The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This must've blown minds when it came out. Now though, it's lost its edge.
Full disclosure, I'm here because of The Doors...of the Jim Morrison sort. Being a HUGE fan of him and the band, I absorbed all I could of them back during my teens. I even read his poetry. Hell, I even read William Blake's poetry, simply because it apparently influenced Morrison. However, I never did get around to reading Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception , the book title from which the band was named. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF A FAN AM I?!?!?!
Well, the reasons for me not getting to it until now are even more boring and inconsequential than this sentence. The point is, I've finally read the damn book. I needn't have bothered. It's pretty much what I figured it would be and there's nothing within it I needed to know.
Backstory: Bookish brainiac Huxley decided to try out the cactus drug peyote. In The Doors... he describes his trip. It's not half as interesting or entering as I'd hoped. (Here's a more entertaining, though less enlightening example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrIPL...)
Nowadays this stuff is so commonplace as to make this book almost quaint. And the parts that aren't outdated, are just not interesting enough to make this a winner in my book. In fact, Huxley spends so much time, too many pages imo, on art and artists that I began to doubt the need for a book on the topic. I mean, if you've got to use filler in a 60 page novette, the book probably could've just been a lengthy article or pamphlet. I get the connection he's trying to make between the artist mind and that of one on mind-altering drugs, it's just that I don't find it all that enthralling.
Still and all, this has its value. Some of the points Huxley makes herein are still valid. He was clearly an intelligent, well-read man. I guess I just didn't have the same mind-expanding experience as Morrison had when reading this.
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