بخش 52کتاب: چگونه ذهنیت خود را تغییر دهید / فصل 52
- زمان مطالعه 8 دقیقه
- سطح خیلی سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
He traveled to New York City to meet with the prominent father of one of them—Ronnie Winston—and offered him a deal. As Alpert tells the story,* “He went to Harry Winston”—the famous Fifth Avenue jeweler—“and he said, ‘Your son is getting drugs from a faculty member. If your son will admit to that charge, we’ll cut out your son’s name. We won’t use it in the article.’” So young Ronnie went to the dean and, when asked if he had taken drugs from Dr. Alpert, confessed, adding an unexpected fillip: “Yes, sir, I did. And it was the most educational experience I’ve had at Harvard.”
Alpert and Leary appear to be the only Harvard professors fired in the twentieth century. (Technically, Leary wasn’t fired, but Harvard stopped paying him several months before his contract ended.) The story became national news, introducing millions of Americans to the controversy surrounding these exotic new drugs. It also earned Andrew Weil a plum assignment from Look magazine to write about the controversy, which spread the story still further. Describing the psychedelic scene at Harvard in the third person, Weil alluded to “an undergraduate group . . . conducting covert research with mescaline,” neglecting to mention he was a founding member of that group.
This was not, suffice it to say, Andrew Weil’s proudest moment, and when I spoke to him about it recently, he confessed that he’s felt badly about the episode ever since and had sought to make amends to both Leary and Ram Dass. (Two years after his departure from Harvard, Alpert embarked on a spiritual journey to India and returned as Ram Dass.) Leary readily accepted Weil’s apology—the man was apparently incapable of holding a grudge—but Ram Dass refused to talk to Weil for years, which pained him. But after Ram Dass suffered a stroke in 1997, Weil traveled to Hawaii to seek his forgiveness. Ram Dass finally relented, telling Weil that he had come to regard being fired from Harvard as a blessing. “If you hadn’t done what you did,” he told Weil, “I would never have become Ram Dass.”
• • • HERE, UPON THEIR EXIT from Harvard, we should probably take our leave of Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, even though their long, strange trip through American culture still had a long, strange way to go. The two would now take their show (with its numerous ex-students and hangers-on) on the road, moving the International Federation for Internal Freedom (which would later morph into the League for Spiritual Discovery) from Cambridge to Zihuatanejo, until the Mexican government (under pressure from U.S. authorities) kicked them out, then briefly to the Caribbean island of Dominica, until that government kicked them out, before finally settling for several raucous years in a sixty-four-room mansion in Millbrook, New York, owned by a wealthy patron named Billy Hitchcock.
Embraced by the rising counterculture, Leary was invited (along with Allen Ginsberg) to speak at the first Human Be-In in San Francisco, an event that drew some twenty-five thousand young people to Golden Gate Park in January 1967, to trip on freely distributed LSD while listening to speakers proclaim a new age. The ex-professor, who for the occasion had traded in his Brooks Brothers for white robes and love beads (and flowers in his graying hair), implored the throng of tripping “hippies”—the term popularized that year by the local newspaper columnist Herb Caen—to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” The slogan—which he at first said he had thought up in the shower but years later claimed was “given to him” by Marshall McLuhan—would cling to Leary for the rest of his life, earning him the contempt of parents and politicians the world over.
But Leary’s story only gets weirder, and sadder. Soon after his departure from Cambridge, the government, alarmed at his growing influence on the country’s youth, launched a campaign of harassment that culminated in the 1966 bust in Laredo; he was driving his family to Mexico on vacation, when a border search of his car turned up a small quantity of marijuana. Leary would spend years in jail battling federal marijuana charges and then several more years on the lam as an international fugitive from justice. He acquired this status in 1970 after his bold escape from a California prison, with the help of the Weathermen, the revolutionary group. His comrades managed to spirit Leary out of the country to Algeria, into the arms of Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther, who had established a base of operations there. But asylum under Cleaver turned out to be no picnic: the Panther confiscated his passport, effectively holding Leary hostage. Leary had to escape yet again, this time making his way to Switzerland (where he found luxurious refuge in the chalet of an arms dealer), then (after the U.S. government persuaded Switzerland to jail him) on to Vienna, Beirut, and Kabul, where he was finally seized by U.S. agents and remanded to an American prison, now maximum security and, for a time, solitary confinement. But the persecution only fed his sense of destiny.
The rest of his life is an improbable 1960s tragicomedy featuring plenty of courtrooms and jails (twenty-nine in all) but also memoirs and speeches and television appearances, a campaign for governor of California (for which John Lennon wrote, and the Beatles recorded, the campaign song, “Come Together”), and a successful if somewhat pathetic run on the college lecture circuit teamed up with G. Gordon Liddy. Yes, the Watergate burglar, who in an earlier incarnation as Dutchess County assistant DA had busted Leary at Millbrook. Through it all, Leary remains improbably upbeat, never displaying anger or, it would seem from the countless photographs and film clips, forgetting Marshall McLuhan’s sage advice to smile always, no matter what.
Meanwhile, beginning in 1965, Leary’s former partner in psychedelic research, Richard Alpert, was off on a considerably less hectic spiritual odyssey to the East. As Ram Dass, and the author of the 1971 classic Be Here Now, he would put his own lasting mark on American culture, having blazed one of the main trails by which Eastern religion found its way into the counterculture and then the so-called New Age. To the extent that the 1960s birthed a form of spiritual revival in America, Ram Dass was one of its fathers.
But Leary’s post-Harvard “antics” are relevant to the extent they contributed to the moral panic that now engulfed psychedelics and doomed the research. Leary became a poster boy not just for the drugs but for the idea that a crucial part of the counterculture’s DNA could be spelled out in the letters LSD. Beginning with Allen Ginsberg’s December 1960 psilocybin trip at his house in Newton, Leary forged a link between psychedelics and the counterculture that has never been broken and that is surely one of the reasons they came to be regarded as so threatening to the establishment. (Could it have possibly been otherwise? What if the cultural identity of the drugs had been shaped by, say, a conservative Catholic like Al Hubbard? It’s difficult to imagine such a counter history.)
It didn’t help that Leary liked to say things like “LSD is more frightening than the bomb” or “The kids who take LSD aren’t going to fight your wars. They’re not going to join your corporations.” These were no empty words: beginning in the mid-1960s, tens of thousands of American children actually did drop out, washing up on the streets of Haight-Ashbury and the East Village.* And young men were refusing to go to Vietnam. The will to fight and the authority of Authority had been undermined. These strange new drugs, which seemed to change the people who took them, surely had something to do with it. Timothy Leary had said so.
But this upheaval would almost certainly have happened without Timothy Leary. He was by no means the only route by which psychedelics were seeping into American culture; he was just the most notorious. In 1960, the same year Leary tried psilocybin and launched his research project, Ken Kesey, the novelist, had his own mind-blowing LSD experience, a trip that would inspire him to spread the psychedelic word, and the drugs themselves, as widely and loudly as he could.
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