Timothy Leary

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Timothy Leary bigraphy, stories - Psychologist and advocate

Timothy Leary : biography

October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996

Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Both studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university because of the public controversy surrounding their research.

Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry. He popularized catchphrases that promoted his philosophy such as "turn on, tune in, drop out" (a phrase given to Leary by Marshall McLuhan); "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 (SMI²LE), and developed the eight-circuit model of consciousness in his book Exo-Psychology (1977).

During the 1960s and 1970s, he was arrested often enough to see the inside of 29 different prisons worldwide. President Richard Nixon once described Leary as "the most dangerous man in America".

Legal troubles

Leary’s first run-in with the law came on December 20, 1965. Leary decided to take his two children, Jack and Susan, and his girlfriend Rosemary Woodruff, to Mexico for an extended stay to write a book. On their return from Mexico to the United States, a U.S. Customs Service official found marijuana in Susan’s underwear. They had crossed into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in the late afternoon and discovered they would have to wait until morning for the appropriate visa for an extended stay. They decided to cross back into Texas to spend the night, and were on the U.S.-Mexico bridge, when Rosemary remembered she had a very small amount of marijuana in her possession. It was impossible to throw it out on the bridge, so Susan put it in her underwear.FLASHBACKS an autobiography by Timothy Leary Chapter 28 page 236 After taking responsibility for the controlled substance, Leary was convicted of possession under the Marihuana Tax Act on March 11, 1966, sentenced to 30 years in prison, fined $30,000 and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment. Soon after, however, he appealed the case on the basis that the Marihuana Tax Act was, in fact, unconstitutional, as it required a degree of self-incrimination in blatant violation of the Fifth Amendment.

On December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again, in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana "roaches". Leary alleged they were planted by the arresting officer, but was convicted anyway. On May 19, 1969, The Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional and overturned his 1965 conviction.

On that same day Leary announced his candidacy for Governor of California against the Republican incumbent, Ronald Reagan. His campaign slogan was "Come together, join the party." On June 1, 1969, Leary joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Montreal Bed-In, and Lennon subsequently wrote Leary a campaign song called "Come Together".http://oldies.about.com/od/thebeatlessongs/a/cometogether.htm

On January 21, 1970, Leary was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On his arrival, he was given psychological tests used to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Having designed some of these tests himself (including the "Leary Interpersonal Behavior Test"), Leary answered them in such a way that he seemed to be a very conforming, conventional person with a great interest in forestry and gardening. As a result, he was assigned to work as a gardener in a lower-security prison from which he escaped in September 1970. He later said that his non-violent escape was a humorous prank and left a challenging note for the authorities to find after he was gone.