Aldous Huxley



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Fast Facts
aldoshaxley.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Aldous Leonard Huxley
Function: 
Writer
Traditions: 
Psychonautics, Vedanta, Vedanta Society, Transpersonal Psychology
Main Countries of Activity: 
UK, USA
Date of Birth: 
26 July 1894
Place of Birth: 
Godalming, Surrey, England
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
22 November 1963
Descendant Gurus: 
Other Related Gurus: 
Swami Prabhavananda

Biography

Aldous Huxley was an English writer, best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging selection of essays including the well-known "The Doors of Perception" (attached).

Huxley is well known for his use of psychedelic drugs. In October 1930, the English occultist Aleister Crowley dined with Huxley in Berlin and introduced him to peyote. He was introduced to mescaline (the key active ingredient of peyote) by the psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1953, taking for his first time during the evening of May 5. Through Dr. Osmond, Huxley met millionaire Alfred Matthew Hubbard who would deal with LSD on a wholesale basis. On 24 December 1955, Huxley took his first dose of LSD. Indeed, Huxley was a pioneer of self-directed psychedelic drug use "in a search for enlightenment", famously taking 100 micrograms of LSD as he lay dying. His psychedelic drug experiences are described in the essays "The Doors of Perception" (the title deriving from some lines in the book "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" by William Blake), and "Heaven and Hell". Some of his writings on psychedelics became frequent reading among early hippies.

During the 1930s, Huxley became interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, in particular Vivekanda's Neo-Vedanta and Universalism.

In 1937, Huxley moved to Hollywood, California with his family and a friend, Gerald Heard. Heard introduced Huxley to Vedanta, meditation, and vegetarianism through the principle of ahimsa. In 1938 Huxley befriended J. Krishnamurti, whose teachings he greatly admired.

Beginning in 1939 and continuing until his death in 1963, Huxley had an extensive association with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, founded and headed by Swami Prabhavananda. Together with Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, and other followers he was initiated by the Swami and was taught meditation and spiritual practices.

In 1944 Huxley wrote the introduction to the "Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God", translated by Swami Prabhavanada and Christopher Isherwood, which was published by The Vedanta Society of Southern California.

From 1941 through 1960 Huxley contributed 48 articles to "Vedanta and the West", published by the Society. He also served on the editorial board with Isherwood, Heard, and playwright John van Druten from 1951 through 1962.

After the publication of "The Doors of Perception" (attached), Huxley and the Swami disagreed about the meaning and importance of the LSD drug experience, which may have caused the relationship to cool, but Huxley continued to write articles for the Society's journal, lecture at the temple, and attend social functions.

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell (P.S.)

by Aldous Huxley

(Paperback)

Half an hour after swallowing the drug I became aware of a slow dance of golden lights . . .

Among the most profound explorations of the effects of mind-expanding drugs ever written, here are two complete classic books—The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell—in which Aldous Huxley, author of the bestselling Brave New World, reveals the mind\'s remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. This new edition also features an additional essay, \"Drugs That Shape Men\'s Minds,\" which is now included for the first time.

Cover image

The Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West (P.S.)

by Aldous Huxley

(Paperback)

An inspired gathering of religious writings that reveals the \"divine reality\" common to all faiths, collected by Aldous Huxley

\"The Perennial Philosophy,\" Aldous Huxley writes, \"may be found among the traditional lore of peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions.\"

With great wit and stunning intellect—drawing on a diverse array of faiths, including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, and Islam—Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains how they are united by a common human yearning to experience the divine. The Perennial Philosophy includes selections from Meister Eckhart, Rumi, and Lao Tzu, as well as the Bhagavad Gita, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Diamond Sutra, and Upanishads, among many others.

Cover image

Brave New World (P.S.)

by Aldous Huxley

(Paperback)

\"Aldous Huxley is the greatest 20th century writer in English.\" —Chicago Tribune

Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

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