The Doors of Perception

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Jim Cross
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The Doors of Perception

Post by Jim Cross »

The publication of The Doors of Perception[1] by Aldous Huxley in 1954 marks a useful dividing line in Western thought on entheogens. Before its publication most scientists thought psychedelic drugs as scientific curiosities. Their ability to alter the mind in powerful ways certainly seemed to argue for some possible utility, but not enough was known about them, or the brain for that matter, to understand how to use them or what they might be good for. Since they created in those who took them indications of mental illness, many certainly thought their chemistry could provide potential leads to the causes and cures for insanity. Others they might be useful for scientists and therapists to understand mental illness from the inside, so to speak. Still others thought seemingly that driving the insane a little more insane with psychedelic drugs might be useful for curing some forms of mental illness. Few people took the experience to be enlightening or valuable by itself. Few wanted to approach the experience on its own terms. Fewer still thought the experience could provide actual insight. All of this changed after Huxley’s Doors. While the word “psychedelic” wasn’t coined by Huxley’s collaborator, Humphry Osmond, for several more years, the publication of Doors changed the terms of the arguments.
Remainder of article here. ... erception/