Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley

I read The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley, a couple years ago. I found out in High School that it was from that book which, Jim Morrison got the name for The Doors. I had been meaning to read it ever since. Much of my life was influenced by the bands I listened to, their lyrics and their lives - choose your music wisely.
I was a huge fan of The Doors until Oliver Stone made the film, which kind of ruined it for me since everyone was into them after that and I hated being a part of the crowd.
The author of The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley, got the title for the book from William Blake, who, btw, is quoted in the beginning of Just J. Different quote though. The one that inspired the title of the Huxley’s book is “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
The one at the beginning of Just J was, “To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” Which J sort of does . . . by the end of the book.
Anyway this is a passage from The Doors of Perception that stuck with me and I wanted to share. Especially the part about the sea in our veins and the stars as our jewels. It gave me a sense of peace and oneness with the world. Oh, the power of words.

“The sum of evil, Pascal remarked, would be much diminished if men could only learn to sit quietly in their rooms. The contemplative whose perception has been cleansed does not have to stay in his room. He can go about his business, so completely satisfied to see and be a part of the divine Order of Things that will never even be tempted to indulge in what Traherne called ‘the dirty Devices of the world.’ When we feel ourselves to be the sole heirs of the universe, when ‘the sea flows in our veins . . . and the stars are our jewels,’ when all things are perceived as infinite and holy, what motive can we have for covetousness or self-assertion, for the pursuit of power or the drearier forms of pleasure? Contemplatives are not likely to become gamblers, or procurers, or drunkards; do not find it necessary to rob, swindle or grind the faces of the poor. And to these enormous virtues we may add another, though hard to define, is both positive and important. The arhat and the quietist may not practice contemplation in its fullness; but if they practice it at all they may bring back enlightening reports of another, a transcendent country of the mind; and if they practice it in height, they we become conduits through which some beneficent influence can flow out of that other country into a world of darkened selves, chronically dying for lack of it.” – Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception