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Reading Questions:

1. Why was the CIA experimenting with LSD? Why was Timothy Leary experimenting with psilocybin and LSD? How did their experimental methods differ, and what kinds of ethical or professional concerns did each set of research methods present? What potential benefits did Leary see in hallucinogens, and how did these compare with the CIA’s ideas about these drugs? After reading about Leary’s psilocybin experiments, are you at all persuaded by his perspective?

2. Why did counterculture icon Ken Kesey and the hippies (also known as “freaks” and “heads”) turn their backs on the political movement and methods of Leftist activists like Jerry Rubin and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)? What methods did this latter group of activists employ to fight the status quo? And in what sense did LSD (as a “deconditioning” tool) offer the counterculture an alternative response to the disaffection and alienation that many Baby Boomers feltduring the Sixties? With which group’s ideas and strategies do you sympathize more, the student activists or the hippie counterculture?

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