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The perennial philosophy [Unknown Binding]

Aldous Huxley
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1950)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007JT43I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
"IN STUDYING the Perennial Philosophy we can begin either at the bottom, with practice and morality; or at the top, with a consideration of metaphysical truths; or, finally, in the middle, at the focal point where mind and matter, action and thought have th" Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The masterpiece of all religious anthologies 6 Aug 2002
Format:Paperback
I am reading the Perennial Philosophy for a second time and it will be a book that I regularly take off my bookshelf for the rest of my lifetime, I'm sure. Aldous Huxley is a rare thinker who was never defined by a particular discipline - this means that he is not encumbered with the technical jargon that specialist academia tends to hide under. He uses accessible prose to analyse the shared threads within spiritual writings in Christian, Sufi, Buddhist and Vedantic mystical thinkers. His argument that there is a common denominator underneath the cultural additions and rituals of the different religions is an important one, perhaps even more now that when he wrote it in 1944.
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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one and only 28 Jan 2005
By D Poisson VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My hands are shaking as I write these very lines. Anything anybody could say about this opus magnum would only be a wink in the direction of its greatness.
Since time out of memory, mankind has wondered what lies behind existence. What it means to exist and what lies beyond our senses and our short lives.
Huxley points out that while this is the noblest, most important preocupation a being can have, the search for religious 'truth' has plagued our world with, at best, petty finger pointing between denominations, and, at worst, outright war and even genocide.
Since the dawn of humanity, organised religions have denied that each individual has a personal path to salvation. This denial has been necessary for the survival of the relgious leaders who need as many followers as possible so that they can afford the luxurious headquarters that they are recognised by. (Sorry, of course, the headquaters are built for God!)
Aldous Huxley, with a detached coolness that I can only wonder at, presents what an all too small minority consider common sense, backing it with quotes from mysics from all religions from Meister Eckhart to Jalal-uddin Rumi passing by William Law, Chuang Tzu and Srimad Bhagavatam. With these mystics (who, he insists, have experienced what they preach first hand)and many more exemplifying his premise, he exposes the fact that we each have our own 'way to salvation' or 'dharma', depending on our character, and even physiology. He also warns that our own dharma might not be the one imposed upon us by whichever 'spiritual' corporation has monopolised our part of the world.
This is not to say that Huxley forsakes organised religion (that's just me...) He warns us against pure philosophy also.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The comprehensive truth 26 Jan 2005
By D Poisson VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many, many authors have tackled the eternal subject of truth. Truth behind existence, truth behind metaphysics, truth behind faith and its eternal antagonist, organised religion. Aldous Huxley has succeeded in covering the issue from beginning top end in a narrative that alienates no one, Not the philosopher, not the scientist, not the moderate church-goer, not the fanatic extreemist. He gives us the common point, the divine ground that links us all and binds all things, including dogmas and theories, in a prose so ethereal and exact all at once, that one wonders from where the words really flow.
Divine.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A world-view that transcends space and time 28 Feb 2011
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley, Harper & Brothers, 1945; HarperCollins 2009, 324 ff.

The perennial philosophy refers to the spiritual truths that underlie human existence in all cultures through all time, transmitted through Jungian archetypes, the `morphic field' and the wisdom philosophies. The term `perennial philosophy' seems to have been used first as long ago as 1540 by the Italian humanist Agostino Steuco, and then by German mathematician and philosopher G.W. Leibniz in the 18th century.

Aldous Huxley is perhaps best known for his novels, Brave New World and The Devils of Loudun, but this work is a non-fictional survey of aspects of spirituality. I cannot do better than to reproduce the author's own definition of his subject matter: `the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality that is substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being - the thing is immemorial and universal'.

This book is a collection of writings on this enduring mystical theme, joined together by a commentary from Huxley. He compares the extracts he has chosen with the Shruti and Smriti of the Hindu religion: the Shruti depend upon direct perception of these universal truths accessed transcendentally by the sages or rishis while the Shriti are myths and tales that illustrate the moral teachings of the Shruti. The whole book is much more oriented towards the spiritual Hinduism and Buddhism of the East than the doctrinal religion of the West.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've never met this book's equal. It left me awestruck not only by the content but by its style. Every sentence is a jewel that could be studied over for years. While reading this book, I wondered at Huxley's genius. Possibly the best book I've ever read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books of the last century
The book was well bound and printed. Good quality paper. Good size font. Sits well on any bookshelf though it deserves to be on any bedside cabinet
Published 16 months ago by Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perennial Philosophy (Perennial Classics)
The Perennial Philosophy (Perennial Classics) by Aldous Huxley is the mainstay of neoplatonists. I can recommend it to serious seekers!
Published 18 months ago by I. P. Cheneour
5.0 out of 5 stars Reconciliation of eastern & Western religions.
The foremost of the medieval Christian mystics Meister Eckhart is very well researched and put into context with other mystics from Buddhist, Hindu (Vedantist) Sufi traditions. Read more
Published 19 months ago by D. E. Inglesent
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring crap
It might have been relevant 50 years ago but now it's just dusty old man thinking. The time spent reading this is time that I'll never get back - can I sue someone?
Published on 15 Dec 2011 by Andy Rubio
5.0 out of 5 stars The perennial Huxley
Aldous Huxley must have been a busy man: novel writer, non-fiction writer, psychedelic trailblazer and self-proclaimed mystic, this man seems to have lived the life to the full. Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2011 by Ashtar Command
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysticism in England
At the beginning of the book Huxley says that the heart of the actual world is Absolute Mind. To integrate your own mind with that of the Absolute Mind, you have to give up your... Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2010 by J A R P
2.0 out of 5 stars "Nibb'na" - "blowing out" (your brain)
This is not a book about philosophy, or even religion, it is about spirituality, and the most aesthetic and least practical kind that exists. Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2009 by nastler
2.0 out of 5 stars Archaic gobbledegook
I must disagree with previous reviewers: this book is not essential reading. The entire concept of it is now incredibly dated; that we should try and live our lives according to... Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2007 by Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars "We read to know that we are not alone" (C.S. Lewis)
This is a good anthology of the perennial philosophy. The design is easy to follow and too interesting to put aside. Read more
Published on 16 Mar 2007 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This would be my Desert Island Discs book choice. I have read it three times now & have found it inspiring & uplifting each time. Read more
Published on 22 Jan 2006
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