Timothy Leary

Knowledge of human stages allows us to smile at the hunter-gatherers in our society who expect welfare checks and are great at running and jumping; to tolerate the passionate, dramatic rhetoric of Mideastern midgrainers; to comfort domesticated parents worrying about their kids; to support advanced brain computer-electronic wizards who have activated brain circuits ahead of ours. The answer to all human problems is to recognize your genetic stage...(Leary, 2003: 89).

Timothy Leary was a Harvard psychologist, psychological theorist, and '60s pioneer of entheogen use in the United States.

Despite Leary's extensive experience with Crown Activators (i.e., entheogens) his psychological theories were materialist and profoundly reductionistic. Perhaps caught up in the materialist culture of Old World sciences, Leary attributed even the deepest mystical and consciousness expanding experiences to either changes in the core functioning of the brain (Leary, 1988: 3) or "communications" with an intelligent, extraterrestrial DNA with teleological designs for the human life form (Leary, 2004: 89).

The Big Questions

Timothy Leary's personal use of entheogens, which opened his Crown Chakra, led him to propose extremely popular (particularly amongst the elites of this world) explanations for The Big Questions like Where did I come from? and What is our Purpose?. Leary's abortive attempt to access the higher spiritual realities is a textbook case of the difficulties of properly channeling information into this world. According to Leary, in his book Musings on Human Metamorphoses, life on this planet originated as a result of a Panspermiac fertilization (see Panspermia) of this earth with alien DNA in some sort of alien experiment. The goal of this fertilization was to evolve organisms smart enough to "escape from the doomed planet" in order to "contact manifestations of the same amino-acid seeding that evolved in other solar systems. (Leary,2003: 15). According to Leary, the purpose of life is to move west and up and evolve until we're big enough to leave the womb and go visit our parents. In this bizarre fantasy, the earth (Gaia) is seen as a disposable womb where alien "seed" is planted and matures according to a "get smarter" and faster logic that, many centuries later, runs its course by destroying the planet but producing golden progeny. This golden progeny then, after totally destroying the planet in their penile evolutionary drive, abandon the mother (and those who do not make the evolutionary cut) to death or whatever.

Versions of this ancient esoteric story have found their way into 3D thinking everywhere. Neil Young's song Goldrush is a classic example, but if you look beneath the shallow surface, you will find that this, what we might call, "dirty little secret" of esoteric literature, has penetrated into every esoteric and exoteric nook and cranny of this planet.

What is most fascinating to me about Leary's image is its unapologetically patriarchal, abusive, disconnected, and ethnocentric version of cosmic creation. Impersonal parents dismissively seeding a planet and letting the offspring "make or break" is a brutally primitive and patriarchal view of the process of creation. Not only does it fly in the face of current psychological theory, which demonstrates quite clearly that higher evolutionary outcomes require attention, nurturing, and loving involvement of the parents with the child, but is uniquely lacking in sentiment and compassion. When answering the question of whether there might be some sort of "'cosmic abortion' of 'larvals' that simply didn't get to the point where they could migrate off the planet," Leary's response was to say that Gaia is fool-proof. "The future is fearful and gloomy only if you are committed to the current social structure." Presumably, the future looks bright for those golden seeds who will be transported off the planet before ecological and technological disaster render it unfit for human habitation. If you are committed to the old, and therefore part of an abortive evolutionary pathway, no sympathy is forthcoming. In fact, those who protest are seen as obsolete whiners...

This leads to continual accusations of treason and betrayal from frightened members of the old gene pools. My poor, dear Mother didn't understand the very different future into which I was carrying her seed. (Leary, 2003: 117)

...who do not deserve a second glance, much less compassion and assistance.

Some will protest that human intelligence and resources should be used to solve agonizing terrestrial problems of unequal distribution. These protests, however sincere, are historically wrong and genetically futile.

Leary's vision is also profoundly ethnocentric, even racist. Leary postulates migration from the bowels of the earth (i.e., Africa), through the hive/insectoid cultures of the Middle East, then to Europe, and finally to California as indicative of the DNA prerogative. When you "face East," he explains, "you are peering down into the past where our gene-pool came from" (Leary, 2003: 77-79). According to Leary (2003: 77-83) this past moved up from the bowels of Africa through the unsuccessful right-hand European countries all the way up into the "left-hand" north-west countries (the left-most being the U.S.A presumably). Not even bothering to countenance the dark continent, Leary explains we should, "Think of evolution as an ascent--literally a climb, a series of intelligence tests....From the Mid-East midbrain there are two pathways. The Arabs took the easiest, the southern route, and slid off along the low road. Insectoid armies oozing from the east...The high-road North was a ladder to be scaled..." where the "European gene-pool sent its best fertile stock." (p.83) while the African continent "...fail[ed] to produce mobility-freedom gene pools" (p. 82).

As the reader may be intimating at this point, Leary's answer to the Big Questions is, in addition to being profoundly racist, also profoundly elitist. Arguing for the splashing of "elite sperm-eggs" up into the western-European beach[es]." (Leary, 2003: 78), Leary points the finger at the white European elite as the most advanced examples of DNA's prerogative

Only a society of self-actualized families, democratically linked together, was capable of pushing gene-pools into the storm altitudes of the North Atlantic. (Leary, 2003: 79. Italics added)

There is hope though for all you paleolithic primitives. You can "de-robotize" if only you...

...migrate to ecological niches where the genetically selected intelligence increasers [sic] are found. If you are an emerging butterfly, locate the members of your species and hang out with them.

Of course, being in America isn't a final solution either because

Fifty percent of Americans are basically paleolithic and believe in repetitious magic. If you gave the "average American" total political power, s/he'd act like Idi Amin." (p. 85).

Leary is confident that ultimately space travel will allow those who are successful in realizing the "will of DNA" to exit this planet and move somewhere suitably homogeneous. The hive will be left on planet earth.

In the end, Leary's dogma is little more the compassionless justification of the elite status quo and the global hegemony and interference of the U.S. superpower. If there is inequality, says Leary, if there is a ruling class, if some are poor and suffer, it's all good. It's all part of the "genetic plan." Rule over others is the natural outcome of the "strategy of DNA" "Although the average American is a paleolithic caveman...the society is happily run by castes more advanced that that. Why? Because the more advanced levels are smarter..." (Leary, 2003: 122).

In closing his book, Leary, in classic old world double speak, justifies his lack of compassion by saying it is, in fact, the height of compassion.

I intend to sound cold-blooded and impersonal and inhuman. The paradox is this: Your compassion, empathy, and identification with any other form of life depends entirely upon your neurogenetic ability to maintain this evolutionary perspective. You have to be ultimately inhuman--post-human--to have a shred of intelligent compassion for...other human beings. (Leary, 2003: 124)


Leary's theories of Religious Experience, the expansion of consciousness, and the use of entheogens in order to help rewire and evolve the brain (1988; 2003) reductionist in the fullest sense of the world. In 1964 Leary advances the hypothesis that "those aspects of the psychedelic experience which subjects report to be ineffable and ecstatically religious involve a direct awareness of the processes which physicists and biochemists and neurologists measure." (1964: 330). This reduction is defended in his 1964 with a rather weak appeal to the similarity between psychedelic experiences and neural and biological process, and is carried to bizarre lengths in Leary (2003) where Leary, in order to subsume some of the more advanced insights of psychedelic tripping, and in order to protect his hypothesis that psychedelic experiences can be explained by reference to material processes, argues for a teleological and supra-consciousness role for our genetic material. In this regard Leary could be considered a Naive Materialist holding on to materialist explanations past the point where they have any hope of reasonably accounting for the phenomenon of consciousness.

It my hypothesis that the phenomenon that Leary observed is best explained by reference to a spiritual reality that underpins the material world and from which the material world emerges. See (2006) for details and also consult my information on The Fabric of Consciousness and Crown Activating technologies in the appropriate sections of this wikibook.

See Also

Game Theory


Leary, Timothy (1964). The Religious Experience: Its Production and Interpretation. Psychedelic Review. 3: 324-346. http://www.maps.org/psychedelicreview/v1n3/013324lea.pdf

Leary, (1988). Change Your Brain. CA: Ronin.

Leary, Timothy (2003). Musings on Human Metamorphoses. Oakland, CA: Ronin Publishing.

Sharp, Michael (2006 est.). The Book of the Triumph pf Spirit. Avatar Publications. http://www.avatarpublications.com

Sharp, Michael (2009 est.). The Book of Magic. Avatar Publications. http://www.avatarpublications.com