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The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
  1. #1
    “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.”
  2. #2
    “These are the sort of things people ought to look at. Things without pretensions, satisfied to be merely themselves.”
  3. #3
    “The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the non-intellectuals have never stirred.”
  4. #4
    “However expressive, symbols can never be the things they stand for.”
  5. #5
    “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.”
  6. #6
    “We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves.”
  1. #7
    “By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable.”
  2. #8
    “Technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials. The illumination of a city, for example, was once a rare event, reserved for victories and national holidays, for the canonization of saints and the crowning of kings. Now it occurs nightly and celebrates the virtues of gin, cigarettes and toothpaste.”
  3. #9
    “The urge to escape from selfhood and the environment is in almost everyone almost all the time.”
  4. #10
    “But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.”
  5. #11
    “We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”
  6. #12
    “Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor and limited that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul.”

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  1. #13
    “At breakfast that morning I had been struck by the lively dissonance of its colours. But that was no longer the point. I was not looking now at an unusual flower arrangement. I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence.”
  2. #14
    “For Monet, on this occasion, water lilies were the measure of water lilies; and so he painted them.”
  3. #15
    “To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.”
  4. #16
    “Visual impressions are greatly intensified and the eye recovers some of the perceptual innocence of childhood, when the sensum was not immediately and automatically subordinated to the concept. Interest in space is diminished and interest in time falls almost to zero.”
  5. #17
    “To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large — this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.”
  6. #18
    “Familiarity breeds indifference.”
  7. #19
    “What the rest of us see only under the influence of mescalin, the artist is congenitally equipped to see all the time.”
  8. #20
    “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
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