The book describes and comments Huxley's first encounter with the drug mescalin. What fascinates me most about it are Huxley's theories about perceptional filters, that our brain has been developed to filter away perceptions that contradict "common sense".
According to Huxley, mescalin reduces the functionality of those filters, thereby allowing the taker to have experiences beyond "common" perception.
When on mescalin, Huxley can sit and watch ordinary everyday things and be amazed by their importance and how they are full of meaning. He writes:
A bunch of flowers shining with their own inner light. Those folds - what a labyrinth of endlessly significant complexity! I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his own creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence.
A couple of years after , Huxley writes the follow-up, ”Heaven and hell”. This book is more of an essay about different ways to reach into the hidden areas of perception, to open the doors, and how it is being done in different cultures
it showed that power lay in the ability to make other people accept your view of the world, and that this uniformity of perception killed the human spirit.
One path around perceptional conformity, Huxley noticed, was through mystical or religious states of mind.
His book The Perennial Philosophy had picked out the common threads in the world's religions, quoting at length from the various saints and mystics that had taken human consciousness to another level.
One of these was English visionary William Blake, who had written, "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite