The Doors Of Perception and Heaven & Hell by Aldous Huxley

Draperies, as I had now discovered, are much more than devices for the introduction of non-representational forms into naturalistic painting and sculptures. For the artist as for the mescalin taker, draperies are living hieroglyphs that stand in some peculiarly expressive way for the unfathomable mystery of pure being. To what they owe this privileged status, I cannot say. Is it, perhaps, because the forms of folded drapery are so strange and dramatic that they catch the eye and in this way force the miraculous fact of sheer existence upon the attention?

For if one always saw like this, one would never want to do anything else.

The two quotes above pretty much sum up my impressions of The Doors Of Perception. I had a hard time getting through the second essay, Heaven & Hell, but I think the gist of it was that good art is like taking drugs is like religious experiences.

Fun fact: The Doors got their band name from The Doors Of Perception, which in turn got its name from a William Blake quote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

 

Summary:

Two classic complete books in which Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, explores as only he can, the mind’s remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. These two astounding essays are among the most profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs written in the twentieth century. These two books become essential for the counterculture during the 1960s and influence a generation’s perception of life.

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