Timothy Leary was the main spokesperson for LSD and the psychedelic lifestlye during the 1960s. He was mates with Robert Anton Wilson. He was a very well-respected lecturer in psychology in Harvard, known for work in the use of the interpersonal dimension of personality in diagnosis. He continued on this bland path until his mid-forties, when he had his first psychedelic experience. He immediately realized the potential of psychedelics in expanding consciousness and got himself expelled from Harvard by giving acid to loads of students and staff. He promoted and researched the use of psychedelics for psychological purposes. He conducted the Concord prison experiment, in which psilocybin was given to prisoners, and reduced rates of re-offending from 70% down to 10%. By now, his work was revolutionary enough and influential enough to be a threat to the mainstream, Richard Nixon labelled him, "the most dangerous man in America", and they gave him a sentence of 37 years in jail. This was officially for the possession of one joint of marijuana, though the judge, in his sentencing, waved one of Leary's books in the air and said, "This man's ideas are dangerous!" He was jailed, as Robert Anton Wilson said, for poor use of the first amendment. The prison wardens assessed him with an psychological questionnaire designed to distinguish 64,000 different personality types. Apperently unknown to the wardens, Leary had himself devised the questionnarire, and was able to give such answers as portrayed him as meek, harmless and easily-led. So they put him in a minimum-security prison, from which he escaped over the wall with help from a group called The Weathermen. The Swiss government recognized him as a political prisoner and gave him asylum.\ His books include 'The Politics of Ecstasy', 'Info-Psychology' and 'The Psychedelic Experience'. You can get some of them here.
Leary developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness based on his research of psychedelic experiences and psychology.
Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority. Think for yourself and question authority.
Turn on, tune in, drop out
Like Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary made the mistake of advertizing a sensible and liberating philosophy under a motto that begs to be misunderstood.\ Turning on means realizing that therre can be more to existence than what conventional life can offer. This can be done by means of psychedelic experience or other transcendent experience.\ Tuning in means integrating the insights of transcendent experience into one's life and mode of existence.\ Dropping out means releasing oneself from that which binds, whether mundane obligations, rigid beliefs or any other inner or outer limits. This is like Klesha smashing in Tantra, freeing oneself of sanskara in Buddhism or deconstructing the ego in Chaos Magick.
A game is that which has rules, roles, goals, rituals, language and values.
Football is a game.\ It has rules: you can't pick up the ball and start running with it or you're no longer playing football. Punishments are imposed on those who break the rules.\ It has roles: people are chosen to be referee, goalkeeper, midfielder etc.\ It has goals: the players try to score more goals than the other team within 90 minutes.\ It has rituals: the ritual of the throw-in, the ritual of the offside trap, the ritual of the penalty shootout etc.\ It has its own language and jargon.\ It has its own values and standards of excellence: it is easy to tell whether a person is good or bad at football.
Likewise money-making is a game, courtship is a game, socializing is a game; they all have their rules, roles, goals, rituals, language and values. The ego game is one of the hardest games to escape: the game of pretending to be who you are expected to be, playing the role laid down by your karma, enacting your habitual rituals, seeking your personal goals, living by your established values.
We get all fouled-up when we forget that the games we are playing are games, when we take them for real and fail to understand that the rules, roles, goals, rituals, language and values are arbitrarily decided by men and can be changed at any time. (See also paragraph 60, 'Allegoria de Caissa', in Liber Aleph vel CXI) The transcendent experience is a non-game experience. By inducing ex-static states of non-game experience, people can gain perspective on the games they play. By proper use of psychedelic drugs, we can realize that our lives consist of games and use this persective to change how we play the game.
People who have been dysfunctional in their life-games may have misunderstood the rules and been punished by society for it. Teach them that it is a game, teach them the rules, encourage them to practise and to learn from models of excellence, and their behavior can change for the better. That's the basic formula of psychedelic therapy. And it's not just idle mysticism: by the values of the behavior-change game called psychology, it is extraordinarily successful.
Dr. Timothy Leary takes up his part of the tale of the tribe in a Mexican hut and brings his discovery to Harvard harmoniously and there begins the political battle. Black and white magic become publicly visible for a generation. Dr. Leary is a hero of American consciousness. He began as a sophisticated academician, he encountered discoveries in his field which confounded him and his own technology, he pursued his studies where attention commanded, he arrived beyond the boundaries of public knowledge. (One might hesitate to say, like Socrates, like Galileo?)
Poor Dr. Leary! Poor Earth!
Yet here we are in Science Fiction History, in the age of Hydrogen Bomb Apocalypse, the very Kali Yuga wherein man's stupidity so overwhelms the planet that ecological catastrophe begins to rehearse old tribe-tales of Karmaic retribution, Fire & Flood & Armageddon impending.
It would be natural (in fact deja vu) that the very technology stereotyping our consciousness & desensitizing our perceptions should throw up its own antidote, an antidote synthetic such as LSD synchronous with mythic tribal Soma & Peyote. Given such historic Comedy, who could emerge from Harvard technology but one and only Dr. Leary, a respectable human being, a worldly man faced with the task of a Messiah. Inevitable! Not merely because the whole field of mental psychology as a "science" had arrived at biochemistry anyway. It was inevitable because the whole professional civilized world, like Dr. Leary, was already faced with the Messianic task of accelerated evolution (i.e. psychosocial Revolution) including an alteration of human consciousness leading to the rapid mutation of social & economic forms. This staggering realization, psychedelic, i.e. consciousness-expanding & mind-manifesting, in itself, without the use of chemical catalysts, is now forced on all of us by images of our own unconscious rising from the streets of Chicago, where city teargas was dumped on Christ's very Cross in Lincoln Park AD 1968. The drains are backing up in the cities, smog noise and physiologic poison in food turns us to insect acts, overpopulation crazes the planet, our lakes corrupt, old riverways become dank fens, tanks enter Prague and Chicago streets simultaneous, Police State arrives in every major city, starvation wastes African provinces, Chinese genocide in Tibet mirrors American genocide in Vietnam. Alarm! Alarm! howls deep as any Biblic prophecy.
Ourselves caught in the giant machine are conditioned to its terms, only holy vision or technological catastrophe or revolution break "the mind-forg'd manacles." Given one by-product of the technology that might, as it were by feed-back, correct the berserk machine and liberate the inventor's mind from captivity by robot hypnosis, Dr. Leary had in LSD an invaluable civilized elixir. For, as Dr. Jiri Roubichek observed early in Prague ("Artificial Psychosis," 1958), "LSD inhibits conditioned reflexes." And this single phrase, for rational men, might be the key to the whole gnostic mystery of LSD and Dr. Leary's role as unique, alas solitary, courageous, humane & frank public Democratic Boddhisatva-teacher of the uses of LSD in America. For he took on himself the noble task of announcing the evidence of his senses despite the scary contumely of fellow academicians, the dispraising timorous irony of scientific "professionals," the stupidity meanness self-serving cowardice and hollow vanity of bureaucratic personnel from Harvard Yard to Mexico City to Washington, from the ignorant Sheriff's office in Dutchess County NY to the inner greedy Gordon-Liddy-haunted sanctums of the US Treasury Department in D.C. , our whole "establishment" of civilization that defends us from knowledge of our own unconscious by means of policemen's clubs, and would resist the liberation of our minds and bodies by any brutish means available including teargas, napalm & the Hydrogen Bomb.
Dr. Leary conducted himself fairly & equitably, given the extraordinary nature of his knowledge; it took an innocent courage to explore his own unconditioned consciousness, to take LSD and other chemicals often enough to balance praxis with explanation, and to attempt to wed the enormity of his experience to Reason. An heroic attempt to communicate clearly and openly through civilized technologic media to his fellow citizens, despite centuries of identity brainwash accelerated now to mass neurosis and Cold War Apocalypse Paranoia required of Dr. Leary the proverbial wisdom of serpent & harmlessness of dove. . . .
Dr. Leary was jailed for theory and practice of research on LSD & Cannabis. He took the burden of giving honest public report of LSD & Cannabis in terms more accurate & harmless than the faked science of the Government Party Hacks & therefore his imprisonment was an act of insult to Science, Liberty, Common Sense, Freedom, Academy, Philosophy, Medicine, Psychology as an Art, and Poetry as a tradition of human mind-vision.