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The Birth of 'New Age' America

Timothy Leary addresses the crowd at the "Human Be-In," which he helped organize, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Jan. 14, 1967. Leary told the crowd to "Turn on, Tune in and Drop out." (AP)

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Half a century ago this year — fall 1960 — psychologist Timothy Leary ate psilocybin mushrooms in Mexico and had what he would call “the deepest religious experience” of his life.

He came home to promote psychedelics as the path to revelation, revolution. Richard Nixon called him the most dangerous man in America. Much of the 1960s danced to his tune.

My guest today tells the remarkable story of how a tiny band of seekers and psychic explorers ended up changing the culture of a nation, and its very understanding of mind, body and spirit.

This hour, On Point: The psychedelic roots of New Age America.

Guest:

Don Lattin covered religion for the San Francisco Chronicle for two decades and is author of “Following Our Bliss: How the Spiritual Ideals of the Sixties Shape Our Lives Today.” His new book is “The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America.”

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

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Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

A legendary natural sound collector shares his recordings. We’ll listen in.

 
Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A deadly shooting on live TV. Wall Street’s roller coaster ride. Biden considers a White House bid. 10 years since Katrina.

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