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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 November 2012
I read this book many years ago, in the days when L.S.D. was going strong. It therefore had an interest to my generation.

At the time I remembered thinking that "The Doors of Perception" was basically about Aldous Huxley's experiences and reflections whilst on mescaline. He also asked about such expereinces being a doorway into the world of schizophrenia and wondered if it would be worth reconsidering the philosopher Bergson's idea of the brain being basically an eliminative organ, to stop us being overwhelmed by impressions, so we can function in the everyday world. Both points are worthy of argument and Youtube has a video where he speaks, from the book,on the latter.

Heaven and Hell,which I preferred at the time is an essay on how over history people's minds have been opened up a world beyond the everyday experience of the ego (he calls it that "interfering neurotic" in the first book). Anyone who has had an aesthetic experience will know something about that "opening up". There can be beauty, in it's truest sense but there can be horror. There can be good trips and there can be bad trips. There can be ecstasy but there can be madness. There can be heaven and there can be hell (the land of lit-up-ness, as he describes it).

A worthy and fascinating read, of perennial interest, which I am pleased to return to on kindle and would certainly recommend.
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on 20 April 2017
Classic read. Basically a trip report written by Aldous Huxley which helped kick off the psychedelic era of the 1960s. Worth reading for this alone and its a short read cover to cover
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on 24 July 2015
a good read, read a a brave new world and 1984 too
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on 3 June 2017
I find his writing style awkward to read. I gave up after half way through
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on 22 June 2017
Lovely
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on 8 February 2017
Very interesting read for all those fascinated by the academic, therapeutic and holistic potential of psychedelic substances. Huxley is a poet and scholar !
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on 23 July 2013
It was hard to rate this book two of them were so different. I loved doors of perception - it was a great insight into his experience with mescaline and I don't think there are really any comparable descriptions and analyses of drug experiences out there, especially thanks to the way he structured the trip itself.

By way of contrast, I found heaven and hell annoying because he had this one idea about transporting art which frankly I didnt find very convincing and the rest of the book was largely a collection of examples to support this but which could equally support a different point of view. That said, it was not without merit as it included interesting art descriptions and interpretations as well as interesting research on various religious rituals.
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on 2 May 2017
Doors of perception: Huxley could have described his trip and his theories without including reams of pseudo-erudite twaddle.
Heaven and Hell: How many times does the author need to use the word "praeternatural" to make his point? Tedious in the eztreme.
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VINE VOICEon 14 July 2003
"The Doors of Perception" is an account of Huxley’s experience of taking the hallucinatory drug Mescalin under controlled conditions, and the rather rambling but vivid thoughts and sensations that resulted. Huxley’s abilities as a writer enable him to describe them much more effectively than most people could.
"Heaven and Hell" is a post experience discussion of the effects of Mescalin. Huxley considers other ways of achieving the same visionary experience as the drug induces, such as starvation or meditation, and notes work by other writers and artists that suggests they must have had similar experiences. He compares these experiences through the work produced, and also considers how these experiences might relate to people who have some form of mental disorder, such as schizophrenia.
Despite the passage of time since the book was written, it hasn’t really dated. His reflections highlight the fact that our knowledge of how the human brain works has only advanced very slowly over the last half century.
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on 16 November 1998
This book blew my mind. Reading it was interesting, but the thoughts that it provoked were amazing - as he puts it (which seems to be the best way) it opened up an entirely new avenue of experience. Huxley's enormously wide breadth of knowledge of music, art and literature means he makes references to many works outside of mine (and I suspect most people's), and I didn't always agree with his theories, but these are tiny quibbles about a brilliant book that should be, IMHO, read by everyone.
The Doors of Perception is Huxley's account of an afternoon on which he sat down and, in a controlled experimental situation, took 0.4g of mescalin (a drug not dissimilar to lysergic acid). Heaven and Hell is his later reflections and the paths down which his thoughts went following this experience.
I generally read books simply for entertainment - this one gave me another perspective with which to look many things and left a strong, permanent and very postive effect in me.
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