The Doors, Break On Through: the meaning of Jim Morrison’s visions

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If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite

William Blake

Crossing the prophetic “doors of perception”, as predicted by William Blake, is becoming the only way to escape from this dirty, corrupted and agonizing world. At least with our mind.

The desire to escape from reality hides a  deep need to know. We are fascinated by the unknown and we keep asking ourselves questions like: What is the meaning of our life? What’s after death? Are we alone in the universe?

The thing we all are most hungry for is knowledge. It’s knowing what the meaning of life is, and it’s precisely what science has never been able to provide. Only religions have been able to partly fill this void. And we all continue to seek a “sense” of our existence.

This doesn’t mean that this sense must necessarily be a truth. We can even imagine it, but nothing can extinguish the hidden desire that all of us have: we want to turn on the light in the dark room where dreams, hopes and truths get confused.

That’s why Break On Through. The song that most of all summarizes Morrison’s visionary poetics is an exhortation, an imperative: open the passage to the other side.

The world is the kingdom of illusions and contraries (“You know the day destroys the night / Night divides the day”), the place that tries stop our research. Love, above all, can become a distracting refuge, the chain that imprisons the present. As Jim Morrison sings:

I found an island in your arms
Country in your eyes
Arms that chain
Eyes that lie

Break on Through, contained in The Doors’ first self-titled album, exasperates and summarizes the origins of Morrison’s entire poetry. Few verses that give the overall sense of the alienated impotence where the author and we are imprisoned, crushed between reality and imagination, between everyday life and visions. What we need is clear: we have to open our way and reach the other side. The side of “life” where you see things as they really are.

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