Re: Heads, Freaks, Timothy Leary and politics (multiple responses)

Wed, 4 Feb 1998 02:18:45 -0500


From: James Farrell <>
Subject: Re: Heads, Freaks, Timothy Leary and politics.


You may want to look at the chapter on "Countercultural Personalism" in my
*The Spirit of the Sixties* (Routledge 1997) I would suggest that, when
the personal became political--and that is what personalism was about--it
was no longer easy to think in either/or terms. Americans often think
that you have to vote to be political, and many hippies didn't vote. But,
even when it was trying to be apolitical, there was a politics of the
counterculture. If you're interested, there are some excerpts of the book
on the Web. YOu can get there from my homepage:


Jim Farrell
Professor of History
St. Olaf College


From: "Kevin Cole" <>
Subject: Re: Heads, Freaks, Timothy Leary and politics.

Hello Rebecca.

What sorts of documents have you been reading? From my very limited
perspective it seems a stretch to make a facile categorization of
Leary as 'apolitical.' Here's a clip from his bio at


Timothy Leary was many things to many people, and in fact he resisted
most attempts to categorise himself. He was fond of saying at these
times, "you get the Timothy Leary that you deserve." Overall it is
accurate to call him a philosopher and a scientist, whose underlying
motivations were human communication and understanding the mind.
(from the document at URL:


Anyhow it's way too easy to classify the behavior of large groups
based on the aphorisms of philosophers. I never self-identified as a
hippy, not sure that makes a difference one way or the other, but the
people I knew who did identify themselves that way changed a lot
between '65 and '70 and by 1970 they were the most political people on

Your final question: "...whether politics was a fundamental part of
the hippy culture, or was the Counterculture essentially a 'drop-out'
movement?" Eeek there's a fallacy embedded in this question somewhere
and I just can't enunciate it so late at night. Yes politics is a
fundamental part of all culture. Yes the counterculture seemed to
have a lot of "drop-out" in it, but dropping out in this sense is a
highly political (as well as personal) act.

Could you restate your thesis and ask again?

All the best.


Kevin C Cole
Comware Incorporated
Cole Consulting
Cincinnati, Ohio


From: Susan Brownmiller <>
Subject: Re: Heads, Freaks, Timothy Leary and politics.

To Rebecca Woolley:

Marty Jezer's book on Abbie Hoffman, published a couple of years ago,
attempts to synthesize the politico vs. hippie currents, as Abbie did
during his life. I'm sorry I don't have the exact cite.



From: Jonah Raskin <>
Subject: Re: Heads, Freaks, Timothy L

Reply to: RE>Heads, Freaks, Timothy Leary and politics.

Rebecca - Can I answer a question with a question? Could the
counterculture be both? How would you describe the British romantics
of the 19th century? Were they political or a political nature lovers?
Some it depends on how you are defining politics doesn't it? Is it
political if a black person wears his or her hair in a Afro, and
changes name to somebody X? Good luck. Jonah Raskin