Timothy Leary on the Psychedelic Salon Podcast
Episode 284 Timothy Leary The Revolution Continues #1 Download
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On November 13, 1976 Howard Pearlstein & Henry Marshall interviewed Dr. Timothy Leary just a few months after his release from prison in 1976. It took place in Houston, Texas for the local Pacifica Station, KPFT. Unlike most radio interviews, instead of just one person asking the questions this one consisted of a panel of men who at times seemed more like a board of inquiry of some kind. However, it doesn't take long for Dr. Leary to be in full command of the situation. And for historians who are interested in whether or not Leary gave evidence against one of his attorneys, you'll be quite pleased when the questions trend in this direction. Tim defends his own sanity but quickly moves on to a preliminary discussion of Leary's 8-Circuit theories, evolution, the future, space migration, life extension & more.
Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs like LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Both studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were dismissed from the university.
Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry. 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 he developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology (1977).
During the 1960s and 1970s, Leary was arrested regularly and was held captive in 29 different prisons throughout the world. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as "the most dangerous man in America". Leary was released from prison on April 21, 1976 by Governor Jerry Brown.
[NOTE: All quotations are by Dr. Timothy Leary]
“From my earliest years I wanted to figure out what life was about. I wanted to find out why I was here so that my actions and my desires would have some meaning. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t mainly and centrally a philosopher, because if you aren’t trying to figure that out for yourself you’re borrowing, or begging, or passively taking on someone else’s philosophy, and this may lead to situations that are unsatisfactory.”
“A philosopher never gets in trouble if his ideas are not new.”
"I spent four years in 29 jails and prisons on four continents."
“Looked at it pragmatically, the trick of taking intelligence tests is to get the highest score possible in terms of intelligence as defined by middle class intellectuals who designed the test.”
“It’s the nature of the game that a philosopher who’s proposing radical new ideas will be opposed by 80% of society.”
“My responsibility is to the genetic process and evolutionary process as I see it.”
“We have to be gentle with each other because we are going through a period of mutations.”
“I think, though, that there has never been a cultural change in history that was as profound, as pervasive, and as bloodless as the cultural revolution of the Sixties. By and large it was a smiling revolution.”
“By and large I’m very proud of what happened in the Sixties, every aspect of our culture was reformed and revised and reviewed and improved.”
“Now, LSD is a dangerous drug because it’s basically a post-terrestrial experience. And for caterpillars to start taking a butterfly drug, it gives you perspectives, and forecasts what’s to come.”
“There’s perhaps less than ten percent of the population who should even consider, under the best circumstances of disciplined control, to take this drug, because LSD is not a hedonistic, laid-back, multi-orgasm drug. It really isn’t. It’s a neurological experience. It’s a sixth circuit neuroelectric experience, and it’s basically preparation for post-terrestrial life.”
“To summarize, I’m an evolutionary agent using electromagnetic energies to broadcast evolutionary signals. The signals are ‘leave the planet’, ‘get smarter’, and ‘learn how to live as long as you want’.”
Leary makes a point about President Kennedy attempting to turn the solution to a bad economy away from war and into space.