduce experiences as a need for survival. A drug induced experience allows for the opening of said "reducing valve" ushering in opportunities to see things "isness" and "suchness." I found it particularly interesting that Huxleys suggested that the increase in drug use is in direct relationship to the lack of "transcendance" provided by organized religion. A shortcoming Huxley thinks the church should be addressing. I found this book to be interesting, informative, and challenging. All symptoms of a good read.more
Huxley's fascinating account of LSD experimentation in the early 1950's.......Title of his book was taken as a nameby the Rock group, "The Doors of Perception"more
anyone who has interest in the future and everyone who has experimented with acid or psychedelic drugs in general must this book (preferably before the drugs)more
Careful- the Doors of Perception is a life-changer.more
Interesting read about how a great writer experiences mescalin. Second part (heaven and hell), I found less interesting. Appendices are interesting again..more
An interesting read, although very lacking in parts. I enjoyed Doors of Perception quite a bit, and found Huxley's insights onto mystic visions and their relation to religion insightful. He also does a nice job giving the feeling of experiencing mescalin with him. Heave and Hell, however, was very dissappointing. I felt that most of his claims were ill founded and that he made several leaps in logic that weren't valid (like religious singing's purpose is to expel oxygen to create visions). Huxley is also very much an art scholar, so familiarity with various art styles is a must. The appendixes are worth a read as well. I would recommend this book to someone interested in how visions/drug experiences are reflected in art and the social conscience.more
"the doors..." changed the way i look at things [ like black moon (movie) ]. "heaven hell" brings to mind jewels. i am thankful for the former.more
could huxley get any better? i think not.more
Read all 19 reviews

Reviews

Seemed more a commentary on art than description of his trips.more
Visionary piece more
I read this around the time I first experienced hallucinogens for myself in the late 60s. This book had a profound effect on my thinking at the time. I really should re-read it and find out if I see it differently all these years later. What do you think? Ha!more
Reads like no other book - mesmerising! The title incidently, is where the band 'The Doors' took their name from.more
This was an interesting read, especially in the reference frame of more modern research on human perception. Our knowledge of the inner workings of the brain has expanded considerably since Huxley's days, but he's got the basic idea narrowed down surprisingly well. It's quite a testament to how reality can be explored by looking into within.What especially stands out in this book is the quality of the writing. Huxley has extraordinary ability to convey exotic internal experiences in text, and it's no wonder the book gained quite a following during the rise of the hippie movement. I disagree with the spiritual implications Huxley drew from his experiences, but the parallels to how artists perceive the world are doubly interesting. Transporting, indeed!more
This particular reading had my mind space cornered in several areas of subjective reality. Huxley's illucidating writing was defined and very subjective of course from his own experience with the ontological experiences of perception. Subjectivity begets subjectivity, and the beauty which is invoked within this text is provacative beyond reasonable doubt, and in my opinion unparralled by any other pschedellic laureate from this particular era. Huxley was well into his fifties when Albert Hoffman's LSD came to market; leading me to believe Aldous had quite the foundation of intellect and knowledge to extrapolate upon. And the greatest Door of Perception...Huxley's wife administering LSD directly into his blood, while he lay dying in the hospital, sending him to the heavens on Nov. 22, 1963....the day John F. Kennedy was assasinated...."People are strange, when you're a Stranger"more
As did AA co-founder Bill Wilson and former senator Eugene MacCarthy and Ram Doss and manyh others, Huxley writes of the experience of ingesting mescalinl, also known as peyote, a drug that southwest American natives have used for eons as a spiritual aid. he explained things that put its proper use into place for me. When I was raging and thinking hurtful things, if I had dropped that or LSD then I would have had a "bad trip," but now that I have a serene heart and a loving soul, I want to have some; i want the experience.more
Huxley's theory is that the mind takes in all sorts of incredible experiences but that it then filters those (through what he calls the "reducing valve") into what we're conscious of. In the first part of the book, The Doors of Perception, he experiments with peyote. He has a psychiatrist present and records everything he says, so the account of his actions and experiences is presumably reliable. This part of the book was highly entertaining. He is fascinated by details like chair legs, and he sees cosmic significance in them. He also advocates allowing the use of peyote over alcohol and tobacco because he thinks it has fewer downsides (and because he thinks people will always seek some kind of drug-induced escape from their lives). In the second part of the book, Heaven and Hell, he talks about "transporting" artwork--stained glass, jewels, and certain kinds of paintings. He thinks that the colors and ways of representing landscapes are similar to what people experience when they have visions of an "other world" or heaven, and we like these because they give us a glimpse of that world. He also argues that while for most visionaries the visions are blissful, for some, like schizophrenics, visions of this other world are terrifying and hellish. At the end, he includes a couple of short sections on the various ways to have visions--carbon dioxide, strobe lights, fasting, etc. I thought his comments on fasting were really interesting. He speculates that people in earlier times had more religious visions because they were malnourished and engaged in more religious fasting, and the lack of vitamins affects brain chemistry enough that the "reducing valve" is opened to allow for visionary experiences. I read the more scientific sections with skepticism because I'm not sure Huxley is a reliable source, but the book is nonetheless interesting and often entertaining.more
I enjoyed Huxley's perspective as a research subject experiencing the effects of mescalin for the first time. Also enjoyed the description of art/artists and how Huxley sees art history as connected to the visionary experience of a 'mescalin taker.'more
It was good- but pretty matter-of-fact. I felt as though he was just recounting what he did. It was interesting, but nothing novel or inspirational for me- probably because I had already known.more
Huxley's "The Doors of Perception" is one of the most interesting books i've encountered. Obviously, its notable for its account of an experiment with the drug mescalin, found in peyote. The fundamental notion of the work is that the mind acts, in its most normal and evolved state, as a "reducing valve." The world of perception is way too intense for one mind to encounter so it seeks to reduce experiences as a need for survival. A drug induced experience allows for the opening of said "reducing valve" ushering in opportunities to see things "isness" and "suchness." I found it particularly interesting that Huxleys suggested that the increase in drug use is in direct relationship to the lack of "transcendance" provided by organized religion. A shortcoming Huxley thinks the church should be addressing. I found this book to be interesting, informative, and challenging. All symptoms of a good read.more
Huxley's fascinating account of LSD experimentation in the early 1950's.......Title of his book was taken as a nameby the Rock group, "The Doors of Perception"more
anyone who has interest in the future and everyone who has experimented with acid or psychedelic drugs in general must this book (preferably before the drugs)more
Careful- the Doors of Perception is a life-changer.more
Interesting read about how a great writer experiences mescalin. Second part (heaven and hell), I found less interesting. Appendices are interesting again..more
An interesting read, although very lacking in parts. I enjoyed Doors of Perception quite a bit, and found Huxley's insights onto mystic visions and their relation to religion insightful. He also does a nice job giving the feeling of experiencing mescalin with him. Heave and Hell, however, was very dissappointing. I felt that most of his claims were ill founded and that he made several leaps in logic that weren't valid (like religious singing's purpose is to expel oxygen to create visions). Huxley is also very much an art scholar, so familiarity with various art styles is a must. The appendixes are worth a read as well. I would recommend this book to someone interested in how visions/drug experiences are reflected in art and the social conscience.more
"the doors..." changed the way i look at things [ like black moon (movie) ]. "heaven hell" brings to mind jewels. i am thankful for the former.more
could huxley get any better? i think not.more
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