Appendix II


Aldous Huxley

From Doors of Perception  

“Mind At Large”

 

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, then everyone would see things as they really were, Infinite.”  William Blake

   

“Reflecting on my experience, I find myself agreeing with the eminent Cambridge philosopher, Dr. C.D. Broad, ‘that we should do well to consider much more seriously than we have hitherto been inclined to do the type of theory which Bergson put forward in connection with memory and sense perception.’ 

‘The suggestion is that the function of the brain and nervous system and sense organs is in the main eliminative and not productive.  Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. 

“The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment. And leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.”

Then Huxley says: “According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large.”

"To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system [i.e., the senses]… 

"To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages.

"Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born—the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people’s experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things. That which, in the language of religion, is called “this world” is the universe of reduced awareness, expressed, and, as it were, petrified by language."

 

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