Timothy Leary as a Hero Essays

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The term “hero” brings to mind many ideas, many events, and many people. However, one face it generally fails to conjure is that of Timothy Leary. Dr. Leary managed to create a level of infamy few Americans have achieved since this country’s inception; he is the poster-child of the mind-altering hallucinogen LSD and has been labeled by many as the subversive leader of the counter-culture movement of the sixties. Not many people appreciate this great man’s long string of accomplishments, his devotion to scientific progress, or his cheery, irrepressible personality. It is a small circle of people indeed who would label this man a hero, but the truth is that Dr. Leary embodied the principles of courage, discovery, and benevolence, which none …show more content…
Unfortunately, the Establishment would not tolerate his dissenting opinions. While returning with his eighteen-year-old daughter from a trip to Mexico, border police found a small quantity of marijuana on her for which Dr. Leary quickly claimed responsibility. For possession of ten dollars worth of cannabis, Susan Leary received a sentence of five years imprisonment; Timothy Leary, thirty. Eventually, this sentence was overturned by the United States Supreme Court, but a later incident in which hashish and acid tabs were found on his person led him to inhabit a minimum security prison in San Luis Obispo to serve a ten-year sentence. This did not deter the psychologist, however. It was not long before he escaped the prison, dodging searchlights and escaping over barbed-wire fence. In vain he sought asylum in Switzerland, where he coincidentally met the discoverer of the chemical compound LSD-25, Dr. Albert Hoffman, but eventually President Nixon had him extradited back to the United States, where he served a prison sentence from 1972-76.

Timothy Leary was also quite certainly possessed by the muse of scientific innovation. After an unsuccessful military career at West Point, he eventually went on to develop an acute interest in the then-young study of psychology. In the mid-50’s, while teaching at Berkeley, he was appointed Director of Psychological Research at the Kaiser Foundation. His publication “The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality” was both

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