REVIEW: The Doors of Perception – Aldous Huxley


As you may know, I’m a big Jim Morrison fan, so when I found out the Doors were actually named after the book “The Doors of Perception” by Aldous Huxley, I found myself searching for this book, as I was eager to find out why Jim was influenced by this book.

The book is about one of the earliest, scientific analysis on the drug mescaline. Mescaline, according to wikipedia, is the “principal agent of the psychedelic cactus peyote, which has been used in Native American religious ceremonies for thousands of years.” Aldous Huxley himself took the drug, after which he and some fellow researches documented the whole trip. However, it’s not just about the drug mescaline. He too describes problems which existed in the 50’s (the book itself was published in 1954) and are still accurate today. His view on the acceptance of alcohol and tobacco by the majority of the society for example and that we need a better alternative. As we would like to fill in marijuana there, back in the 50’s, marijuana was only used by black jazz musicians and mexicans (in the States, that is), so perhaps if it was written later on perhaps he would’ve come up with marijuana. He does talk about marijuana, but to a lesser degree.

What is more interesting, is his main trip on mescaline and his various views on simple things. As an experienced psychonaut myself, I could find many similarities to more common nowadays psychedelic drugs in his stories. While others were specific for mescaline itself. He writes about how he was fascinated by design, not long after inhibition. He could stare at his own ribbed trousers and be fascinated by all the various lines. Even more interesting was his trip, during his trip (no pun intended), to the “World’s Biggest Drug Store”, where he encounters various art magazines and he suddenly understands the art of the likes of Vermeer and his still lives. He continues to say “This is how one ought to see, how things really are”. People who encountered psychedelic drugs before should be familiar with this.

Arguably most interesting are the pages where he talks about the Mind at Large, and the reducing valve. How only few people can really see everything, while others require assistance of a drug. I won’t spoil too much, but I must admit it definitely makes you think and look different, specifically at psychedelic drugs and to a greater extend that there’s “something” out there, but the answer isn’t religion. At some point he even concludes mescaline would be a perfect drug in combination with Christianity.

It’s only a small book (<100 pages),  but I hope it might be a good reason to read it if I haven’t convinced you already. If you feel like buying it, check it out over at amazon, The Doors Of Perception – Aldous Huxley, that way you also support the Stoned Society, so we can keep providing you with interesting articles!