The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

This short book came about as a result of Aldous Huxley performing a one-off experiment with the the psychotropic drug mescaline. Mescaline is derived from the peyote cactus and was (and is) widely used by the Native Americans in their religious practice as a means of seeing beyond the physical world. Apparently they used to suck on the cactus root to produce the effects. Although it’s illegal today, it’s apparently quite a benign drug. The book claims there are no addictive qualities – the user feels no need to use the drug subsequently – and no toxicity issues. Oddly, according to Wikipedia, a concession has been made to Native Americans, for whom mescaline remains legal. Tsk-tsk – a little favouritism there.

Huxley is best known for having penned the classic science fiction novel Brave New World. I’ve never read it, but it’s one of those novels I’ll definitely get around to. The Doors of Perception caught my attention because of Huxley’s standing and my personal interest in gaining a better understanding of human consciousness.

After taking the drug, Huxley reports staring at a table leg and being utterly absorbed in the brilliance of its form. He was able to walk around, and yet his vision was unconcerned with things like depth and distance. Looking at a flower evoked a kind of timeless contemplation about the flower’s “significance.” The book continues with information about how Huxley felt when being shown a series of paintings.

Interestingly, Huxley discusses the human body as a limiter, using the term “Mind at Large” for the full magnitude of what we are, i.e. we know everything. This is exactly the same concept I was introduced to though the writings of David Icke, only in different language. Icke would say we are are all collectively Infinite Consciousness, and the body is just a vehicle that allows us to experience physical reality. Huxley theorises that by the use of mescaline, the valve between mind and Mind at Large is loosened, allowing more of Mind at Large to come through. He talks about a feeling of timeless contemplation that caused him to be unconcerned about matters of physical life. This is in keeping with the understanding I embrace, that beyond this physical realm, with its illusions of separateness and time, there is a single collective consciousness existing in one eternal present.

This is the second time I have been surprised by the concept of “oneness” (or something close to it) cropping up unexpectedly in my reading material. It also happened recently when I read Upton Sinclair’s Mental Radio, where he theorises that a collective human consciousness is what allows telepathy to be possible.

One of the effects of mescaline on the brain is the inhibition of sugar. This got me wondering if the true reason behind the religious practice of fasting (something I never understood when I was a Christian) was to achieve an altered state of consciousness that would allow the person to get in contact with the realm beyond the physical – the divine, in other words.

The Doors of Perception was an intriguing study that helped provide a rational basis for ideas that I believe in through intuition, i.e. we are all one consciousness and the physical world is just a frequency that we perceive through the five senses. There is far more going on that what we see, and we are far more than what we think we are.

5 thoughts on “The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

  1. Robert Miller says:

    Interesting thought on fasting – depriving your body of food and nutrients to achieve an altered state of consciousness. I wonder what hunger strikers would have testified to in their experience of fasting to the death. Have you seen the movie Hunger?

  2. Darryl Sloan says:

    Good question! Might be worth seeing if I can find some research on that.

    Nope, haven’t seen the movie Hunger.

  3. 2hammers says:

    2009 In our world of correctness it is refreshing to bask in some of the sunshine that our past has fostered.

    Just think 2 hammers

  4. Anyone recall what a major trip Jesus is reported to have undergone as a result of his extended fast?;&version=31;

  5. ben says:

    I suggest you research the affects of fasting and starvation on the human body. Fasting is depriving the body of something during a prescribed time. If this is food, fasting for even up to a month will not change the glucose/ sugar levels in the body to a level that would bring about the mind numbing stupidity Huxley describes. Starvation however might. This is exactly why I believe people should study the basic sciences before trying to delve into the science behind more unconventional topics. These topics should be explored by real scientist who know how to study them.

    Layman’s explanation:
    When you fast, your body continues to produce blood glucose from basal insulin secretion. This maintains your body with a steady supply of energy and brain food through the breakdown of those stores of fat. If you are healthy, your blood sugar levels should remain normal until there is not enough stored fat to keep up the supply.

    Read more: How Does Fasting Affect Blood Glucose Levels? |

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