Unlike any other mammal on earth, man possesses the unique ability to traverse various levels of the mind in order to alter and create his own perceptions of reality. Unlike any author in modern literature, Aldous Huxley charts man's explorations into the realms of the mind in his books The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. In these two works, Huxley travels to "the antipodes of the mind" (Huxley 85) to explore the concepts of "heaven and hell" in order to determine their place of origin. He comes back from his travels to share what he found, and offer a new way of viewing the world. Huxley borrows upon the words of William Blake for the title of his book, and in an opening quotation: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite." Huxley realized that our limited perceptions are what prevent us from reaching the illuminated state visionaries and mystics often refer to as "heaven," and in our struggles against this illuminated state, we plunge ourselves into the darker recesses of the mind, commonly referred to as "hell." Aldous Huxley spent much of his lifetime exploring ways to connect to the inner world of the mind in order to improve our outer reality. In Aldous Huxley and the Way to Reality, Charles M. Holmes declares that Huxley "believes the outer world depends on the inner" (Holmes 48). Huxley disliked the idea of "somebody out there, apart from the percipient and different from him" (Holmes 117). For Huxley, the quality of our lives depended on how in touch we were with ourselves, and that could not be determined by any outside source, such as a deity, it was determined by the qualities found within each of us.
[...] Indiana University Press Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell New York: Perrenial Library Labadie, Laurence. “Superstition and Progress.” Man! An Anthology of Anarchist Ideas, Essays, Poetry and Commentaries. Ed. M. Graham. London: Cienfuegos Press Locke, John. Essay Concerning Human Understanding.” Britannica Great Books. Ed. Robert Maynard Hutchins. Chicago: Oxford University Press 93-395. Matsunaga, Alicia. Rev. of Chinese Hells: The Peking Temple of Eighteen Hells and Chinese Conceptions of Hell. by Anne Swann Goodrich. History of Religions (Aug.1983): 94-6. Patrides, C.A. [...]
[...] The longstanding arguments on whether heaven and hell exists as a state of mind, or whether there are actual physical locations for heaven and hell that we can travel to after death are typically based on very specific dogmatic theories. Scientific, secularist, and intellectual humanist views introduce a different perception, with heaven and hell as states of mind that we create ourselves. With this refined concept of heaven and hell, the focus of responsibility is shifted back on the individual, a process which is lacking in modern society with the quickness of using external sources to blame our misery, or place hope on for salvation. [...]
[...] Speaking for the Society of Saints in New England in the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards counseled his congregation on these characteristics of hell: “Imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven, all of a glowing heat or in the midst of a glowing brick kiln, or of a great furnace, where your pain would be as much greater than that occasioned by accidentally touching a coal of fire your torment in hell will be immensely greater than this illustration represents” (Patrides 219) And 17th century poet Abraham Fleming insisted “take and esteeme this for a trueth, that there is a hell, a denne of diuels and infernal fiends, where brimstone and flames of fire as blue as azure doth unquenchably burne” (Patrides 219). [...]
[...] Huxley also compares his visionary experience to Socrates' vision of heaven in Phaedo, wherein Socrates describes ideal world above and beyond the world of matter” (Huxley 103). this other earth the colors are much purer and much more brillian than they are down there The very mountains, the very stones have a richer gloss, a lovelier transparency and intensity of (Huxley 104). Socrates' description of heaven is consistent with Huxley's mescaline visions and other descriptions of heaven. Often we hear writers, poets, and naturalists describing their feelings of elation when they witness a breath-taking landscape—the serene woods of Yosemite National Park, for example. [...]
[...] Huxley believed that if you could shape the outer world, you could change your perceptions of heaven and hell. This would enable man to experience the joys of and eliminate feelings of It is not secret that Huxley himself was unhappy with modern society and sought a way to change the world around him. He felt the solution for change existed in each of us. Huxley states that urge to escape from selfhood and the environment is in almost everyone almost all the time” (Huxley 63). [...]
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