The life and high times of Timothy Leary
The life and high times of Timothy Leary.
Issue of 2006-06-26
The good Lord—or maybe it was natural selection, but, when you look at the outcome, how plausible is that, really?—gave us, in addition to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, the fantastic variety of fungi with which we share this awesome planet: yeasts, rusts, mildews, mushrooms, and molds. Among them is ergot, a fungus that destroys cereal grasses, particularly rye, and that, when eaten, can cause hallucinations. Ergot is the natural source of lysergic acid, from which lysergic acid diethylamide is readily synthesized—LSD. What purpose, divine or adaptive, this substance might serve was once the subject of a learned debate that engaged scientists, government officials, psychiatrists, intellectuals, and a few gold-plated egomaniacs. Timothy Leary was one of the egomaniacs.( Collapse )