THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION and HEAVEN AND HELL
Harper & Brothers
Ms. Hen decided to read this book because she read on Jim Morrison’s Wikipedia that the band The Doors got their name from the title. She had read BRAVE NEW WORLD many years ago, and she didn’t know much about Aldous Huxley, but she discovered he is a fascinating character who held a lot of radical ideas, some of which have been prophetic, such as the pervasiveness of technology into our society. The ball stared rolling with television, but it got much bigger.
Ms. Hen does not read much nonfiction, and she found her attention wandered while she was reading this. It reminded her of reading books of philosophy, which Ms. Hen does not like. But there were some interesting aspects of this book.
In THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION Huxley describes taking mescaline, and the effect it had on his mind. The colors he saw expanded, the shapes distorted and everything seemed to be bigger and brighter and more vivid. In HEAVEN AND HELL, Huxley describes throughout history what people have thought heaven was, whether it was jewels, or glass windows. Humanity strived for heaven.
In THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION Huxley explained that doing mescaline or peyote or any mind-expanding drug is similar to a schizophrenic experience. Schizophrenia, in the time he was writing, blanketed almost all mental illness because there wasn’t a word for other illnesses yet. Ms. Hen does not know why people would want to expand their minds, since she knows that some people take medication to keep from having their minds explode. Hallucination inducing drugs are fine for people who have never had their mind set free, but for Ms. Hen, she thinks that if some people did drugs, they might never come back to reality.
The writing in the book is excellent, the descriptions of the hallucinations are probably revolutionary, but Ms. Hen does not know for sure, because she has not read much about drugs or spirituality. Ms. Hen enjoyed HEAVEN AND HELL more than THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION, because it made her understand the history of the pursuit of heaven.
This small book opened Ms. Hen’s eyes to what people think of drugs and hallucinations. She had never thought someone could do drugs as part of an experiment, or simply to write about it. Ms. Hen admires this book, but it wasn’t exactly her cup of tea. She is not going to give any feathers to this book, because she doesn’t feel like it. She will not be doing any mind-expanding drugs as a result of this book. In fact, she will stay far away from them as best she can.