Aldous Huxley’s Mind At Large And The Filters Of Reduction

Sometimes I would love to see the faces in the wood, too, or just peek into the otherworld.

Wouldn’t we all like to see what the great shaman sees?



Aldous Huxley wrote in “The Doors of Perception” (from 1954) that “each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and perceiving everything that is happening everwhere 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. According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large”.

Huxley, influenced by C.D. Broad, means that psychedelic drugs are thought to disable filters which block or suppress signals related to mundane functions from reaching the conscious mind. He explores the idea that the human mind filters reality, partly because handling the details of all the impressions coming in would be unbearable, partly because it has been taught so.

The suggested devices are so called psychotropic drugs, mescaline in Huxley’s case, but often magic mushrooms ( which can be found in the forests) are a popular drug.  In my research I learned a lot about the effects of dangerous short-cuts into the Otherworld.

But the dangers are not only there because of the toxic effect of drugs, which may send people straight to the hospital or into mental care.

There are some very interesting implications in Aldous Huxley’s words. He says that your personal reduction filter is there to protect you from being overwhelmed and confused by the mass of irrelevant information. True. Highly sensitive people, artists or writers will certainly agree.

I am afraid there are more reasons for the reduction filter to be installed in our mind. I would like to take the liberty to compare our minds for a moment with modern computers (of course they are not alike the human mind but I make use of it as a metaphor).

What will happen if you shut down the filters in your computer, for example the firewall or the virus-scan?

Your computer is becoming vulnerable, the doors opened to any kind of intrusion. It can become a zombie, remote controlled and abused for any kind of sinister operation as being part of a bot-net. You can get more easily deceived or anybody can spy you out.

Now think of the hungry souls eager to get enlightened or, more often, get redeemed.

Without the firewalls of the ego the soul may become an easy prey for any kind of demonic energy.

Philosopher and novelist Patrick Harpur gives us a pretty good idea about the nature of these forces. In his highly acclaimed book “Daimonic reality” he writes: “What the daimons in dreams seek is our ability, through reflection and pondering, through all our making and doing, to give shape to their dynamic shape-shifting; to order and discriminate their chaos; to body forth their ethereal volatility; to express their, not the ego’s perspectives”.

This might not only be true for dreams but even more for some kind of drug-influenced altered states. I think it would be even possible to overrun the natural barriers of the ego, making it a puppet (think of some of the religious prophets, who claimed they received word from god and became great preachers and inspired fundamentalistic belief-systems).

The Forest Dark is often a place where people not only find magic mushrooms but seek for extraordinary experiences. Sometimes they are not the same when they return home, if they ever return.

However there is more interesting thought in Huxley’s words. Of course, we should learn to overcome the limitations and many filters of reduction in a healthy sense. Huxley suggests that the mind is also trained in a certain way, which is certainly true. Since we are little children we are told what we should see and what we shouldn’t see.

The energy of reduction is a strong demonic force, too. Some people belief the crisis of the Western world is because we have become over-rational and loosing our imagination. Not only inside our brain, no, the soldiers of reduction seem to be everywhere, watching carefully. There are always people around who want to tell you the “right” interpretation of the world.

As much as we need reduction to survive – the sheer endless amount of information created in the internet will trigger new strategies of reduction – we need to stay alert, if we do not want to get manipulated. Yes, we need to fight reduction and the reductionist particular in our days, since the dark side of the force has been grown very strong and distract us more and more from imagination and – as Harpur points out in his book- leads us to depersonalization.

Nevertheless we have to know about the right rituals and prepare our journeys into the Forest Dark carefully and always remember the words of  the master about us living in a forest dark:

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far”.

(H.P. Lovecraft, The Call Of Cthulhu)





Questioning reality is one thing. Another thing is if we can be sure about what we see or what we don’t see. Animals can see things we don’t see. Cats for example do not need any night vision googles. Their eyes are much better as ours in the night. Perfect for a little predator, bad for the mice. However they can’t see as much colors as we can. Maybe our perception is limited in many ways, too. There might be something there, but we do not see it. Maybe some people’s perception is different. They see a little more as we do.

A carver in the Bavarian Forest, Southern Germany, said in an interview he is carving only what he sees in the forest, for example the masks he makes skillfully from wood he finds in the forest. But this is only his imagination, isn’t it?





Here comes a radical idea about the “psychic memory”:

In an invented dialogue between Socrates and his student Meno Greek philosopher Plato suggests that the soul is immortal, and repeatedly incarnated; knowledge is actually in the soul from eternity, but each time the soul is incaranated its knowledge is forgotten in the shock of birth. What one perceives to be learning, then, is actually the recovery of what one has forgotten.

There is a lot more about “Anamnesis”, which was a complex concept with tradition and different point of views in ancient times. In neoplatonism  the idea of psychic memory was used to demonstrate the celestial and immaterial origins of the soul, and to explain how memories of the world-soul could be recalled by eyeryday human beings. As such, psychic recollection was intrinsically connected to the Platonic conception of the soul itself. Since the contents of individual “material” or physical memories were trivial, only the universal recollection of Forms, or divine objects, drew one closer to the immortal sense of being.

“Anamnesis” is the closest that human minds can come to experiencing the freedom of the soul prior to its being encumbered by matter. The process of incarnation is described in Neoplatonism as a shock that causes the soul to forget its experiences and often its divine origins as well (Source: Wikipedia).

That’s a real wild one, isn’t  it?

The concept employs a radical idea of the “Otherworld” and leaves us in the middle of The Forest Dark, since it would mean we would have not the slightest idea what’s really going on.

Of course, this concept is pretty much a question of belief. However it crossed my mind when sometime a movie, a story, a landscape or even some events feel strangely familiar. Is there a hidden meaning behind our experiences and haven’t we sometimes a feeling like “I’am remember this thing” or ” I have seen this before”?

As an example you find the idea of incarnation in box-office success “Avatar” with main character Jake Sully’s mind becoming transferred into a body of the natives of Pandora, the Na’vi. The obvious distinction is that Sully never looses his memory, however the whole premise appeared to have reached viewers on a deep level of consciousness. Also the “Matrix” movie had a deep impact on viewers. In the “Matrix” Keanu Reeves’ ordinary world isn’t much more as merely a facade.

You might object that these  are very simplifying and literal examples. Agreed, but there is sometimes much more in the movies as meets the eye. Star Wars reached mythical qualities.

Back to ordinary reality it is important to understand another principle connected with the ancient concept: an object might represent more as just the representation of itself. Landscapes could represent some more, maybe kind of an idea or something like a principle. Sometimes we get that feeling for example if we look at an extraordinary mountain, that this is not just a mass of stones but there is more about it even we can’t lay our finger on it what exactly it is.

Sometimes we recognize a place we have never been before. Sometimes in a certain state of mind images are crossing the mind, where we do not know where they come from and sometimes a picture on a bookcase we come across coincidentially can have a very strong effect. It may strike us like a memory but it isn’t anything we have seen before. Legendary psychologist C.G. Jung had a patient who dreamed of a face he never saw before. The same face appeared on a drawing from the 17th century. The patient had never seen that drawing. There are strange similarities in people’s faces from different times sometimes.


When writing THE FOREST DARK script sometimes images played an important part in development. Maybe the images are not just part of some imagination but represent a real existing place somewhere.





 Some years ago this image occurred in a dream and left a deep impression. Where did it come from? Anamnesis is only one of many ideas.

In Stephen Spielberg’s classic CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Roy Beary (Richard Dreyfuss,) a lineman in Indiana, becomes obsessed with sublimial mental images of a mountain-like shape.

Do we receive such images from an alien intelligence?

Mental images are a very strong thing. They can work like archetypical  patterns leading our lives. But who is behind these images? They can come from deep in the psyche but also being part of the collective unconsciousness in psychological terms. In ancient philosophy the world soul (Anima Mundi) is seen as a storehouse of images (Patrick Harpour: Daimonic Reality).



I stumbled across this site coincidentally during a stay in Sweden 2002.  A memorial stone says that Gösta Carlsson saw the landing of an UFO, which is said to have taken place on May 18, 1946.

I can’t give any judgements what happened here, but found the site extraordinary. Somehow it resembled a bit the mental images, which turned up from time to time.

As we know there are many places on earth, which had been held sacred by our ancestors, is strongly believe in special places particularly in a forest dark. In any culture and any country there are sites where men met their gods. What are they? Peeping holes of the gods to look into our world? Some kind of interface between the dimensions?

So much for today. I see you in a forest dark soon.