“Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be.” — Aldous Huxley
Huxley’s short but quite influential book, The Doors of Perception, explores how taking mescalin changed his life and his vision of how such drugs can alter human behavior in a very positive manner. Besides attacking alcohol drinkers, cigarette smokers and Christianity, the book is more about understanding how different people need different things to survive.
Huxley describes his surrounding environment with great fluidity and detail, never wavering in his confidence that his life is now different and better because of the drug he took. He explains how humans are one in the same, each person finding their own path to a separate salvation:
“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”
A “society of island universes” shows how descriptive Huxley’s writing was. Besides being a personal hero of mine in regards to how he uses language to his advantage, he seems to get “it”, with it being the nuances of life and the various journeys human beings take. He urges educators to do something like mescaline to better understand their students, to be more aware on a spiritual level of what children should be learning. No theatrics, just results.
I urge everybody to read this book, along with other works by Huxley. He is sometimes lost in the shuffle of literature, but his words should be placed on a pedestal of realism and transcendentalism. Just read his flowing diatribes and you too will know that he is one and the same, all while having that extra bit of awareness.