Timothy Leary, lecturer in Clinical Psychology, last night discussed the use of drugs which induce an expansion of experience. In a speech sponsored by the Harvard Humanists, he justified his experiments with psilocybin.
Consciousness, he said, is like a phonograph record on which the conceptual mind takes up only five or six grooves. The other grooves on the record can be reached by cultivation of "internal experience," he suggested.
The pantheistic tradition of the East supports such mystical experience, Leary observed, whereas Western habits of thought are more concerned with external action and manipulation of the environment. "I am convinced that the monotheistic tradition is dangerous."
"I am scared that we are moving towards an anthill civilation," he continued. "Unless the aim of life is experience, we are mere puppets playing out roles in complex games."
Life is becoming mechanical, Leary complained. He likened nutrition to "a game in which robots digest food," sex to "a game in which two rubber dolls sleep with each other."
Leary advocated the recognition of a "fifth Freedom, freedom of consciousness," to enable the individual to escape the artificial game relations of the external world and experience an internal rebirth. Psilocybin puts such rebirth a moment away, Leary said.
"The internal philosophy implies a new view of science," he added. "Orthodox science focuses on manipulation. There is another approach: coming to love the species we wish to understand."
Because such science deals with the non-conceptual, the researcher must often speak in metaphorical terms, he said.