The Doors of Perception
The Doors of Perception is a 1954 collection of essays by British writer Aldous Huxley, detailing his experiences with the psychedelic drug mescaline. The book’s influence on the 1960s generation was profound, including its reference by Jim Morrison in the title of his band, The Doors.
In 1952, Huxley read an article detailing Humphry Osmond’s use of mescaline as a treatment for schizophrenia. At the time, mescaline, derived from peyote, was not considered to be either addictive and was classified as a research chemical. Huxley had been interested in the use of hallucinogens in various native religious ceremonies and contacted Osmond. The two met in Los Angeles on 3 May 1952, with Osmond administering 4/10 of a gram. The resulting eight-hour trip was later detailed in the book.
During the trip, Huxley, under the supervision of his wife Maria and Osmond, was taken to the local Owl Drug store, then famed as the “World’s Biggest Drugstore.” Huxley browsed through several art books before returning home to spend time in his garden, listen to music and drive to the hills overlooking Los Angeles.
Following the experience and a trip to various National Parks, Huxley wrote the book over the course of a month. Ultimately, he concluded that mescaline was not enlightenment, not necessary but helpful for transforming intellectual perception.