Jim Morrison? Ray Manzarek? Aldous Huxley? William Blake?
Dear Quote Investigator: One of the best rock groups in history is The Doors, and its legendary front man Jim Morrison was one of the greatest rock stars ever. That is my opinion. But I am sending you this message because I want your opinion concerning a quotation:
There are things known, and things unknown, and in between are the Doors.
I was told that this sentence is the explanation that Jim Morrison gave when he was asked how the name of his band was chosen. But I have also been told that the major Romantic figure, poet, and painter William Blake came up with the saying. And somebody else claims that the writer, mystic, and experientialist Aldous Huxley was the creative intellect behind this insight. Could you disentangle this?
Quote Investigator: William Blake’s circa 1790 work “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” contained a quote that famously spoke of perception and metaphorical doorways:
If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite.
Aldous Huxley wrote a 1954 book called “The Doors of Perception” that discussed his experiences with psychoactive agents; its title was an allusion to Blake’s work. But QI has not located the quotation under investigation in the texts of Blake or Huxley.
QI believes that the quote was derived from the words of the musician Ray Manzarek who together with Jim Morrison co-founded The Doors. In 1967 Newsweek magazine profiled the rock group and quoted Manzarek saying the following [NRM]:
There are things you know about, and things you don’t, the known and the unknown, and in between are the doors—that’s us.
QI hypothesizes that this quotation was streamlined and then the words were reassigned to more prominent figures such as Jim Morrison, Aldous Huxley and William Blake.