Thursday, October 23, 2008

Timothy Leary's Dead....

no, no, no, no...he's outside, looking in.

Remember that song by the Moody Blues?

I was checking in over at the Zombie blog to see if she had any new stuff up. Looks like she's doing what she feels is her part to slam Barrack Obama by posting some research she did on the Obama/ Ayers connection. Then I noticed, once again, mention of The Weathermen's participation in the escape of psychedelic guru, Timothy Leary, from prison.

That got me to wondering. What was Timothy Leary all about? I was fascinated, even back then, by a lot of the sixties and early seventies revolutionary groups and personalities. The Weathermen, Symbionese Liberation Army, Black Panthers, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin. The list goes on. I was fascintated by all of them.

But I never knew all that much about Timothy Leary, other than he was a big researcher and promoter of hallucinogenic drugs and had escaped from a California prison and made his way to supposed refuge in Algeria. I remember watching the poorly made film of Leary being interviewed by Eldrige Cleaver- also living in exile in Algeria at the time. Fascinating stuff, although the Algeria interview was a bit duller than I had hoped for.

I always wondered how The Weathermen broke Leary out of prison. Word was that they were responsible. Might that info be available now that so much time has passed?

I guess not- at least not that I could find from a quick search- but, according to Wikipedia, Leary escaped by himself and The Weathermen only helped him make his way to Algeria.

There was a lot more there, though. I was really amazed at the life that guy made. He actually did quite a bit of work, met all kinds of people and made some impact on the world. I used to be under the impression he was just a half- way interesting pyschedelic nut- case. Looks like there was a lot more to him than that.

Fascinating guy when you really take a look at him.

10 Comments:

At 9:55 AM, Blogger lodgepole said...

My friends and I saw Tim Leary at the Van Duzer in the 80's. We were young and impressionable and had gone to see him give what we thought would be some monologue about the 60's, woodstock, and the such. Unfortunately he ended up rambling at length about some super far out computer science/God/future type spiel. Nobody seemed to know what he was getting at. It wasn't blogging.

Luckily the evening wasn't a total loss. Wavy Gravy opened the show and blew the crowd away. I'll never forget him making his point about how blind people act as a society. He had everyone reach under their seats. About half the audience had paper bags under their chairs, which they were instructed to put over their heads. "This is kinda how people function as a group. Half of them seem to have bags over their heads." It was quite a sight.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

Both Tim and whats-his-name guru exploited our generation to make big names and bucks for themselves. In the very early '60's I was hanging with young intellectuals in Berkeley and LA who were on the cutting edge of psycho-pharmacology studies who knew ten times what these Harvard yahoo exploiters did who were using our knowledge to wow our peers like the above example. We felt ripped off by these two making a paying racket out of psychedelic awareness. It was our young minds these two were using, and our ART too, a whole older generation of slick exploiters glomming onto our Cultural Revolution to make names and bucks for themselves. Rest in peace you two but now we've caught up and history will record our rightful place in producing the Countercultural Revolution.

 
At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there for that. For the brilliant guy Leary was in his younger days, he seemed pretty burned out then and I was disappointed. There was no more good acid by the 80's anymore either. Sigh.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger EkoVox said...

(Shel Silverstein)

I was sitting in my basement I just rolled myself a taste
Of something green and gold and glorious to get me through the day
Then my friend yelled through the transom "Grab your coat and get your hat son
There's a nut down on the corner, givin' dollar bills away"

But I laid around a bit
Then I had another hit
Then I rolled myself a bomba
Then I thought about my mama
Then I fooled around, played around
Jacked around a while and then

I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned and it rolled right by
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned and I missed it
I got stoned oh me oh my

Now it took seven months of urging just to get that local virgin
With the sweet face up to my place to fool around a bit
Next day she woke up rosy and she snuggled up so cosy
When she asked me how I liked it Lord it hurt me to admit

I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned and it rolled right by
I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned oh me oh my

Now I ain't makin' no excuses for the many things I uses
Just to sweeten my relationships and brighten up my day
But when my earthly race is over and I'm ready for the clover
And they ask me how my life has been I guess I'll have to say

I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned and it rolled right by
I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned and I missed it
I was stoned oh me oh my

 
At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Justin Hayward said...

Yep Stephen...he was Ram Das (Richard Alpert)

The Moody Blues were singing about the whole 'ego death' mantra of the time.

Read the Electric Cool Aid Acid Test and you'll get a sense of how Leary left the rational for the sublime......or the absurd.

I met Leary in Ben Lomond...think it was '70 or '71. He was troubled and beyond (or beneath) my comprehension. He seemed to like the cult hero thing with all his hippie chic regalia but wasn't able to articulate much more than platitudes and the dope speak that was so familiar in those days.

If he was anybody else and without his entourage, I would have taken him to one of the free clinics that abounded in those days. He brought LSD to he world and for some, that was a good thing and for others, it was tragic.

I'd suggest you focus more on Aldous Huxley's "Doors of Perception" for a better clue.

"This Timeless Moment" by Laura Huxley is also a good peek into that time.

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Leary was probably rambling about was his transhumanist schtick, the last refuge of the Ayn Rand groupies.

Tim Leary was a spook for the CIA, there's nothing to respect about such a pathetic creature.

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

In my everlasting optimism and permanent lack of self-awareness, I like to think in my writings that I've proven that some of us survived the '60's cultural revolution more or less mentally intact despite quite a bit of experimentation with mind-altering chemicals. I was too sensitive to take much of the concoctions our own mad chemist cooked up and used on us as his subjects for such weirdness as ibogan, piperidal somethin..besides the usual mescaline, LSD, the mushroom active ingredient my drug-mushed brain refuses to remember and I'm too lazy to look up on Google. Those were some days..but I am glad they are in the past.

Marijuana has proven itself to be the lasting drug of choice for those of us who value our physical health and our sanity oddly enough.

 
At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Stephen. Been there, tried that, but don't need to again.

Marijuana is helpful for so many ailments. It is medicinal

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger cd said...

I know this is an old post but I can't help but add in my two cents here. I was an impressionable 18 year old when I saw Leary at a Jack Kerouac conference at CU Boulder. The lineup included a plastered Abby Hoffman, an eloquent Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey (who, I vaguely recall), and my then literary idol William S. Burroughs. Leary was a rambling madman as I recall. LSD scrambled what ever brilliance he might have had 20 years prior into a pathetic mess of pseudo-brilliance. A great clown act with nothing substantial to offer but the sad truth about a damaged mind. I've known several young people who idolize him, all bipolar junkies I might add, and it tears me up inside to see them go down the same destructive path.

 
At 8:11 AM, Blogger cd said...

I know this is an old post but I can't help but add in my two cents here. I was an impressionable 18 year old when I saw Leary at a Jack Kerouac conference at CU Boulder. The lineup included a plastered Abby Hoffman, an eloquent Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey (who, I vaguely recall), and my then literary idol William S. Burroughs. Leary was a rambling madman as I recall. LSD scrambled what ever brilliance he might have had 20 years prior into a pathetic mess of pseudo-brilliance. A great clown act with nothing substantial to offer but the sad truth about a damaged mind. I've known several young people who idolize him, all bipolar junkies I might add, and it tears me up inside to see them go down the same destructive path.

 

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