In 1952 Aldous Huxley became involved in the now legendary experiment to clinically detail the physiological and psycho-logical 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-know, and eccentric British family. By any standards, the results of the experiment were remarkable. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell detail the practic-alities of the experiment and give Huxley’s vivid account of his im-mediate experience and the more prolonged effect upon his sub-sequent 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 spec-tacular 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 con-scious and willing reader – a trip to the Guggenheim, the Louvre or the Tate Modern will never be the same again.
“The Doors of Perception is a poignant book, partly because it reveals the human frailties and yearnings of a very cerebral writer” Financial Times “You can look at Aldous Huxley and draw parallels with the Beatles: Crome Yellow and Those Barren Leaves were his breakthrough Merseybeat books, Point Counter Point was his ‘Revolver’, with The Doors of Perception his full-blown Sergeant Pepper trip. Like the Beatles, Huxley had so many ideas in his head that it was natural he would want to expand and experiment. What drugs provided for them both was not escape, but reevaluation” The Times “There is nothing the pen of Huxley touches which it does not illuminate, and as the record of a highly civilised, brilliantly articulate man under the influence of an astonishing drug, The Doors of Perception is a tour de force” Daily Telegraph