Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Doors of Perception


From "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley

"There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception."

"We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone."

"To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves."

"Most people, most of the time, know only what comes through the reducing valve and is consecrated as genuinely real by the local language. Certain persons, however, seem to be born with a kind of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve."

"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?"

"We now spend a good deal more on drink and smoke than we spend on education. This, of course, is not surprising."

"A firm conviction of the material reality of Hell never prevented medieval Christians from doing what their ambition, lust or covetousness suggested."

"Lo, the poor Indian, whose untutored mind
Clothes him in front, but leaves him bare behind.
But actually it is we, the rich and highly educated whites, who have left ourselves bare behind. We cover our anterior nakedness with some philosophy-Christian, Marxian, Freudo-Physicalist-but abaft we remain uncovered, at the mercy of all the winds of circumstance. The poor Indian, on the other hand, has had the wit to protect his rear by supplementing the fig leaf of a theology with the breechcloth of transcendental experience."

"Literary or scientific, liberal or specialist, all our education is predominantly verbal and therefore fails to accomplish what it is supposed to do. Instead of transforming children into fully developed adults, it turns out students of the natural sciences who are completely unaware of Nature as the primary fact of experience, it inflicts upon the world students of the humanities who know nothing of humanity, their own or anyone else's."

"But do we see respectable psychologists, philosophers and clergymen boldly descending into those odd and sometimes malodorous wells, at the bottom of which poor Truth is so often condemned to sit? Yet once more the answer is, No."

"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."

"This is how one ought to see"

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