The Doors of Perception

30 May

In 1952 Aldous Huxley became involved in the now legendary experiment to clinically detail the physiological and psychological effects of the little known drug used by Mexican and Native American elders in religious practices. The drug was Peyote-now commonly know as mescalin. By the standards of the time, Huxley was a hard working, respected, and reserved intellectual from a highly intelligent, well-known, and eccentric British family. By any standards, the results of the experiment were remarkable. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell detail the practicalities of the experiment and give Huxley’s vivid account of his immediate experience and the more prolonged effect upon his subsequent thinking and awareness. At first, the reader is drawn in by the sheer naivety and tom-foolery of the proposal but is soon caught in a finely woven net by the juxtaposition of Huxley’s formidable intellect, his remarkable ability to convey the experience in such acute and truthful detail, and his incredible modesty. In 1922 Gertrude Stein famously wrote – A rose is a rose is a rose. In proving her right, Huxley also shows the deeper meaning be-hind the apparently simple verse and goes on to deliver such spectacular accounts of the most everyday objects that the reason for their repeated and continual renderings by all the major artists throughout history suddenly becomes quite clear. For the conscious and willing reader – a trip to the Guggenheim, the Louvre or the Tate Modern will never be the same again.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: