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No Illusions
Jun 10, 1963
"Doc, this is it! This is what life is all about! We'll never live more than we are right now, this minute."

"Doc," a 42-year-old Harvard psychologist named Timothy Leary- listened attentively. His test subject was "high" on psilocybin, a mushroom derivative and one of the family of hallucinatory drugs along with LSD ( lysergic acid diethylamide ) and mescaline. Through such tests, Leary and his Harvard colleague, assistant professor Richard Alpert, pursued the ageless vision that drug-induced "insights" can be used to make men wiser, kinder, more creative.

Harvard and its president Nathan Pusey, however, thought otherwise. Ex ercising the power to discharge faculty members for "grave misconduct and neglect of duty" for the first time in a century, Harvard fired Leary and Alpert. The reason given for Alpert's dismissal was that he had reneged on a promise not to give hallueillatory drugs to undergraduates. But the real reason was that Alpert, like Leary, has become a propagandist for thc drugs. "Every American citizen has the right to use them to explore his own consciousness," he insists

Changes: Last year, the two psychologists established the incredibly named International Federation for Internal Freedom to foster transcendental living through drugs; the IFIF now maintains two Newton, Mass., homes for "communal living." Both men took the drugs themselves-Alpert says he has "had the drug experience" more than 100 times in three years. The sessions, he said last week, "led to very dramatic changes-I'm not a Harvard professor any more." Becoming serious, he added: "I now have increased openness with other people, and more creativity in dealing with intellectual problems."

But, according to Dr. David C. McClelland, head of Harvard's Department of Social Relations, the more drugs Leary and Alpert took. "the less they were interested in science."

Kaleidoscope: Actually, Leary's and Alpert's use of hallucinatory drugs is embarrassing to other researchers, who point out that LSD and related compounds are yielding important new information on how the mind works. The chief effect, University of Maryland psychiatrist Dr. Gerald Klee suggests in the current Archives of General Psychiatry, seems to be a stimulation of tht brain's sensory centers combined with a blocking of the areas that make sense of the information. The result is a kaleidoscope of stimuli assaulting a mind which has lost memorv, reasoning power, and time sense. In anyone who already has a poor grasp of reality, psychiatrists warn, the drugs may awaken latent psychotic tendencies.

The drugs are not habit-forming, but under new Federal regulations research on them must be approved bv the Food and Drug Administration. The deposed researchers apparently aren't even goi ng to apply; last week Leary was in the Mexican fishng village of Zihuatanejo near Acapulco where the IFIF has taken a 22-month lease on a hotel which can accommodate 52 people.

Leary Claims he has turned down "more than 100 people" who want to come to his utopia at $200 a month plus $6 for each hullcinatory "experience." The plan, he says, is to train "doctors and psychologists in administering LSD and other drugs in IFIF joy an happiness centers in the U.S."