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Induced EEs/EHEs,Techniques
Record Type: Review   ID: 967

Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (Michael Horowitz & Cynthia Palmer, Eds.).

Huxley, Aldous

This is certainly not a new book, but I believe experiential texts on any type of exceptional experience are ageless and belong to all generations of human beings the world over. I had the opportunity to glance at this book in the late 1970s when it was new, but it was far afield from my primary interest at that time, which was mainline parapsychology. I had had the honor of taking Huxley to lunch in my capacity as a staff member of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University when he visited us in the late 1950s. I found him somewhat aloof, perhaps due partly to his slim tallness. Of course, I was a callow young woman and we both were conscripted to the task. I tried mainly to ask leading questions and listen to his answers, but he did not come across to me as being fired by any enthusiasm, which was disappointing to me. I was used to J.B. Rhine’s undeniable intensity, in a sense over much less (p-values obtained in psi experiments) than Huxley, who had experienced creative writing and had had contemplative and psychedelic drug experiences, as evidenced by his writings, almost all of which I had read. I was interested in him primarily because of Gerald Heard, the most intense and truly holy man I have ever known. They were co-authors of a book of meditations on various topics, which I had read many times. I fancied I could tell which ones each had authored (they were not signed). Gerald’s were mellifluous reflections of deep states he had experienced and had the ring of truth. Huxley’s did not seem less true, but the truth was intellectualized, not as experiential, though often more elegantly expressed, than Heard’s pieces. (The author of each piece was identified in the Preface.)

I’d say Moksha, more than any other, is an expression of the "hot" Huxley. Maybe, as he himself wrote often, psychedelic drugs are needed to get to a level of consciousness beyond words. Once there, Huxley had no peer in finding the right words to express the experience. And this is what the 40 pieces in this book do. It is a collection of everything Huxley wrote on mind-manifesting drugs, published and unpublished (several letters are included). The first was written in 1931, and was about a book on drugs such as opium that opened a whole new world to Huxley, and in it he had clearly spotted something he wanted and needed. It was not until the 1950s, however, that he had mescaline for the first time, which resulted in the powerfully descriptive classic, The Doors of Perception. Huxley traveled to what he called "the antipodes" of the human mind by means of psychedelic drugs, and no traveler could tell the tale of his wanderings better. It is good to have this chronological compendium to dip into when the world seems too black and white, although such days are rare for me, graced as I am by many accounts of EHEs coming to me via e-mail, the EHE Network’s website, books, magazines, and phone calls. Huxley was one of the first in the modern West to realize the potential value and spiritual implications of drugs. We are fortunate to have this experiential record of drug experiences as EEs and EHEs.

Publisher Information:Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999. Pp. xvii + 280. (Original work published 1977) Index: 273-280. Source notes: 271-272
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