Podcast 454 – Aldous Huxley: “Human Potentialities”


Guest speaker: Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley


This podcast celebrates the ten year anniversary of programming from the Psychedelic Salon. And so we return to one of the men who was responsible for igniting today’s psychedelic renaissance, Aldous Huxley. The talk featured here was delivered at MIT in 1961, sometime after it was first given at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. The Medical Center version of this talk has been credited with giving Dick Price the inspiration to co-found the Esalen Institute. Today, more than 50 years after this talk was given, there remains much of current interest in the sentiments that Huxley so eloquently puts forth.


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Posted in Books, Consciousness, Culture, Education, Evolution, Future, Huxley, Psychedelics.


  1. Lorenzo, congratulations on your Podcasts! I have been tuning in to them for almost ten years. I have a huge collection of audio cassette tapes I have gathered/collected since the early 70’s, including John C. Lilly,MD, to Tim Leary and Ram Dass, Stanislav Grof, the Santa Barbara conference on Psychedelics and Spirituality, Terence McKenna, and on and on! I deeply appreciate you sharing these seminal thinkers and visionaries with all of us who enjoy expanding our minds and hearts.

  2. Really a wonderful lecture. Such thoughtfulness, depth and precision of language is all too rare today. Huxley was one of the great voices of his time.
    Thank you Lorenzo for continuing to sponsor this forum. You keep finding new voices and cultivating a broad, rich dialog. I like that the comments section is growing and is for the most part very respectful. Let’s all keep it friendly even when we disagree radically.

  3. Lorenzo, belated congratulations for 10 years of outstanding podcasts. Thanks for all your hard work. This lecture was a wonderful way to celebrate and, to me at least, outlines the path forward. I think it’s time to read “Island” again.

  4. Hi iain and anyone else who may be interested. Simply type in “Peru 2014 Kambo frog venom harvest” in the youtube search engine and you’ll see the video I’m talking about.

  5. When I watched Sapo being collected by the Matses in Peru there was no needle used. All that was necessary was for the hunters to tickle the frog’s sides gently with a stick. After that it was released.

    I have not seen the video you mention, and this is just a guess, but I imagine that as the demand for Kambo has increased, so to have the lengths people are prepared to go to in order to harvest it. Perhaps putting the frog in pain makes it excrete extra poison. It’s terribly sad if that is the case, but money is a powerful motivator.

  6. Hello Dan. I had a look at the Kambo frog medicine harvesting on youtube that you were talking about above and am also really bummed out with what I saw. How can such cruelty be allowed to happen to our fellow sentient beings in nature and especially within the sacred medicine community. This kind of barbaric practice runs counter to what we psychedelic practitioners are striving for, A more gentle caring and compassionate world for ourselves and the creatures we share this planet with. I’m fuming about this and something needs to be done to stop the suffering being imposed on these Kambo frogs!

  7. around 43:00 Huxley talks about a text where Shiva gives a list of 118 exercises to Parvati. can anyone find the text he is referring to? I tried but couldn’t seem to find it on the web.

    • When Huxley talks about Shiva giving 118 exercises to His wife Parvati, the text is called The Vijnana Bhairava. You can find the text summarized in the Zen book by Paul Reps, entitled Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Good Luck finding either! The Vijnana Bhairava is an excellent instruction!

  8. Nice podcast Lorenzo. I was in agreeance with the points made about our culture needing to become more ethical and principled in our decisions and actions which plays into one of your last podcasts about frog sweat medicine. I saw a youtube video of how the frog sweat is gathered from the Kambo frogs and it’s totally disgusting.

    The Kambo frog is tied at the end of its four legs and pulled outward spreadeagled. Then a pin is jabbed into the frogs nostrils and genitals whilst it screams with distress and pain. It’s eyes become bulged as the frog struggles to escape its torture whilst its fear produced sweat is harvested off the frogs skin by scrapping it hard with a sharpened stick. The Kambo frog doesn’t even move when it’s released and appears to be suffering in shock from its bondage ordeal. I showed this video to my girlfriend and her friends and they couldn’t watch the whole video through because of the gross cringe factor involved. One person even commented that such a deplorable act is criminal.

    How can we be expected to be true to the good morals and well principled actions that Aldus Huxley talks about when this kind of exploitation of our animals in nature is accepted by our fellow psychedelic medicine advocates and practitioners?

  9. Happy birthday to the Salon but please Lorenzo, don’t let censorship and hypocrisy creep into your comments section or we risk becoming like the authorities that we despise. Hollander

  10. Cheers on 10 years my friend! Your warm voice and hard work has created a true monument for our community! Can’t thank you enough.

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