potato chips and eternity



“…the other level of importance, in the light of which a lot of activity will have to be cut down, there will seem to be absolutely no point in undertaking them…”


Transcript from the tape recording of Aldous Huxley during a psilocybin session, January 22, 1962:

“It is very important, if one can, while it is happening, if one can see the outer-appearance of it. It is obviously important to look after one’s affairs in a sensible way and see their importance, in a silly way, but if one can, through all this, see the other level of importance, in the light of which a lot of activity will have to be cut down, there will seem to be absolutely no point in undertaking them – although a great many have to be undertaken, but they will be undertaken in a new kind of way – with a kind of detachment, yet with a doing things to one’s limit. This is again one of the paradoxes: to work to the limit to succeed in what you are doing, and at the same time be detached from it – if you don’t succeed, well that’s too bad – if you do succeed – tant mieux – you don’t have to gloat over it. This is the whole story of the Bhagavad-Gita: somehow to do everything with passion but with detachment.”

source: Laura Archera Huxley, This Timeless Moment, A Personal View of Aldous Huxely, p. 178


My Comment:

In the light of “the other level of importance” there will seem to be absolutely no point in undertaking a lot of the activity that we now fill our days with.

What is this other level of importance that Aldous Huxley refers to here? When we have a sense of the eternity in which we live and that this eternity is not just a concept but actuality, then we begin to place importance on things less trivial than which kind of potato chips to buy for the party. But is that so? Here Aldous says that a whole lot of activity will have to be cut down and that the great amount of things that still must be attended to will be done in a different way.

It could be that the right kind of potato chips is one of those choices that will still have to be made. Then it follows that we must make that choice with passion but with detachment. Living with a view to eternity goes hand in hand with living with a sense for the sacred in every moment. Is anything more sacred than the potato chip? Or less sacred? This may be what Eckhart Tolle means when he speaks of “opening up the present moment”. We then are not distracted by the triviality that our mind might place on the right choice of potato chips and realize that we are keeping our attention on the eternal in everything. Then nothing is trivial and nothing is heavy.





2 thoughts on “potato chips and eternity

  1. Yes, Tomas — we are in a place now to be able to examine the “rightness” of certain activities that we have done on “autopilot” most of our lives. During our first three months here at Lost Valley I very much enjoyed the freedom from so many activities centering around food. Now that we are preparing more of our own meals, I am again feeling the “burden” that I had let go of. We have our purpose for taking up this yoke again and I am thankful for your sharing it with me. Once we have accomplished our goals with regard to furnishing our apartment, perhaps we can consider “the other level of importance” regarding the topic of food. Perhaps it will show itself in the process. I appreciate this post. Thank you, Alia

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