Podcast 303 – “The Arrest and Imprisonment of Dr. Timothy Leary”

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Guest speaker: Joanna Harcourt-Smith


[NOTE: All quotations are by Joanna Harcourt-Smith.]

“In my childhood, and in those [wealthy] circles, I never encountered compassion. If I ever encountered compassion it was from someone who was serving these people. And I wondered why that is. And this man said to me, ‘Well, you see, the very, very rich have to kill compassion in their children. Every child is born innately compassionate, but they have to kill compassion in their children so that they don’t give it [great wealth] away.’ I mean, how could we own most of what is if we had compassion?”

“Human beings have a right to change their consciousness, and it is unconscionable and absolutely wrong for any government or any person to stand in the way of someone choosing to change their consciousness.”

“Once the System has you in their clutches there are no laws.”

“A lot of times myth is stronger than reality. The mythological story endures. The personal story doesn’t really make it, and some people are myths in their own lifetimes. Timothy Leary is one of these people.”


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  1. Babaluma Said,

    March 25, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    Great, I can’t wait to listen to this one Lorenzo! I’ve recently just finished Brian Barritt’s autobiography, “The Road Of Excess”, which deals mainly with the time Tim was in Europe on the run, and ends just as he is caught and extradited with Joanna Harcourt-Smith. Brian was a British consciousness explorer and a close friend of Tim’s who co-wrote “Confessions Of A Hope Fiend” and was also involved in the German Kosmische Music scene and the later British rave scene. He unfortunately died last year. He deserves to be better known and I’d love to hear you mention him in a future podcast! There’s a great two part radio/podcast about Brian and his life available here: http://radiojoy.co.uk/blog/2011/01/

    RIP Brian, Tim and all the other Cosmic Couriers!!!

  2. mic Said,

    March 25, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    she attributes ‘early morning rain’ to bob dylan, but it’s a gordon lightfoot song.

  3. EU Said,

    March 26, 2012 @ 9:17 am

    Dear LoHag,

    Relax! IMO, you won’t be any less popular for not keeping up on your growing mountain ranges of correspondence.This only shows your online endeavor is growing and maturing. Such a decision may serve to focus even more attention on you and your work, which is highly valued by me and lots more people you’ll never know. Your honesty about the motives behind these matters is one of the reasons I keep hanging out here.

    This weeks Harcourt-Smith/Leary material was smart, layered and honest. When the time comes for the makers of Mad Men to kack out some tawdry crap about the Sixties Revolution, at least they won’yt have the excuse that they had no good source material. It’s right here on the Psychedelic Salon, everywhere, all the time.

  4. fun-da-mental Said,

    March 28, 2012 @ 7:21 am

    What a most interesting interview with Lady Joanna!
    And I hope, there will be a sequel to it; wonder how long Leary cooperated with the FBI…

    Joanna is now interviewing other fascinating people, for example here with the enchanting Bradford Keeney:

    Keep on the fabulous work Lorenzo! (Even without ready emails anymore 🙂

  5. Revlin John Said,

    March 31, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    Incredible testimony! The is by the far the deepest, most insightful narrative about Timothy Leary that I’ve ever heard, including any of the podcasts with Tim himself that you’ve played here, Lorenzo. I definitely will check out Joanna’s book. Thanks for this great cast.

    Stay High,

    P.S. If anyone is looking for more great Timothy Leary clips, I highly recommend Timothy Leary’s Last Trip and How To Operate Your Brain. More great stuff in the Leary Archive, of course.

  6. Paul Said,

    April 2, 2012 @ 3:32 am

    Riveting interview. What a story.

    And so sad…..

  7. Jack Mayhoff Said,

    April 2, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    The entire time I was listening to this interview all I could think about was the fact she sent her young child away so she could get f*cked up everyday on LSD with a man she just met.

    And then to wrap up the interview she admits to becoming a federal informant to help bust other people in the counter culture. Who know how many lives she helped ruin? It doesn’t matter if she did it for a good cause…..there is no lower creature than an informant that rats on those that trusted them to save either own skin. And the fact that Tim Leary put her up to it made me lose what little respect I had for the man left.

    They both came off as a vile and selfish human beings to me. I began to feel nauseous half way through the interview and had to stop and come back to it later.