Birth of A Psychedelic Culture
Conversations About Leary, the Harvard Experiments, Millbrook and the Sixties
Origins of contemporary psychedelic research
Birth of a Psychedelic Culture, an extraordinary new book, shines a bright light on the emergence of the sixties culture and the experiments with mind-altering substances undertaken by Professors Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and then-Harvard graduate student Ralph Metzner. Based on a series of con-versations between Metzner and Ram Dass and recorded by psychiatrist and author Gary Bravo, this book describes their initial experiments at Harvard, the experiments after they were dismissed from Harvard, their journeys to India and their reflections on that transformative era.Birth of a Psychedelic Culture is filled with never before published photographs. Luminaries who appear in this astonishing account include: Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, R.D. Laing, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson and William Burroughs, as well as many lesser known personalities. These include convicts, graduate students and Vedantist monks! In addition to reviewing the experiments, the conversations offer vividly-recalled descriptions of particular “trips,” with profound insights into the nature of hallucinogens and the role they can play in transcending social conditioning.Included in Birth of a Psychedelic Culture are personal commentaries from some of the other players integral to the scene: Peggy Hitchcock, the Mellon Foundation heiress; Dr. George Litwin, Harvard professor and author; Dr. Gunther Weil, psychologist and educator; Dr. Michael Kahn, clinical psychologist and Professor Emeritus at USC, Santa Cruz; poet Dr. Elsa von Eckartsberg; Dr. George Litwin, organizational behavior consultant; Dr. Paul Lee, professor of philosopy and religion, UC Santa Cruz; Dorothy Fadiman, award winning filmmaker; Lisa Ferguson, and many others.No understanding of the history of the sixties could ever be complete without a grasp of the work of Leary, Alpert, and Metzner, the cultural resistance to their experiments, and the way in which psychoactive drug use became a part of contemporary society.
For better or worse, one of the legacies of the 1960s is the use of psychedelics such as LSD. Based on conversations between Ralph Metzner and Ram Dass (Richard Alpert)--both of whom were intimately involved with Timothy Leary's first experiments with LSD at Harvard--this book describes the beginnings of the sixties culture. Metzner and Ram Dass reflect on their experiences with psychedelics and on the role they can play in altering consciousness, and recall their encounters with Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, Charlie Mingus and other sixties figures. The book also includes commentaries from other people involved with Leary's "scene", and numerous previously unpublished photographs. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Santa Fe, NM : Synergetic Press, c2010
240 p. ; 26 cm