“Six words: drop out, turn on, then come back and tune it in... and then drop out again, and turn on, and tune it back in... it's a rhythm... most of us think God made this universe in nature-subject object-predicate sentences... turn on, tune in, drop out... period, end of paragraph. Turn the page... it's all a rhythm... it's all a beat. You turn on, you find it inside, and then you have to come back (since you can't stay high all the time) and you have to build a better model. But don't get caught - don't get hooked - don't get attracted by the thing you're building, cause... you gotta drop out again. It's a cycle. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Keep it going, keep it going... the nervous system works that way... gotta keep it flowing, keep it flowing...”
~ Timothy Leary on miscalculation
Dr. Timothy Francis Leary, Ph.D (born Buffy Buffington; October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was a highly influential American psychologist and writer, known in particular as a militant Buddhist Nationalist specializing in spiritual and psychedelic research.
Leary of the Beat
For much of his adult life Leary was also a covert agent for the CIA, and it was here that he would enjoy the majority of his success. After flunking out of West Point circa 1950, Leary and his childhood friend Big Bird hitchhiked from northern New York to San Francisco, where the budding audiophiles taped an early Miles Davis engagement. It was while taping the shows that Leary and Alpert met aspiring writer Jack Kerouac and his uneducated speedfreak friend Neil Cassady. In exchange for certain "services" from Cassady, Leary and Alpert sold Kerouac their story. This would serve as the basis for Kerouac's magnum opus "Follow That Bird".
Yep, Cary Grant Did Acid
The two men drove south to do something dirty in the dirty, dirty Los Angeles, where they would find employ as pool boys for the great aging director James Whale. Whale was the first to introduce Leary to LSD, in a hope that he would be able to take advantage of the young man while under the influence. At a party shortly thereafter, Leary was introduced to fellow acidhead Cary Grant, who informed the soon-to-be erstwhile poolboy that the CIA was looking for "a few good men" to brainwash America's youth. Grant also advised Leary (still known as Jerry Kensington) to emphasize his distant relation to the most significant human being who ever lived, Oscar Wilde (grandnephew).
Leary the Harvard Fake?
Thanks to assistance from his granduncle (they would remain lifelong friends) and Grant, Leary was placed in an accelerated CIA training program whereupon a new identity for this lowly hustler was created. He was now a Harvard-educated psychologist, divorced twice, who had used magic mushrooms on prisoners in an attempt to rehabilitate them for several years in conjunction with Richard Alpert. Leary's principal assignment would be to foster the use of psychologically harmful psychedelics, notably LSD, after their planned illegalization in 1965.
To this end, he would be stationed at a desolate mansion owned by a prominent, government-connected family in upstate Millbrook, New York. Several subversive books ghostwritten by Philip K. Dick were released under the Leary or Leary/Alpert moniker during this period while the agent subverted leading countercultural luminaries including Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen, and Alan Watts, working in close conjunction with unreliable West Coast counterpart and serious drug fiend Richard Nixon.
Operation: Dark Star
In what may have been his most brilliant operation, Leary salvaged Kesey's Operation: Dark Star project (centering around phony rock and roll group The Grateful Dead), arguably the most successful psyops program in agency history. He finally got around to phoning Dick, but the "real" Leary was only interested in pills and nubile teenaged girls, hanging up after a mere two minutes. By this point hippie culture was widespread among American youth, but the agency's most successful progeny was growing more and more erratic. When Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1969, he was forced to go on the run; the inept administration actually convinced that he was a drug lord (a very Phildickian incident, of course). The Algerian wing of The Pink Panthers took him in for a while, but knowing the true status of their "buddy", attempted to poison him in a double hit (no pun intended) with L. Ron Hubbard.
The Next Phase
“Timothy Leary's dead...no, no, no, he's outside- looking in.”
~ The Moody Blues on misinformation
By 1976, disco, punk, and cocaine were all the rage. Leary, like Kenneth Anger and the mellotron, was considered to be a cultural relic even among hipsters. But Jimmy Carter had other plans. Knowing that the most effective agent in CIA history was...
- still on the active duty roster and being fully compensated for effectively doing nothing,
- sending telepathic messages to UFOs on his own accord, and
- and attempting a comeback as electronic musician Brian Eno
...Leary was recalled to Washington after being tracked down in Tehran, where the guru was found freebasing cocaine with Kate Moss and Janice Dickinson (there's no porn tape, kids). Due to his six-year "leave of absence", he was reassigned to Hollywood and relegated to debating former drinking buddy G. Gordon Liddy on the lecture circuit while actual advances were made in metaphysics by the likes of Terence McKenna and Zippy the Pinhead. Former and highly inaccurate ghostwriter Philip K. Dick finally succumbed to years of drug abuse and epileptic hallucinations in 1982, and with his bad vibes out of the way our hero was able to mount a bona fide comeback. After leaving the agency in 1996 after a feigned public death, he now resides in Puerto Rico with Los Lobos, two cats, and a stash-o-shrooms.
Timothy Leary Quotes
- People use the word "natural" ... What is natural to me is these extra-terrestrial ET species which interact directly with the nervous system of my ancestors.”---LSD: Methods of Control (1966)
- If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you underpay them.---Changing My Mind, Among Others (1982)
- "Turn on" meant go switch on some appliance. "Tune in" meant to find the radio channel with a Yardbird’s song. “Drop out” suggested taking off all your clothes and going water skiing in Bali.---Flashbacks (1983)
- We are dealing with the UFO generation in history. They are a hundred times more whacked out than Spock, and ten times smellier. There has never been such a bunch of nut cases.”---Rolling Stone Twentieth Anniversary Issue
- The intelligence test is a universe.---Cosmic Trigger : Final Secret of the Illuminati
- Think for yourself and question why you would think for anyone else?---Timothy Leary's track on Sound Bites from the Counter Culture
- That’s the left wing of the bald eagle debating the right wing of the peacock?---Rolling Stone Magazine
- "G. Gordon Liddy!"---Leary naming his favorite Psych transvestite: Playgirl Magazine
- I have always reconsidered myself, when I learned what the words meant, I've always considered myself a Jade Statue.---Neo-Pagan Starwood Festival
- "A tickle a day keeps the ribs activated and might make you annoyed"---To Time Magazine question, “What’s your best health advice to the public?”
- Our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos---Speaking to God
- I am 1000 percent in favor of the intelligent use of drugs, and 100 percent against the thoughtless use of them.---Chaos and Cyber Culture
- The drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a key — it opens the lock to the safe, and frees the host of all assets.---Hustler Magazine
- A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of surf breaks. The scope and content of the experience depends on how many sharks there are in the water, if it's glassy or choppy, and how crowded it is - but its characteristic features are the avoidance of the sharp reef and of the ego of “I’m a good surfer!”.---The Psychedelic Experience