“Timothy Leary’s Trip Thru Time” - an interview with RU Sirius, biographer of the psychedelic guru - ImmortalLife.info

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“Timothy Leary’s Trip Thru Time” - an interview with RU Sirius, biographer of the psychedelic guru

Posted: Tue, May 21, 2013 | By: Culture

RU Sirius - acclaimed journalist of alternative culture - is a deep admirer of Timothy Leary, the multi-faceted catalyst of the 1960’s revolution. Sirius recently published a biography of his mentor, entitled, Timothy Leary’s Trip Thru Time; it’s available with perfect binding HERE or you can download the e-book for free HERE

ImmortalLife.info highly recommends reading the book. We contacted RU Sirius via email and he answered a handful of questions:

ImmortalLife.info:  Timothy Leary was a follower of life extension - he planned to live thousands of years…?  What was his daily exercise?  What was his diet?

RU SIrius: Timothy had no daily regiment and ate whatever he pleased.  He had good genes and was overoptimistic about the speed of technological development, to put it mildly.  He looked 20 years younger than he was until around the time the ‘80s turned into the ‘90s.  He may have already had cancer at that point or the suicide of his daughter may have taken a toll.  It was really sort of like a Pictures of Dorian Gray scenario. 

I don’t think he was all that hung up on his own preservation, towards the end. It was more the idea that death was a limitation and trying to defeat it was a taboo.

That Mary Pinchot murder is very interesting. Can you elaborate?  Its sounds like she was giving JFK acid, he was tripping out and planning to change US policies, so the FBI snuffed him?  More details would be wonderful.

In his autobiography, Flashbacks, Timothy wrote about being visited by the woman, Mary Pinchot, who was part of a group of women who were determined to turn on very powerful men in Washington D.C. to LSD. One of the men was her lover, who remained nameless. According to Tim, the women thought they could open the men’s minds to more peaceful and generous politics.  He supplied her with LSD and advice on how to run a session and she reported that it was working. Her lover took LSD and it was having the sorts of results she’d hoped for.  

To make a long story short, soon after the assassination of JFK, Leary got a call from Mary Pinchot saying “They couldn’t control him. He was changing to fast.” At that moment, Leary realized that she was talking about President Kennedy.  Not long after the Kennedy assassination, Mary Pinchot was shot in Washington D.C. and, it’s generally accepted that her diary was impounded and destroyed by CIA operatives.   (In one particular piece of gossip, one of Mary’s gal pals seduced Fidel Castro and opened up a line of communication between Castro and Bobby Kennedy.  Some reasonably credible journalists have written about secret peace discussions between Bobby Kennedy and Castro.)

I always wondered if Timothy made this story up to sell books. In 1998, a book about Mary Pinchot-Meyer  (unknown to Timothy, she had been married to — and divorced from — a major CIA figure, Cord Meyer) by Nina Burleigh confirmed that Mary and JFK had an affair; that they had smoked pot together several times; that she was also friendly with Timothy Leary; and that she, herself, used LSD.

All of this is pretty much already in my book.  There are some further details in a book called Mary’s Mosaic, although the author may be excessively conspiracy minded.

Timothy Leary seems to have had a succession of very young and beautiful wives and lovers. you met him, so what was his charm?  His sexual charisma?  what made him so irresistible?

Well, he was handsome and famous.  He was also extremely charismatic, when he was on. His 1960s wife Rosemary said something to the effect that he was the only man she met who wasn’t boring. 

He wanted to be known as a top philosopher of the 20th century… Can you give me a brief list of his accomplishments that merit him with this title?  thanks.  Also, he seems like a “futurist” predicting this and that - can you discuss that a bit?

The philosophical merits and futurist merits are tightly coupled. There’s a stream of what we might call hedonic futurism (hello David Pearce!) that runs through his stuff starting in the 1960s, in which he explores the possibility that humans might be evolving upward from a life largely defined by biological survival struggles to a sort of rapturous and ludic state in which we have biological, molecular and maybe even quantum abilities to remake ourselves and perhaps the universe and everything.  

His insights into ordinary human behaviors conflated with a lot of what came up in evolutionary biology, but with perhaps a greater respect for neurodiversity.  He also expanded on McLuhanistic observations about how media technologies define cultural and political tendencies. He did this particularly in the ‘80s and ‘90s, in light of the rise of the digital.  Some of that stuff is painted in very broad strokes and may look better in a few decades than it looks right now, as we struggle with the complexities of chaotic change.   He wasn’t always big on the ugly details or the downside of stuff.

Can you talk about how Timothy Leary influenced you and tie it in to your other book coming out… the Steal the Singularity?  We love that title!

I was very influenced by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson in the 1970s.  I would probably be a struggling resentful boho in upstate New York who hates contemporary life if not for their books.  Instead, I became interested in science and technology as it relates to consciousness and antiauthoritarianism and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I started the magazine that would become MONDO 2000.  And now I’m a struggling, less-resentful boho in Northern California who has had some pretty amazing experiences. 

Steal This Singularity, of course, plays with the signature attitude of another counterculture hero, Abbie Hoffman and proposes that the wild potentials for the future shouldn’t be owned and controlled by financial and/or political plutocracies. In a way it’s a shocked response to the astonishing number of contemporary thinkers who just somehow can’t think of what to do with people once they’re no longer required by institutions that would exchange currency for their time and efforts. There are people who can imagine The Singularity but can’t imagine a free lunch.  They should be dipped in acid… the benign sort, of course.

RU is also tweeting on behalf of the Leary Estate:  TimothyLearyFutique@TimothyLeary8 




“I was very influenced by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson in the 1970s.”

I read some of their writings in the late 1970’s as well. But then I put away childish things when I realized that druggies suck as “futurists.” And I can see the coming of the “Timothy who? Robert who?” era.

I mean, how can anyone take Leary and Wilson seriously in the real 21st Century, after reading their predictions back in the 1970’s that we would live on space colonies and become “immortal” by now, a delusion of “the future” shared by their buddy F.M. Esfandiary (FM-2030)? How has that “immortality” worked out for these guys lately?

I just find it ironic that aging transhumanists, who talk a good game about becoming “immortal,” apparently lack the cognitive plasticity to allow for the possibility that the writers they considered so visionary, bleeding edge and cool in their youth just may not age with them all that well and continue to appeal to younger people. Leary and Wilson might have found a receptive audience in a brief historical window, but their “insights,” if you could call them that, don’t speak to the ages.

By Mark Plus on May 22, 2013 at 10:06am

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