Sunday, December 12, 2010

Timothy Leary's Dead

Longtime readers know that one of my biggest influences in my late teens and early 20s was Carlos Castaneda. Whether or not those stories are factual or not (and the general consensus seems to be on the "not"), to me they were genuinely magical in and of themselves. I learned a more important lesson in Castaneda's storytelling techniques than in anything Don Juan did or did not say. The books cast their own spells regardless of whether or not they were true accounts.

Though it was most certainly Jack Kirby where I first encountered the numinous power of the psychedelic storytelling mind - and its ability to insinuate itself in a young and impressionable reader's consciousness - it was Castaneda who first showed me how it could be done simply with the power of the written word. Maybe that's the power that every good writer wields, but it was Castaneda who really put me smack dab in the middle of the magical environment he was constructing. Not only did I believe every word, I experienced it.

Maybe the magic wore thin as the stories dragged out (well, more than maybe) but Tales of Power, The Eagle's Gift, A Separate Reality and The Teachings (of course) are still major touchstones for me.

Another life-changing book for me was Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky (the film of which Steve Willner gives us a taste in this video). It was so life-changing I even booked some time in an floatation tank. But in typical idiot fashion, I kept getting the god-damned salt water in my eyes (it stings like hell). But building or buying a decent isolation tank is still on my "things to do before I die" list. And the book also turned me onto the work of John Lilly, who we've discussed a lot around these parts as well.

Another huge influence on my younger brain was Timothy Leary. Not his 60s psychedelic preaching, ironically, but his evangelizing on behalf of the potentials of the Internet and virtual reality. Of course, virtual reality has yet to truly materialize, at least in the William Gibson sense. But it was an interview with Leary in the 20th Anniversary issue of Rolling Stone that turned me onto Gibson and the nascent cyberpunk movement.

Being primed for the experience by Cyberpunk novels and Leary lectures I can say first year on the Internet was itself a psychedelic experience. We're talking a lopey 2400 bps hayride straight to America Online (the Facebook of the 90s), but it was like a shot of liquid sky straight into my cerebral cortex. Maybe it was just the potential of it all I was buzzing on. But the first time I went online (sometime in September of '93, a pivotal month in my personal timeline) I saw my future.

Watch the Cyberpunk movement die before your eyes.

I basically figured out early on that VR was basically a way for a bunch of rich hippies to relieve some gullible investors out of boatloads of cash, using some ultra-basic CGI as a lure. Of course, the basic ideas behind VR fuel online gaming, but anyone who's read Mona Lisa Overdrive back in the 80s is surely gravely disappointed with what's on offer in 2008. I was also very excited about the Cyberpunk movement and was a huge fan of Mondo 2000, but if your subculture is accessible enough for Billy Idol to hitch his wagon to it, you know your basic operating philosophy is fundamentally flawed.

I went to see Leary chat up virtual reality a couple of times. At one talk at NYU, Robert Anton Wilson was his warmup act. I think RAW was very much on my wavelength here when he bemoaned serious work with hallucinogens giving way to what he called "the idiot drug revolution in the streets."

One thing a lot of do-it-yourself shamans -including Leary- didn't seem to understand is how rigorous and structured the ancient psychedelic traditions are, and how much sacrifice and suffering was called for. To Leary and his compadres, acid seemed to offer an instant shortcut around all of that. Instant shortcuts were very much part of that Space Age zeitgeist, something we've all learned to be more skeptical of today. Because without these tests and trials that we saw in the Mystery traditions, the psyche is ill-prepared to deal with the experiences and revelations that await (you know, like the bits that are implied but excised from the Dagobah scenes in The Empire Strikes Back). Once the Summer of Love ended, a lot of shattered psyches faced a long, cold winter.

I also blame Leary for being the man who popularized LSD, a drug most people aren't really equipped to deal with, and a drug that did as much- if not more- harm than good when it hit the street, cut with speed and strychnine and God knows what else. One of the healthiest trends in Entheogenic culture has been the move away from synthetic hallucinogens. Who the hell knows what the black magicians out there can sneak into those compounds today?

Alan Watts never singled out Leary in his lectures on the psychedelic experience, but it's clear he didn't approve of mainstreaming LSD or psychedelics in general. And -of course- the hidden hand of the Company is all over Leary's bio, a fact that a lot of his friends had a very hard time coming to terms with, including RAW. I want to think Leary was compromised and was cornered into a situation that forced his hand, but there's the problem of MK-Ultra lurking in the shadows here, no matter how ridiculously the program has been mythologized by Conspiranoids.

There is very good evidence that the original impetus behind the program was the belief- fostered mainly by Andrija Puharich- that psychedelics could create psychic spies and maybe even psychic assassins. As crazy as it might sound to some people today, that was the origin point of these programs. (Bruce Rux has put forward a fascinating argument that the Manchurian Candidate type of programs weren't based on Chinese techniques but the memory erasing reports put forward by alien abductees, reports that were above top secret at one point in time).

I don't think the Gottlieb boys knew from psychedelia - they were more concerned with developing neural weaponry. They saw themselves as heroes in a cosmic struggle with Communism, something we are far too easy to forget the overwhelming urgency of these days. When they eventually discovered that the effects of LSD are nearly impossible to predict, they moved on. Since then we've seen a parade of more demonically effective psychotropic pharmaceuticals, and no one is talking much about creating psychic spies anymore.

"Dream Machine" by Jack Kirby (click to enlarge)

Hallucinogens have been in the news a lot lately. There are serious efforts afoot to legalize medical (and non-medical) marijuana, and most importantly, doctors are rediscovering that hallucinogens are highly effective tools for therapy:
Hallucinogens may have gotten a bad rap since the 1960s as anything other than a source of amusement and cheap dream sequences, but according to The New York Times, a number of doctors around the country are seriously reconsidering psylocibin — the ‘magic mushroom’ hallucinogen — and other psychedelic drugs as a means of treating depression and addictive behavior, with a particular focus on the treatment of terminally ill patients.
A whole host of powerful neural tools were suppressed largely out of tangential political and cultural concerns, meaning that a bitter and destructive generational split in in the 1960s created a backlash against useful compounds that doctors and therapists should have had access to, as well as individuals and groups involved in serious research and exploration. That's the way it was in the early 60s, but something screwed it all up.

Unfortunately, Timothy Leary played a major part in the screwing.


  1. Great stuff, Chris.

    You post on this blog like a relentless mutha, but man, what the hell is fuelling your fire?! Don't stop though, for the love God!

    Anyhoo, it's so true that the rigour and discipline of the mystery traditions is lost from our modern sight. There's a lot of good stuff that can be garnered from a little chaos, spontenaity and hell-for-leather, but it's always far more powerful if it's combined with apects that are more sober and diligent.

    The importance of 'hard work', however we wish to define it to ourselves personally, shouldn't be overlooked. I think our genuine desire to get the hell out of this spiritual prison often becomes blurred with our apathy and our pseudo-desire to be entertained by things supposedly outside of the box.

    It all becomes very muddled and can result in this half-serious, half-disintersted longing for some magic key or get-out-of-jail-free card that we're not even sure we want or believe in. I hope you get the sense of what I'm trying to convey.

    I think a "yeah, whatever, who cares" attitude to magic and mystery is seriously dangerous, and potentially cataclysmic.

    When we don't treat magic/psyche with due respect and engagement, really bad stuff can happen. I've witnessed some of these things myself. And if we assume that life is not cyclical, and that empires can't fall virtually overnight, then we're fully entrenched in the idiocracy.

    The lights CAN go out, all creature comforts CAN be taken away along with our smug, vapid self-interests. And then its just us and the encroaching darkness and the hours. We're only selling ourselves short in the end. I hope we can inspire others to compassion and action and self-governance, and insight, while the lights are sort-of still on.


  2. "I think RAW was very much on my wavelength here when he bemoaned serious work with hallucinogens giving way to what he called "the idiot drug revolution in the streets."

    That's cool and I agree to a certain extent with your sentiments... on the other hand I'm really not so keen on the idea of a priest-class deciding who's allowed to experiment with their mind and who isn't. There's enough of that nonsense already. It's risky business, no doubt. But it's a personal decision and nobody has the right to tell you what you can or can't do with your consciousness.

    As luck would have it I've been fortunate enough to actually participate in a recent university study dealing with a known hallucinogen. The work that's currently being done is truly amazing. We're on the edge of something genuinely profound.

  3. Good grief, another brilliant article.

    Chris Knowles is the Energizer Bunny of America's Cultural Underground.


    Chapter 27:

    Phil Westerburg, the Los Angeles Police Agency chief deputy coroner, said to General Felix Buckman, his superior, "I can explain the drug best this way. You haven't heard of it because it isn't in use yet; she must have ripped it off from the academy's special-activities lab." He sketched on a piece of paper. "Time-binding is a function of the brain. It's a structuralization of perception and orientation."

    "Why did it kill her?" Buckman asked. It was late and his head hurt. He wished the day would end; he wished everyone and everything would go away. "An overdose?" he demanded.

    "We have no way of determining as yet what would constitute an overdose with KR-3. It's currently being tested on detainee volunteers at the San Bernardino forced-labor camp, but so far" - Westerburg continued to sketch - "anyhow, as I was explaining. Time-binding is a function of the brain and goes on as long as the brain is receiving input. Now, we know that the brain can't function if it can't bind space as well ... but as to why, we don't know yet. Probably it has to do with the instinct to stabilize reality in such a fashion that sequences can be ordered in terms of before-and-after - that would be time - and, more importantly, space-occupying, as with a three-dimensional object as compared to, say, a drawing of that object."

    He showed Buckman his sketch. It meant nothing to Buckman; he stared at it blankly and wondered where, this late at night, he could get some Darvon for his headache. Had Alys had any? She had squirreled so many pills.

    Westerburg continued, "Now, one aspect of space is that any given unit of space excludes all other given units; if a thing is there it can't be here. Just as in time if an event comes before, it can't also come after."

  5. Really excellent post. I agree 100% about Leary; his attempt to turn LSD into a drug for the masses was in a sense a continuation of the MKULTRA experiments on a much larger scale. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Leary was operating with the approval of diabolical people in the Company like Gottlieb.

    In my own rather limited experience with psychedelics, I found them to be far too powerful to be casually messing around with, and I can’t really imagine a functioning society where they are widespread. People talk about psychedelics encouraging peace and love, but for me it was just the opposite – they unleashed my “inner Hitler”. So I agree with the Aldous Huxley approach, where you have a psychedelic elite who act as modern shamans.

    Having said all that, I admit I’m curious to see what would happen if a powerful psychedelic was administered to humanity on a mass level as a means of breaking toxic conditioning. It really seems possible to me that we’re approaching a point where it will literally be a matter of global survival to decondition people from destructive ideologies like fundamentalist religion and consumer capitalism, and we might have to reconsider whether some form of “aggressive mental liberation” is such a bad idea. The problem now is the West no longer dominates the world as it did in Leary’s heyday, and I see no signs of a global psychedelic prophet emerging who can challenge Islam, the PRC, Hindu- and Buddho-fascism, etc., so we in the West who value mental freedom above all else may have to consider taking more extreme measures as a matter of cultural survival...

  6. There is a great writeup about all this at:

    "The Center for an Informed America"

    Check out the entire Laurel Canyon story.

    There is a guy mentioned in there that had an LSD lab in the hills making 4 million hits in a batch. He was probably backed by the .gov of course. Got busted, then the cops had to give him his equipment BACK. Hmm.

    There is another guy too:

    "Before Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band...before Timothy Leary...before Ken Kesey's band of Merry Pranksters and their Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests...before the dawn of the Grateful Dead, there was Alfred M. Hubbard: the Original Captain Trips."

    All these "counterculture" guys were connected with the US military/Gov in various ways.

  7. I agree with RAW and add that
    psychedelics/entheogens are not
    to be played with as a ,"party
    drug". Even common ganja has lost
    it's spiritual properties because
    everyone wants to ,"party", with
    it. Not everyone should smoke
    that stuff, and it took me
    years to understand that I had
    no business using it like I
    was, let alone the heavier
    stuff I got into.

    I was already a child with a
    mental health condition, and
    then my adolescence, extending
    into my 30's, was shaped by
    substance I am
    a classic ,"drug casualty", a
    burn out....and on the list
    of people who are officially
    ,"psychotic", so guess who
    will be rounded up in a total
    state of tyranny?

    My point is; that substances
    may in fact be dangerous to
    unprepared minds, as you are
    saying yourself. Perhaps it is
    actually a good thing that
    some government agency keeps
    entheogens and psychotropics
    out of the consumer market.

    These things come spiritually
    and if they show up in your
    life and you have the proper
    training to work with them
    then by all means experiment.

    I wonder if guys like Leary
    are not properly examined with
    critical methods.

    Today I have a psychedelic life
    with the power of Christ, and
    through study and prayer I am
    able to reach into a higher
    reality. I need the Holy Spirit
    to protect me against what
    entered my being through the
    foolish use of narcotics and

    Thankfully Christ is a real
    power, or else I would be in
    trouble, unable to defend my-
    self against demonic attacks.

    Funny you mention Gibson as I
    just finished reading Neuro-
    mancer, and I had not read it
    as a sober P.K.
    Dick, his arrangement of words
    produces changes in the mind.

    Gibson taught me that inform-
    ation itself is a psychedelic

  8. Gibson taught me that inform-
    ation itself is a psychedelic

    I second that emotion, Pete Hoge. Knowledge IS power.

  9. Chris...

    Don’t be too quick to pass judgment on Dr Leary… and don’t underestimate the role he played in his day. As a flamboyant day-glow representation of trickster, Leary preformed remarkably.

    As in the grand tradition of trickster, Leary may not have fully known what he was getting himself into… what he was unleashing… but once Leary let the genie out of the bottle, the world became aware of the power of psychedelics. The Black Opps government lost their monopoly and control of such substences.

    The psychedelic culture that resulted, in part, by Leary’s colorful media continues to be a powerful force, an important counter balance to the dominator consumer culture that is all too pervasive in modern society.

  10. I know exactly where you're coming from with the Cyberpunk stuff, Chris. That era was my awakening. Obsessively reading Mondo 2000 and Gibson novels as a 14 year old exposed me to concepts and memes of a kind that, these days, one would probably have to turn to the internet for. Mondo 2000 was almost like a hardcopy internet for the pre-net era!

    I too was enormously optimistic about the future, especially during the Clinton pre-9/11 era. For a while there, it really looked like everything was going to be wonderful.

    I still think VR will have its day, eventually, but now I am far more cynical about what it will do to us. Once, I thought it would liberate us all from the mundanities of physicality and propel our higher-minds into the psychic stratosphere, where we would all unite and realise we were all one. Or something. Now, I think true VR, in the full-immersion Burning Chrome kinda sense, would probably destroy society.

    You wrote about how psychedelics like LSD should probably not be used by the average Joe, that it probably takes a certain type of person to handle it. During the cyberpunk era, Timothy Leary often suggested that VR was the new LSD. I think he was right it more ways than he realised!

    The internet and video games (especially of the MMO variety) give us just a hint of what society would be like with access to full blown VR. Mr "Average Joe" has become overwhelmed with data and addicted to it, unable to pull themselves away from the virtual self-aggrandising mirrors they have created for themselves on social networking sites, or shutting out every extraneous aspect of their physical lives in order to grind their WOW character to the next level etc...

    Perhaps, in a sort of twisted and distorted kind of way, the psychological impetus behind this phenomenon is the same as that which drives aspirational fantasies of the Superhero...

    These days, I have many friends who are relatively new to the internet (I.E, they got seriously into it in the last 5-6 years or so), and I see them going through stages that I've already been through and am starting to tire of. Sometimes they just want to constantly show me things they've found online, things which are generally of no particular significance other than as a memetic diversion, or they want to immediately consult the net upon the appearance of even the vaguest uncertainty.

    But having been through so much of it already, I find that more than anything these days, I just want to talk to other human beings.

  11. I think LSD was justa gateway to higher medicines. It was kind of like training wheels for what was to come.

  12. I'm only just discovering sci-fi in general and Philip K. Dick in particular here and now in my sixth decade. I was a teenager when Kennedy was assassinated and a teenager when man landed on the moon. There is only a very small window to fit these events into one pre-adult lifetime but apparently many do. This for me are the two pillars of the sixties.

  13. I tend to agree with Jack Heart. I think Leary was helpful in many respects. SMILE for instance.Tune in, drop out/shineforth! Mushrooms are more personable imho. They feel as well as produce significant cosmic displays. The Masonic Greatful Dead took tripping to another level with amazing musical/mystical fun. In many ways I am a product of the LSD generation and I am better for it. Great brain food Chris. Dennis

  14. "Timothy Leary is Dead" brings back some memories. I was in hight school in the mid to late 70s, and the 1960s were already a lost, mythological time. Being a somewhat precocious child, I listened to--and tried to understand--the news, but didn't always have the context. During the early to mid 70s, the news was filled with reports of these mysterious figures dying mysteriously of gunshots or overdoses, or going into hiding or to jail for crimes I didn't really understand. By the time I was in my early teens with more knowledge of ancient mythologies than of popular culture or current/recent events, I assumed that most of the 60s radicals were dead, in proson, or otherwise vanished from the face of the earth. Maybe "hidden," like the 12th Imam. One of my friends played this song for me, and I assumed it was a statement of fact, that Timothy Leary was dead, and that these whacked out musicians thought he was going to rise from the dead, lol.

    It was a wonderful revelation to me when this same friend a few years later put a copy of RAW's "Cosmic Trigger" into my hands and I learned that Timothy Leary was very much alive. Maybe the Age of Gods and Heroes wasn't gone after all!

    BTW, have you heard about how the Moody Blues wrote the song? The counterculture in the U.K. was quite a different beast from its counterpart in the U.S. Few of the Brits knew much about the major figures of the U.S. movement, nor were they affected by such issues as the Vietnam War, etc. So the Moody Blues' knowledge of Timothy Leary was much like mine; they knew little but the name, and a whole bunch of myth and rumor attached to it. So they wrote this song about what they imagined he must be like.

  15. lol we have quite similar reading past Chris. I was also into Leary, Casteneda--all you mention. I was very choked when I read The Power and the Allegory which revealed Carlos the Hoaxer!!

    "One thing a lot of do-it-yourself shamans -including Leary- didn't seem to understand is how rigorous and structured the ancient psychedelic traditions are, and how much sacrifice and suffering was called for. To Leary and his compadres, acid seemed to offer an instant shortcut around all of that. Instant shortcuts were very much part of that Space Age zeitgeist, something we've all learned to be more skeptical of today. Because without these tests and trials that we saw in the Mystery traditions, the psyche is ill-prepared to deal with the experiences and revelations that await (you know, like the bits that are implied but excised from the Dagobah scenes in The Empire Strikes Back). Once the Summer of Love ended, a lot of shattered psyches faced a long, cold winter."

    I am personally raw from a recent nasty experience I have had at these forums supposedly run by genunine native Americans called Newagefraud. its main purpose is to expose phony Indians who adopt absurd nativey-sounding names, pass themselves off as traditional Indians and then charge money for healing etc.

    I was all for exposing that. But my actual EXPERIENCE at these forums has left a VERY bitter taste in my mouth. Basically it felt like a fukin straightjacket. My first thread asking about native traidtional experiences with UFOs I needed for research, and reason I registered there, got locked very soon by the moderator.

    Then two days ago when I simply asked a question about some western people like Narby etc doing online seminars and charging money--if they thought it OK, and first speaker said 'entheogens are bad for ya' and then mod comes and bitches me out about my last thread, and throws rule book at me patronisingly, and when I defend myself bans me with a very snidey going away comment concluding with 'and stay of the drugs huh?'

    This experience has ripped off the romantic filters specs I may have used to look at indigenous tradition.

    Isn't tradition RIGID. Dont traditional artists, dancers, musicians, have to follow strict codes of formalized practice?

    So I think this needs close look.I know there has to be certain things we look to. Take permaculture, and learning from people. yes--But NOT when it tries to encase you in rules TOO much.
    I may not have agree with Leary---I believe he was anti the Ecological Movement--but at LEAST he encouraged the knowedlge of psychedelics for ALL. This was very different from the exclusive Mystery schools, especially Orphism which conjured up a very divisive world-denying dogma also.

    For me LSD experience changed my life, and I am glad of it. Life can be dangerous and people should not be treated like children and not allowed to have psychedelic experience if they so choose!

  16. Another great post.

    I remember seeing "Altered States" as a young teen upon it's release, and I recall finding it a very heavy film. It's surprising, in retrospect, that the studio green lit that film, but I suppose the studio just saw the science fiction spectacle, and glossed over the memes.

    I was talking to my Dad the other day, who was showing me pictures of a LA band he was in at the time of the late 60s, we talked about LSD, we both agreed that you really have to be careful with opening up that Pandora's box. You have to really know yourself, and already have started to deal with your past, or inner demons / angels, because Hallucinogens will not let you off the hook. Sadly, many just used them for escapism.

    So, I agree with Chris that perhaps there should be some ritualistic process, and preparation before using hallucinogens. I can't speak for other's, but I've stayed clear of them as a personal choice, even sober and cognizant, I have had days where I have had a sense of unreality, or not being a part of the world, and there are some doors I just feel ready for yet. I suppose it has to with how altruistic one wishes to be. I also suspect there's other avenues you can take to look within.

  17. Heyo Raj- You are truly on point with your comment today!! And NOW- Love your profile pic! The Uroboros has been coming up a lot lately... We are clearly at the end of a cycle and moving into a new one. What this means for us on a "physical" level remains to be seen. I do know this though: Old habits die hard! Like Raj said, "The lights CAN go out" and we are in for some turbulant times (or interesting times depending on how you look at it). There's been much talk about the world feeling like a prison. I totally concur and kind of equate it to a game of monopoly that was fun for awhile but now is dragging onandonandonandon....... Our spirit CANNOT be denied! We WILL break free one way or another!


    Everything that has a beginning has an end.
    Everything that has an end has a beginning.
    Everything that has a beginning has an end.
    Everything that has an end has a beginning.
    Everything that has a beginning has an end.
    Everything that has an end has a beginning.


    (can't wait to see what's next)

    Love you guys!!!

  18. Raj- I think hard work is the only way to accomplish anything of value, most especially in these kinds of pursuits. The example of the ancient Mysteries is what sticks in my mind, they were around for thousands of years but the psychedelic movement in the 60s ran aground almost as soon as it begin. Leary had his psychedelic commune in Millbrook but it really became a farce pretty quickly. Part of me wants to think that was the idea all along but I've also seen it first hand when I was younger.

    542- I don't know if I'm arguing for a professional priest class. But I also don't believe people shouldn't drive without taking driver's ed classes first. But you can't just drop a hint like that and not come through with some details.

    Maria- That's my official motto from now on.

    Eric- Can't go wrong with the PKD.

    Sean- I remember an old interview with Terence McKenna in which he named a percentage in which it was healthy to have a proportion of the population actively engaged in psychedelic research. It was something like 4/10ths of one percent. Double that number and there would be deleterious effects.

    As to Gottlieb, the whole idea of developing mind control based on LSD is insane. You want an neuro-inhibiting somatic agent, like all of the crap out there now. I can't help but wonder if someone was shining him on and running their own study within MKU. Someone like Puharich, for example.

  19. 824- I think the more accurate statement is that the gov't sticks its nose in everything, even the counterculture.

    Pete- Preexisting conditions and self-medication are a toxic combination. And I do agree with you- or we agree with each other. Today's weed is so potent it's a much different drug than when I was young. But as to more serious psychedelics they will always be used for recreational purposes- no one's going to stop that. I just think that therapists and structured working groups should legally be able to use them and not be punished for someone else's irresponsibility. I do blame Leary for changing that equation, as much as I once admired him.

    Jack- The thing is that I'm not sure that was the best role to be playing. It's funny- when I first began hearing about McKenna I thought he was a weak Leary imitator but now my opinion has completely reversed. Leary had the whole Sammy Glick act going but I don't think he had the scholarship.

    Omega- All very excellent insights here. I don't think this militates in favor of elitism but it does militate against the opposite. My son is constantly on Call of Duty which drives me nuts but at the same time the immersive environment is pretty seductive. But I think excessive gaming is not good for him or young males in general. I've always thought it was responsible for all of the ADHD diagnoses, because kids are being hyper stimulated by them. It's plain cause and effect, not neuroscience.

  20. GEO- Interesting. I see it more as a detour, but that's just me.

    Eric- Shh- don't talk about the moon landing too loudly...

    Dennis- I never liked LSD myself- too harsh. I think it's because my brain already overproduces its own DMT. I think that's a byproduct of the fevers- it (and some other things) changed the architecture of my brain. The weirdest things can kick it up too- heavily caffeinated chocolate, for one. Any expert psychonauts know what psychoactive compounds in chocolate might do that?

    Anony- I do have to admit when I met Leary I was really unimpressed. There was something cold about him, even behind the smile. It might have been because my friend and I were skeptical about his VR claims, since we both worked in computer graphics and understood how labor intensive what they were promising was.

    Muzu- Well, I gotta admit I have no patience for those phony shamans either. But as I said about Castaneda, it made no difference when I heard the debunking. In fact I thought it was kind of silly. Those books had their own "separate reality" as I was reading them. It's like saying Jack Kirby didn't actually meet ancient aliens, or that Fox Mulder didn't really exist.

    Now - +)

    Matt- Well that's the thing about the Mysteries- the whole point was to prepare the mind to avoid the possibility of bad trips. So you had the confession of sins, fasting, celibacy, and the rest of it. And naming the gods and developing this relationship with them had a funny habit of ensuring that they'd show up during your trip.

    828- Thank you for that- very inspiring.

  21. Miley Cyrus (Hannah-Inanna Montana, Miley Stewart) was filmed smoking salvia, a pyschoactive plant.

  22. "Anony- I do have to admit when I met Leary I was really unimpressed. There was something cold about him, even behind the smile. It might have been because my friend and I were skeptical about his VR claims, since we both worked in computer graphics and understood how labor intensive what they were promising was."

    there is a very iformative book I wonder if anyone's read--I REALLY recommend it--it's a story about the psychedelic story--by Jay Stevens, titled Storming Heaven

    It reveals what went on at Millbrook with the in-crowd. there was this thing being tried--to "push the envelope", and they would take increased soses of LSD to try it. That to me sounds --ignore-ant, and I suspect it was influenced by the emphasis on Eastern mysticism favoured by many then, including Alan Watts. A trying to be 'in Nirvana' all-the-time

    The Guru -with the flashing eyes trip. The one-who-has made-it. I distrust all of that really, and a book to really expose it is The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power

    Though I am nto happy with what the authors offer as an alternative.

    I just feel look--NO one. NO ONE--has the right to dictate what you eat, and wish to explore consciously. How anyone can DARE to presume they have this right in this world of wars and horrors I do not know. The powers that be who make out they care do NOT care. if they did they would not drop bombs, napalm, and depleted uranium on unborn babies, babies, children, adults, and all other species.

  23. castaneda made my hair stand on end...


    i rembd the duality of nature. that let his monopole 'dementers' slip frm the realm of the improbable but possible to the 'pullmyfinger' silly. :)

    to phrase another way; if a creator exists and endows us w/freewill, why would s/he/it also create something that can steal it - w/no way to fight against it? the ultimate nightmare - no escape except annihilation...


  24. well Chris in this part of the globe there is also a hype in MSM regarding psychedelhic drugs and some patially legal stuff - making them look dangerous and life-taking just to scare the hell out of people who may have had second toughts about them. Just for the record here around people were way too poor to even try any kind of drugs, and by this i mean about the last 100 years. There is a backdraw when that percentage mentioned by you is too low.

  25. Chris, you're the first person I've met who mirrors my sentiments about Castaneda. Their literal factuality was not very important. As far as that goes, I would have no trouble believing that the first book, possibly the first two or three books, were basically accurate descriptions of CC's impressions of real events, but the bean counters say no...

  26. consumption of dark chocolate is always included in the ritualistic aspects of my use of smokable dmt.along with tobacco and MAOI anti depressants.what causes this combo to massively increase the duration and intensity of the effect i cannot say, it could even be the purely ritualistic aspects.
    i for one am profoundly grateful for the exsposure i have had to the tryptamine family.and i have always cherished the input from leary; vis a vis the 'psychedelic experience' literature etc.
    i am aware of the revision of opinion about leary, from unquestioned psychedelic god, to the man who cruelled lsd and worked for the company.
    i would caution about rushing to judgement. no one says no to the company; those who think that they might have what it takes to resist have never had an "offer they couldn't refuse" from a master of the universe..
    the thing that absolutely struck me about the leary clip was how many different photos of an ecstatically happy, wise and joyous leary over an extended period of his life there were.
    i would be proud to be able to produce a similar collection of happy snaps.

  27. I'm allergic to chocolate, well not really allergic but intolerant. If I eat it I can get sick, depending on a lot of things. LSD was very similar.

  28. Hey Chris,

    542 here. Sorry, wasn't trying to be coy with the details, it's just that I'm still participating in the research and so want to be fairly discreet about it and not discuss it in a public forum until I'm no longer a subject.

    Not that it's at all secretive, it's just that I really want to treat the whole thing with the dignity it deserves. As you've discussed, these kinds of programs have been burned in the past by people shouting from the rooftops about the wonders and miracles etc.. Indeed we're only now recovering from the hysteria that killed off any legitimate research for almost 50 years.

    Anyway, I will say that the professionals involved are really super people and they've provided me with all kinds of support and preparation. They're exactly the kind of people you would want dealing with this kind of stuff-- decent, sensible, compassionate, judicious, and wicked smart.

    The experiences I've had have been nothing short of life changing. Whatever we're dealing with here, it is truly just the tip of the iceberg. Which is kinda mind blowing.

    If you have an email address available I'd be happy to shoot you an email about it. It's pretty fascinating.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  29. Oh I've been a lifelong gamer myself and I certainly don't think VR and video games are inherently an evil influence or anything... The problem, as I see it, when it comes to video games and the like producing ADHD or disconnection with reality, does not find its source within those games but rather within the very nature of our human social order.

    I think people retreat into virtual worlds for essentially two reasons.

    1: The worlds they depict are hyper-real, enticing and seductive.


    It seems to me that the obvious solution to this problem is to make reality ROCK!

  30. "It seems to me that the obvious solution to this problem is to make reality ROCK!"

    I second that! It' about time. We have the know how.

  31. Unfortunately some idiots in high functions cannot imagine to 'rock reality' by creating real progress, but only by dumping down people and creating WAR. Here is the problem, when it will be a minimum = critical mass among those people that do understand these things we may evolve, right now we're kept forcely in a situation that "sucks".

  32. I'd recommend The Dedalus Book of the 1960s: Turn Off Your Mind by Gary Lachman. Which covers the topic of this post

  33. Play Now: Sprinter - Moroz 148 (Psychedelic Electronic Music)