July 19, 2008

Huxley in the 60s

Aldous Huxley's The Doors Of Perception
Reviewed by Grady

The Doors of Perception is an illuminating look into the roots of 60s counterculture. It details Aldous Huxley's experimentation with the drug mescaline in order to change his perception and understand his own mind. It explores the Native American ceremonial use of the drug and compares it to American alcoholism, commenting that mescaline does not cause the disruptive behavior brought on by alcohol. I enjoyed Huxley's description of his state of mind as he describes losing interest in time and the physical shape of his surroundings while he focused on meaning. The language has the feel of a scientific journal but this is contrasted by his religious-sounding language which he uses to describe his experience. Huxley steps outside of himself, leaving behind his dystopian description of the world found in his novel Brave New World, and tries to explain what he felt was a very positive experience.

Librarian's notes:
Huxley, most famous as the author of Brave new world, wrote novels, poetry, essays, plays, and stories for children.

Have you read After many a summer dies the swan ?
Seen Huxley's Mike Wallace interview?

Yes, there were a lot of Huxleys. Aldous Huxley's grandfather was Darwin's friend, Thomas Henry Huxley; his mother the neice of the the poet Matthew Arnold; his brother the great biologist Julian Huxley.

Others in the family are less well-known today but were very curious characters in their time. One of Aldous' aunts, Mary Augusta Ward, was both a best selling novelist and a founder of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League - yes, she was actively opposed to allowing women votes. (The league was shortly taken over by the Men's League for Opposing Woman Suffrage).

Posted by library at July 19, 2008 04:45 PM
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