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Aldous Huxley’s Experimentation with Hallucinogenic Drugs

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Aldous Huxley’s Experimentation with Hallucinogenic Drugs

Aldous Huxley’s Experimentation with Hallucinogenic Drugs

Aldous Huxley was known to many for his famous writing The Doors of Perception. He experimented with Hallucinogenic drugs in the 1950’s and wrote many essays on his findings. Aldous Huxley experiments made his life change in many ways, good and bad.

As Aldous grew up, deciding what he wanted to do with his life was easy. His father Doctor Leonard Huxley was a teacher, editor, and writer and his mother was of literacy accomplishment. His grandfather was a scientist known as “Darwin’s bulldog” and his brother was a scientist as well (Magill’s, Page 793). Huxley was a lanky, delicately framed child who was gifted intellectually. His father was a professional herbalist as well as an author, so Aldous began his learning in his father's well-equipped botanical laboratory, then continued in a school named Hillside, which his mother supervised for several years until she became terminally ill. Aldous was then educated in the British boarding school system. As he grew older he furthered his education at Balliol. By the age of seventeen his first unpublished novel was complete. Then, he began to seriously write novels.

His first novel was Crome Yellow, he wrote it in 1921. It was his first novel, and it was very successful. His second novel was Antic Hay, it was written in 1923. “The story takes place in London, in the turbulent times following the end of World War I. It follows the lives of a diverse cast of characters who pursue both sensual and intellectual goals in a comic yet familiar whirlwind of energy and passion in a time of change and uncertainty.” (Wikipedia, Aldous Huxley). His third novel was Point Counter Point, it was written in 1928. Point Counter Point has no overarching plot. “Much of the novel consists of deeply penetrating personality sketches and long intellectual conversations. When actions are described, Huxley deconstructs every motive and internal emotion in detail, sometimes even jumping into a character's past to provide context. His characters decry the dangers of sacrificing humanity for intellectualism, and express concern about the staggering progress of science and technology.” (Wikipedia, Aldous Huxley). His fourth and most popular novel was, Brave New World, written in 1932. “ In Brave New World the world is described as a utopia, an ironic one. Humanity is carefree, healthy, and technologically advanced. Warfare and poverty have been eliminated, all races are equal, and everyone is permanently happy. The irony is, however, that all of these things have been achieved by eliminating many things, family, cultural diversity, art, literature, religion and philosophy” (Wikipedia, Aldous Huxley).

After World War II Huxley applied for United States citizenship, but was denied because he would not say he would take up arms to defend America. Finally he was accepted and he moved in with “the guru- figure” Gerald Heard. He believed

the California climate will help his vision, which he lost when he was younger. He considered

this the turning point of his life (The Literature Network, Aldous Huxley). As he started his new life in California he became a vegetarian. Thereafter, he started new works that were strongly influenced by mysticism and his experiences with the hallucinogenic drug mescaline. Huxley's psychedelic drug experiences are described in the essays The Doors of Perception and Heaven And Hell (The Literature Network, Aldous Huxley).

The Doors of Perception was written in 1954. In this essay Huxley wrote about his experiments with Hallucengentic Drug Mescaline. This short book is considered to be one of the more profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs and what they teach about how the mind works (Wikipedia, The Doors of Perception). “Psychedelic drugs are thought to disable filters which block or suppress signals related to mundane functions from reaching the conscious mind.” In this book, Huxley explores the idea that the human mind filters reality, partly because handling the details of all of the impressions and images coming in would be unbearable, partly because it has been taught to do so. He believes that psychotropic drugs can partly remove this filter, or "open these doors of perception,".” (Wikipedia, The Doors of Perception, )

The Psycadelic drug he used the most was Mescaline. On mescaline he saw objects in a new light; they disclosed their inherent, deep, timeless existence, which remans hidden from everyday sight (Wikipedia, Mescaline). The positive side effects were open eye visual, closed eye visual, new thought process, dream like scenarios, euphoria, and mysictical experience. The negative side effects were Dizzeness, vomiting, headaches, tachycarida, anxiety, annhilation, and irrationality

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