Strawberry Alarm Clock
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Re: 60's Spokesmen
Posted by Rob J. on 10/3/2015, 5:14 am, in reply to "60's Spokesmen"
Good question for SAC, but I would like to say a few words in defense of Timothy Leary. I met Dr. Leary, attended several of his lectures and considered him a brilliant, charming person. Keep in mind that before his psychedelic journey started he was a psychology professor at Harvard, having earned a Ph.D. in psychology from U.C. Berkeley. His research with psilocybin and LSD showed effectiveness treating alcoholism and reforming criminals but he had taken it himself and saw potential for much more. This experience changed him - he was no longer a detached academic, but an explorer of something new - something the US military also experimented with (MK ULTRA) and hoped could be a weapon. He became more of a philosopher and networked with other brilliant minds like Alan Watts and John Lily. Having been involuntarily thrown into the spotlight when the media reported his research as scandalous, he felt compelled to be an advocate of the psychedelic experience (His book of that name was the inspiration for the Beatles song "Tomorrow Never Knows"). He introduced psychedelics to many musicians, artists and writers. "Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out" was not his philosophy, but a slogan ready-made to be a radio/TV sound bite. He understood media. Another of his slogans (which I like better) was "Think For Yourself And Question Authority." Nixon called him "the most dangerous man in America." He was a symbol of free thinking and had to be stopped. They busted him for a small quantity of cannabis he claims was not his and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The personality test they gave him on entering prison was one he designed while at Harvard. His answers made him appear low risk and he was put in lower security San Luis Obispo prison, where he escaped and with the help of the Weathermen made it to Europe. He recorded another album there (he had already made several, one with Jimi Hendrix) this time with Ash Ra Tempel (spacey synth psych). Eventually he was caught and sent to Folsom maximum security prison. When released he wrote many good books, some software, and started computer ventures. He was a proponent of virtual reality early on - I saw him try it in 1992. I could go on, but suffice it to say he was not a "poser" but genuine. He was an original thinker that the top names in psychedelic music wanted to hang out with - and did. He had much of value to offer the world, he paid his dues, and as with anyone controversial some will love him and some will hate him, but his trip was his own and he was not trying to speak for SAC - he was trying to speak TO them (and us).
There is much more to his story. Try reading his 1983 autobiography "Flashbacks" or his thoughtful books like "Exo-Psychology" and "Neuropolitics".
P.S. He is also Winona Ryder's godfather.
He was "hip." He was "cool."
: All my life through various readings and other
: learning avenues,I've often come across
: major sixties cultural figures being
: referred to as "leaders of their
: generations","cultural icons"
: and in the case of Bob Dylan and perhaps
: few others "folk hero".The one
: most interesting to me is the moniker of
: "SPOKEMAN for the countercultural
: movement.Did SAC ever resent that certain
: individuals were anointed with the purpose
: of representing your own very artistic and
: or political slants?Also,I'v always thought
: that Dr.Tim Leary was a bit of a
: poser,merely seeming to seem sort of
: "hip" or "cool" maybe
: due to the fact that he wished he had the
: opportunity in his youth to experience the
: things that 60's youth were fortunate to
: have experienced.What was your take on
: Leary,his "turn out,tune in,drop
: out" philosophy and his classic hippie
: culture tome "The Psychedelic
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