Re: Leary and LSD

Ron Silliman (
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 11:52:11 -0500

>The message here seems to place priority on the circumstances of use.
>I guess the question that I want to ask is whether people remember this
>message getting out to most users or if people remember Leary simply
>advocating unrestrained use, period?
>Mike Martin

Dear Mike,

Having both dealt & used in the mid-60s (and worked alongside Ralph
Metzner in the early 80s), my memory may be cloudy and biased, but in
the scenes I participated in during that period (Berkeley until '66,
followed by a year in the Haight, which I remember as definitely
unfriendly), Leary was looked upon very much as an uptight straight
who'd lucked into acid and felt some compulsive need to explain his
desire to get high. I remember that we used to compare him to Ev
Dirksen. I spent a morning with him about a decade later and revised
that opinion somewhat (which is not to say that it improved any, just
that it changed), but I think he was basically a patsy for the Mike
Wallaces of the world and played right into their hands. I know that
some serious souls took him much more deeply than that (the poet
Charles Olson for example), but to your basic street hippy he was just
an odd dude in a lab coat.

Ron Silliman