Timothy Leary’s floatation tank has been put up for auction on eBay by MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS are the world’s greatest sponsor of research in to psychedelics, currently funding countless much needed research programs that government budgets won’t touch with a barge pole. Leary was the controversial Harvard psychologist responsible for much initial research in to LSD and Psilocybin, he is remembered for such timeless catchphrases as “turn on, tune in, drop out”, “set and setting”, and “think for yourself and question authority”. Leary was branded by Nixon as “the most dangerous man in America” and during the 60’s and 70’s was held captive in 29 different prisons around the world. The inventor of the floatation tank, John C. Lilly gave the floation tank to Leary as a gift when he heard that Leary was dying of cancer. Leary sadly passed awat on May 31st, 1996. The tank is now being auctioned to raise money for future psychedelic research.
The BBC have an excellent biopic of the amazing story of Timothy Leary, it’s well worth kicking back for. The documentary tells the story of Leary’s most famous experiments including a project to use Psilocybin to reform convicts and experiments demonstrating the clear effect of Psilocybin on spirituality. Leary’s autobiography reports an experiment in which LSD was given to 300 professors, graduate students, writers and philosophers and 75 percent of the test subjects reported the experience as one of the most educational and revealing experiences of their lives. The film also documents Leary’s troubled relationship with the law, in 1965 Leary overturned his conviction for posession of cannabis in the US Supreme Court. In 1968, Leary was arrested again, for the posession of two cannabis roaches; this earned Leary a twenty year prison sentence due to his status as a cultural icon. When jailed, Leary was given a standard psychological test battery that it just happened he himself had devised. Leary used his knowledge to answer the Leary Interpersonal Behavior Test with answers that led his guards to believe he was a conformist who could be locked up in a minimum security prison. Leary escaped jail by climing out along telephone lines before going on the run to Algeria. Leary was later captured and returned to jail where he continued to write. He was eventually released and lived the rest of his life as one of the most outspoken proponents of the value of psychedelics.
If you happen to have a spare twenty grand you might just be able to grab yourself the tank and the following portrait for good measure. If you don’t, you can help fund the continuation of Leary’s ideas through a donation to MAPS on their website.Follow Simon on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, RSS, or join the mailing list.
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