Tuesday, May 17 @Watkins – 5.30pm to 6.30pm (free entry)
A delightful new book, “Birth of A Psychedelic Culture,” tells the story of exciting discoveries in conscious expansion in the Sixties through a series of bravely honest and witty conversations between two pioneers, Ram Dass (then known as Richard Alpert) and Ralph Metzner, who have both continued to research and write about mind expansion and planetary awareness long after their initial LSD experiments were over. No understanding of the history of that decade 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.
A short talk will be followed by Q&A and book signing.
BIRTH OF A PSYCHEDELIC CULTURE shines a bright light on the exploratory culture of the time and experiments undertaken by Professors Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and, then-graduate student, Ralph Metzner. Based on a series of recent (2003 to 2005) conversations between the survivors of that distinguished trio, Metzner and Alpert, facilitated by psychiatrist/writer Gary Bravo, the book describes their initial experiments with mind-altering substances while at Harvard. It goes on to cover experiments they conducted after being dismissed from Harvard, their trips to India and their reflections looking back through time at all of the above. It is filled with intriguing photographs marking and illuminating the events brought to life through the text. Experiment advisors, supporters and participants who appear in the pages of this astonishing account include Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Arthur Koestler, William Burroughs and many other well-known personalities from that time period. No understanding of the history of the sixties would be complete without some grasp of the work of Leary, Alpert and Metzner, the backlash to their experiments and the way in which drug use became absorbed into society thereafter. Nor can any diligent attempt to study the spectrum of the human mind exclude what we have learned from them about the impact of psychedelic drugs.