The Nutty Professor

Here’s an amazing piece of the life of Timothy Leary from the NYTimes book review of Timothy Leary: A Biography.

…he finally went to jail, and was likely to be kept there for years
before he would be considered for parole. Characteristically, he
compared himself to "Christ . . . harassed by Pilate and Herod." In a
twist that could have occurred only in 1970, a consortium of drug
dealers paid the Weather Underground to spring Leary from the
California Men’s Colony at San Luis Obispo – he pulled himself along a
telephone cable over the fence, then was picked up by a car – and
transport him to Algeria. He duly issued a press statement written in
the voice of the Weathermen, the money line of which was: "To shoot a
genocidal robot policeman in the defense of life is a sacred act."

But
when he and his wife, Rosemary, arrived in Algiers, they found
themselves wards of the exiled Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver,
who was probably smarter than Leary, possibly crazier, and had little
use for him. As Leary acknowledged, rather shrewdly: "It was a new
experience for me to be dependent on a strong, variable, sexually
restless, charismatic leader who was insanely erratic. I usually played
that role myself."

Comments

Prof. AT,
Straight from the horse's mouth:

LEARY: There's one thing that everyone should know about drugs and it's the law of availability. In economics there's a law called Gresham's Law that bad money drives out good money--paper money will drive out gold. The very opposite is true in the sociology of drugs. Good drugs drive out bad drugs.
One of the many disastrous results of the federal drug policy in the last 20 years is that they've done everything in their power to knock out good drugs or to confuse people about good drugs. Then they've allowed--or inevitably had to accept--the flooding of the nation with bad drugs. The reason you can make PCP in the garage for a hundred dollars and then say it's LSD or cannabinol is because the safe, good drugs are not available. They knocked out the inexpensive, weak Mexican marijuana that would give you a little buzz, less than a bottle of beer. Actually, for a $5.00 bag of marijuana you'd drive your car less fast, you wouldn't get in as many fights, you'd probably enjoy everything in a much more mellow way. They knocked all that out. But intelligent people are going to get the drugs and now you have connoisseur marijuana for $200.00 an ounce, which the kids can't have, that's 10 times stronger than the silly little Mexican stuff. So the kids are boozing and are using PCP. Booze and PCP are bad-drugs. You know that, anyone that has any access to the facts will agree with what I've just said, but you'd get crucified if you said this in the company of politicians.

It is true, yes, that in our drug education program in the '8Os we realized that set and setting--that is what you expect and what your environment lays on you--determines 99 percent of the experience. It's not the drug, it's your expectations and environment. So we went around saying, "Take LSD, you'll improve yourself, you'll be a loving person, you'll be smarter, you'll find God, you'll suddenly feel at one with all nature." Plus, plus positive, we were openly, nakedly, advocating feeling good, being smarter, being a nicer person, being nonviolent, loving yourself, unity with nature...We were deliberately trying to brainwash since we knew that seven or eight million people were taking LSD and we were deliberately trying to brainwash them into hopeful, utopian, positive, loving experiences. At the same time the drug enforcement establishment was running around saying, "Take LSD, jump out a window," "Take LSD, become homicidal," "Take LSD, go to a mental hospital..." I admit we were brainwashing. We were trying to brainwash people to become better, to believe in themselves and to believe in the glorious ness of life. But the narcs were brain washing, too, and they inevitably controlled more of the media than we did and for those who were foolish enough to listen to them, yeah, they had bad trips.

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