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Psychedelic Books

33 Essential Quotes from Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception

Doors of Perception
Written by Aldous Huxley. 
Published in 1954.
60 pages.
Huxley discusses his experience taking mescaline in 1953. 

Though I recommend reading the whole book (it’s pretty short), here are 33 quotes that I believe are essential to this book. They relate to My First Psychedelic Trip and others’ Psychedelic Experiences. (Also, Mescaline is written as Mescalin by Huxley – same thing)

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33 Quotes

1—”To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large – this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.”

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2— “The mind was primarily concerned, not with measures and locations, but with being and meaning.”

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3—“But the reasonably healthy person knows in advance that, so far as he is concerned, mescalin is completely innocuous, that its effects will pass off after eight or ten hours, leaving no hangover and consequently no craving for a renewal of the dose.”

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4— “But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.”

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5—Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves.”

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6—“A moment later a clump of Red Hot Pokers, in full bloom, had exploded into my field of vision. So passionately alive that they seemed to be standing on the very brink of utterance.”

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7—“Other persons discover a world of visionary beauty. To others again is revealed the glory, the infinite value and meaningfulness of naked existence, of the given, un-conceptualized event. In the final stage of ego-less-ness there is an “obscure knowledge” that All is in all – that All is actually each.”

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8—“What the rest of us see only under the influence of mescalin, the artist is congenitally equipped to see all the time.”

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9—“The schizophrenic is like a man permanently under the influence of mescalin.”

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10—“Most visualizers are transformed by mescalin into visionaries. Some of them – and they are Perhaps more numerous than is generally supposed – require no transformation; they are visionaries all the time.”

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11—“Along with the happily transfigured majority of mescalin takers there is a minority that finds in the drug only hell or purgatory.”

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12— “Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor and limited that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul.”

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13— “Professor J. S. Slotkin, one of the very few white men ever to have participated in the rites of a Peyotist congregation, says of his fellow worshipers that they are “certainly not stupefied or drunk…. They never get out of rhythm or fumble their words, as a drunken or stupefied man would do…. They are all quiet, courteous and considerate of one another. I have never been in any white man’s house of worship where there is either so much religious feeling or decorum.”

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14—“How many philosophers, how many theologians, how many professional educators have had the curiosity to open this Door in the Wall? The answer, for all practical purposes, is, None.”

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15—“Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience.”

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16— “What is important is less the reason for the experience than the experience itself.”

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17— “It has been a retreat from the outward Datum into the personal subconscious, into a mental world more squalid and more tightly closed than even the world of conscious personality.”

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18—“For the moment, mescalin had delivered me “e world of selves, of time, of moral judgments and utilitarian considerations, the world (and it was this aspect of human life which I wished, above all else, to forget) of self-assertion, of cocksureness, of overvalued words and idolatrously worshiped notions.”

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19—“This is how one ought to see,” I repeated yet again. And I might have added,’ ‘These are the sort of things one ought to look at.” Things without pretensions, satisfied to be merely themselves, sufficient in their Suchness, not acting a part, not trying, insanely, to go it alone, in isolation from the Dharma-Body, in Luciferian defiance of the grace of god.”The nearest approach to this,” I said, “would be a Vermeer.”

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20—“For the moment that interfering neurotic who, in waking hours, tries to run the show, was blessedly out of the way.”

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21—“All that the conscious ego can do is to formulate wishes, which are then carried out by forces which it controls very little and understands not at all.”

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22—“In the intervals between his revelations the mescalin taker is apt to feel that, though in one way everything is supremely as it should be, in another there is something wrong.”

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23—“I took down my copy of Evans-Wentz’s edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and opened at random:

“O nobly born, let not thy mind be distracted.” That was the problem – to remain undistracted. Undistracted by the memory of past sins, by imagined pleasure, by the bitter aftertaste of old wrongs and humiliations, by all the fears and hates and cravings that ordinarily eclipse the Light…

… What those Buddhist monks did for the dying and the dead, might not the modern psychiatrist do for the insane? Let there be a voice to assure them, by day and even while they are asleep, that in spite of all the terror, all the bewilderment and confusion, the ultimate Reality remains unshakably itself and is of the same substance as the inner light of even the most cruelly tormented mind.”

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24—“But we can easily become the victims as well as the beneficiaries of these systems…

We must learn how to handle words effectively; but at the same time we must preserve and, if necessary, intensify our ability to look at the world directly and not through that half opaque medium of concepts, which distorts every given fact into the all too familiar likeness of some generic label or explanatory abstraction…

Literary or scientific, liberal or specialist, all our education is predominantly verbal and therefore fails to accomplish what it is supposed to do.”

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25—“The universal and ever-present urge to self- transcendence is not to be abolished by slamming the currently popular Doors in the Wall. The only reasonable policy is to open other, better doors in the hope of inducing men and women to exchange their old bad habits for new and less harmful ones.”

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26—“A man under the influence of mescalin quietly minds his own business. Moreover, the business he minds is an experience of the most enlightening kind, which does not have to be paid for (and this is surely important) by a compensatory hangover.”

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27—“For myself, on this memorable May morning, I could only be grateful for an experience which had shown me, more clearly than I had ever seen it before, the true nature of the challenge and the completely liberating response.”

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28—“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 he will never even be tempted to indulge in what Traherne called “the dirty Devices of the world.”

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29—“Today the percept had swallowed up the concept. I was so completely absorbed in looking, so thunderstruck by what I actually saw, that I could not be aware of anything else.”

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30—“When we feel ourselves to be 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?”

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31—”We see, then, that Christianity and alcohol do not and cannot mix. Christianity and mescalin seem to be much more compatible.”

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32—“If you started in the wrong way,” I said in answer to the investigator’s questions, “everything that happened would be a proof of the conspiracy against you. It would all be self-validating, You couldn’t draw a breath without knowing it was part of the plot.” “So you think you know where madness lies?”

My answer was a convinced and heartfelt, “Yes.”

“And you couldn’t control it?”

“No I couldn’t control it. If one began with fear and hate as the major premise, one would have to go on to the conclusion.” “Would you be able,” my wife asked, “to fix your attention on what The Tibetan Book of The Dead calls the Clear Light?” I was doubtful.

“Would it keep the evil away, if you could hold it? Or would you not be able to hold it?”

I considered the question for some time. “Perhaps,” I answered at last, “perhaps I could – but only if there were somebody there to tell me about the Clear Light. One couldn’t do it by oneself. That’s the point, I suppose, of the Tibetan ritual – someone sitting there all the time and telling you what’s what.”

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33—“An hour later, with ten more miles and the visit to the World’s Biggest Drug Store safely behind us, we were back at home, and I had returned to that reassuring but profoundly unsatisfactory state known as “being in one’s right mind.”

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What’s your favorite Doors of Perception quote?

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Psilocybin Stories

Psilocybin Black Hole

Around this time I was thinking — this feels pretty good, maybe this is what shrooms are, and this is pretty cool…

I watched a breeze swoop in, moving the grass with it, in what I thought looked harmonious. I was in awe…but soon I found that this was just the tip of the iceberg — but rather than an iceberg, I’d say a blackhole.

30 minutes later

We walked around the park some more, feeling breezes and watching them orchestrate the grass like it was a band. We were standing on a small grass hill around that time, which was also when I had a peak experience. Answers I had been seeking flooded into me — maybe I was the black hole? Maybe we were all blackholes? 

I wasn’t thinking that^ at the time, but reflecting on it, that’s how it felt for me. Everything made sense in that moment. It was moments of deep, joyful reflections. An internal “Ohhh” about so many things—myself, people, nature, animals, societal norms and structures, time, and even about life itself. 

Pretty much anything I had ever wondered or worried about, was resolved. And at that time the answers were so much more simple than I was making them to be, or worrying about.

I really believe I was experiencing unconditional love, with myself and the Universe. We weren’t separate. There was no “you” and “me,” there wasn’t even an “us,” because it was all so beyond that, beyond any words.  

One of the realizations I had during that moment, was that “time” is not actually how I previously thought it was—measured and all that(seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc). I realized that it was so much more than the measurements we’ve given it as humans. “Time” was a construct. 

One way I’ve described this whole experience to others is that it’s like going back to when you were a child — there’s no labels and words for anything. It just all, is. And it’s all connected. You feel like you’re finally home, on the inside, ya know, because that’s ultimately where we’re all experiencing life from. Both the internal and external fused together.

“Psilocybin Black Hole” is an excerpt from My First Real Trip.
Join in on the 40+ comments on the full post here 😊

Categories
Psilocybin Stories

Follow The Psilocybin

What went from 2gs turned into my subconscious telling me to eat all I had, 7.6gs, that I grew with love, myself. 

I eventually felt my ego melt through my body, where I felt at true peace. No pain or fear, as I watched my hand disappear into light.

Coming down, I realized I wasn’t afraid or confused about this life anymore. I’ve never been more grateful or happy in my life. 

There’s so much more, but in a nutshell. Holy fuck.

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