Born — October 22, 1920, Springfield, MA
—Only child in Irish Catholic home.
—Tim’s Father, also named Timothy, was a dentist, and left the family when Tim was 14.
—Graduated from a high school in Massachusetts.
—1938-1940 Became a cadet in U.S. Military at West Point, but was a trouble maker. He was shunned and silenced from fellow cadets. This led to court appearances where Timothy then resigned and honorably discharged from the Army.
—He had gone to numerous jails throughout his whole life(first time in 1965), with the above case he said the military trial was “the only fair trial I’ve had in a court of law.”
—1950 received doctorate in psychology from University of California Berkeley, becoming an assistant professor until 1955. During this time he developed a psychotherapy model (egalitarian model) for psychotherapist and patients.
—1959 Lecturer at Harvard University.
—1960 Leary tried psilocybin mushrooms for the first time, commenting afterwards:
“I learned more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than the preceding 15 years of studying and doing research in psychology.”
—In the following years he linked up with Richert Alpert – commonly known as Ram Dass, who was also a Harvard lecturer, studying and analyzing psilocybin’s effect on the brain. He concluded that psychedelics, under the guidance of psychologists/guides, in the right dose and good setting, could benefit people in ways that normal therapy couldn’t.
—1970 received a 10-year prison sentence. He had designed a psychological test for prisoners in the previous years, and he was given the test. That same year he answered all the right questions to put him in the most low-security prison possible, where he ended up escaping.
—He joined the Black Panther Party in Algeria after his escape – before one of the leaders of the Party attempted to hold him and his wife hostage. Tim and his wife left to Switzerland.
—Richard Nixon labeled Leary as “The most dangerous man in America”
—1973 After more traveling to escape getting caught, he was arrested and faced 95 years in prison, but ended up with a 15 year sentence, in Folson Prison, California, where his cell was beside Charles Manson’s cell. They couldn’t see each other but they conversed.
—Leary became an FBI informant to shorten his prison sentence, where he was released in 1976.
—Leary continued lecturing, debating, and writing the rest of his life.
Leary had an adventurous life to say the least, this is just a short outline of some of it.
—Multiple songs have been written about or for Leary, including John Lennon writing “Come Together” for Leary during Leary’s political pursuit.
—The Moody Blues wrote the song “Legend of a Mind” with the main lyrics being “Timothy Leary’s dead..No he’s on the outside looking in.” …Leary was still alive at this time.
—The Psychedelic Experience
—Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out
—Your Brain Is God
He wrote many others that can be found online.
Here’s a documentary from BBC on YouTube about Timothy Leary’s life, titled “The Man Who Turned On America”
Died — May 31, 1996, Beverly, CA
“Think for yourself and question authority.”
“Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.”
“Grow with the flow.”
“Any reality is an opinion-we make up our own reality.”
“I am 100 percent in favor of the intelligent use of drugs, and 1,000 percent against the thoughtless use of them, whether caffeine or LSD. And drugs are not central to my life.”
“If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you respond to people.”
Here is a related post about questioning your assumptions.
What’s your favorite Leary moment?