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Chairs and Legs of Perception

I was back where I had been when I was looking at the flowers-back in a world where everything shone with the Inner Light, and was infinite in its significance. The legs, for example, of that chair -- how miraculous their tubularity, how supernatural their polished smoothness! I spent several minutes -- or was it several centuries? -- not merely gazing at those bamboo legs, but actually being them -- -or rather being myself in them; or, to be still more accurate (for "I" was not involved in the case, nor in a certain sense were "they") being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the chair.
- Aldous Huxley thought this up after ingesting psychedelic Mescaline and these words found their way to his 'The Doors of Perception' (1954) whose title comes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: 

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

'Legs, Cards and Gun' image: Created from promotional material for "Nehle Pe Dehla" (1976) featuring Saira Banu.


  1. Vinayak, every time I read a post of yours, I learn something new. Thank you. Interesting interpretation of Huxley in those images, btw.

  2. Huxley on use of drugs, Bollywood on use of female anatomy. That's a lethal combination.

  3. Yeah, but how many people join the dots?!

  4. Did Jim Morrison not name Doors after Huxley's Doors of Perception? Aldous's brother, Julian was quite an intersting and gifted character in his own right

  5. Yes, right you are about Jim Morrison's The Doors, Morrison actually came up with the name after reading Huxley's account of drug experiences in 'The Doors Of Perception'. It must have been passages like the one quoted in this post that really set him going.

    And thanks for reminding me of Julian Huxley. What a family! Will read more about him.


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