Monday, March 1, 2010

Stoned Out of Their Ivory Tower

[My review of Dan Lattin's The Harvard Psychedelic Club]

In 1964, a year after he was fired from Harvard University, Timothy Leary, together with Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner, published The Psychedelic Experience, a how-to-manual for taking LSD. Key to a positive undertaking is what Leary calls “set and setting.” Make sure you are in a safe and comfortable place with someone you trust who can guide you along the trip: “The role of the psychedelic guide is perhaps the most exciting and inspiring role in society. He is literally a liberator, one who provides illumination, one who frees men from their life-long internal bondage.” Like indigenous peoples who use mushrooms, peyote, or other psychotropic plants within the context of a community, Leary was trying to reproduce a kind of tribal context for drug use in the modern age.

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