Timothy Leary
Psychologist and advocate
Timothy Leary
Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as 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 fired from the university.
Timothy Leary's personal information overview.
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"Magic Bus" offers a head trip - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
When they arrived at the New York mansion where Timothy Leary spun theories about the spiritual and psychological complexities of LSD use, they got an equally chilly reception. Kesey fared better back on the West Coast when he hooked up with a new
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Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place - Cannabis Culture
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Timothy Leary and Neal Cassady on the bus.The only thing lacking in Elwood and Gibney's otherwise excellent film is meaningful follow-up on how the trip affected those involved and the culture at large. There is a somewhat rushed sequence at the end of
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'Magic Trip' a further look into 1964 bus ride - Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Google News - over 5 years
10 am: Passion Into Action Coffee Talk, with Dr. Geoffrey Tabin and filmmaker Roko Belic (”Happy”), hosted by Tom Shadyac Timothy Leary and Neal Cassady on Ken Kesey's bus, Further, in “Magic Trip.” Alison Ellwood floats the idea that “Magic Trip,” the
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The Creating and Sharing of AWE - Big Think
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Timothy Leary and Buckminster Fuller called themselves "performing philosophers", using the power of media communication to spread galactic-sized ideas about the state of the species in relation to the wider universe
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Magic Trip - Philadelphia Inquirer
Google News - over 5 years
Also not a fan - Timothy Leary. The Pranksters arrive at Leary's '60s acid compound in New York expecting a sympathetic reception, only to discover that Leary heads a cult of standoffish drug snobs. His followers seek enlightenment and higher
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Yoko Ono gives Bed Peace a chance - The Guardian (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Those visiting them there, as shown in the film, include the activist Dick Gregory, LSD-advocate Timothy Leary, DJ Murray The K and the Beatles' publicist Derek Taylor. In 1969, John and I were so naive to think that doing the Bed-In would help change ... -
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Levy's High Five, August 12 - 18 - OregonLive.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
By Shawn Levy, The Oregonian Legends, in or out of their own minds: Timothy Leary (l.) and Neal Cassady in "Magic Trip" 1) “The Guard” With lashings of buddy-cop movies, a fish-out-of-water story, spaghetti westerns and Quentin Tarantino crime stories,
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MOVIE REVIEW | 'MAGIC TRIP'; Stoned Archive: Wild Ride Of the Merry Pranksters
NYTimes - over 5 years
If you have ever agreed to baby-sit for a friend who needed a sympathetic watchdog while experimenting with psychedelics, you know how boring it can be to observe someone else in the throes of an acid trip. Unless, heaven forbid, the friend freaks out and has to be carted off to a psych ward, there is nothing interesting about it, not even the
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Pitchfork: Staff Lists: Words and Music: Our 60 Favorite Music Books - JohnJohnSaidIt.com
Google News - over 5 years
Some of the stories may feel familiar now, but few other writers have been able to add comparable dashes of wit and vigor to the story of Ash Ra Tempel's involvement with Timothy Leary or the original Neu! split. –Nick Neyland by John Darnielle Black
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How Have Words About Marijuana Changed Since The Sixties? - The 420 Times
Google News - over 5 years
“Turn on”, of course, was part of the phrase that Timothy Leary made famous, and it was instantly used for everything from LSD to weed (which is another word we never used back then) to sex (“You Turn Me On“) to hobbies (“I turned my friend on to
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Paul Davids Films at Canyon Moon, 8/26-28 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Notable Paul Davids films include Starry Night, released in 2001, as well as Roswell, the Golden Globe nominated Showtime film, and the controversial feature documentary Timothy Leary's Dead. *Starry Night (August 26, 7pm) It won the Audience Award for
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Microsoft's Wacky New Direction: Star Trek! - PC Magazine
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This idea also sounds a lot like “Skippy” the rather screwball virtual assistant promoted by LSD-maven Timothy Leary back in the late 1980s. What gets me about this new initiative—besides it being very cornball—is that just a few years back Ballmer
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Magic Trip Review - Cinema Blend
Google News - over 5 years
There never was one specific definition, at least not after it left Timothy Leary's lips, and in a way, that explains why the Summer of Love gave way to moustaches, high gas prices and eventually, the Me Generation. Like nearly every ideology,
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McLuhan: From tweedy academic to household name - Globe and Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Think of it: a humble, tweedy academic (an English literature scholar, no less) who became a household name, right up there with the Beatles, Andy Warhol and Timothy Leary. For most of the 1960s and part of the 1970s, McLuhan seemed to be everywhere
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'Altamont Augie' and the War for a Generation's Soul - FrontPage Magazine
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by Richard Barager “If you can remember the sixties,” quipped Timothy Leary, “you weren't there.” Well, for those who can't remember, or weren't ever there, Richard Barager's new novel Altamont Augie thrusts the reader into the torrent of that
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Teens and LSD - Patch.com
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Names like Timothy Leary, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, or the Beatles will evoke stories about their connection with "acid" (LSD). Even parents of the current crop of teens are likely to have some familiarity with LSD as a club drug favored by
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Timothy Leary
  • 1996
    Age 75
    He died at 75 on May 31, 1996.
    More Details Hide Details His death was videotaped for posterity at his request, capturing his final words. According to his son Zachary, during his final moments, he clenched his fist and said, "Why?", and then unclenching his fist, he said, "Why not?". He uttered the phrase repeatedly, in different intonations, and died soon after. His last word, according to Zach, was "beautiful." The film Timothy Leary's Dead (1996) contains a simulated sequence in which he allows his bodily functions to be suspended for the purposes of cryonic preservation. His head is removed, and placed on ice. The film ends with a sequence showing the creation of the artificial head used in the film. Seven grams of Leary's ashes were arranged by his friend at Celestis to be buried in space aboard a rocket carrying the remains of 24 others, including Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek), Gerard O'Neill (space physicist), and Krafft Ehricke (rocket scientist). A Pegasus rocket containing their remains was launched on April 21, 1997 and remained in orbit for six years until it burned up in the atmosphere.
  • 1995
    Age 74
    In January 1995, Leary was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer.
    More Details Hide Details He did not reveal the condition to the press at that time, but did so after the death of Jerry Garcia in August. Leary authored an outline for a book called Design for Dying which tried to give a new perspective on death and dying. His entourage (as mentioned above) updated his website on a daily basis as a sort of proto-blog, noting his daily intake of various illicit and legal chemical substances with a predilection for nitrous oxide, LSD and other psychedelic drugs. He was noted for his strong views against the use of drugs which "dull the mind" such as heroin, morphine and (more than occasional) alcohol, and also for his trademark "Leary Biscuits" (a snack cracker with cheese and a small marijuana bud, briefly microwaved). His sterile house was completely redecorated by the staff, who had more or less moved in, with an array of surreal ornamentation. In his final months, thousands of visitors, well-wishers and old friends visited him in his California home. Until his last weeks, he gave many interviews discussing his new philosophy of embracing death.
  • 1992
    Age 71
    In front of hundreds of Neo-Pagans in 1992 he declared, "I have always considered myself, when I learned what the word meant, I've always considered myself a Pagan."
    More Details Hide Details He also collaborated with Eric Gullichsen on Load and Run High-tech Paganism: Digital Polytheism.
    After that, he appeared at the Starwood Festival, a major Neo-Pagan event run by ACE, in 1992 and 1993 (although his planned 1994 WinterStar Symposium appearance was cancelled due to his declining health).
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    After his separation and subsequent divorce from Barbara in 1992, he ensconced himself in a circle of artists and cultural figures encompassing figures as diverse as actors Johnny Depp, Susan Sarandon and Dan Aykroyd; Zach Leary; his grandson Ashley Martino and his granddaughters Dieadra Martino and Sara Brown; author Douglas Rushkoff; publisher Bob Guccione, Jr.; and goddaughters Ryder and artist/music - photographer Hilary Hulteen.
    More Details Hide Details Despite declining health, he maintained a regular schedule of public appearances through 1994. In the same year he was honored at a symposium of the American Psychological Association.
  • 1989
    Age 68
    In 1989, he appeared with friend and book collaborator Robert Anton Wilson in a dialog entitled The Inner Frontier for the Association for Consciousness Exploration, a Cleveland-based group that had been responsible for his first Cleveland, Ohio appearance in 1979.
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    From 1989 on, Leary had begun to re-establish his connection to unconventional religious movements with an interest in altered states of consciousness.
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  • 1988
    Age 67
    In 1988, Leary held a fundraiser for Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul.
    More Details Hide Details While his stated ambition was to cross over to the mainstream as a Hollywood personality through proposed adaptations of Flashbacks and other projects, reluctant studios and sponsors ensured that it would never occur. Nonetheless, his extensive touring on the lecture circuit ensured him a very comfortable lifestyle by the mid-1980s, while his colorful past made him a desirable guest at A-list parties throughout the decade. He also attracted a more intellectual crowd including old confederate Robert Anton Wilson, science fiction writers William Gibson and Norman Spinrad, and rock musicians David Byrne and John Frusciante. In addition, he appeared in Johnny Depp's and Gibby Haynes' 1994 film Stuff, which showed Frusciante's squalid living conditions at that time. While he continued his frequent drug use privately rather than evangelizing and proselytizing the use of psychedelics as he had in the 1960s, the latter-day Leary emphasized the importance of space colonization and an ensuing extension of the human lifespan while also providing a detailed explanation of the eight-circuit model of consciousness in books such as Info-Psychology, among several others. He adopted the acronym "SMI²LE" as a succinct summary of his pre-transhumanist agenda: SM (Space Migration) + I² (intelligence increase) + LE (Life extension), and credited the L5 Society co-founder Keith Henson with helping develop his interest in space migration.
  • 1982
    Age 61
    Leary began to foster an improbable friendship with former foe G. Gordon Liddy, the Watergate burglar and conservative radio talk-show host. They toured the lecture circuit in 1982 as ex-cons (Liddy having been imprisoned after high-level involvement in the Watergate scandal) debating different social and fiscal issues from gay rights and abortion to welfare and the environment, with Leary generally espousing left-wing views and Liddy continuing to conform to a right-wing stance.
    More Details Hide Details The tour generated massive publicity and considerable funds for both. The personal appearances, a successful documentary called Return Engagement chronicling the tour, and the concurrent release of the autobiography Flashbacks helped to return Leary to the spotlight.
  • 1978
    Age 57
    In 1978 he married filmmaker Barbara Blum, also known as Barbara Chase, sister of actress Tanya Roberts.
    More Details Hide Details Leary adopted Blum's son Zachary and raised him as his own. During this period, Leary took on several godchildren, including actress Winona Ryder (the daughter of his archivist, Michael Horowitz) and current MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito.
  • 1977
    Age 56
    Leary and Rosemary separated later that year. Shortly thereafter, he became involved with Swiss-born British socialite Joanna Harcourt-Smith, a stepdaughter of financier Árpád Plesch. The couple "married" in a hotel under the influence of cocaine and LSD two weeks after they were first introduced, and Harcourt-Smith would use his surname until their breakup in early 1977.
    More Details Hide Details They traveled to Vienna, then Beirut, and finally ended up in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1972; according to Luc Sante, "Afghanistan had no extradition treaty with the United States, but this stricture did not apply to American airliners." That interpretation of the law was used by American authorities to interdict the fugitive. "Before Leary could deplane, he was arrested by an agent of the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs." Leary asserted a different story on appeal before the California Court of Appeal for the Second District, namely: At a stopover in the UK, as Leary was being flown back to the US in custody, he requested political asylum from Her Majesty's government to no avail. Back in America, he was held on five million dollars bail ($21.5 mil. in 2006) since Nixon had earlier labeled him as "the most dangerous man in America." The judge at his remand hearing stated, "If he is allowed to travel freely, he will speak publicly and spread his ideas," Facing a total of 95 years in prison, Leary hired criminal defense attorney Bruce Margolin. He was sent to Folsom Prison in California, and put in solitary confinement.
  • 1976
    Age 55
    Leary was released from prison on April 21, 1976 by Governor Jerry Brown.
    More Details Hide Details After briefly relocating to San Diego, he took up residence in Laurel Canyon and continued to write books and appear as a lecturer and (by his own terminology) "stand-up philosopher".
  • 1972
    Age 51
    In 1972, President Richard Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, persuaded the Swiss government to imprison Leary, which it did for a month but refused to extradite him to the United States.
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  • 1970
    Age 49
    As a result, he was assigned to work as a gardener in a lower-security prison from which he escaped in September 1970, saying that his non-violent escape was a humorous prank and leaving a challenging note for the authorities to find after he was gone.
    More Details Hide Details For a fee of $25,000, paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary out of prison in a pickup truck driven by Clayton Van Lydegraf. The truck met Leary after he'd escaped over the prison wall by climbing along a telephone wire. The Weathermen then helped both Leary and Rosemary out of the US (and eventually into Algeria) He sought the patronage of Eldridge Cleaver and the remnants of the Black Panther Party's "government in exile" in Algeria, but after a short stay with them said that Cleaver had attempted to hold him and his wife hostage. In 1971, the couple fled to Switzerland, where they were sheltered and effectively imprisoned by a high-living arms dealer, Michel Hauchard, who claimed he had an "obligation as a gentleman to protect philosophers"; Hauchard intended to broker a surreptitious film deal.
    On January 21, 1970, Leary received a 10-year sentence for his 1968 offense, with a further 10 added later while in custody for a prior arrest in 1965, for a total of 20 years to be served consecutively.
    More Details Hide Details On his arrival in prison, he was given psychological tests used to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Having designed some of these tests himself (including the "Leary Interpersonal Behavior Test"), Leary answered them in such a way that he seemed to be a very conforming, conventional person with a great interest in forestry and gardening.
  • 1969
    Age 48
    On that same day, Leary announced his candidacy for Governor of California against the Republican incumbent, Ronald Reagan. His campaign slogan was "Come together, join the party." On June 1, 1969, Leary joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Montreal Bed-In, and Lennon subsequently wrote Leary a campaign song called "Come Together".
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    On May 19, 1969, The Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional, and overturned his 1965 conviction.
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  • 1968
    Age 47
    On December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana "roaches".
    More Details Hide Details Leary alleged that they were planted by the arresting officer, but was convicted of the crime.
  • 1967
    Age 46
    At some point in the late 1960s, Leary moved to California and made many new friends in Hollywood. "When he married his third wife, Rosemary Woodruff, in 1967, the event was directed by Ted Markland of Bonanza.
    More Details Hide Details All the guests were on acid." In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Leary formulated his eight-circuit model of consciousness in collaboration with writer Brian Barritt, in which he wrote that the human mind and nervous system consisted of seven circuits which produce seven levels of consciousness when activated. This model was first published in his short essay "The Seven Tongues of God". The system was soon expanded to include an eighth circuit in a revised version first published in the 1973 pamphlet "Neurologic", written with Joanna Leary while he was in prison. This eighth-circuit idea was not exhaustively formulated until the publication of Exo-Psychology by Leary and Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger in 1977. Wilson contributed to the model after befriending Leary in the early 1970s, and used it as a framework for further exposition in his book Prometheus Rising, among other works.
    Leary was invited to attend the January 14, 1967 Human Be-In by Michael Bowen, the primary organizer of the event, a gathering of 30,000 hippies in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
    More Details Hide Details In speaking to the group, Leary coined the famous phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out". In a 1988 interview with Neil Strauss, he said that this slogan was "given to him" by Marshall McLuhan when the two had lunch in New York City, adding, "Marshall was very much interested in ideas and marketing, and he started singing something like, 'Psychedelics hit the spot / Five hundred micrograms, that's a lot,' to the tune of well-known Pepsi 1950s singing commercial. Then he started going, 'Tune in, turn on, and drop out.'"
    He published a pamphlet in 1967 called Start Your Own Religion to encourage just that (see below under "Works").
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    In 1967, Leary engaged in a televised debate with Jerry Lettvin of MIT.
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  • 1966
    Age 45
    During late 1966 and early 1967, Leary toured college campuses presenting a multimedia performance entitled "The Death of the Mind", attempting an artistic replication of the LSD experience.
    More Details Hide Details He said that the League for Spiritual Discovery was limited to 360 members and was already at its membership limit, but he encouraged others to form their own psychedelic religions.
    In 1966, Folkways Records recorded Leary reading from his book The Psychedelic Experience, and released the album The Psychedelic Experience: Readings from the Book "The Psychedelic Experience.
    More Details Hide Details A Manual Based on the Tibetan ".
    On September 19, 1966, Leary founded the League for Spiritual Discovery, a religion declaring LSD as its holy sacrament, in part as an unsuccessful attempt to maintain legal status for the use of LSD and other psychedelics for the religion's adherents, based on a "freedom of religion" argument. (The Brotherhood of Eternal Love subsequently considered Leary their spiritual leader, but The Brotherhood did not develop out of International Federation for Internal Freedom.)
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    Leary's testimony proved ineffective; on October 6, 1966, just months after the subcommittee hearings, LSD was banned in California, and by October 1968 LSD was banned in all states as a result of the passage of the Staggers-Dodd Bill.
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    In September 1966, Leary gave an interview to Playboy magazine that became famous.
    More Details Hide Details In the interview, Leary claimed, among other things, that LSD could be used to cure homosexuality, telling a story about a lesbian who, according to him, became heterosexual after using the drug. He later changed this view to a more liberal stance suggesting that homosexuality was not an illness in need of a cure. By 1966, recreational drug use, particularly of so-called psychedelic drugs, among America's youth had reached such proportions that serious concerns about the nature of these drugs and the impact their use was having on American culture were expressed in the national press and halls of government. In response to these concerns, Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut convened Senate subcommittee hearings in order to try to better understand the drug-use phenomenon, eventually with the intention of "stamping out" such usage through the criminalizing of these drugs. Leary was one of several expert witnesses called to testify at these hearings. In his testimony, Leary asserted that "the challenge of the psychedelic chemicals is not just how to control them, but how to use them." He implored the subcommittee not to criminalize psychedelic drug use, which he felt would only serve to exponentially increase its usage among America's youth while removing the safeguards that controlled "set and setting" provided. When subcommittee member Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts asked Leary if LSD usage was "extremely dangerous," Leary replied, "Sir, the motor car is dangerous if used improperly Human stupidity and ignorance is the only danger human beings face in this world."
    Repeated FBI raids ended the Millbrook era. Leary told author and Prankster Paul Krassner regarding a 1966 raid by Liddy, "He was a government agent entering our bedroom at midnight.
    More Details Hide Details We had every right to shoot him. But I've never owned a weapon in my life. I have never had and never will have a gun around."
  • 1964
    Age 43
    In 1964, Leary coauthored a book with Alpert and Ralph Metzner called The Psychedelic Experience based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
    More Details Hide Details In it, they wrote: A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of spacetime dimensions, and of the ego or identity. Such experiences of enlarged consciousness can occur in a variety of ways: sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, religious or aesthetic ecstasies, or spontaneously. Most recently they have become available to anyone through the ingestion of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, etc. Of course, the drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.
  • 1963
    Age 42
    Leary's activities interested siblings Peggy, Billy, and Tommy Hitchcock, heirs to the Mellon fortune, who helped Leary and his associates acquire a rambling mansion in 1963 on an estate in Millbrook (near Poughkeepsie, the site of Vassar College), where they continued their experiments.
    More Details Hide Details Leary later wrote: We saw ourselves as anthropologists from the 21st century inhabiting a time module set somewhere in the dark ages of the 1960s. On this space colony we were attempting to create a new paganism and a new dedication to life as art. The Millbrook estate was later described by Luc Sante of The New York Times as: the headquarters of Leary and gang for the better part of five years, a period filled with endless parties, epiphanies and breakdowns, emotional dramas of all sizes, and numerous raids and arrests, many of them on flimsy charges concocted by the local assistant district attorney, G. Gordon Liddy. Others contest this characterization of the Millbrook estate. For instance, in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe portrays Leary as interested only in research and not in using psychedelics merely for recreational purposes. According to "The Crypt Trip" chapter of Wolfe's book, Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters visited the residence, and received a frosty reception. Leary himself had flu on their arrival and wasn't able to play host. He later met Ken Kesey and Ken Babbs quietly in his room and promised to remain allies in the years ahead.
    On May 6, 1963, the Harvard Corporation voted, because Timothy F. Leary, lecturer on clinical psychology, has failed to keep his classroom appointments and has absented himself from Cambridge without permission, to relieve him from further teaching duty and to terminate his salary as of April 30, 1963.
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    According to Andrew Weil, Leary was fired for not giving his required lectures, while Alpert was fired for allegedly giving psilocybin to an undergraduate in an off-campus apartment. This version is supported by the words of Harvard University president Nathan Marsh Pusey, who released the following statement on May 27, 1963:
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  • 1962
    Age 41
    Leary and Alpert founded the International Federation for Internal Freedom in 1962 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    More Details Hide Details This was run by Lisa Bieberman (now known as Licia Kuenning), a friend of Leary. The Harvard Crimson described her as a 'disciple'. Their research attracted so much public attention that many who wanted to participate in the experiments had to be turned away due to the high demand. To satisfy the curiosity of those who were turned away, a black market for psychedelics sprang up near the Harvard campus.
  • 1960
    Age 39
    Leary returned from Mexico to Harvard in 1960, and he and his associates (notably Richard Alpert, later known as Ram Dass) began a research program known as the Harvard Psilocybin Project.
    More Details Hide Details The goal was to analyze the effects of psilocybin on human subjects (first prisoners, and later Andover Newton Theological Seminary students) from a synthesized version of the drug (which was legal at the time), one of two active compounds found in a wide variety of hallucinogenic mushrooms, including Psilocybe mexicana. The compound in question was produced by a process developed by Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, who was famous for synthesizing LSD. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg heard about the Harvard research project and asked to join the experiments. Leary was inspired by Ginsberg's enthusiasm, and the two shared an optimism in the benefit of psychedelic substances to help people "turn on" (i.e., discover a higher level of consciousness). Together they began a campaign of introducing intellectuals and artists to psychedelics. Leary argued that psychedelic substances—in proper doses, in a stable setting, and under the guidance of psychologists—could alter behavior in beneficial ways not easily attainable through regular therapy. His research focused on treating alcoholism and reforming criminals. Many of his research subjects told of profound mystical and spiritual experiences which they said permanently and positively altered their lives.
    In August 1960, Leary traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico with Russo and consumed psilocybin mushrooms for the first time, an experience that drastically altered the course of his life.
    More Details Hide Details In 1965, Leary commented that he had "learned more about... (his) brain and its possibilities... and more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than... in the preceding 15 years of studying and doing research in psychology."
  • 1959
    Age 38
    He was overcome by indigence during an unproductive stay in Florence, and returned to academia in late 1959 as a lecturer in clinical psychology at Harvard University at the behest of Frank Barron (a colleague from Berkeley) and David McClelland.
    More Details Hide Details During this period, he resided with his children in nearby Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to his teaching duties, Leary was affiliated with the Harvard Center for Research in Personality under McClelland and oversaw the Harvard Psilocybin Project and concomitant experiments in conjunction with assistant professor Richard Alpert. In 1963, Leary was terminated for failing to give his scheduled class lectures, while he claimed that he had fulfilled his teaching obligations in full. The decision to dismiss him may have been influenced by his role in the popularity of psychedelic substances among Harvard students and faculty members, which were legal at the time. His work in academic psychology expanded on the research of Harry Stack Sullivan and Karen Horney regarding the importance of interpersonal forces in mental health, focusing on how understanding interpersonal processes might facilitate diagnosing disorders and identifying human personality patterns. Leary's dissertation research culminated in the development of the complex and respected interpersonal circumplex model, published in The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, demonstrating how psychologists could methodically use Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) scores to predict respondents' interpersonal response characteristics, or ways that they might respond to various interpersonal situations. Additionally, Laura Mansnerus has cited Leary's research as an important harbinger of transactional analysis, directly prefiguring the popular work of Eric Berne.
  • 1958
    Age 37
    Following the termination of his commodious National Institute of Mental Health research grant (precipitated by his absence from a meeting with a NIMH investigator), Leary and his children relocated to Europe in 1958, where he attempted to write his next book on psychology while subsisting on small grants and insurance policies.
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  • 1957
    Age 36
    In 1957, Leary's The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality was published and was hailed as the 'most important book on psychotherapy of the year' by the Annual Review of Psychology.
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  • 1955
    Age 34
    Despite his nascent professional success, his marriage was strained by multiple infidelities and mutual alcohol abuse. Marianne eventually committed suicide in 1955, leaving him to raise their son and daughter alone.
    More Details Hide Details He described himself during this period as "an anonymous institutional employee who drove to work each morning in a long line of commuter cars and drove home each night and drank martinis... like several million middle-class, liberal, intellectual robots."
  • 1954
    Age 33
    From 1954 or 1955 to 1958, Leary was director of psychiatric research at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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  • 1952
    Age 31
    In 1952, the Leary family spent a year in Spain, subsisting on a research grant.
    More Details Hide Details According to Berkeley colleague Marv Freedman, "Something had been stirred in him in terms of breaking out of being another cog in society "
  • 1951
    Age 30
    He was also an early influence on Transactional Analysis. His concept of the four Life Scripts, dating back to 1951, became an influence on TA by the late 1960s, popularised by Thomas Harris in his book, I'm OK, You're OK.
    More Details Hide Details The same concept was later used by Iain Spence in The Sekhmet Hypothesis, in which the Life Scripts were corresponded to the atavistic qualities of various youth trends. Many consider Leary one of the most prominent figures during the counterculture of the 1960s, and since those times has remained influential on pop culture, literature, television, film and, especially, music. Leary coined the influential term Reality Tunnel, by which he means a kind of representative realism. The theory states that, with a subconscious set of mental filters formed from their beliefs and experiences, every individual interprets the same world differently, hence "Truth is in the eye of the beholder". His ideas influenced the work of his friend Robert Anton Wilson. This influence went both ways, and Leary admittedly took just as much from Wilson. Wilson's book Prometheus Rising was an in-depth, highly detailed and inclusive work documenting Leary's eight-circuit model of consciousness. Although the theory originated in discussions between Leary and a Hindu holy man at Millbrook, Wilson was one of the most ardent proponents of it and introduced the theory to a mainstream audience in 1977's bestselling Cosmic Trigger. In 1989, they appeared together on stage in a dialog entitled The Inner Frontier hosted the Association for Consciousness Exploration, (the same group that had hosted Leary's first Cleveland appearance in 1979).
  • 1950
    Age 29
    In 1950, Leary received a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.
    More Details Hide Details Like many social scientists of the postwar epoch, Leary was galvanized by the objectivity of modern physics; his doctoral dissertation (The Social Dimensions of Personality: Group Structure and Process) approached group therapy as a "psychlotron" from which behavioral characteristics could be derived and quantified in a manner analogous to the periodic table, presaging his later development of the interpersonal circumplex. The new Ph.D. stayed on in the Bay Area as an assistant clinical professor of medical psychology at the University of California, San Francisco; concurrently, Leary co-founded Kaiser Hospital's psychology department in Oakland, California and maintained a private consultancy.
  • 1947
    Age 26
    In 1947, Marianne gave birth to their first child, Susan.
    More Details Hide Details A son, Jack, was born two years later.
  • 1945
    Age 24
    Following the resolution of the war, Leary decided to pursue an academic career. After retroactive suspension and eventual reinstatement at the University of Alabama, he ultimately completed his degree via correspondence courses and graduated in August 1945.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, he received an M.S. degree in psychology at Washington State University, where he studied under noted educational psychologist Lee Cronbach. His M.S. thesis was a study of the clinical applications of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.
    While stationed in Butler, Leary began to court Marianne Busch; they married in April 1945.
    More Details Hide Details Leary was formally discharged at the rank of sergeant in January 1946, having earned the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
  • 1943
    Age 22
    Leary was drafted into the United States Army and reported for basic training at Fort Eustis in January 1943.
    More Details Hide Details He remained in the non-commissioned track while enrolled in the psychology subsection of the Army Specialized Training Program, including three months of study at Georgetown University and six months at Ohio State University. With no exigent need for officers at the late juncture in the war, Leary was briefly assigned as a private first class to the Pacific War-bound 2d Combat Cargo Group (which he later characterized as "a suicide command... whose main mission, as far as I could see, was to eliminate the entire civilian branch of American aviation from post-war rivalry") at Syracuse Army Air Base in Mattydale, New York. After a fateful reunion with Ramsdell (who was assigned to Deshon General Hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania as chief psychologist) in Buffalo, New York, he was promptly promoted to corporal and reassigned to his mentor's command as a staff psychometrician. He remained in Deshon's deaf rehabilitation clinic for the remainder of the war.
  • 1941
    Age 20
    To the chagrin of his family, Leary elected to transfer to the University of Alabama in late 1941 because of the institution's expeditious response to his application.
    More Details Hide Details He enrolled in the university's ROTC program, maintained top grades, and began to cultivate academic interests in psychology (under the aegis of the Middlebury and Harvard-educated Donald Ramsdell) and biology, but he was expelled a year later for spending a night in the female dormitory, losing his student deferment in the midst of World War II.
  • 1938
    Age 17
    He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts from September 1938 to June 1940.
    More Details Hide Details Under pressure from his father, he then accepted an appointment as a cadet in the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. In the first months as a "plebe", he was given numerous demerits for rule infractions and then got into serious trouble for failing to report infractions by other cadets when on supervisory duty. He was alleged to have gone on a drinking binge and to have failed to "come clean" about it. He was asked by the Honor Committee to resign for violating the Academy's honor code. He refused and was "silenced"—that is, shunned and ignored by his fellow cadets as a tactic to pressure him to resign. He was acquitted by a court-martial, but the silencing measures continued in full force, as well as the onslaught of demerits for small rule infractions. The treatment continued in his sophomore year, and his mother appealed to a family friend, United States Senator David I. Walsh, head of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, who conducted a personal investigation. Behind the scenes, the Honor Committee revised its position and announced that it would abide by the court-martial verdict. Leary then resigned and was honorably discharged by the Army. Almost 50 years later, he said that it was "the only fair trial I've had in a court of law".
  • 1920
    Born on October 22, 1920.
    More Details Hide Details
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