The Secret of History

by phil on Sunday Aug 15, 2004 7:08 PM
Leary, Timothy

Below is a world-flipper of a quote in Timothy Leary's Autobiography

But first, some introductions...

Timothy Leary - Harvard psychologist who kick-started the psychedelic 60s by going around the country "turning on" the intellectual elite in the hopes of passing chemical wisdom into the mainstream.

Neal Cassady - inspiration for the Beat Movement, and friends with Jack Keroac, Ken Kesey, and Allen Ginsberg. You can read more about the Psychedelic 60s and more here

December 1960, Leary invites Cassady to his house to play with drugs. They are chatting it up, and Leary, a novice drug user (compared to Cassady), is describing his challenges.

Timothy Leary


We're doing our best. We've read everything that's been written in the last four thousand years on the subject.

Neal Cassady

responds in his habitual western accent:
You're cracking me up, man. There are no books written by scientists about ecstasy and cosmic orgasms. it's oral history and poetry. The history books are about meaningless public events like wars and elections and revolutions. (emphasis added) The only important things happen in the bodies and brains of individuals, you understand. That's the great secret of human life that scientists never talk about.

to which Timothy Leary responds, "Is that right."

(Page 52)

Man, that is great! It did a 180 on my perspective on the world.

Such an ugly chunk of my brain is devoted to imitating the gloom laden in the 24/hour news and history books. If you read history, if you watch the news, it feels like the world is this killer cannibal run by a cabal of sinisters. But really, I bike, I laugh with friends, eat good food every day, life is in general good.

The inner story is the ultimate story.

(cross-posted on futurehi)


Matt said on August 18, 2004 2:18 AM:

You have no idea how much I needed to read this at this particular moment of my life.

My father and I just recently got into the most horrific fight of our lives. Well, except for the time he punched me.

It had everything to do with father/son jealousy, but on its surface, it began as an argument about politics.

I should know better.

Creative Commons License