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

This book is the story of three brilliant scholars and one ambitious undergraduate who crossed paths at Harvard University in the winter of 1960-61, and how their experiences in a psychedelic drug research project transformed their lives and much of American culture in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s about the intersecting life stories of Timothy Leary, a research psychologist and proponent of enlightenment through LSD; Huston Smith, an MIT philosophy professor and widely read expert on the world’s religions; Richard Alpert, a Harvard psychology professor who traveled to India and returned as Ram Dass; and Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard Medical School graduate who became the nation’s best-known proponent of holistic health and natural foods. These men were all career-driven, linear-thinking intellectuals before their consciousness-expanding encounters with psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and other psychedelic drugs. After the ecstasy, they all turned from intellect to intuition, from mechanistic thinking to mysticism, from the scholarly to the spiritual, from the scientific to the shamanic. The men of the Harvard Psychedelic Club, each in his own way, changed the way Americans think, practice medicine, and view religion; that is, they changed nothing less than the way we look at mind, body, and spirit.

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