HEAVEN AND HELL by Aldous Huxley


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A whole herd of Huxley's intellectual hobbyhorses ride shoulder to shoulder in this essay: for instance, inner as against outer vision; art as an embodiment of universal psychic values; parapsychology and its scientific implementation with mescaline and other stimulants; man's prospects of a hereafter. A lot of verbal dust is kicked up along with a few provocative notions (i.e. yoga breathing exercises raise the body's carbon dioxide tolerance and thereby induce visions). Huxley, somewhat artificially, treats as a separate mental area the seat of those brilliant colorings, fragmentary shapes, and other dream- like phenomena long known to hypnosis and students of schizophrenia. This ""area"" Huxley finds somehow exalted, mystical, bordering at once upon the nobler achievements of art and the terrain of heaven and hell (hell being a negative or perverse form of the special ""area""). The book resembles a collection of ill-assorted musings, joined by further speculations not a whit more consecutive. It will appeal to the more dedicated Huxley-ite, particularly those with a parapsychological predisposition.

Publisher: Harper