by Cynthia Chung
The relevance of the Esalen Institute’s “revisioning of madness” needs to be acknowledged as having been entirely spear-headed by the Tavistock Institute, and clearly, not for our benefit.
“America is the prophetic image of the rest of the urban-industrial world as it will be a few years from now – recent public opinion polls have revealed that an actual majority of young people in their teens, the voters of tomorrow, have no faith in democratic institutions, see no objection to the censorship of unpopular ideas, do not believe that government of the people by the people is possible and would be perfectly content, if they can continue to live in the style to which the boom has accustomed them, to be fueled, from above, by an oligarchy of assorted experts. That so many of the well-fed young television-watchers in the world’s most powerful democracy should be so completely indifferent to the idea of self-government, so blankly uninterested in freedom of thought and the right to dissent, is distressing but not too surprising.”
– Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World Revisited” (1958)
As discussed in Part 3 of this series, Aldous Huxley would be mentored in the ways of Monte Verità, Ascona through the mentorship of D.H. Lawrence. It was through Lawrence’s teachings that Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard and Christopher Isherwood would form the core of the group, Sonnenkinder (The Children of the Sun). Lawrence’s teaching of Ascona to the Sonnenkinder (greatly influenced by Mikhail Bakunin and Otto Gross, a disciple of Freud) would go on to shape the Human Potential Movement and the Esalen Institute to which this paper will focus on. [Note: Carl Jung was also a significant member of the Monte Verità, Ascona.]
Monte Verità became the international meeting place for all those who rebelled against science, technology, and the rise of the modern industrial nation-state.
As already discussed in Part 3, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) had established their headquarters in Basel, Switzerland as the “Anational Grand Lodge and Mystic Temple” (aka Verità Mystica) and at Monte Verità as the “Hermetic Brotherhood of Light.”
In August 1917, Outer Head Theodor Reuss issued a manifesto for his Anational Grand Lodge (O.T.O), called “Verità Mystica.” He then held the “Anational Congress for Organizing the Reconstruction of Society on Practical and Cooperative Lines” at Monte Verità August 15–25, 1917. He wanted to create a new ethic, a new social order, and a new religion, to be achieved through the establishment of utopian-bohemian colonies and settlements throughout the world that was to run counter to the world of science and technology and the industrial nation-state.
Recall from Part 3 that Light is a common theme (Children of the Sun, Brotherhood of Light). It is also mentioned by the Theosophical Society, a sister organization of Monte Verità, started by Madame Blavatsky, in her “The Secret Doctrine,” where she references the mystery of the “fall” to Earth of the rebellious angels – the solar angels or agnishvattas, to which Lucifer is the best-known representative.
[Note: see “Descent and Sacrifice” by the Lucis Trust, originally titled Lucifer Publishing Company, a major public player within the United Nations, which was founded by prominent Theosophical Society member Alice Bailey.]
In the words of Alice Bailey, from her book “Rays and the Initiations,” we must add “darkness unto light so that the stars appear, for in the light the stars shine not, but in the darkness light diffused is not, but only focussed points of radiance.”
Thus we must bring forth the darkness…
In this interpretation, Lucifer is good and represents the Light. In this context Children of the Sun (the Sonnekinder) could also be connoted as Children of the Solar-Angels; and thus the Children of Lucifer (see Part 3). This explains what influenced the gruesome Solar Lodge to choose such a name, a so-called renegade society of the Ordo Templi Orientis in California, which used the curriculum of the A∴A∴ established by Aleister Crowley (A∴A∴ is a so-called magical organization created by Crowley in 1907 and claims to use the essence of Theravada Buddhism with Vedantic yoga and ceremonial magic).
[Note: the Ordo Templi Orientis also practised “Sex Magic” a corrupted Western version of Kundalini Yoga or Tantric Yoga.]
In 1921, Aleister Crowley succeeded Theodor Reuss as Outer Head of the Order of the Ordo Templi Orientis.
In 1935, Crowley founded the Agape Lodge No. 2 in Los Angeles.
In 1937, Aldous would move with his family and his fellow Sonnenkinder Gerald Heard to Hollywood, where he would remain until his death. Christopher Isherwood would make the move to Hollywood in 1939.
And just like that, the teachings of Ascona in Hollywood became a primary focus of Crowley and the Sonnenkinder, and together they would dominate the scene out of which the counterculture movement would be born.
It is here that we will resume the story.
Hollywood’s Fake Guru Industry
“For the radical and permanent transformation of personality only one effective method has been discovered – that of the mystics.”
– Aldous Huxley (1941) (1)
It did not take long upon the arrival of Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard to California for them to become quick friends with Jiddu Krishnamurti, who had moved to Ojai, California in 1922.
Krishnamurti had been selected by Annie Besant, a prominent leader of the Theosophical Society, as a young adolescent boy in India as the likely “vehicle for the Lord Maitreya” in 1909. Maitreya means “future Buddha” and the Theosophical Society promoted Krishnamurti as an advanced spiritual entity that periodically appears on Earth as a World Teacher to guide the evolution of humankind.
The World Teacher, who supposedly had no religion nor followed any particular school of thought, was ironically tutored solely by Annie Besant for his entire education as a youth.
Interestingly, Krishnamurti was regarded with great suspicion by the Vedanta Society, the latter to which Huxley, Heard, and Isherwood were also very close to and frequented the Southern California branch regularly. They were known as the three English “beacons” of Vedanta. (2) The Vedanta Society promotes the study, practice and propagation of Vedanta, one of the six ancient schools of Hindu philosophy and is part of the Ramakrishna Order.
Alan Watts, a renown Western Guru of Zen Buddhism, describes in his autobiography “In My Own Way” (1972) an encounter he had with Swami Prabhavananda, of the Southern California Vedanta Society:
Swami – “…his [Krishnamurti’s] teaching is very misleading. I mean, he seems to be saying that one can attain realization without any kind of yoga or spiritual method, and of course that isn’t true.”
Watts – “No, indeed, if in fact there is something to be attained. Your Upanishads say very plainly, Tat tvam asi, You ARE That, so what is there to be attained?”
Swami – “…But this is ridiculous. That amounts to saying that an ordinary ignorant and deluded person is just as good, or just as realized, as an advanced yogi.”
Watts – “Exactly. And what advanced yogi would deny it? Doesn’t he see the Brahman everywhere, and in all people, all beings?”
Swami – “You are saying, that you yourself, or just any other person, can realize that you are the Brahman just as you are, without any spiritual effort or discipline at all!”
Watts – “Just so. After all, one’s very not realizing is, in its turn, also the Brahman. According to your own doctrine, what else is there, what else is real other than the Brahman?”
Alan Watts, who would also become a part of the Sonnenkinder group, was a student of Christmas Humphreys, who founded the London Buddhist Lodge in 1924. The impetus for founding the lodge came chiefly from Annie Besant (President of the Theosophical Society from 1907-1933). Alice Bailey also frequented the lodge.
Thus, Krishnamurti and Watts were from the same school of Annie Besant.
Interestingly, Swami Prabhavananda of the Vedanta Society, had reported that Annie Besant had been banned from the Ramakrishna Order in India by the Head of the Chief Monastery Brahmananda, since Besant was trying to infiltrate the Order.
In 1929, Krishnamurti had disavowed the title of “World Teacher” and gave the impression that he had also disavowed the entire Theosophical Society, which is not true.
Not only did Krishnamurti continue a dialogue with many of the members of the society, but he co-founded the “Happy Valley School” in 1946 with among others, Aldous Huxley. The school today is recognised as a continuation of Besant’s vision for an educational community, which was renamed the “Besant Hill School” in 2007.
Aldous and Krishnamurti were so close that when Aldous had moved in 1945 to the mountains in Wrightwood, San Gabriel with his family from their Llano ranch, Krishnamurti followed them moving into a place a few houses down. (3)
It appears much of Krishnamurti’s supposed distancing from the Theosophical Society was mainly for the public eye, and as clearly showcased here, many of the members of the Theosophical Society including Annie Besant had made a very shoddy impression on the Hindu religious leadership.
Perhaps Krishnamurti was attempting a second infiltration, thinking his odds would be better if he claimed to disavow the Theosophical Society, despite his teachings remaining the same.
Krishnamurti’s emphasis on skipping steps would be a very destructive influence that laid the groundwork for the counterculture movement as we will see, and regardless of what Huxley’s intention was with the Vedanta Society, one thing can be sure, he decided in the end to dedicate himself to the path of Krishnamurti.
Music, Trance and Schizophrenia
“The resolute facing of the world as it is, when the garment of make-believe, by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features, is stripped off.”
– Aldous Huxley (4)
Another prominent base of contact Huxley had made upon his arrival to California was with Austrian-Polish actress and screen writer (for MGM and Greta Garbo roles) Salka Viertel’s Sunday salon in Los Angeles which was from the 1930s-50s a central place for networking, consisting of Hollywood intelligentsia and the émigré community of European intellectuals- many of whom formed the basis of the new Frankfurt School.
Among its regular Sunday attendees were Arnold Schoenberg, Maria and Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Theodor W. Adorno, Thomas Mann (who collaborated with Adorno on “Doctor Faustus”), Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Greta Garbo, and George Cukor.
Theodor Adorno, in his youth was a promising future concert pianist, who later studied in Vienna under the atonal composer Arnold Schoenberg. In 1946, while in the U.S. working on the Frankfurt School’s “Cultural Pessimism” agenda, he wrote the book “The Philosophy of Modern Music,” a diatribe against Classical culture, writing:
“What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man…Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is not that schizophrenia is directly expressed therein; but the music imprints upon itself an attitude similar to that of the mentally ill. The individual brings about his own disintegration…. He imagines the fulfillment of the promise through magic, but nonetheless within the realm of immediate actuality…. Its concern is to dominate schizophrenic traits through the aesthetic consciousness. In so doing, it would hope to vindicate insanity as true health.”
This was to be one of the major undercurrents that shaped the philosophy of the COUNTER-Culture movement. The name said it all. And the so-called freedom from the “shackles” of classical culture was to take the form of invoking schizophrenic traits through the domain of the aesthetic consciousness (aesthetic means the set of principles that underlie how we define and appreciate a standard for “beauty”).
It was the application of the Frankfurt School’s “Critical Theory” where everything that came before us within any field of established learning now had to be thrown into the garbage and we had to face the task of reprogramming how we viewed our world, our reality. This could only occur by invoking extreme states of fragmentation, schizophrenia, in order to build back the pieces in a so-called more truthful way without the cultural blinders from the past.
Part of this freeing oneself from classical culture, was to free ourselves from the classical understanding of aesthetics, and thus a central tenet of the counterculture movement was to now regard the ugly as beautiful, the beautiful as ugly, and insanity as the new sanity.
In Huxley’s “Brave New World Revisited” (1958), he quotes Dr. Erich Fromm, “philosopher-psychiatrist” from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory:
“Our ‘increasing mental sickness’ may find expression in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are conspicuous and extremely distressing. But ‘let us beware,’ says Dr. Fromm, ‘of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend’…”
Interestingly, Tavistock-linked psychiatrist William Sargant, with whom Huxley had also come into close correspondence, had discussed in “Battle for the Mind” (1957) his intrigue in the “dancing mania” phenomenon that arose during the Black Death which caused a heightened suggestibility capable of causing a person to “embrace with equal force, reason and folly, good and evil, diminish the praise of virtue as well as the criminality of vice.” (5)
Sargant goes on to write:
“The Voodoo cult of Haiti shows with what ease suggestibility can be increased by subjecting the brain to severe physiological stresses. Voodoo has numerous deities, or loa…The loa are believed to descend and take possession of a person, usually while he or she is dancing to the drums…The ease of men and women who have ben worked up into a state of suggestibility by Voodoo drumming shows the power of such methods…[they] found it more and more easy to respond to the drums and the dancing, and…the sense of ‘being overwhelmed by a transcendent force…[this] softening-up process…made them suggestible to the most varied types of dogma.”
Sargant quotes Aldous Huxley from a special appendix to his “The Devils of Loudun” (considered Huxley’s best work by many modern critics today):
“No man, however, civilized, can listen for very long to African drumming, or Indian chanting…and retain intact his critical and self-conscious personality. It would be interesting to take a group of the most eminent philosophers from the best universities, shut them up in a hot room…and measure…the strength of their psychological resistance to the effects of rhythmic sound…Meanwhile, all we can safely predict is that, if exposed long enough to tom-toms and the singing, every one of our philosophers would end by capering and howling with the savages.”
“But we do also know that there are philosophers who are more easily converted to new behaviour patterns and new beliefs by means of solitary prayer, and fasting, or even by the use of drugs such as mescalin.”
Aldous had a very clear interest in how one could bring about a schizophrenic state chemically, also allowing for heightened suggestibility. Six years before writing “Brave New World Revisited,” in 1952, Huxley would arrange to meet a Dr. Humphrey Osmond who had just published a psychiatric study titled “A New Approach to Schizophrenia.”
Osmond, the man who would coin the term “psychedelic” meaning “mind-revealing,” had been working with mescaline and had asserted in his study that psychedelics produced a psychological state identical to schizophrenia. Osmond was studying mescaline for its chemical similarity to adenochrome, a substance produced in the body through the oxidation of adrenaline and linked to inducing schizophrenic traits.
In 1940, a doctor had noted that “the characteristic effect of mescaline is a molecular fragmentation of the entire personality.” (6)
It was Huxley’s experience taking mescaline in the presence of Dr. Humphrey Osmond in 1953 that would inspire his writing “The Doors of Perception,” considered the instruction manual for what started the counterculture movement.
Although many were appalled by Huxley’s detailed disclosure of his taking mescaline and linking it as a short-cut to passing through the door that would reveal to one the secret mysteries, yes even Aldous believed this himself, it is nothing surprising.
As already discussed in detail in Part 2, T.H. Huxley (Darwin’s bulldog) was considered an almost god-like figure in the Huxley household, with Aldous’ father focusing much of his work writing on the work of T.H. and Darwin. Aldous and Julian would be raised in this larger than human personality with the pressure that it was their calling to continue this legacy. Anything short would be considered a terrible failure.
In fact, the Victorian period of Aldous’ birth was a time of enormous interest in parapsychology. One of T.H. Huxley’s close associates on Darwinism, Alfred Russell Wallace, was among the new breed “scientifically” testing psychic powers, along with William Crookes, F. W. H. Myers and renown psychologist William James. Their efforts to develop rigorous tests of mediums, telepathy, and materializations led to the founding of the Society of Psychical Research, the Theosophical Society and their American branches. (7)
Small world isn’t it?
One of the “forbidden books” that were kept in Mustapha Mond’s library was “The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature” by William James, which is a study of private religious experiences and mysticism.
With T.H. Huxley having coined the term agnosticism (from Greek agnōstos, “unknowable”) meaning one can only claim to know anything through their direct sensory experience, Aldous owed it to his god-head grandfather to keep an ever “open mind.”
As Aldous was experiencing his first trip on mescaline in 1953, which was recorded for further study, Dr. Humphry Osmond asked him (8):
“So you think you know where madness lies?”
My [Aldous] answer was a convinced and heartfelt, “yes.”
“And you couldn’t control it?”
“No, I couldn’t control it.”
The Esalen Institute: The Human Potential Movement Meets the Tavistock Institute
“Welcome, this is the first manifestation of the Brave New World”
– spoken at the Human Be-In “A Gathering of Tribes” Jan. 1967 which is credited for launching the “Summer of Love”
At this historical “Gathering of the Tribes,” Lenore Kandel, American poet with the Beat Generation exclaimed “The Buddha will reach us all through love, not through doctrines not through teaching…And as I am looking at all of you, I feel more and more that Matreiya is not this time going to be born out of one physical body, but born out of all of us. It’s happening perhaps today. This is an invocation for Matreiya, may he come.” (video min 12:03)
The reader should take note, the very clear sharing of philosophy with that of Krishnamurti. That there should be no work for reaching the stage of “enlightenment,” rather it is simply to open oneself as an empty vessel and let the “universe,” or whatever is around, pour in.
This perversion of Indian philosophy was similar to the sleight of hand that had then been occurring in the Christian world guided by Jesuit theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a close friend to Aldous’ brother Julian Huxley)- whose concept of a trans-human noetic evolution guided by an oncoming “Christ consciousness” shared many parallels to this eastern variant.
Aldous was very much interested in the study of Christian mysticism which led to his writing “The Devils of Loudun” among other works.
“Christianity without tears – that’s what soma is.” (9)
This is also interesting in the context of Gerald Heard’s intellect having been “hewn by the Jesuits and by Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge” according to the author of “Huxley in Hollywood,” David King Dunaway.
The Human Be-In was organised as an LSD-25 event. It had a turnout of anywhere between 25,000 to 50,000 people. Free sandwiches were distributed laced with LSD and the “Summer of Love,” otherwise known as the first manifestation of the Brave New World, was born.
The reader should be aware, though it gets much much stranger, that The Grateful Dead were among the bands to play at this “Gathering of Tribes.” The Grateful Dead was and is regarded as the epitome band of the counterculture movement. Interestingly, Alan Trist, the son of Eric Trist (who is the founder of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations, the psychological warfare division of British Intelligence) is the one that put together the band.
In 1962, Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead lyricist, was among the volunteers for the renown anthropologist Gregory Bateson’s Palo Alto experiments using LSD, psilocybin and mescaline, for Stanford University. The research was covertly sponsored by the CIA in its MKULTRA program: other participants included Ken Kesey and Allen Ginsberg. Ken Kesey would become famous writing the book “One Flew of the Cuckoo’s Nest” on the relativity of madness in 1962, and would later form the Merry Pranksters in 1964, spreading bountiful, no questions asked, LSD to campuses across America.
Bateson, husband of renown cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, also played a prominent role in the curriculum of the Esalen Institute which had direct ties to the Tavistock Institute which we will see shortly.
There never was an organic impetus to organise a “Gathering of the Tribes”. Rather, it was micromanaged from the very start by Tavistock and the CIA, using the very techniques that the Frankfurt School, William Sargant and Aldous Huxley et al. very publicly discussed several years before.
Both Aldous and Gerald Heard played central roles in developing the Human Potential Movement (HPM) to which the Esalen Institute is recognised as officially launching.
The founders of the Esalen Institute, Richard Price and Michael Murphy, got the idea for Esalen’s core raisons d’être largely from Aldous’ lecture on “Human Potentialities” in 1960, at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. In this lecture, Huxley had challenged the budding students to figure out ways to tap into the full potential of humankind that had become latent over the centuries. In his lecture, Aldous discusses how it would be a good idea if an institution could launch a program to research methods for actualizing “human potentialities”, along the lines of his Brave New World, to be studied, evaluated, and put to use by society. Murphy and Price were enthralled.
In 1961, Murphy and Price would visit Gerald Heard who would continue where Aldous left off on the discussion of human potentialities.
The Esalen Institute, founded in 1962, held their first series of seminars, which they called “The Human Potentialities”. It included a seminar entitled “Drug Induced Mysticism”. The institute was staffed with LSD 25 researchers, and drugs circulated through-out the seminars. It launched what became known as “The Human Potential Movement”.
The idea was how to take hold of one’s self-evolution.
In 1956, psychiatrist R.D. Laing would train on a grant at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where he remained until 1964.
In a 1967 pamphlet published by the Esalen Institute titled “Where It’s At,” it is written on pg 38:
“Richard Price, co-founder of Esalen, is working with R.D. Laing of London’s Tavistock Clinic on a proposal to establish a Blowout Center at Big Sur, where a small, selected group of psychotics will be treated as persons on voyages of discovery and allowed to go through their psychoses. It appears that the nonparanoid, acute schizophrenic break is relatively short and is followed by a re-integrative process, so that the individual returns from his ‘trip’ with a higher IQ than at the beginning. We hope to find new ways to make such breaks valuable, function-heightening experiences.”
Thus, the inducing of schizophrenic breaks was considered a “function-heightening experience,” or so the poor sops were told. The key to reaching maximum human potential was through the induction of madness, the fragmentation of the mind through schizophrenic breaks, with the promise that one would have a higher IQ at the end of the whole affair.
Thus, whether you like it or not, the relevance of the Esalen Institute’s “revisioning of madness,” and Laing as the Crusader for the promotion of the clinically insane, needs to be acknowledged as having been entirely spear-headed by the Tavistock Institute, and clearly, not for our benefit.
The reality is that the revolutionary alternative to the practice of mainstream psychology, that was sold to the masses by cult figures like R.D. Laing, was entirely controlled and shaped by the Tavistock Institute, to which MKULTRA is a branch.
Thus, the Esalen Institute was also a continuation of the sort of horrifying psychiatric theories and practices that people were trying to escape from. It was like your psychiatric ward had just had a make-over and everything was expected to be different now since there were painted flowers on the wall.
This becomes very clear when one looks at the type of research that was being published and promoted by the Esalen Center for Theory and Research (CTR), such as the disturbing work of Lauretta Bender (who has links to MKULTRA) using LSD and electroshock therapy on hospitalized “disturbed children”, Dr. Ewen Cameron who worked with MKULTRA also using LSD and electroshock therapy on his patients, and whose victims later sued the CIA, B.F. Skinner known for his “modern operant conditioning chambers” aka “Skinner Box” which there is reason to believe has also been used on children which can be found promoted by the Esalen CTR here and here. Esalen did not even shy away from the infamous Dr. Evil Louis Joylon West who largely headed the MKULTRA torture project.
Notable past guest teachers and shapers of ideology and curriculum at the Esalen Institute, include: Gregory Bateson, Albert Hofmann (the creator of LSD at Sandoz Laboratories), Aldous Huxley, R.D. Laing, Abraham Maslow, Humphry Osmond, Fritz Perls (pioneer of NLP), Virginia Satir (pioneer of NLP), B.F. Skinner, Ken Kesey, Gary Snyder (one of the organisers of “A Gathering of Tribes), Arnold J. Toynbee and Alan Watts.
Virginia Satir would become the Director of Training for the Esalen Institute.
Aldous’ hypnopaedia concept is directly linked to neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which became a core research subject at the Esalen Institute. NLP focuses on how to increase suggestibility within an individual and a crowd, such that they can receive a desired message or belief. It had a lot of overlap with Skinner’s Box experiment, as well as William Sargant’s work.
Richard Bandler and John Grinder created neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in the 1970s. In 1975 they published a book titled “The Structure of Magic,” of which there are two volumes, intended to be a codification of the therapeutic techniques of Perls and Satir.
In the book, Bandler and Grinder claim that NLP has magic-like qualities which allow for an individual to change their model or map of “reality.” Since no objective reality exists, they assert, one can simply choose the form of reality one wishes to experience, the reality one wishes to embody. NLP techniques are used to change how an individual’s neuronal pathway responds or behaves in accordance to a specific stimulus. If enough change occurs, it is claimed that it can transform the entire personality, or create co-existing alternative personalities.
In “The Structure of Magic,” the NLP techniques are compared to “magical incantations,” and allows for a reframing of that individual’s world. The book includes chapters such as “Becoming a Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “The Final Incantation.” (Recall Alice Bailey’s book “Rays and the Initiations,” discussed earlier.)
In 2008, Bandler wrote “A Guide to TRANCE-formation.”
Steve Andreas, a student of Bandler and Grinder wrote “Virginia Satir: The Patterns of Her Magic.”
Needless to say, we can see how such techniques if effective, could be misused, not just on the masses but on the so-called “elite,” which Esalen clearly caters to.
Recall, even Aldous’ “Alpha Pluses” of the Brave New World needed a controller…there were only about twelve members of the Mustapha Mond status and then there was whatever was to be found past that veil. All the rest; the Deltas, Epsilons, Betas, Alphas and Alpha Pluses were all tightly controlled, micro-managed really, and were not free to escape from the existential parameters chosen for them. No one, not even an Alpha Plus, as seen with the case of Bernard Marx, were free to choose a different course than what had already been chosen for them.
Although there are positive applications of NLP which have helped many people, within the context of this Tavistock-driven process, NLP was/is literally an attempt to reprogram the mind as if it were a circuit board. [Note: Gregory Bateson was the Cybernetics guru at the Esalen Institute.]
Timothy Leary, at the time a young professor of psychology at Harvard who headed the Harvard Psilocybin Project (with Aldous Huxley on its founding board) from 1960-62 until he was fired, was recruited by Aldous to help shape the “Ultimate Revolution” and lead the charge of the counterculture insurgency, to which Leary described in his book “Flashbacks: A Personal and Cultural History of an Era,”:
“We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, good natured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.”
Leary would give the CIA full credit for starting and initiating “the entire consciousness movement, counterculture events of the 1960s” by flooding LSD into college campuses across the country and investing millions in LSD research programs. In the video, Leary looks like he is doing an ad campaign for the CIA, “buy their product, it worked for me”. (Leary would fittingly attempt to become a stand up comic in his washed up years, demoted from his prominent courtier status to that of a mere jester, if only people could have seen him for the fool he was much earlier.)
On PBS’s Late Night America, Timothy Leary commented:
“I’ve been an admirer of Aleister Crowley. I think that I’m carrying on much of the work that he started over a hundred years ago … He was in favor of finding yourself, and ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ under love. It was a very powerful statement. I’m sorry he isn’t around now to appreciate the glories he started.”
“Then you think there is no God?” [asked the Savage] “No, I think there quite probably is one.” [answered Mustapha Mond] “Then why [are you doing all of this]?…How does [God] manifest himself now?” [asked the Savage] “Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren’t there at all.” [answered Mustapha Mond] “That’s your fault.” [retorted the Savage] “Call it the fault of civilization.” [responded Mustapha Mond]
– Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”
(1) David King Dunaway, “Huxley in Hollywood,” 1989, pg 147
(2) Ibid, pg 159
(3) Ibid, pg 251
(4) Ibid, pg 328
(5) William Sargant “The Battle for the Mind”
(6) Huxley in Hollywood pg 325
(7) Ibid, pg 303
(8) Ibid, pg 335
(9) Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World”