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Birth of a Psychedelic Culture

Product no.: 978-090779138-6
Birth of a Psychedelic Culture, an extraordinary new book, shines a bright light on the emergence of the sixties culture and the experiments with mind-altering substances.

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Publisher's Synopsis

Based on a series of conversations between Metzner and Ram Dass and recorded by psychiatrist and author Gary Bravo, this book describes their initial experiments at Harvard, the experiments after they were dismissed from Harvard, their journeys to India and their reflections on that transformative era.

Luminaries who appear in this astonishing account include: Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, R.D. Laing, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson and William Burroughs, as well as many lesser known personalities. These include convicts, graduate students and Vedantist monks! In addition to reviewing the experiments, the conversations offer vividly-recalled descriptions of particular trips, with profound insights into the nature of hallucinogens and the role they can play in transcending social conditioning.


"Ram Dass, Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner dedicated their knowledge, passion and physical lives to a detailed study of human physio-psychology-spirit. This book shows how their rigorous use of scientific method, combined with courageous personal experience, astounded and educated millions."      ~John Allen, Inventor of Biosphere 2 Project

"Whatever else one might think of authority, it was not funny. But after one had rewired one’s self with LSD, authority – with its preening pomp, its affection for ridiculous rituals of office, its fulsome grandiloquence, and eventually, and sublimely, its tarantella around Mutually Assured Destruction – became hilarious to us and there wasn’t much we could do about it.

No matter how huge and fearsome the puppets, once one’s perceptions were wiped clean enough by the psychedelic solvent to behold their strings and the mechanical jerkiness of their behavior, it was hard to suppress the giggles. Though our hilarity has since been leavened with tragedy, loss, and a more appropriate sense of our own foolishness, we’re laughing still.

The book you’re about to read – and I recommend that you actually do – is a saga of holy heroism. The people you’ll meet in it were like the Lewis and Clark of the Mind. But it is also a cautionary tale and contained within it is a lot of the real reason that America had such a visceral immune reaction to our sudden, terrifying and transforming 'Otherness' in the middle of its consciousness."        ~Forewood, John Perry Barlow


Richard Alpert studied psychology and earned an M.A. from Wesleyan and a Ph.D. from Stanford. From 1958 to 1963, he taught and conducted research at the Department of Social Relations and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Alpert's explorations of human consciousness led him to conduct intensive research with LSD and other psychedelic elements, in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and others.

Because of the controversial nature of this research, both he and Leary were dismissed from Harvard in 1963. In 1967 he traveled to India where he met the spiritual teacher, Neem Karoli Baba. Under his guru's guidance, he studied yoga and meditation and received the name Ram Dass, or "servant of God." Since 1968, he has pursued a variety of spiritual practices, including Hinduism, karma, yoga and Sufism. His book Be Here Now brought him further into the public eye in 1971.

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. who has a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard University, has been involved in the study of transformations of consciousness ever since, as a graduate student, he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review.

Author Dass, Ram (Richard Alpert)
Coauthor Metzner, Ralph
Book Type Oversized Paperback
Page Count 240 pp.
Publisher Synergetic Press 2010
Browse these categories as well: Neoshamanism and Entheogenic Healing, Metaphysics, Mysticism and Initiation, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Inspirational Poetry, Prose and Sacred Art, Noteworthy Releases 2010

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