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How Counterculture Beliefs Connect With Famous Author Aldous Huxley
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How Counterculture Beliefs Connect With Famous Author Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley has been described as the "ethereal godfather of the hippies". A case could be easily made that counterculture beliefs were well connected to his books like "Island" and "The Doors of Perception" in the 60's. "Island" is about Pala (an island in the Pacific) and the blissful life that endured there for over a century. There is a plot to over throw the island and ravage its resources. But, one of the main schemers (Faranby) thinking is turned around by the peaceful, loving, spiritual people of Pala.

It is well documented that the famous author Aldous Huxley toured the world in 1925 in quest of eastern philosophies and religion. It would play out in his personal life as well as in his books.

The Doors

"The Doors of Perception" is simply Huxley's highly detailed account of trips on mescaline, a natural psychedelic from peyote cactus plant. So, now maybe you're staring to connect the dots. The "utopian" novel "Island" (1962) absolutely could have been consumed by like minded idealists in San Francisco.

Counterculture beliefs could have been cultivated by much literature of that period. Aldous Huxley was simply one author with three books that were influential to the counterculture. The other one is probably his most famous, Brave New World.

Links To Psychedelic Gurus

Another counterculture connection for Huxley was his friendship with Dr. Albert Hofmann (scientist who discovered LSD) and Dr. Timothy Leary (psychologist and psychedelic evangelist). You must remember, even though LSD is an illegal narcotic nowadays, it was perfectly legal before 1966. Aldous Huxley probably ingested LSD 14 times or so between 1955 to 1963.

Yet, probably another sympathetic link to hippies. But, Huxley did not do it for recreational purposes - nor did he claim to be king of the hippies. His whole life had been about looking for deeper meaning in human behavior and spiritualism. He believed psychedelics brought one closer to an understanding of both.

Counterculture beliefs retrospective

Counterculture beliefs had quite a bit to do with a new generation seeing much wrong with a newly developed war, authoritism, lack of Individual freedoms and dated ideals hung over from the Eisenhower years. They wanted a sustainable new way of life that would reflect (almost) everything opposite of the current staus quo.

No repression on sex, drugs, or individual freedoms...stop the war, no draft, communal living with liberating new philosophies and life style engineering.

Although I believe Mr. Huxleys books were very influential to the 1960's counterculture. You may feel other literature and art was even more persuasive. Certainly there were other events and revolution that caused change. People were looking to make big changes (and they will) in civil rights, gay and women's rights, ecology, etc, etc.

Here are some other books I've found that were read through that decade.

Trout Fishing in America - Richard Brautigan

Been Down So Long, It looks Up To Me - Richard Farina

The Making Of The Counter Culture - Theodore Roszac

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book Of The Dead - Timothy Leary

On The Road - Jack Kerouac

Naked Lunch - William S. Burroughs

Howl - Allen Ginsberg

Quite a liberating book list. Might need to dust off my library card and make a trip!

Street Talk


Aldous Huxley is certainly a key figure of modern thought and literature. Brave New World was the best novel I read in my life. Thanks for sharing your insights on him.

  about 7 years ago
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