Online Interview with Timothy Leary


Organized by Caipirinha Productions at the Virtual Film Fest by Apple Computers at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival
Thursday, January 25nd at 8:30pm EST

Moderator: I’d like to welcome you, Dr. Timothy Leary.

Moderator: We wanted to ask you how the Internet has/is contributing to your recent work in expanding human consciousness.

T_Leary: It’s a great thrill for us here in L.A. to be on-line real time with our global friends in Utah.

Moderator: We tried very hard to be able to see you, but the technological barriers proved too much. Gremlins!

T_Leary: The telephone was first monopolized by governments and beaurocracies. A great leap! in human intelligence and communication. When the telephone was wired into private homes, the monopoly of the state was broken.

K_Martesko: Dr. Leary, May your words ring true across the globe as telephone monopolies are falling in Europe as well!

MAD_Rabbi: Dr. Leary, I have a message from Henry Eshelman. He’d like you to be his 1st guess on SALVO, a new political Web site. It’s from R Vision, the TAZ?Big gun guys. Let him know at:

T_Leary: Tell Henry, sure! I’d love to be on SALVO.

MAD_Rabbi: I’m sure he’ll be thrilled! I’ll tell him tonight!

Moderator: You said that governments monopolized new technologies to suppress their people. How different is the Internet and its peripheral phenomena?

T_Leary: The printing press popularized reading and writing. In the same way audio-visual communication has been monopolized by film studios and TV networks.

T_Leary: When the individual is linked by telephone-satellites to the world, a new language and a new society will develop. McLuhan called this the Global Village, and we’re doing it right now!

MAD_Rabbi: That’s why independent film is so important. Don’t you think so? To break the government/big business monopolies?

T_Leary: Yes, the monopolies are avoided when the first-grade classroom or the kids in front of their screens at home can create, distribute live-action.

MAD_Rabbi: Sort of like a video camera in every closet, and an ISDN in every den?

Moderator: Will the increased use of “personal information processing systems” increase the intelligence of society in general?

T_Leary: There is no SOCIETY IN GENERAL. We can now be as personal, individual, private on screen as we can be using the telephone. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated.

MAD_Rabbi: Liberty, justice and a T-1 for all!

K_Martesko: Dr. Leary, I have Suzanne Forlenza from Apple Computer sitting next to me and she would like to ask you the following:How has your personal computer changed your life and what is the most marked effect?

T_Leary: For 40 years, I have, with others, developed technologies to increase individuals’ intelligence.

MAD_Rabbi: Dr. Leary, do you feel any trepidation at the possibility that increased internet activity is limiting direct human physical contact?

T_Leary: Psychedelic drugs in the 60s and 70s empowered individuals to expand their consciousness. A new language was needed and that was the dress, the jargon, and the music of the rock ‘n’ roll generation.

T_Leary: Dear MAD Rabbi: I believe that digital communication will enhance, expand, explode human physical contact!

Moderator: In Synthetic Pleasures, I heard you say that we need to be in charge of our own consciousness. How much closer/farther are we now than we were in the 60s/70s?

T_Leary: We are doing it now. I don’t have to fly to Utah. By communicating digitally, we save tremendous energy and time that is needed to transport our bodies for the purposes of touchy-feely. This means the work is done digitally, saving time for the precious contacts.

MAD_Rabbi: I certainly hope so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a luddite.

T_Leary: Dear MMR: Note that we are having a fascinating inter-change. If we had the video going, I could see your charming smile and I could show you my masterful beard & mustache. At the same time exchanging tremendously important words and thoughts.

T_Leary: The next time you are in California, turn on – flip out and join us for a reunion celebration.

Moderator: Someone from our audience, who worked on “On Ice”, asks what your current plan on cryonics stands.

T_Leary: We are preparing a De-Animation Chamber (formerly bedroom) in my home. One wall is a giant screen so that in the last few minutes of my life I can be communicating with anyone tuned in. This may be the largest suicide party in galactic history! perform

Moderator: Can you reveal whether you have any concrete plans for re-animation?

T_Leary: The next room is filled with Re-Animation tools so that my body or brain can be frozen two minutes after I’m gone.

Sassafras: You seem to approach your death with such, dare I say, enthusiasm. Any words of wisdom for a friend of mine struggling with Lou Gehrig’s

T_Leary: Dear sassafras: to your friend. To immortilize, digitize! your great-great-grandkids can be interacting with you on their enormous screens.

Moderator: How will you broadcast your final minutes – is your current tech setup ample for worldwide distribution?

T_Leary: Dear Moderator: Absolutely!

Moderator: Dear Dr. Leary: How will we, the world, learn from your de-animation experience, as you stated? How will you continue to propagate your ideas and thoughts?

T_Leary: Come see our web site at: We’ll be waiting with our eyes-ears wide open to receive your signals.

K_Martesko: Dear Moderator can you please imbed a hypertext link to Dr. Leary’s Website. Thank You

Moderator: We’ll continue to check your site (didn’t succeed earlier today).

T_Leary: For the first time in history, anyone with a telephone line can witness my dying and methods for re-animation. Much will be learned from our mistakes. We are doing this with a sense of humor and humanism.

Moderator: For all participants: Here is the link to Dr. Leary’s site.

Moderator: After you leave, how much time would you like to pass before you return?

T_Leary: My only request to those who pull me out of the deep freeze for a second living theater — do not awake me during a Republican administration or if the Bill Gates clones are monopolizing the brain waves.

Moderator: Should I interpret that as optimism or pessimism for our near/far future?

MAD_Rabbi: Bill Gates gives me the willies, how about you?

T_Leary: My answers are now preceding the questions . . . Hooray!! Shall I send the answer for your next question?

Moderator: One final question then: as computer/Internet users, where should we be focussing our energies? Creating virtual worlds? Interactive movies and books? Programming?

T_Leary: The key words: Operate Your Brain! Maintain the attitude of silly intelligence. We are totally optimistic that counter-culture heroes like you guys and us cannot be stopped.

T_Leary: This has been an historic moment, for us at least. We are now popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate while munching on skillfully cooked cookies. We are in an open, vulnerable mood.

K_Martesko: Ah the sound of champagne……I wish I could join you and maybe one day I can! Ah I wonder what we have in those skillfully cooked cookies:-)

Moderator: What you have just told us now – have you made similar appeals to big computer and Internet-controlling companies?

T_Leary: No, we don’t need controlling companies. Throughout human history, counter-culture artists poets like us have used private personal tools to avoid Big Brother control.

Moderator: Yes, let’s not forget the earthly pleasures. Which brings me to my truly final question. Do you see the virtual worlds we are building being able to bring us new levels of ecstasy, sensual pleasures?

T_Leary: Intelligence is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Our digital caresses are simply foreplay to the great moments when we can meet either in person or with a non-fucked up video screen.

Moderator: Agreed. Let’s raise a cheer to that! And a hearty thanks to the original cyber-guru for participating with us.

MAD_Rabbi: L’chaim, cheers, Pip pip, bottoms up, and all that!

T_Leary: We feel very close to our Utah friends. here we are floating around in the new dimension – cheerfully confused and ready to move on.

Moderator: Before we part, are there any upcoming events of special importance on your website that we should know about?

T_Leary: Our web productions and musical comedies will be flashing on your screens in the nearest future.

T_Leary: High and Bye-Bye.

K_Martesko: I wanted to thank you once again for spending some time with us. All the best and look forward to meeting you in the future!

Moderator: Once again, thanks from everyone at our end – the Synthetic Pleasures team, the Virtual Film Festival, Apple and all participants.


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