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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Eric Wagner on Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary in custody in 1972 (public domain government photo)

Timothy Leary, October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996

By Eric Wagner, special guest blogger

Tim Leary had a profound influence on Robert Anton Wilson. Recently I read a bit from his early book Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality and from his late book Surfing the Conscious Net. Man did he go through some changes. I also read a bit from Robert Greenfield’s rather hostile biography. I glanced at some relatively recent articles about Leary online. I don’t think any of them captured the unique intelligence I have gathered from Leary’s books. My favorite take on Leary comes from Bob Wilson in the piece “Lighting Out for the Territory” in Beyond Chaos and Beyond. I remember loving that piece when it first appeared in Trajectories in 1996 shortly after Tim’s death.

I heard Tim speak seven times, and I got to talk with him a few times. We never hit it off, but he still had a great effect on me.

“He told me that when they put him solitary confinement, ‘I realized it was either going to be hell or a learning experience. So I set out to make it a learning experience.” – Robert Anton Wilson, Beyond Chaos and Beyond. This reminds me of my attitude towards social isolation in 2020.

Boing Boing also is marking today's centennial of Timothy Leary's birth. This 1995 photo of Leary with Carla Sinclair and Mark Fraunfelder is from one of the posts.


Hugh said...

When the heck is the Errol Morris Showtime doc on Leary dropping?!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the premiere closes the AFI Fest 22nd October 2020 8pm PDT.

A film by Errol Morris or My Psychedelic Love Story.