Book – Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
Author – Aldous Huxley
Years – 1954 and 1956
Genre – Essay
Lent to me by Faye Braggins
One of my favourite books of the year so far was the classic by Huxley Brave New World. Having been lent another Huxley book – or more correctly books as it encompasses both Doors of Perception and the effective follow up Heaven and Hell – by Faye a long time back (sorry Faye, I will return them, I promise) I thought it would be a great book to follow up with.
Unfortunately however, instead of the clever writing and wonderfuly imagined writing of Brave New World, neither of these books could hold my interest at all. The basic premise is that Aldous Huxley takes mescaline – a haluciogenic drug – and sees the world through a different light. He then spends a long time extolling the virtues of the drug. He says that he sees the world entirely differently, and in the way that it should be seen. Along the way he makes up such pretentionly awful terms as ‘the Non-self’ and ‘is-ness’ to describe how he felt. He suggests that the only way to truly see the world is to open up our minds enough to let everything in.
The whole thing reeks of the kind of blonde dreadlocked surfer bum with a ‘wacky’ cannabis leaf print on his unwashed tshirt, flyering you outside of Camden tube station, yet written in the high falutian words of one of the most well respected writers of his generation. Maybe there is a lot of merit to these books that I just can’t understand due to not taking drugs and so having no point of reference, but as Huxley says that under the influence he lost interest in everything other than looking at a particular object for hours on end, I have no greater desire to find out.
What probably sums everything up is that off the back of the experience he has in the first book, he moves on to harder drugs in the second. A moral lesson for everyone to learn from, that no matter what station you have in life, drug taking can be a slippery slope.