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Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1,270
Loc: outta here
Radio show about Tim Leary
    #1673952 - 06/30/03 02:35 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

I haven't had a chance to read through all of this yet, just found it on a newsgroup, thought people (especially Learyfan) might like this:


[Wilsoniacs: A transcript of a live hour-long show devoted to Uncle Tim on
listener-supported Pacifica Radio station KPFK in Los Angeles, July 12, 2003.
MB = Michael Benner, the host; DC = Dean Chamberlain, a younger artist-friend
of Leary's; RM = Ralph Metzner, a colleague of Leary's from around 1960 or so;
and MH = Michael Horowitz, Tim's archivist and good friend.]

Michael Benner: Hi hello howdy! Michael Benner on KPFK till midnight tonight.
This is Inner Vision now. And Inner Vision (a program heard Monday through
Thursday from eleven o'clock until twelve midnight) and Thursday nights it's MY
pleasure to host this program, this talk show, which is a show about
consciousness, really. A program about mysticism and metaphysics and, oh I like
to call it a program about identity and motive, a show about who we really are,
what we're really for and why we think and feel and act the way we do. And I
think that's a pretty good way of approaching the subject of consciousness. You
know, many times people will say, "Oh you're on the radio! Oh yea! Where are
you on the radio?" I'll say KPFK. "Oh KPFK...well, what's your program about?"
And I'll say, "It's a show about consciousness." And they say, "What?" Isn't it
odd we got to the year 2003 and nobody can even SPELL the word, let alone
define it.

We're gonna talk about consciousness tonight. We're going talk about a pioneer
in the frontiers of consciousness, a fellow that I had the pleasure of
interviewing...I believe more times than anybody else... except for a friend of
mine who I used to have on my radio programs because he was my friend and a
close personal friend...but next to that guy, I think Timothy Leary was
probably my favorite guest of all. And Timothy of course has passed and we all
miss him a lot, but Timothy, in his work, his large body of work, is the topic
of a...well, an art exhibit really. It's almost like a MUSEUM more than an art
gallery of late... In Venice... And we have some guests in studio and on the
telephone tonight, as we remember Timothy Leary and his contributions to the
frontiers of consciousness.

First of all, I'd like to introduce my guest. It's Dean Chamberlain, right?

DC: Yep.

MB: I missed all my notes; I'm on the air sooner than I thought I was gonna be.
Dean is with us tonight. You were on Jay's program a few weeks ago - or a
couple of months ago now - when your exhibit first happened. And we chatted and
thought about doing this as a follow-up program, since his show was on art and
this program's about consciousness, and the exhibit at Light/Space Gallery is a
little of both, really. So I thought it would be a good idea. How did you come
to decide to do this exhibit around Timothy?

DC: I felt very strong feelings of learning from him over the years. And I felt
that he hasn't passed from being a teacher for me in any way. And I have a
series of artworks that we made together and had been wanting to exhibit them
while he was still here, and didn't have the time. Now we do. So the artworks
became the spine, the backbone for bringing in contributions from many of his
friends - 45 of them and still growing - to make a kind of a "vibrational
field", if you will, to show folks that he was perhaps more evolved than he's
commonly given credit for.

MB: [Laughs] Well, it all depends on who you ask, of course. And Timothy was
always, an "easy target" and I guess remains an easy target in that he's easy
to criticize or to make fun of and he never seemed to mind that, to be a
target. Hold himself up as a lightning rod and say, "Go ahead! Make fun of me!
Criticize! I don't care!", you know.

DC: [Laughs]

MB: He once described himself in an interview I did with him - on the radio -
as a "cheerleader for change." And beside the alliteration and the fact that I
just like the way it feels to say "cheerleader for change" a whole bunch of
times - it just tumbles off the tongue - I always thought that really did
describe Timothy. You know, here he is...not standing on the sidelines, not
that kind of cheerleader, but out in front, going, "Yea! C'mon! Think for
yourself! Question authority!" and of course some of the other phrases we know,
you know, "Turn on, tune in, drop out," which was widely misunderstood at the
time and perhaps even today...

Now, if we were to go into Light/Space Gallery in Venice and see this, what are
we talking about? Are we talking about art that's been inspired by Timothy?
that features Timothy? that's psychedelic in nature? the whole gamut? all of
that and more?

DC: All of that is there.

MB: And some of your work, too, right?

DC: One portrait I made of him and artworks by many of his friends both known
and lesser-known, word contributions by friends of his known and lesser-known,
lots of Tim's quotes that kind of explain the nature of what he actually meant
by "Turn on, tune in, drop out," and other choice quotes that I feel help
to...not settle the score, but mature the idea of who he might have been.

MB: Yes. Who he might have been indeed. After all these years and all this time
and now he's passed and we're still not sure who he might be. We know he's out
there someplace...Timothy of course...There's the Moody Blues song about
Timothy being on the outside looking in and now more than ever, I suppose, on
the outside looking in...I asked him about the song on a couple of occasions.
He was always proud of it. He never objected. He liked that. He thought that
was cool. He thought the Moody Blues were cool. He thought the Smothers
Brothers and John and Yoko...and he knew them all, of course, because of his
celebrity. It's also true, is it not?...maybe you're not the right person to
ask, but we have some people we're going to go to on the phone in a minute that
might also know...Is it not true that some of Timothy's ashes went on the Space
Shuttle and are on some sort of rocket into space?

DC: Yea. Celestis sent up Gene Roddenberry's ashes and Tim's and a few other
folks as well. Lipstick vials full, I'm told. They're still orbiting now,
perhaps for the next ten years or so, and then they'll either burn in the
atmosphere...or go elsewhere.

MB: How well did he know Roddenberry, the creator of Star...I was going to say
Star Wars but Star TREK?

DC: I don't know...I'm sure he had full respect...

MB: I've seen their names listed together. In fact, even tonight, poking around
on the Internet that came up. And it caught me off guard, 'cuz I didn't know
they knew each other. But it appears at least they were familiar with...I think
they admired each other somehow.

DC: I'm sure they did.

MB: Hopefully we will talk tonight - via telephone - to a couple of
friends...associates...colleagues of Timothy Leary.

If you're just joining us this is Inner Vision on KPFK and we're talking to
Dean Chamberlain, who has a gallery in Venice called Light/Space Gallery. And
also on the telephone we're going to introduce in just a minute Michael
Horowitz, who is in many ways Timothy's archivist, and for many years has
dedicated himself to gathering all kinds of information about Timothy. He wrote
a book years ago called _The Annotated Bibliography of Timothy Leary_. We have
Michael on the phone and we're also hoping to get Ralph Metzner a little bit
later in the evening. We're going to be here until midnight tonight. And if we
can figure out the phones we might even take some telephone calls. Not sure.
We've got this whole brand new phone system here, and none of us are really
geeky enough to have any idea how to work it. We need some fourteen year olds
to get in here and push the buttons for us. If you see any on the street, haul
them in here. [Laughs]

What kind of comments are you getting about the...from people coming to see
your show?

DC: Oh! A lot of enthusiasm, actually. From younger folks who didn't really
know too much about him, or had a read some of his books...older folks who feel
the resonance that is still going on between his spirit and his guidance in
their lives. There's been a lot good good good feelings coming from folks
who've come in to see the show.

MB: I'll bet. I'm anxious to see it myself...You know, thinking back over all
the different Timothy Leary stories, I interviewed him when he was ill at his
home - the last time I saw him was a few months before he died - he was
receiving a lot of people at his home in those days. This is a guy who sort of
opened up his house to a lot of people. He was always friendly and amiable that
way...I always admired the way he got along even with people who you would
think would be the _antithesis_ of his kind of thinking. Like Gordon Liddy, for
example, who in a way, you know...I think they were both Irish and they both
went to West Point. He used to say that a lot. And for some reason he _liked_
Gordon Liddy. You know? Even though he despised everything that the guy stood
for. Somehow there was an affinity or a kinship...And umm...what it reminds me
of, frankly, is...a time when I was interviewing him live on the radio,
crosstown, another commercial station that will remain nameless...And I went
off on a rant. I did, Dean. I went off on this rant about some right-wing - I
think this was in the Reagan era, the early eighties - and I started talking
about the right-wing neo-fascist this or that or the other thing, and Timothy
looked at me, and actually at one point he interrupted me and he said, "Whoa!
whoa! whoa!" he said, "Slow down a minute." I was like, "What? What?" Because I
expected that...I was almost showing off, I guess, trying to show him what a
leftie I was, or what a good liberal or progressive I was.

He said, "Whoa! Whoa! Stop! Hold on a minute," he said "We NEED a few of those
paranoid right-wing schizophrenics to keep the gene pool diverse! Somebody's
got to keep their eye out. We just don't want 'em running the show."

And I thought, "Now that's wisdom." That's the kind of wisdom that I think
Timothy represented. He was never polar: all black, all white. He was never
_against_ anybody. He was FOR a lot of things, but he didn't really oppose
anybody. And he saw the beauty in diversity, and the need for - as he said -
the gene pool to be diverse. It's one of my favorite Tim Leary stories, I

What do you know of that tour that he did with Gordon Liddy? They were out on
the road for some time.

DC: They were like opposite sides of the same coin in a funny way. They're so
polar that they were like brothers in spirit.

MB: So in many ways...in some ways opposites, but in some ways, as you say,
opposite ends of the same bar magnet. They both had a healthy disrespect for
the establishment, but for different reasons. I think that might have been part
of it.

Oh good! We have Michael and Ralph together. Now are we gonna be able to
conference these guys? Or you wanna try it? Tell me what I need to do...I don't
even know what buttons to push... Lemme first of all see if I can bring Michael
on...Michael you're on KPFK...can you hear me okay?

Michael Horowitz: Can you hear me?

MB: Yea! There!

MH: Yea! Hello!

MB: Michael I don't know if you heard us, but we have a new studio, new
telephones, and we're still trying to figure out how to make 'em work.

MH: Yea, sounds like it's working okay.

MB: So far so good...Thanks for being with us. I understand that you were
instrumental in helping create this exhibit, and that you're often thought of
as the primary archivist of Timothy's works, for many years now. Is that right?

MH: Yea. Since umm...I met him when he was first in prison in 1970. And he had
all these archives up in the Berkely hills. He needed someone to look after
them. So my partner and I, we were into that sort of thing anyway! So we agreed
to do that. And that set me on a long adventure that lasted a couple of
decades. Part of it taking care of the archives, moving them around, making
sure they were safe. Then losing the archives in a dramatic confrontation with
the FBI at one point. And then regaining them later and doing the bibliography.

MB: Now when you say "archives" what are we talking about beside, oh...I guess
the first thing I would think of what be many manuscripts and ---

MH: Exactly.

MB: -- and documents. But what else constitutes the Timothy Leary archives?

MH: That's what you said: papers of someone who was umm, you know...deeply
involved...with a PhD, read widely, traveled widely, knew everybody, was
involved in all the umm, you know, confrontations of the time, and wrote lots
of letters and received letters from people (of course) in return...His
manuscripts, so many of them were...Tim was always...You referenced his body of
work, and he wrote about thirty books. Hundreds of journal articles and
magazine articles and interviews and other forms of media, too. You know, he
acted in nine movies and videos and so on...

MB: Did he!? Nine movies? Stop right there! You're talking about---

MH: [Laughs] Tim's movie career---

MB: [Laughs] Even if they were bit parts and cameos, what kind of movies...what
movies? Name a few for us.

MH: Boy, that's...[Laughs] Frankly they're mostly forgotten.

MB: Yea, well, but---

MH: He did one with Cheech and Chong called _Nice Dreams_ in which he played a
mad scientist.

MB: Well, that's perfect.

MH: He loved to spoof himself. And umm...Tim was a great satirist. I mean, his
hero - one of his heroes - was Mark Twain. And he loved the political games
that were going on. One of the things I miss most about Tim is reading the
newspaper with him or getting a phone call when he read something in the paper
that day, that he needed to talk about. Tim always had some great insights into
what was really going on...And like you say, he recognized the gene pool that
exists. And the evolutionary leaps that some people take, and some people take
_backward_? But he recognized, and he kind of laughed, in a way, at things that
were happening, and always threw some new light on things. Just his way of
looking at things was - as you say - very diverse. And very wide and expansive.

MB: Another Timothy Leary yarn from my experience with him: I asked Timothy
once on the radio, live, in a situation very much like this, "Are you a
positive thinker?" And he looked at me like I was from Mars. And he said, "Well
of course! What CHOICE do I have?"

MH: [Laughs] He always saw the best in things. Even like...you know, dark
political stuff that was going on. And of course he was quite a victim of
that...those forces. For many years. But he came out. And it made him stronger.
And he never lost his wit and his sense of satire. He always figured you could
learn...you had to, like, understand, you know, the realities that were in
front of you. So that you could, you know, you weren't controlled BY them. But
that you could control them and design them for the greater good.

MB: I want to talk more about your reference to the run-in with the FBI and
their attempt to get those archives from you, and the story that just doesn't
seem to die about Timothy being an FBI informant...which has a...certainly a
GRAIN of truth to it but is taken out of context too often. And his
relationship with the CIA, and the escape from prison, but I'd like to go all
the way back here to Harvard and bring Ralph in, so...you'll stay with us,
won't you?

MH: Absolutely.

MB: All right. And if it works...if this phone thing works, we'll all be one
big happy family on the telephone. Let's see if Ralph Metzner is with us. Hello

Ralph Metzner: Yes, I can hear you. I've been listening in.

MB: Good. Very well. And Michael, you're still here?...Did we lose Michael? We
may have, but we'll get him back.

Well Ralph, thank you very much and welcome to Inner Vision on KPFK. I
appreciate you being here.

RM: Glad to be here.

MB: I'm sorry that I haven't had a chance to meet you in the flesh. I hope to
have you on the radio program in studio one day when you're in Los Angeles.

RM: All right. That would be great.

MB: Now, you go back to the Harvard days with Timothy and Richard Alpert and
this whole amazing---

RM: I was his graduate student research assistant.

MB: Yea. Talk about the story. For those who --

RM: I have a story of him and Gordon Liddy that you'd like.

MB: Oh, start with that then.

RM: Umm...which was really at a period when I had very little contact with him,
but I heard this one story. You know, Liddy used to tell about his life and
boast about how he made himself overcome his sqeamishness by eating a rat when
he was a teenager--

MB: Right.

RM: --You know, toughen himself up. So then, Tim finally hit on this
thing...and Tim kept saying, "You know, Gordon, if you're going to understand
what this drug thing is about you've got to try pot at least." So then he
finally said, "Okay Gordon. I'll make a deal with you. If you'll smoke a joint
I will eat a rat."


RM: But Gordon was too chicken, you know, to take him up on it.

MB: So Timothy probably would've had a rat burger, but --

RM: Yea!

MB: There was no way Gordon was --

RM: Tim might have done it!..I mean it was just... that kind of zany...
ingenuity...and just the ability to...More than anyone I ever met he had the
amazing ability to take a fun and funny and positive...he was like committed to
that, you know, try to see the humor in everything. Even the most horrible
circumstances. But an amazing gift. I mean, he smiled...I don't remember who it
was, maybe Michael knows. Somebody asked him how he felt when he was ushered
into Folsom, you know, the Hole of the hole, the worst prison system in the
country, and the worst part of it, after being caught and then being escaped -
because the Feds don't like it if you escape from their prisons, you know they
get really pissed! [Laughs] -

MB: Yea, right.

RM: -- So they brought him into the hallway, you know, and it was like your
worst nightmare, your worst paranoid hallucinations made reality. And a friend
asked him, you know, "What do you do?" and he said, "I laughed."

You know, what else can you do?

MB: Yea, well...Ya know, I find all of you to be quite courageous people. If I
go back to the 1960s - when I was in college - and I don't think
people...unless they were around in those days or have read books like _Acid
Dreams_...are aware of the fact that the LSD on campuses in those days was CIA
acid. They made a mistake and ordered way too much! Do you remember the story
or is that a true tale about --

RM: I don't know. We never were very successful at obtaining quantities of LSD
you know. [Laughs] Our project wrote a check for ten thousand dollars to Sandoz
while we were still at Harvard, to order a million doses.

MB: Well I had read some--

RM: Sandoz, by that time, checked with Harvard to make sure it was fine.
[Laughs] Harvard was not at all in agreement with that idea. Plus the check
bounced anyway! [Laughs]

MB: Oh my.

RM: So we never got it.

MB: Oh that's unfortunate --

RM: So were trying to work with morning glory seeds and kinds of poor

MB: Well the story I remember reading was that, whoever was doing the mind
control experiments at the CIA - the MK-ULTRA and all of that? They just
presumed the dose was in MILLIGRAMS. They didn't understand it was really


MB: -- And they ordered a thousand times too much, so they ended up giving it
away to college professors and --

RM: Oh really?

MB: --And the military researchers.

RM: [Laughs] I think that's a wonderful urban legend--

MB: It may not be true, huh?

RM:--I doubt very much that that's true. I certainly never saw any of it. I
just remember us being really hard-up.

MB: Well not what about this--

RM: It wasn't much later until, you know, we in various ways moved to the west
coast where there were people like Owsley and you know, others who were
producing LSD.

MB: Right.

RM: And Nicky...

DC: Sand.

RM: Scully. Nicky Scully...Not Scully...I forget what his name was.

MB: Was it Sand?

RM: Tim Scully...and Nick Sand.

MB: Right...Well what about the stories of you guys taking liquid LSD by the
quart container and just guzzling it?

RM: [Laughs] Yea, I don't know how those stories arise.

MB: Really.

RM: There was a period at Millbrook where there were some subgroups... I don't
know, I wasn't one of them, and Tim never really was either, but Alpert may
have been involved with a group of people who, for a while they were sort of
taking LSD out of a mayonnaise jar, like in sort of a paste, they had a kind of
a paste. And they did this experiment where they wanted to see if they could
just stay high by taking it every day, or three times a day, or whatever.

MB: I think that's--

RM: Of course that's a waste because you build up tolerance so fast you have to
keep taking more and more and more.

MB: Ahh...I never heard that. Tolerance? Really?

RM: Plus, you know, what's the point? I mean, the point is not to stay at that
level. The point is to be able to FUNCTION at a higher level of consciousness!
[Laughs] So you have to come back down from the kind of more unitive state and
engage in the world. In whatever way.

MB: Indeed. Like any good mystical contemplation there's a point where you open
your eyes, move out in the world and put into effect - ideally - what you've

RM: Exactly. You go back to chopping wood and--

MB: And carrying water, yea.

RM: Of course Tim was sort of ambiguous about that idea, because he was saying
that once you get the realization you should just "drop out", meaning drop out
of the system that keeps you trapped in your mind. He didn't necessarily mean
"quit your job" [Laughs] Although I guess it sounded like that! [Laughs] Or
drop out of school. You know, he meant more like "mentally detach" from the
political game. But, you know, he LIKED the ambiguity of it, too. And he liked
to be provocative.

I remember at one point I suggested to him, "Shouldn't we add a fourth thing,
like 'Turn on, tune in, drop out... and come back?'" And he looked at me like I
was deranged! [Laughs] He said, "Well, that's YOUR thing!"

MB & RM: [Laughter]

RM: "That's not MY thing!" [Laughs]

MB: He had no desire to come back.

RM: Right, right.

MB: I want to make sure that Michael's back.

MH: Do you hear me?

MB: Yea.

MH: Yea, I like that. I think everybody should add another two words to "Turn
on, tune in, and drop out." You know, that was--

RM: Michael's voice is very faint now. I can barely make it out.

MH: [Laughs] Ralph's is pretty good...But I think everybody should think about
that one, you know...Tim would love that. He always thought that, you know,
literature should be improved.

RM: Right.

MB: For those who may be just joining us you're listening to KPFK in Los
Angeles. This is Inner Vision 'till midnight tonight. My name's Michael Benner.
With me I have Dean Chamberlain in studio and on the telephone Michael Horowitz
and Ralph Metzner. We're talking about Timothy Leary and an exhibit that's
running at the Light/Space Gallery in Venice, California. And we'll have more
details on that and get you more information on how you can visit this exhibit,
which, again, is part art show, part museum...archives. Because this is a
program about consciousness and we're talking about the psychedelic frontiers
of consciousness tonight and Timothy's contribution...Ralph, if you don't mind
I'd like to again go back to the Harvard days, to Millbrook, to the Merry
Pranksters...I think in those days there must have been, from what I've read
certainly, I wasn't there, and followed a few years later as a college student,
but...a HOPE that, if acid wasn't...if LSD and psychedelics was not the MEANS
by which to create a whole cultural revolution, that it could be the opening
VOLLEY, so to speak, or the CUTTING EDGE of a cultural revolution. Do you think
in fact it was?

RM: Well, that's right. But it wasn't planned, you see. We had no idea, nobody
had any idea it was going to turn out that way. It was like you find yourself
riding a wave and the wave keeps getting bigger and bigger. So more and more
people joined this movement. Which it was. It was like a movement, a
sociocultural movement that went through the whole culture in an explosive way.
And it would be just awesome because music and everything else was a part of
that. I often say you have all these...you know just like when an individual
takes a psychedelic, like an LSD, it's like a life-changing experience, you
know, your whole worldview, your whole attitude toward life kind of can change.

And then the culture went through a similar kind of thing. Because, when you
look at it, then, there was, for example, the modern environmental movement
started around the same time. Rachel Carson wrote _The Silent Spring_ in 1962.
I'm not saying Rachel Carson took LSD. But what she did was trigger an expanded
consciousness. An expanded perspective. You expand your consciousness and then
you look around and you say, "Well wait a minute! I don't want to be fouling
the water and the air." You know, we want to eat nutritious organic food and
stuff like that. And you had the hippies....went back to the land.

And you had Vietnam War and the anti-war movement and civil rights movement.
The same idea: people looking at television images of white race confrontations
in the South and then saying, "What? Now wait...this is not what we want to be
doing!" you know? And the same with the women's movement. They talked about
consciousness RAISING. The women got together and talked about what it's like
to be a woman, apart from being somebody's wife or daughter or mother. And that
was revolutionary. And we talked about these consciousness-expanding
experiments...So in all these areas: in sexuality, in culture, in arts, in
music and visual arts...all these movements. There was that similar expansion
of consciousness going beyond...the sort of conventionally accepted points of

By the way: In terms of slogans? You know, there's another slogan of Tim's that
I like actually better than the "Turn on" one. Which he used a lot in the
Harvard days and them afterwards, too. And that was, "You have to go out of
your mind to come to the senses."

MB: Ohhhh...

RM: You have to go out of your mind to come to your senses. Meaning...which is
a psychedelic experience! You know, you go out of your conventional mind, your
conventional mental thinking. Your conditioned mental thinking patterns, and go
back to actually perceiving what is actually happening, with expanded

MB: Well it begs the question of WHICH senses, because it seems clear,
especially at this point in time, having learned what we've learned from
psychedelic experimentation and mysticism in general...that beyond the
_physical_ senses, beyond physical sensation, there are INNER senses---

RM: Right. Exactly. That's part of the meaning "becoming aware." Or I would put
it slightly differently, but it's the same idea: That the senses that we have
can be oriented inwardly or outwardly. So, you know, through the eyes, and
touch, and sense, and hearing...People call that "clairvoyance", for example,
or "clairaudience", meaning clear seeing, clear hearing--

MB: Right. A quality of LUCIDITY--

RM: Yes. That sees MORE. It's not illusory. It's not a hallucination, where you
see something in a distorted way, because...you see the chair, but you see all
kinds of things about the chair that you didn't see before. Like its history
and how it was made and associations about significance of "chair" and
chairmanship, and you know, all these kinds of mythical and symbolic clouds of

MH (Talks but RM obviously can't hear him): Aldous Huxley talked about the
"reducing valve."

RM:--There's a term that we didn't use but I've recently...kind of...come to
like that describes it. It's called "apperception." It's like perception with
an _understanding_ of the context and the comprehension of what it is that
you're perceiving.

MB: Michael, you were...you did the same thing I did, I think, when Ralph was
talking about "chair" you tripped onto Huxley's _Doors of Perception_.

MH: Ah yes. Yes I did.

MB: Do you want to talk about that?

MH: Yea. That book had a tremendous influence on Tim and Ralph and Richard
Alpert...They invited Huxley, who was a guest at MIT. That was in 1960, I
guess. And Huxley was giving a lecture there and they invited him over to take
part in their psilocybin project. And he was most happy to do that. I mean,
they had read _Doors of Perception_. That's really the book that started the
psychedelic age. I mean, the book that kind of, you know, made it _known_ to at
least a small group of intellectuals...And of course Huxley was a celebrity

MB: Indeed.

MH: They were most happy to have him in this program. And he umm...I think a
lot of the ideas in _Doors of Perception_ were validated by the research of the
Harvard group...So there's one...Alan Watts was another. Allen Ginsberg
and...the Beats were very interested in these mind-changing substances. These
things repeat themselves throughout history. You know, during the Romantic
movement, you know...nitrous oxide - or laughing gas - was a drug that
attracted a lot of people. Coleridge and De Quincey, and so on...And there was
the Hashish Club and so on, but the Harvard group...They were really
scientists. They were social scientists and they devised some incredible
experiments. Really groundbreaking stuff. Astonishing. And yet they were, you
know, kind of..._forced out_ of academia. Which Tim was fine with. He realized
he'd sort of outgrown it.

MB: Huxley's book _Doors of Perception_ was a very profound book for me...the
way he describes - again - the chair, will live with me forever. But even
though I was interested in such things, and a child of the 60s, an experimenter
and a journalist, it was many years later that I found out that Huxley
was...really quite the _mystic_, having written a wonderful book called _The
Perennial Philosophy_. And so, Huxley was really knitting together age-old
mysticism with this brand new explosion of consciouness via the psychedelic

MH: LSD was like instant mysticism for the masses.

MB: [Laughs] There you go!

MH: Allen Ginsberg said it was like God in a pill. And a lot of, you know,
people objected to the idea...[Laughs]...like most of _the world_, but you
know, that's technology! And just as...I was just thinking what Tim did add:
Buddha...And this evolutionary leap which took place continued and really
manifested in the 90s with the rave generation and the personal computer. And
this suppression that's come down! The Anti-Rave Act was recently passed. This
is like burning rock and roll records in the 50s and just like suppressing the
youth movement in the late 60s and early 70s...

Tim saw, was aware, of a lot of what was going on in the 90s. And he used the
term "cybernaut" or "cyberpunk" to describe this new breed of individual. He
always looked to the young people for the...energy. But you know, not
everybody. And he was actually quite cautious about young people turning on.
But he saw that the computer was the LSD of the 90s. And rave music was the
acid rock of the 90s. And then, just like back in the 60s the government has
stepped in to...you know...anti-hedonic and anti-arts and personal liberties
and so on. Tim was, in a way, an early victim of that kind of thing. But he was
an UNUSUAL one. I mean [Laughs] he was a Harvard professor! And a towering
intellectual figure...

MB: Ralph let me --

RM: Michael I wonder if there's a way that your engineer can...I can _barely_
make out Michael Horowitz's voice...umm...and I can hear yours fine, but
Michael Horowitz's is very very very faint.

MH: I can hear Ralph.

MB: Okay, we'll see what we can do...Ralph, let me ask you about...You teach
still, I believe, at the Center For Integral Studies in the Bay Area.

RM: Right.

MB: You must see that interface between what psychedelia, what the psychedelics
did, and the impact on our current area and the way that interfaces with
mysticism from time out of mind. Do you have a comment about that?

RM: Well, yes. What people discover, who go into it with an open mind is to
realize that this is an historical tradition, you know, usually connected with
shamanism. Shamanism is a tradition of going into altered states of
consciousness, or what they call "journeys", for the purposes of healing and
obtaining knowledge. And drugs - psychoactive drugs - is one of the two main
technologies...PLANTS, really...I shouldn't say...plants and mushrooms are one
of the two main technologies for doing that kind of shamanic journey work. The
other being rhythmic drumming. And the psychoactive plants being more
widespread in the tropics of South America and Africa and Asia, and the
drumming more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, Asia, Europe and North
America...But the idea being the same: that these are used for healing and
spiritual divination, meaning for seeing the future and seeing probabilities,
and obtaining guidance from the spirit world. And in these cultures everything
is seen as animated by spirits so the plants...it's not really the _plant_ as a
biological substance so much that's teaching you; it's the _spirit_ of the

So when people take ayahuasca or, you know, like that in the shamanic culture,
or mushrooms, they _call_ the spirits through their songs. And then the spirits
are the ones that they'd acquired a relationship with. And there are spirits of
plants, of animals, spirits of rivers and mountains...spirits of place...and
spirits of deceased ancestors, probably the most important spirits that anyone
have. Guides...that's not ancestor _worship_. It's recognizing that the
ancestors are in the spirit world and you can communicate with them.

MB: There's a Chinese tradition of ancestor worship even.

RM: Well, yea. You revere the ancestors. They're like your grandparents! You
know, you revere them, and you go to them for counsel and advice. And
especially if they're in the spirit world [Laughs], because they know even more
in the spirit world than they did when they were, you know, still alive.

MB: I remember Terence McKenna talking on this station not so long ago - he too
has passed now, unfortunately, but --

RM: Who?

MB: Terence McKenna.

RM: Yes, yes.

MB: --Talking about the way - in Central and South America - the medicinal
applications of plants were discovered by the shaman taking something like
ayahuasca and ASKING the plant! A plant! [Laughs] What are you good for? How
can you help me? And the plant of course answers.

RM: Right. Or plants like ayahuasca would function like a gatekeeper to other
medicines, you know. The guy...there was an autobiography written by this one
guy who was abducted by tribal indians and he gave them ayahuasca and then he
introduced - in the ayahuasca scene - he would introduce him to the flora and
fauna of the rainforest in the visionary state. And then he would take them out
and say there's that tree and there's this tree, and like that...So, talk about
developing ecological consciousness, that's living it and passing it on as a
direct experience. And I think that's why people are attracted to that way of
_being_, because they feel disconnected from the natural world and the want to
re-feel that connection. It's the same reason why people are drawn to organic
foods and natural herbal medicines rather than high-tech interventions.

MB: Exactly. And we were talking about "Drop Out" before and the real meaning
of "Drop Out" and today the phrase is "voluntary simplicity."

RM: Yes! Exactly!

MB: But it's the same thing. People are finding...looking for a BALANCE. yea,
let's get the high-tech and the low-tech and...in Jerry Brown's day we used to
call it "appropriate tech."

RM: Right. Exactly. Appropriate tech...Drop out of the rat race!

MB: Exactly!

RM: Don't drop out of the human race. On the contrary. But who wants to be rats
in the fast lane?

MB: Now we're back to Gordon Liddy's rats. Michael you tried to jump in there a
second ago. Go ahead.

MH: Well yea I had a few thoughts. I was thinking about...getting back to Tim
the cheerleader.

MB: Yea.

MH: Tim liked...One of Tim's phrases for himself, and the title of one of his
books was called...well he considered himself a "hope fiend." And he always put
the positive spin on stuff. I mean, Ralph referred to how he managed to survive
in prison for four and a half years actually, and some years in exile. And he
always figured this was a test or challenge and he could...this was _supposed_
to happen to him and what could he get from it? And he saw himself, you know,
that it was a game. Almost like a SPORT. Life was "The Game of Life." And for
that reason he came out stronger and he continued to evolve. We've been talking
about Tim in the 60s and 70s and 90s, but like, if Tim were around now...Tim is
like the ancestor that Ralph was just referring to, the spirit ancestor--

RM: Absolutely. Right.

MH: --of OURS now. And I try to channel him sometimes! To try to imagine what
he would make of things. But he has left behind a tremendous body of work and
books and a digital body of work - leary.com - and he's like one of those
people who, as time goes on he'll be more and more recognized and his ideas
will have more and more...[Laughs] They won't be laughed at like they used to

RM: Yea, you know it's interesting. I can't think of any other public figure -
or even in history...maybe there are some - where there's this ENORMOUS
discrepancy-between the people who _knew_ him--

MH: Good point.

RM:--let's say a million people or something, who knew him directly and who
like, you know, let's say - close to - REVERE him, or at least admire him and
LOVE him for the kind of human being he was, and got inspired by him, and the
vast majority of the population who only have heard of him secondhand through
the media or whatever...They think he's a criminal and a lunatic!

MB: Yea.

RM: Who gave students drugs and they threw him in jail because of that, and you
know, this kind of zany, crazy, completely absurd picture that has--

MH: But Tim said he wasn't surprised--

RM:--no relation to reality--

MH:--that that happened. You know, he was like--

RM:--Yea, how is that even possible? I mean it's very strange!

MB: Also, the fact that, at this late date, we're still talking about marijuana
as a narcotic?


And grouping "drugs"...If they're not medicines...You know, heroin, LSD, what
difference does it make, right? And it's ridiculous!

MH: Tim would say it's the last struggle of a dying evolutionary breed.

RM: Marijuana has that same dualistic thing, you know. For people who use it
it's life-saving medicine!

MB: Right.

RM: And for other people it's like a political football that they kick around
and don't have a clue as to what to do with it, except they don't like it!

MB: And the potential, again, of a psychoactive drug - whatever it happens to
be: LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin - these organic, naturally occurring
compounds to just BLOW OPEN the filters of the brain and allow us to have
instant mystical experiences...to compare that to a DOWNER or to
methamphetamine or something is just...

RM: Right...or alcohol or any of those things--

MB: Yea! It's just absurd!

RM: Yea, we must be doing something right as a culture that we have them at
all, I figure. A psychic that we know we once asked about the history of these
things in civilization and she said, "Well, you know, as long as people use
them in a respectful way they've always been our allies. But when people misuse
them or treat them disrespectfully they kind of disappear." Meaning the
knowledge of them was lost. And that was the case with mushrooms, you see. The
knowledge of the mushrooms of ancient Mexico, which was the central sacrament
in their culture, went completely underground to the point where science
thought oh, it never existed, or they thought it was just uhh...[Laughs] you
know, MADE UP! Until Wasson rediscovered it and found a living practitioner of
the ancient shamanic tradition that's still alive after 500 years of
colonialism, and published it in Life magazine. And lo and behold they
came...And now there's _so many_ drugs being rediscovered all the time...and
plants! New plants...People have found species of acacia in Australia that are
rich in tryptamines and Australian hippies are learning how to trip out on
these natural plant substances that have never been - as far as we know - been
used in shamanic traditions. But are there! So it's like nature is reaching out
to us, too.

MB: Toad-licking even. [Laughs]

RM:[Laughs] Yea, toad-licking as well. Which is actually a misconception. You
don't lick the toad. You squeeze the--

MB: Gland

RM: --juice out of the gland and smoke it.

MB: On the forehead, right?

RM: No, you smoke it...Oh! The gland yea. The parotid gland there, kind of in
the crook of the arm, of the shoulder...in the armpit, basically.

MB: Hey Dean, do you want to--

RM: Or the neck.

MB: Oh I see.

MH: Hey Michael this is the first show where toad licking is being discussed.

MB: The first one this week. [Laughs]

MH: I hope the FCC...[Laughs]

RM: I don't think you'd get anything from just licking the toad.

MB: Okay, well...

RM: You'd have to volutize the exudate.

MB: I see. Dean's in studio here with us. You wanted to jump in on this?

DC: One of Tim's quotes in relationship to the ingestion of substances was,
"The more conscious and intelligent you become the more conscious and
intelligent you WANT to become."

RM: Exactly. You use discretion and selectivity in selecting exactly the right
nutrients for your body and your brain and your nervous system that will get
you where you want to be. And I think it's important...I like to make the
distinction between substances that will help you _function_ and those those
that are _experiential_ and produce an experience. And we know that, for
example, you compare tobacco and alcohol. Well, people function with tobacco.
You know, it gives them - the people who use it - it gives them a feeling of
uplift and functioning is not impaired. But alcohol, we all recognize, you
don't function on alcohol...in fact it's a legal...and we rightly...everybody
AGREES with that! That's not a problem for our culture to identify. You can't
drink and drive and you don't sell to minors, and all that. So people...I don't
think people need to be AFRAID of something that's an unusual experience. We
already HAVE those! Except the one we have makes you _stupid_, you know, and
contracts your awareness. It's a downer.

MB: Yea. And those of course are the ones that are legal, the ones that make
you dull and dumb and--

RM: Yea! Exactly! We ended up with the worst psychoactive we could've picked!

MB: Of course.

RM: [Laughs] You know, out of all the possibilities, we ended up...It didn't
used to be that way, according to the historians.

MB: Let me ask you about...Again, going back to the early days, Ralph. Timothy
came up with this "dose" "set", and "setting" idea. Dose speaks for itself.
Set: who you're with. And setting.

RM: Well "set" is more like your expectation, your inner attitude, and
personality and motivation. And your intention.

MB: Ahh!

RM: Primarily your intention. Setting includes the physical and the social
environment, who gives it and you know, that kind of thing.

MB: You answered my...because my question was going to be, "Where does
_intention_ fit in to that?"

RM: Yea, intention is _set_, basically. That's what it is.

MB: I see.

RM: When I teach a course at the Institute on altered states of consciousness I
use that model for _all kinds_ of altered states, whether it's dreaming or
hypnosis or shamanic drumming or whatever it is...Where there are these
different CATALYSTS, like the drug is a catalyst, or the hypnotic induction is
a catalyst, or fasting alone in the wilderness is a catalyst for an altered
state. And the set and the setting are always the relevant variables that you
want to look at. In a way, it's kind of common sense. You know, it's like the
inner and the outer: what else is there? [Laughs]

Like right now, our set and setting is influencing our experience, right? We
have a certain intention and set to come together and talk and have a dialogue
and we have a context of the phone, and all that. So, umm...and RITUAL, you
see, is only the conscious intentional purposeful _arranging_ of set and
setting - particularly setting - for the purposes for which you want it. So if
you're doing a healing session, you have doctors or a healing situation, with a
therapist or whatever it may be. If your intention or your set is creativity,
then you arrange the setting appropriately. Or in that study that Michael was
talking about, the Good Friday study, which was designed to test the
set-setting hypothesis by taking people who had a religious set - seminary
students - and in a religious setting (during a service), and gave them double
blind placebo-controlled study of psilocybin, or a placebo, and found that, lo
and behold they all had religious experiences.

MB: Yea. There was also the Prison Project, where Timothy was hoping to
rehabilitate selfish or self-centered or cruel people.

MH: Look at the prison problem we have today.

RM: Yea, well, that's how I got involved with it. Because I volunteered to work
on that, and I did work on that. Tim said, "Let's see if we can turn the
prisoners into Buddhas."

MB: [Laughs] Exactly!

RM: Which was a little bit overly optimistic, I think. Because once you get
into it you realize there's a lot more to changing people's behavior than just
just giving them a few positive experiences. However positive that may be!
[Laughs] Not that anybody complained.

MB: I had a similar experience on a smaller scale. A number of us in the human
potential movement in the mid-seventies worked with parolees here in LA
thinking we were going to teach them to meditate and overnight they'd be
reformed. And of course they were working a con on us the whole time! Like,
"We're gonna take these hippies for a RIDE, man!"

RM: [Laughs] Right, right.

MB: But since we just have limited time, and for those are just joining us we
have on the telephone Michael Horowitz and Ralph Metzner. We have in studio
Dean Chamberlain. And Dean and his wife Stacy are hosting an _exhibit_ about
Timothy Leary, and the explosion of interest and research in the frontiers of
consciousness that came about in the 1960s, at their gallery in Venice called
the Light/Space Gallery. Stay tuned. We'll give you the details on that. It's
running through the end of next month and you're going to want to see this.

But as we round third and head for home this hour here I want to give each of
you an opportunity to talk about this story that doesn't seem to want to go
away, and in some ways has reared its head, about Timothy as part of
that...escape from prison and working with the CIA and FBI...uhhh...being a
snitch. And being an FBI informant. And while, as I said earlier in the show
there's a grain of truth to Timothy working with these guys, to call him a
"snitch" or an "informant" is not really accurate. So, why don't we...Michael
start with you and your understanding of what that story's all about and why it
just doesn't seem to want to go away.

MH: Well you know here, there's just not enough time. There's just not enough
time to go into all the nuances of that story. But yea, what you said is
essentially correct, and there's a tremendous...you have to look at the
_context_ of what was happening at the time. And what the fallout was. And the
fallout wasn't bad at all. It was like, you know, there was a lot of reaction.
And some paranoia. And some questioning. But, you know, it didn't really...You
know, Tim didn't really do a lot of damage. Or he didn't do ANY! Except, you
know, in terms of shaking people up. And he got himself out of prison. Again,
the context is really...You know he {dealing?-rmjon23} the archives for his
freedom, but the archives were...You know, I thought he played the game, and
was one step ahead, and came out of it, you know, relatively okay. But there
are some people who, you know, just glommed onto that...you know... the easy
reaction to what he did.

But I wanted to actually...in my last moment here...Something should be said
about the _amazing_ way that Timothy created his dying process. He never
stopped contributing. And even in the sad last months of his life he had a
party around him, and he made dying...he brought something to it. And it was
like a _recreational_ idea. The idea of doing it at home with your friends and
believing that that was like the most amazing thing you could do. The most
important thing is how you died. And you had an opportunity to make a statement
that way...and if you had a consciousness...what would happen to consciousness
in those moments? And so his last words were, "Why not?" And he WENT OUT as a
cheerleader for change. With those words, "Why not?"

MB: That's great. I hadn't heard that story. Ralph, could you speak in the last
minute and half or two about the charges that Timothy--

RM: Yea, I wasn't that much in touch with Tim during that phase. Michael knows
much more about that than I do. But Tim's story was that - he's written about
it - he didn't tell the FBI anything they didn't already know, you know? But he
said them so that he could convince them that he was telling them stuff. So he
could get out of jail. I mean, for example The Weathemen. So he told them about
The Weathermen. But The Weathermen had already publicly announced it! They held
a press conference that they were the ones that sprung him from jail. Everybody
knew who they were! You know, so Tim described, you know, them, who they were.
But they knew that all already!

MB: Yea. This was not a secretive guy.

RM: No! He did what he did to get out of jail! I mean, I don't think any of
us...It's all very well to sit in judgement of somebody, but would we do it any
differently? You know, if you know how to get out of jail? And uhh--

MB: Ralph I've got to--

RM:--what I understand there's one lawyer who spent some time in jail for
passing hashish...uhhh...that was the direct result of what Tim might've said.
That's what I heard, but that's--

MB: Okay, well. I want to thank you both. Ralph Metzner and Michael Horowitz
for being with us. Thank you so much, gentlemen.

RM: You're very welcome.
MH: Thank you. It was a pleasure.

MB: And I hope we can do this again sometime as we explore consciousness on

I like the Ken Kesey quote about this. We're gonna go out with this quote from
Ken, who said, "Those who want to gnaw on Timothy's bones never knew his
heart." And that's what I remember about Tim. Not just a wonderful mind and a
brilliant mind, but a man with a beautiful beautiful heart. And a loving, kind

Timothy Leary! You can see 23 Drawings by Timothy Leary and other works at the
Light/Space Gallery all this month and through July, actually. You've extended
the run, so to speak, right? Dean Chamberlain, thank you. And Stacy for being
with us tonight. The Light/Space Gallery is on Abbot-Kinney Boulevard in

The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.

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Re: Radio show about Tim Leary [Re: Edame]
    #1674094 - 06/30/03 03:43 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Thanks Edame! I liked it a lot. It took a while to read, but I read it. It was really cool to read everything Ralph Metzner had to say about Tim. Ralph seems like a really great guy that i'd love to meet.

AislingGheal burned me a 3 cd set from Pacifica recently which is great. He also burned me four Alan Watts cds which are cool as well. Pacifica has loads of cool spoken word cd's available. They even have one more Leary disk with Ram Das(Richard Alpert) that we don't have yet. When he ordered from Pacifica he had some problems however. They took a long time to come through with the disks for some reason. But once they got to him, he forgot about that because of how much he enjoyed the disks. My personal favorite disk is the one that has "The Problem Of Expanded Consciousnss" and "Turn On Tune In Drop Out"(not the soundtrack or the other record of the same name).


Mp3 of the month: The Loose Enz - The Black Door

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Posts: 312
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Re: Radio show about Tim Leary [Re: Learyfan]
    #1675667 - 07/01/03 01:44 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

That was a great read, thank you very much for posting that. I am currently reading High Priest and would venture to say it is one of the most powerful pieces of literature I have read to date. Leary was an intelligent and insightful man that I have learned much from through his literature and such.

Learyfan, do you know where you could download those audio bits? I am very interested in those as I was unaware they existed.

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Re: Radio show about Tim Leary [Re: Anansi]
    #1676248 - 07/01/03 07:47 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Which ones, the Pacifica cd's that I was just talking about or the Mp3's that I posted in the other thread?

I doubt that you will find the Pacifica cd's online anywhere in Mp3 form. You'd probably have to order the cd's. Look on soulseek though.


Mp3 of the month: The Loose Enz - The Black Door

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