Timothy Leary quotes

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Timothy Leary

Birthdate: 22. October 1920
Date of death: 31. May 1996

Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. Leary conducted experiments under the Harvard Psilocybin Project during American legality of LSD and psilocybin, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Leary's colleague, Richard Alpert , was fired from Harvard University on May 27, 1963 for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate student. Leary was planning to leave Harvard when his teaching contract expired in June, the following month. He was fired, for "failure to keep classroom appointments", with his pay docked on April 30. National illumination as to the effects of psychedelics did not occur until after the Harvard scandal.

Leary believed that LSD showed potential for therapeutic use in psychiatry. He used LSD himself and developed a philosophy of mind expansion and personal truth through LSD. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy, such as "turn on, tune in, drop out", "set and setting", and "think for yourself and question authority". He also wrote and spoke frequently about transhumanist concepts involving space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension , and developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology . He gave lectures, occasionally billing himself as a "performing philosopher".

During the 1960s and 1970s, he was arrested often enough to see the inside of 36 different prisons worldwide. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as "the most dangerous man in America".

Works

Flashbacks
Flashbacks
Timothy Leary

„Think for yourself and question authority.“

—  Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary's track on Sound Bites from the Counter Culture (1989)

„Turn on, Tune in, Drop out“

—  Timothy Leary

Source: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

„My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young people, is to turn on, tune in and drop out.“

—  Timothy Leary

A Trip with Paul Kassner <!-- Politics of Ecstasy 1999 p. 215 -->
The Politics of Ecstasy (1968)
Context: My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young people, is to turn on, tune in and drop out. By drop out, I mean to detach yourself from involvement in secular, external social games. But the dropping out has to occur internally before it can occur externally. I'm not telling kids just to quit school; I'm not telling people to quit their jobs. That is an inevitable development of the process of turning on and tuning in.

„You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind.“

—  Timothy Leary

As quoted in Office Yoga : Simple Stretches for Busy People (2000) by Darrin Zeer, p. 52

„Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.“

—  Timothy Leary

As quoted in Third and Possibly the Best 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said (1987) by Robert Byrne, #40

„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.“

—  Timothy Leary

The Psychedelic Experience (1995)
Context: 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 space-time 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.

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„Don't take LSD unless you are very well prepared, unless you are specifically prepared to go out of your mind. Don't take it unless you have someone that's very experienced with you to guide you through it. And don't take it unless you are ready to have your perspective on yourself and your life radically changed“

—  Timothy Leary

CBC Documentary: How To Go Out of Your Mind: The LSD Crisis (1966)
Context: We always have urged people: Don't take LSD unless you are very well prepared, unless you are specifically prepared to go out of your mind. Don't take it unless you have someone that's very experienced with you to guide you through it. And don't take it unless you are ready to have your perspective on yourself and your life radically changed, because you're gonna be a different person, and you should be ready to face this possibility.

„When you teach someone how to perform creatively (ie, associate dead symbols in new combinations), you expand his potential for experiencing more widely and richly.“

—  Timothy Leary

Changing My Mind, Among Others : Lifetime Writings (1982), p. 76; also in Change Your Brain (2000), p. 72
Context: To describe externals, you become a scientist. To describe experience, you become an artist. The old distinction between artists and scientists must vanish. Every time we teach a child correct usage of an external symbol, we must spend as much time teaching him how to fission and reassemble external grammar to communicate the internal. The training of artists and creative performers can be a straightforward, almost mechanical process. When you teach someone how to perform creatively (ie, associate dead symbols in new combinations), you expand his potential for experiencing more widely and richly.

„We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history.“

—  Timothy Leary

Interview by David Sheff in Rolling Stone Twentieth Anniversary Issue (1987)
Context: We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. They are a hundred times better educated than their grandparents, and ten times more sophisticated. There has never been such an open-minded group. The problem is that no one is giving them anything fresh. They've got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.

„Each religion has got their own way of making you feel like a victim.“

—  Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary's Last Trip (1997)
Context: Each religion has got their own way of making you feel like a victim. The Christians say "you are a sinner", and you better just zip up your trousers and give the money to the pope and we'll give you a room up in the hotel in the sky.

„While sitting in my prison cell, I was astonished to hear the local rock station play a new song by the Beatles entitled "Come Together." Although the new version was certainly a musical and lyrical improvement on my campaign song, I was a bit miffed that Lennon had passed me over this way.“

—  Timothy Leary, book Flashbacks

Source: Flashbacks, An Autobiography (1983), p. 388
Context: While sitting in my prison cell, I was astonished to hear the local rock station play a new song by the Beatles entitled "Come Together." Although the new version was certainly a musical and lyrical improvement on my campaign song, I was a bit miffed that Lennon had passed me over this way. (I must explain that even the most good-natured persons tend to be a bit touchy about social neglect while in prison). When I sent a mild protest to John, he replied with typical Lennon charm and wit: that he was a tailor and I was a customer who had ordered a suit and never returned. So he sold it to someone else.

„To describe externals, you become a scientist. To describe experience, you become an artist.“

—  Timothy Leary

Changing My Mind, Among Others : Lifetime Writings (1982), p. 76; also in Change Your Brain (2000), p. 72
Context: To describe externals, you become a scientist. To describe experience, you become an artist. The old distinction between artists and scientists must vanish. Every time we teach a child correct usage of an external symbol, we must spend as much time teaching him how to fission and reassemble external grammar to communicate the internal. The training of artists and creative performers can be a straightforward, almost mechanical process. When you teach someone how to perform creatively (ie, associate dead symbols in new combinations), you expand his potential for experiencing more widely and richly.

„They've got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.“

—  Timothy Leary

Interview by David Sheff in Rolling Stone Twentieth Anniversary Issue (1987)
Context: We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. They are a hundred times better educated than their grandparents, and ten times more sophisticated. There has never been such an open-minded group. The problem is that no one is giving them anything fresh. They've got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.

„He's basically a romantic comedian.“

—  Timothy Leary

Commenting on G. Gordon Liddy‎‎'s 1994 remarks on shooting intruding ATF agents, and a 1966 raid by Liddy in which Leary had been arrested, in "Timothy Leary Revisited" a 1995 interview, in Paul Krassner's Impolite Interviews (1999) by Paul Krassner, p. 304
Context: He's basically a romantic comedian. …. He was a government agent entering our bedroom at midnight. We had every right to shoot him. But I've never owned a weapon in my life, and I have no intention of owning a weapon, although I was a master sharpshooter at West Point on both the Garand, the Springfield rifle and the machine-gun. I was a howitzer expert. I know how to operate these lethal gadgets but I have never had and never will have a gun around.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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