Timothy Leary's Aesthetic Movement: The Beatnik Movement

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In the years following the dramatic events of the Second World War, America went through several social upheavals. The first change came when GI’s returned from the battlefield, wanting to go back to the normal life they had previously upheld. This need for a return to traditional gender and societal roles led to an appraisal of mass conformism and to make matters worse, a new suburban class was on the rise. Around the same time, literary and cultural activists broke the mold of rampant conformism and corroborated their talents to form a new movement, the Beatnik movement. The Beatnik, or Beat movement, characterized by rejection of tradition and materialism, preceded and foreshadowed yet another movement with the same main ideals, but a much …show more content…
After its brief period in the spotlight, its philosophical ideals continued to challenge American minds. During its inception the counterculture rallied around one man, a Harvard professor turned psychedelic guru named Timothy Leary. Leary’s high minded ideals and crowd-pleasing personality led him to become one of the main faces of the movement, and helped its other personalities develop their own ideals as well. Thus, it can be said that Timothy Leary’s explorations with psychedelic drugs led him to encounters with notable figures of sixties’ counterculture, creating a series of exchanges where radical philosophical and progressive ideas were introduced into American …show more content…
Psilocybe mushrooms, the consumption of which produce psychotropic effects brought on by tryptamines like psilocybin, were the first hallucinogenic consumed by Timothy Leary and his friends at Harvard, and later became the subject of many psychological trials by him and his colleagues. Leary’s first explorations into the world of psychedelic drugs opened his mind to infinite possibilities and concepts, which would be put to use in his meeting of important minds throughout the 60’s and 70’s as well as in his transference of knowledge to a young generation of rebellious Americans. Leary defended the use of psychedelics very early on in his autobiography, stating “use of them is ultimately a philosophical enterprise, compelling us to confront the nature of reality and the nature of our fragile, subjective belief systems” (Leary 33). For Leary, in the summer of 1960, the confronting had only just

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