Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8



A Theoretical version or projected model of the Universe, a doll's-house or microcosm.

Words from a Magpie...




"Doors of Perception_Aldous Huxley" taken from the foreword by J.G. Ballard

"... All his life Huxley was driven by a need to understand the mystery of human consciousness, a quest that led him from Christian mysticism to the religions of the Far East and the pseudo religions of California. Unusually for a literary intellectual, of his day or ours, Huxley was intensely interested in science, and much of is original work lies in the border zone between religion, art and science.
The Doors of Perception sits in the centre of this magnetic ground. Huxley was fascinated by early research in the neurosciences, and in particular by the neurotransmitters in our brains and the way in which these chemical messengers control our view of ourselves and the world around us. Despite the wonders of human consciousness, Huxley believed that our brains have been trained during the evolutionary millennia to screen out all those perceptions that do not aid us in our day to day struggle for existence. We have gained security and survival, but in the process have sacrificed our sense of wonder.
The dismantling of these screens and the revelation of the richer world beyond them has long been the task of art and religious mysticism, but Huxley suspected that modern pharmacology possessed even stronger weapons in its armory of psycho-active drugs. In the Doors of Perception he describes an afternoon in Los Angeles in 1953 when he first ingested mescalin, the active principle of the sacred cactus known to the Mexicans as peyotl, and saw the gates of a new world open before him.
From the start he realised that his insights were not into himself and his modest personal history, but into the universe around him. Over the years there have been endless accounts of mescalin and LSD trips, but none can match Huxley's description of the hallucinatory realm that expanded before his eyes. The shutters before his mind at last fell away, revealing the wonders of existence to his self-centered and earthbound mind.
In the Doors of Perception and its sequel, Heaven and Hell, Huxley speculates that
human beings will always need some sort of chemical aid to free themselves from the inherited limitations of their own nervous systems. Forty years after his mescalin trip beside a Hollywood garden, when we have flown to the moon and girdled our planet with an entertainment culture more suffocating than anything visualised in Brave New World, we may be right to think that the epidition that Huxley undertook into his own brain is the last journey waiting for all of us, whether by chemical means or through some less hazardous door, the inward passage to our truer and richer selves. "

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