What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Doors of Perception’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Doors of Perception’
Short Url
Updated 24 October 2023
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Doors of Perception’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Doors of Perception’

“The Doors of Perception” is an autobiographical book written by the late Aldous Huxley and published in 1954.

It provides a philosophical and personal exploration of the author’s experiences with the psychedelic substance mescaline, which he took under controlled conditions in an experiment.

In the book, Huxley discusses his belief that the human mind is a filter limiting our perception of reality. He argues that our normal waking consciousness is a limited and conditioned form of awareness that prevents us from experiencing the full richness and depth of the world around us.

“The Doors of Perception” offers an introspective and thought-provoking exploration of human consciousness, perception, and the potential for transcendent experiences. It has influenced discussions around psychedelics, spirituality, and the nature of reality.

According to Huxley, our minds are structured in a way that screens out much of the sensory information available to us, and this filtering process is necessary for our survival and functioning in everyday life.

He describes how the experiment allowed him to perceive a radically different world. He recounts vivid and intense sensory experiences, including heightened visual perception and a sense of interconnectedness with all things.

In the book, Huxley also delves into broader philosophical and cultural ideas. He explores the connections between art, mysticism, and the human quest for meaning and transcendence. And he draws on various sources, including Eastern philosophy, to support his arguments about the nature of consciousness and the potential for expanded perception.

Huxley was an English writer and philosopher best known for his dystopian novel “Brave New World,” published in 1932. His work often explored themes of science and technology and their impact on society.


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Wasps of the World’

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 02 March 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Wasps of the World’

Photo/Supplied

Authors: SIMON VAN NOORT AND GAVIN BROAD 

Wasps have been around since before the dinosaurs and are one of the world’s largest insect groups. More than 150,000 species have been identified, and while the black-and-yellow insect with a cinched waist may be the most familiar, most wasps are tiny parasitoids that use other insects for food.

“Wasps of the World” provides a breathtaking look at the diverse characteristics, habitats, and lifestyles of these extraordinary insects.

 


What We Are Reading Today: LatinoLand

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 02 March 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: LatinoLand

Photo/Supplied

Author: Marie Arana

“LatinoLand,” by Marie Arana, explores the diverse politics and historical roots of Hispanic Americans.
It is a compelling and insightful exploration into the diverse tapestry of Latino culture in the US.
Arana, with her profound understanding and personal connection to the Latino experience, crafts a narrative that is both illuminative and deeply resonant.
The book is not just a mere compilation of statistics and historical facts; it’s a vibrant journey through the lives, struggles, and triumphs of the Latino community.
Arana draws on her own experience as the daughter of an American mother and Peruvian father who came to the US at age nine, straddling two worlds, as many Latinos do.
She delves into the socio-political challenges facing Latino Americans, from immigration policies to economic disparities, without losing sight of the individual stories that illuminate these issues.
Arana’s work shines in its celebration of the cultural contributions of Latino Americans to the fabric of American society.
The book “unabashedly celebrates Latino resilience and character and shows us why we must understand the fastest-growing minority in America,” said a review on Goodreads.com.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People

What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People
Updated 29 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People

What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People

Author: Sloane Crosley

In her new memoir, “Grief Is for People,” Sloane Crosley works through the death of a beloved friend and mentor.

“Grief Is for People” is Crosley’s eighth book (counting the novel she co-wrote under a pen name and the anthology she edited) and her first memoir.

It is a deeply moving and surprisingly suspenseful portrait of friendship and a book about loss packed with verve for life. 

Crosley is one of our most renowned observers of contemporary behavior, and now the pathos that has been ever present in her trademark wit is on full display. 

After the pain and confusion of losing her closest friend to suicide, Crosley looks for answers in friends, philosophy, and art, hoping for a framework more valuable than the unavoidable stages of grief.

“The book looks at several forms of loss and the grief we experience,” said a review on Goodreads.com.

A two-time finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, Crosley’s work has been selected for numerous anthologies.


What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka
Updated 29 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka’s novella “The Metamorphosis,” published in 1915, tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who wakes up one day and discovers that he has transformed into an insect.
His mother and sister are repulsed by his new form, while his father becomes hostile and abusive. Gregor is confined to his room, becoming increasingly isolated from the outside world.
As the days pass, Gregor’s family struggles to adjust to their new circumstances. They take on jobs to make ends meet because Gregor was the sole breadwinner before his transformation. Their lives become consumed by the practicalities of survival, and they begin to view Gregor as little more than a burden.
Kafka explores the absurdity and futility of human existence. Gregor’s transformation is used as a metaphor for the isolation and insignificance that many individuals experience in their lives.
The book also delves into the complexities of family relationships. Gregor’s family initially relies on him for support, but his transformation exposes their own weaknesses and flaws. The novella highlights the strain familial obligations can place on individuals and the potential for resentment and abandonment.
Similar to the majority of Kafka’s writings, “The Metamorphosis” can be read in a single sitting.
Kafka’s writing is renowned for its combination of realism and surrealism, lending his stories a distinct and captivating quality.
The novella, widely considered a literary masterpiece, leaves readers with many unanswered questions.
Kafka’s intentionally ambiguous conclusion leaves room for interpretation and reflection on the themes explored throughout the narrative.
Kafka is known for several other notable works including “The Trial,” “The Castle,” and “The Judgement.”


What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future

What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future
Updated 28 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future

What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future

Author: Christopher Paul Harris

When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era.

Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought.

“To Build a Black Future” examines the spirit and significance of this insurgency, offering a revelatory account of a new political culture—responsive to pain, suffused with joy, and premised on care—emerging from the centuries-long arc of Black rebellion, a tradition that traces back to the Black slave.