On Doors of Perception

On Doors of Perception

November 13, 2021

Doors of perception is an odd and interesting book. It’s not like most I've come across. The book was written by Aldous Huxley, better known for writing Brave New World.

The premise of this book is Aldous was approached by a researcher interested in documenting the affects of mescaline, a hallucinogen naturally occurring in the San Pedro cactus. Being a deeply curious individual and knowledgeable on the use of mescaline in tribal ceremonies Aldous agreed to be tested on.

His encounter with the hallucinogen was all recorded so he could look back on the experience. These recording were used in the writing of the book enabling Aldous to describe his experience with incredibly vivid detail. I experimented with psychedelics when I was younger and take them recreationally from time to time. I've often found it difficult to put the experience into words. Being a master wordsmith Aldous seemed to have no trouble doing so.

A few of my key takeaways from this book are his description of the overarching theme of his trip, how he describes draped cloth and the way he describe the feeling of mescaline.

He said many times during his trip "this is how life ought to be". The way he saw things and the feelings he got from them felt natural. More natural than real life like mescaline put him in a state of complete relaxation, oneness with the universe and destiny, and unbothered or unacknowledging of life's burdens and troubles. This state allowed him to focus on small things intensely and observe them and how he felt about them in a way one never could normally.

Some of these things he focuses on were flowers in the room and painting in books. I thought it was fascinating how he focused in on the folds in clothing. Something we all see everyday yet rarely give any thought to at all.

Perhaps one day I'll have the opportunity to experience this myself. Until then it's good enough for me to be fascinated with the stories of others.

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