The 1950s -- a decade defined by conformity, consumerism, and conservatism -- were coming to a close, and a new era of social, spiritual, sexual, and psychological revolution was beginning. By the end of the century, Americans would have a new outlook on religion and new ways of practicing medicine, and the Mind/Body/Spirit movement would make things like yoga, organic produce, and alternative medicine commonplace.
This is the story of how it all began. Three brilliant scholars and one ambitious undergrad -- widely known today as leaders in the fields of spirituality (Ram Dass), world religions (Huston Smith), hallucinogenics (Timothy Leary), and holistic medicine (Andrew Weil) -- came together in the winter of 1960-61 around the Harvard Psilocybin Project, an infamous series of experiments with psychedelic drugs. Seeking spiritual enlightenment, their research brought them together before bitterness and betrayal tore them apart, and as they forged their own paths and changed their own lives, they would also transform the culture of America.
The Harvard Psychedelic Club takes readers into the heart of the 1960s and back into this era of "peace, love, and joy." With cameos by some of the best known and most beloved cultural figures of the era -- including John Lennon, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey, Joan Baez, Keith Richards, and Aldous Huxley -- this book presents a comprehensive and compelling picture of a nation undergoing great and lasting change, and the four men who took us there.
Don Lattin is one of the nation's leading journalists covering alternative and mainstream religious movements and figures in America. He is the author of the upcoming book Jesus Freaks - A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge. He also wrote Following Our Bliss - How the Spiritual Ideals of the Sixties Shape Our Lives Today and is the co-author (with Richard Cimino) of Shopping for Faith - American Religion in the New Millennium.
His work has appeared in dozens of U.S. magazines and newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, where Lattin covered the religion beat for nearly two decades. He has also worked as a consultant and commentator for "Dateline NBC"; "PrimeTime Live" and "Good Morning America" on ABC Television; "American Morning" on CNN and "Religion and Ethics News Weekly" on PBS.
Lattin has taught religion writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, where he holds a degree in sociology. During the summer of 2007, Lattin worked as the story editor for "News21" at UC Berkeley.
Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (now known as Ram Dass) began researching psychedelics as part of the Harvard Psilocybin Project back in 1960. The university shut down the experiments in 1962 and the rest, as they say, is history. In this clip, author Don Lattin measures the impact of LSD and other psychedelics on today's society.
Don Lattin, author of The Harvard Psychedelic Club, recounts the involvement of author and physician Andrew Weil in the firing of Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass) from Harvard for researching and experimenting with psychedelics.
Oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. and widely considered one of the most prestigious. Founded in 1636 in Cambridge, Mass., it was named Harvard College for a Puritan minister, John Harvard (160738), who bequeathed to the school his books and half of his estate. It became a university with the establishment of the medical school in 1782. Schools of divinity and law were established in the early 19th century. Charles Eliot, during his long tenure as president (18691909), made Harvard an institution with national influence. Harvard has educated seven U.S. presidents, many Supreme Court justices, cabinet officers, and congressional leaders, dozens of major literary and intellectual figures, and numerous Nobel laureates. Its undergraduate school, Harvard College, contains about one-third of the total student body. Radcliffe College (1879) was a coordinate undergraduate women's college. From 1960 women graduated from both Harvard and Radcliffe, and in 1999 Radcliffe was absorbed by Harvard, the name surviving in the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard University also has graduate or professional schools of business, education, government, dentistry, architecture and landscape design, and public health. Among its affiliated research institutes are the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the Fogg Art Museum. Its Widener Library is one of the largest and most important libraries in the world.
Highly potent hallucinogenic drug. An organic compound, LSD can be derived from the alkaloids ergotamine and ergonovine, found in the ergot fungus, but most LSD is produced synthetically. It can block the action of the neurotransmitterserotonin and produces marked deviations from normal perceptions and behaviour lasting 810 hours or longer. Mood shifts, time and space distortions, and impulsive behaviour may progress to paranoia and aggression. Flashbacks to LSD-induced hallucinations can occur years later. LSD is not an approved drug, and no clinically valuable uses have been found for it.
I'm 27 and in high school I used alot of acid my junior year after i read a book on LSD. I knew that what i was taking was light years away in terms of purity and potency compared to the cid in the 60's. But i took it every weekend for a year(probably over 100 hits my junior year alone) and i honestly don't regret it. And i wish i could have been lucky enough to have the experiences and conscious lift that the fortunate ( yes, the dark side is always a reality of this whole movement and i question the true validity of Lsd as substitute for good old fashion meditation, study, and just plain old humble sober living) users with usually high IQ's to begin with got to include in their lives.