Why is it that every generation—before it gets this lesson of the past—why is it that each generation harasses and persecutes its gentlest, wisest, and holiest men; exactly those men that succeeding generations will revere? The answer to this question has nothing to do with intelligence or social prejudice or conservatism. The answer is neurological. The nervous system of the adult human being is so set up that it registers intense neurological pain when confronted with an idea or a method which liberates man from his addiction to symbols, from his addiction to the current tribal symbol system.

Timothy Leary

Born: October 22, 1920

Died: May 31, 1996 (Age 75)

Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. Leary conducted experiments under the Harvard Psilocybin Project when LSD and psilocybin were still legal in the United States, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. The scientific legitimacy and ethics of his research were questioned by other Harvard faculty because he took psychedelics together with research subjects and pressured students in his class to take psychedelics in the research studies. Leary's colleague, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), was fired from Harvard University on May 27, 1963 for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate student outside of their research study despite the university only allowing graduate students to receive psilocybin as research subjects. Leary was planning to leave Harvard when his teaching contract expired in June, the following month. He was fired, for "failure to keep classroom appointments", with his pay docked on April 30. National illumination as to the effects of psychedelics did not occur until after the Harvard scandal.

Leary believed that LSD showed potential for therapeutic use in psychiatry. He used LSD himself and developed a philosophy of mind expansion and personal truth through LSD. After leaving Harvard, he continued to publicly promote the use of psychedelic drugs and became a well-known figure of the counterculture of the 1960s. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy, such as "turn on, tune in, drop out", "set and setting", and "think for yourself and question authority". He also wrote and spoke frequently about transhumanist concepts involving space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension (SMI²LE), and developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology (1977). He gave lectures, occasionally billing himself as a "performing philosopher".

During the 1960s and 1970s, he was arrested often enough to see the inside of 36 different prisons worldwide. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as "the most dangerous man in America".

Available Documents: 3

From Psychedelics to Cybernetics
Discussion
September 13, 1990
01:28:03
+1
117
Timothy Leary invited Terence McKenna to this evening lecture held at the Feuerwache in Mannheim, Germany.
The Houseboat Summit
Discussion
February 1967
11,375
01:07:02
+3
2,339
An extended conversation between Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder on the problem of whether to “drop out or take over,” conducted on Alan Watts’ houseboat in 1967.
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out
Speech
1966
4,855
59:28
166
Aimed specifically at young people, this hour-long, soft-spoken piece explores Leary's early research into LSD in New York and Mexico, how new ideas spread throughout society over the course of generations, his vision of a future society in which the psychedelic experience is revered and respected, the effects of marijuana, and how seekers can launch their own journey to tune in, turn on, and drop out of the modern rat race.



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