Monday, February 18, 2008


It occurred to me that there could be some visitors to this blog who, for a variety of reasons, might not be able to place Timothy Leary. So I thought I’d just do a little quickie list of Leary facts. You know me, I like to be helpful whenever I can.


  • an American psychologist, counterculture hero, pioneer and huge advocate of psychedelic drug use.
  • the creator of the phrase “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out,” which to some kids kinda meant “Do drugs, see weird stuff, quit MacDonald’s.
  • the founder of the Harvard Psilocybin Project. I’ll bet that’s one academic elective you weren’t expecting.
  • kicked out of Harvard for missing too many classes (and he was the prof) and extra curricular sharing of LSD & magic mushrooms with students.
  • buddies with Ken Kesey’s busload of Merry Pranksters, as immortalized by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Grateful Dead were kind of their house band, or maybe bus band is more accurate.
  • regularly raided by the FBI.
  • a candidate for governor of California against Ronald Reagan.
  • in Montreal with John and Yoko at their famous Bed-In for Peace.
  • imprisoned on drug charges. (when admitted, he was given psychological tests that he himself had designed). He later escaped. Long story.
  • called “the most dangerous man in America” by…wait for it…Richard Nixon
  • an inmate at Folsom Prison, in a cell next to Charles Manson.
  • one of the first people to have his remains shot into space. In 1997, some of Leary’s ashes were carried aloft (along with ashes of Gene “Star Trek” Roddenberry and others) where they orbited the earth for six years before re-entering the atmosphere and burning up. Maybe that shooting star you saw….
  • the inspiration for John Lennon’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the Revolver album. Lennon also wrote “Come Together” for Leary’s interrupted (by prison) campaign for governor. He’s also in the song “Legend of a Mind” by the Moody Blues, and has been showing up regularly in songs by more recent, alt bands.

Of course, there’s much much more to his life, but this will get you started. You may also be wondering how I feel about Timothy Leary. Well, as I’ve already mentioned (January 17/08 post) I wasn’t much for drugs, so I never did acid or ’shrooms - always felt that if I did, I’d end up like Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys - but still, my basic philosophy is, to each his/her own. And I think Timothy Leary did a lot of good working for peace. I wish he was still in orbit. Okay now, let’s wrap things up with some music. When you open the link, the first thing you’ll see is Dr. Leary himself, in the foreground, facing left, mouth open, singing. Far out.


Quiet Paths said...

Whoa, I do NOT want to play opposite you in Rock n Roll Trivial Pursuits. Hey, have you thought about marketing that?

Deborah Godin said...

Ah, Trivial Pursuits, good game. They must have a R/R edition...? I do know there's a Baby Boomer one, but I haven't seen or played it. I'll bet it's a blast.

Top Pun said...

The peace sign design above is my design, from I don't mind people using my hippie flower peace sign graphics, but it's nice to get credit, and preferably a link. THANKS!