I was not disappointed, for it gives the reader so much, including the seminal idea of Istigkeit, or is-ness, the idea that 'it just is' and that through this is-ness one can gain a sense of being in the object or thing that just is.
To be clear, "The Doors of Perception" details the author's experiences of taking mescaline and offers a crucial insight into mind-altering experiences. It famously charts Huxley's reaction to the legs of a chair, where he muses:
"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 the certain sense were 'they') being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the chair."But it is the section where he become entranced by the folds of his own trousers that I truly shared a eureka moment with Huxley, a re-remembering of the positives from my own experiments with an alternate way of viewing things, to invest those things with new values and to discover, as described in relation to the chair leg, being myself in them.
From here Huxley departs on a fascinating tangent that is further developed in the following book "Heaven and Hell", which is that it is in humankind's representations of fabrics that the true vision of art is to be found, in that, arts love for drapery for its own sake, or rather for their own sake. Humanity's transcendence is to be found in these non-representational and unconditional forms that enable true expression. It is those things which are charged with is-ness.
The accompanying slim volume "Heaven and Hell" further distills the thoughts in it's experiential predecessor, which divests transcendental powers to humanity's obsession with jewels as means by which alternate states can be reached; alongside more prosaic methods as fasting, solitary confinement, fireworks and throwing oneself about in order to reach otherness and thus is-ness.
Huxley also leaves us with two fascinating ideas in "Heaven and Hell", the first is that heaven only exists in the minds of many as a vantage point to look down on those below, so in doing so the relationship between heaven and hell is symbiotic and self-referential, one can only exist without the other and that heaven would not be heaven if it did not have hell and also some sort of middle ground for it to be heavenly in relation to, the same of course goes for any concept of hell.
Secondly, Huxley touches on his understanding of schizophrenia, which is all about perception of what is, in that the illumination of is-ness is infernal in it's intensity and that added to this is the horror of infinity; a revelation of the universal system, the cosmic mechanism which exists to grind out guilt, punishment, solitude and unreality. This seems to be a very close friend of Sartre's nausea.
And just as Sartre teaches us how to engage and channel this nausea, Huxley makes the valid point that:
"Sanity is a matter of degree and there are plenty of visionaries who see the world of the schizophrenic but contrive none the less to live outside of the asylum."