In Marvel’s Doctor Strange we see Stan Lee making his cameo appearance whilst Strange is in the mirror dimension. Lee is on a bus reading ‘The Doors of Perception’ by Aldous Huxley. On the surface we see a connection that Doctor Strange is about ‘expanding people’s minds’, but at a Meta Intertextual level we find another connection. The 60’s group The Doors (with Jim Morrison) have been cited as naming the band after Huxley’s book. Then connecting the dots back to the movie, we find the lyrics to their song ‘People are strange’:
People are strange when you’re a stranger
Faces look ugly when you’re alone
Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted
Streets are uneven when you’re down
Aside from the direct word play (Strange, and Doctor Strange) we see this subject/object relationship at the heart of the song – ‘things’ seem this way as you are that way.
We even see the ‘Ancient One’ (Strange’s Master) described in terms of inseparable opposites, “steadfast but unpredictable, merciless but kind”.
If you want to take it a step deeper (but know it’s the road to hell/heaven) then you will find another connection as to the source of Huxley’s naming of the book itself.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
From William Blake’s, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, with Heaven and Hell also being a book often accompanied as part of ‘The Doors of Perception’, with a potential reference in Doctor Strange too…
The Ancient One: You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You’ve spent your whole life trying to widen that keyhole. To see more. To know more. And now on hearing that it can be widened, in ways you can’t imagine, you reject the possibility.
Meaning is everywhere to be made, but whether or not it is accurate depends on the intent of the writer.