Drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll – it seemed like such a good idea at the time, at least to some of us. But like most slogans (with the possible exception of giving peace a chance, which remains an option worth exploring), reality is more complex than comfortably rebellious-sounding formulas.
In his new book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America, Don Lattin, a former religion reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle (where we were colleagues) explores just how complicated life can be, even between those who see themselves as avatars of the future.
No mean sloganeer, Leary originated the phrase “tune in, turn on and drop out” at San Francisco’s Human Be-In in 1967. His message of walking away from the corporate rat race and finding better meaning through chemistry resonated with untold trippers, then and now.