Aldous Huxley on the Brain’s Primary Function (Maybe)

“… that the primary function of the brain may be eliminative: Its purpose may be to prevent a transpersonal dimension of mind from flooding consciousness, thereby allowing apes like ourselves to make their way in the world without being dazzled at every step by visionary phenomena that are irrelevant to their physical survival. Huxley thought of the brain as a kind of ‘reducing valve’ for ‘Mind at Large.’ In fact, the idea that the brain is a filter rather than the origin of mind goes back at least as far as Henri Bergson and William James. In Huxley’s view, this would explain the efficacy of psychedelics: They may simply be a material means of opening the tap.


It is one thing to be awestruck by the sight of a giant redwood and amazed at the details of its history and underlying biology. It is quite another to spend an apparent eternity in egoless communion with it.”

Sam Harris

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