Flashback Friday: Acid Dreams, Part Two

Behind the scenes of the first human be-in.
Flashback Friday: Acid Dreams, Part Two
Illustration by James Romberger

Few events have had a more profound impact in America than the spread of LSD. Authors Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain have compiled the definitive history of the psychedelic revolution in Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and The Sixties Rebellion (published by Grove Press). Last week, Lee and Shlain traced the arrival of LSD in San Francisco in Acid Dreams, Part One. In this week’s installment, originally published in May, 1986, an unlikely collection of psychedelic gurus, beat poets and left-wing politicos organize an event that draws immediate international attention to Haight-Ashbury. Within weeks, however, the fragile coalition created by the Be-In begins unraveling.


The First Human Be-In

As the Love Pageant Rally drew to a close and the crowd began to drift away from the Panhandle, the organizers of the stoned festival exulted in their achievement. That same evening members of the Oracle group gathered at the home of Michael Bowen to consider their next step. Bowen was a key personality within the Oracle clique and his studio served for a time as the office or the psychedelic tabloid. A painter with beatnik roofs, he spent much of his time depicting third eyes and occult symbols amid swirls of bright color.

When he wasn’t putting, the brush to an acid-influenced canvas, he acted, as a self-appointed liaison between the Oracle staff and various psychedelic and artistic luminaries such as Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Some years earlier Bowen had fallen under the singular and charismatic influence of a mysterious guru-type figure named John Starr Cooke. A man of wealth and influential family connections, Cooke was no stranger to high-level CIA personnel. His sister, Alice, to whom he was very close, was married to Roger Kent, a prominent figure in the California state Democratic party; Roger’s brother, Sherman Kent, was head of the CIA’s National Board of Estimates (an extremely powerful position) and served as CIA director Allen Dulles’ right-hand man during the Cold War. John Cooke hobnobbed with Sherman Kent at annual family reunions and is said to have made the acquaintance of a number of CIA operatives while traveling in Europe.

Driven by an avid interest in the occult, Cooke journeyed around the world befriending an assortment of mystics and spiritual teachers. In the early 1950s he became a close confidant to L. Ron Hubbard, the ex-navy officer who founded the Scientology organization. Cooke rose high in the ranks of the newly formed religious cult. (He was the first “clear” in America, meaning he had attained the level of an advanced Scientology initiate.) Before long, however, he grew disillusioned with Hubbard and they parted ways. A few years later, while living in Algiers, Cooke was stricken with polio which left him crippled and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Despite his physical disability he was revered by a Sufi sect in northern Africa as a great healer and a saint. Some of his admirers claimed he could activate shakti, or kundalini energy, and induce a blissful spinal seizure merely by touching people on the forehead.

By the early 1960s Cooke had moved back [to] California, where he immersed himself in an intensive study of the tarot. Word quickly spread through the West Coast occult circuit about an extraordinary psychic who possessed a tarot deck with the handwritten annotations of its previous owner, the infamous Aleister Crowley. Crowds of young people started to flock to Carmel to visit Cooke, and they were not disappointed. With a bald head, goatee, and piercing gray eyes, Cooke looked as though he belonged behind a crystal ball. Shortly after he participated in a series of “channeling” sessions, which resulted in the New Tarot Deck for the Aquarian Age, he had his first taste of LSD-25. Apparently he found the psychedelic to his liking, as he proceeded to drop acid nearly every day for a two-year period. According to one of his disciple-associates, Cooke was also something of a bacchant. At times his penchant for alcohol and acid left him drunk and crazed in his wheelchair.

While the Haight was in its heyday, Cooke was sequestered at a secluded outpost in Cuernavaca, Mexico (his home until he died in 1976), whence he directed a small but dedicated band of acid evangelists known as the Psychedelic Rangers. Michael Bowen was a member. At Cooke’s instruction a half-dozen Rangers were dispatched to various psychedelic hot spots in North America and Europe. Bowen went to Millbrook to try and influence the thinking of Leary’s clan and lure some of them back to Mexico where Cooke was leading seances while high on acid. Among those who visited the crippled psychic were Ralph Metzner, songwriter Leonard Cohen, Andrija Puharich, who conducted parapsychology and drug experiments for the US military in the late 1950s, and Seymour (“The Head”) Lazare, a wealthy business associate of William Mellon Hitchcock’s. Others who were drawn into Cooke’s “mandala,” as Bowen described it, included Freddie Klein, an acid chemist who ran a drug lab in Holland, and his chief European distributor, David Britain, who purportedly turned on former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Following Cooke’s “master plan,” the Psychedelic Rangers targeted selected individuals for high-dose LSD initiations. They employed 2,000 to 3,000 micrograms (100 to 250 micrograms is usually sufficient for a full-blown acid trip) during a single session in an effort to bring about a rapid and permanent transformation of psychological disposition. Bowen furnished acid to a number of well-known public figures, including comedian Dick Gregory and Jerry Rubin, the future Yippie leader. He also turned on certain journalists (among them a reporter for Life magazine) with the hope that they might see the Clear Light, as it were, and present a more favorable picture of LSD in the press.

Cooke and his Psychedelic Rangers believed that by spreading the LSD revelation they were helping to enlighten mankind. They fancied themselves cosmic Good Guys secretly battling the Forces of Darkness in an all-out struggle that would ultimately determine the destiny of the planet. Their world view was distinctly Manichaean: Eros versus Thanatos, the great mythic showdown, with history merely the echo of these titanic opposites locked in eternal conflict. In this respect their perceptions were akin to those of another group of psychedelic devotees who operated in secret while invoking a Manichaean demonology to justify their activities. Nourished by the dual specter of an all-powerful enemy (Communism) and a permanently threatened national security, the CIA assumed the role of America’s first line of defense. In its never-ending battle against the Red Menace the cult of intelligence utilized every weapon at its disposal, including covert LSD warfare.

In 1966 Michael Bowen settled in Haight-Ashbury, at the specific request of John Cooke. The two men communicated on a regular basis, keeping each other abreast of new developments within the burgeoning youth culture. When the Oracle people convened at Bowen’s pad after the Love Pageant Rally, he dutifully called his spiritual advisor to tell him what had transpired. During their conversation, according to Bowen, the plan for an even bigger event was conceived: a “Gathering of the Tribes,” a spiritual occasion of otherworldly dimensions that would raise the vibration of the entire planet. The Haight would host the Happening of happenings. It would be the first Human Be-In.

One of the main purposes of the Be-In, as formulated by Cooke, Bowen, and the rest of the Oracle crew, was to bring together cultural and political rebels who did not always see eye to eye on strategies for liberation. In effect the goal was to psychedelicize the radical left. Toward this end the organizers decided to include at least one representative of the Berkeley activist community among the list of invited speakers. Bowen suggested Jerry Rubin, leader of the Berkeley Vietnam Day protest, who was still a devoted Marxist although he had recently turned on to acid (evidence, according to Bowen, that the LSD reconditioning process was only partially successful). A permit was secured to hold the demonstration on the Polo Grounds of Golden Gate Park on January 14, 1967. Five different posters were printed to advertise the Be-In, including one with a picture of a Plains Indian on horseback holding an electric guitar. The posters appeared in shop windows, on Kiosks, and on coffeehouse bulletin boards. The Berkeley Barb, the Bay Area’s first underground newspaper, announced the event on the front page with a banner headline.

The publicity campaign was not solely directed at the radical and hip population. The organizers had their sights set on a much wider horizon. They wanted to send a message throughout the world that a new dawn was breaking and the time had come for all good men and women to abandon their exploitative posture toward the earth lest apocalypse spare them the task. Buoyed by their own interpretation of McLuhan, the Oracle group realized that in an age of instant communication any event could acquire worldwide significance with the proper press coverage. “We knew we had the tiger by the tail,” said Allen Cohen. “We knew that anything we did would attract the attention of the mass media.”

The Be-In was staged as much for the press corps and TV cameras as for the hip community. A few days prior to January 14, the organizers held a meeting with reporters. “For ten years,” declared a press release, “a new nation has grown inside the robot flesh of the old. Before your eyes a new free vital soul is reconnecting the living centers of the American Body…. Berkeley political activists and the love generation of the Haight-Ashbury will join together…to powwow, celebrate, and prophesy an epoch of liberation, love, peace, compassion, and unity of mankind….Hang your fear at the door and join the future. If you do not believe, please wipe your eyes and see.”

True to expectations, it was an unforgettable afternoon. Over twenty five thousand men, women, and children assembled around a makeshift stage at the edge of an open meadow. Gary Snyder opened the proceedings by blowing on a white-beaded conch shell. Beside him were other poets from the beatnik era—Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lenore Kandel—while a group of Hell’s Angels guarded the PA system. (Many Angels settled in the Haight, where they served as self-appointed protectors of the acid community.) Allen Ginsberg chanted OM and clinked his finger cymbals. Just two month earlier, in a “Public Solitude” address at a church in Boston, Ginsberg had proposed that every American in good health over the age of fourteen “try the chemical LSD at least once.. .that, if necessary, we have a mass emotional nervous breakdown in these States once and for all.” But there was no need to reiterate such remarks on this unseasonably warm winter day in San Francisco. The Be-In was a healing affair, a feast for the senses, with music, poetry, sunshine, bells, robes, talismans, incense, feathers, and flags. The smell of marijuana lingered over the park slope, and acid flowed like lemonade.

“Welcome,” said a calm, clear voice from the platform. “Welcome to the first manifestation of the Brave New World.” It was a rather ironic way of introducing the hip superstars who were about to address the crowd. Clad like a holy man in white pajamas, Timothy Leary teased the audience with one-liners such as “The only way out is in.” The High Priest of the psychedelic movement spoke of expanded consciousness as the “Fifth Freedom,” urging everyone to start their own religion—which was exactly what he and his Millbrook friends had done. Leary’s Be-In appearance was part of a barnstorming tour to promote his new group, the League for Spiritual Discovery. The League had only two commandments—“Thou shalt not alter the consciousness of thy fellow man” and “Thou shalt not prevent thy fellow man from altering his own consciousness.” A tireless proselytizer, Leary had presided over a series of “psychedelic religious celebrations” featuring dramatic re-enactments of the lives of the Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, etc. The purpose of these well-advertised, well-financed productions (one promoter called them the “best thing since vaudeville”) was to reproduce the effects of an acid trip without drugs. But Leary’s traveling light show was antique by Bay Area standards.

For some people Leary’s brief sermon at the Be-In marked the highlight of the afternoon. It didn’t matter that they had heard it all before; they accepted as gospel every word he’d uttered since he came out of the academic closet and turned into the Pied Piper of the acid generation. But others were not particularly impressed by Tim’s laconic manifesto. (“We could even tolerate him!” commented one Haight Ashbury resident in describing the community’s live-and-let-live attitude.) The Pope of Dope was trying to symbolize in rather outmoded ways a religious revival that defied traditional categories. After all, why invoke catechisms and commandments when the sheer fact of being alive in that corner of time and space was sufficiently intoxicating?

The Be-In was not organized to protest a specific government ordinance or policy. Thousands of people had come together to do nothing in particular, which in itself was quite something. They sat on the grass, shared food and wine, and marveled at how peaceful everyone was. There wasn’t even a single uniformed policeman around to spoil the party. At one point a man parachuted down from the sky within view of the gathering. A rumor spread that it was none other than Owsley, the premier acid chemist, descending upon the faithful in waves of billowing white silk. It was just another piece of instant mythos that characterized the day. As Michael McClure put it, “The Be-In was a blossom. It was a flower. It was out in the weather. It didn’t have all its petals. There were worms in the rose. It was perfect in its imperfections. It was what it was—and there had never been anything like it before.”

The Be-In was the culmination of everything that had been brewing in the Haight, and people were still buzzing from it weeks later. If LSD already had a reputation as a drug of peace and love, the Be-In swelled it to gigantic proportions. Those who basked in the afterglow of this “epochal event,” as Ginsberg referred to it, were convinced that acid constituted nothing less than a pharmacological key to world peace—not a peace negotiated through compromise and treaties, but a veritable “Glad State” based on mutual recognition of the supranational Godhead. If only President Johnson turned on to the “right stuff,” many an acidhead effused, surely the war in Vietnam would be over in a matter of days! Richard Alpert spoke as a true believer when he claimed that twenty five thousand freaks represented a political force. “In about seven or eight years,” he predicted, “the psychedelic population of the United States will be able to vote anybody into office they wanted to….Imagine what it would be like to have anybody in high political office with our understanding of the universe. I mean, let’s just imagine if Bobby Kennedy had a fully expanded consciousness. Just imagine him in his position, what he would be able to do.”

Even if one did not succumb to this kind of puerile thinking, it was hard to remain immune to the messianic fervor associated with the psychedelic upsurge. Juxtaposed with the grim realities of nine-to-five and the nuke, LSD seemed to herald an alternative, a new way of life. During the peak of an acid high one could wink at a turned-on sister or brother, who might also catch a glimpse of a happily-ever-after ending. Or beginning. No need to pin it down. No mix of words or meanings could recapture that overwhelming sense of promise. Such sentiments were immortalized in a stitch of drug-inspired prose by Hunter Thompson: “There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…. And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.”

The grandiosity generated by the Be-In was reinforced and exaggerated by the tremendous airplay the event received. Just as the organizers had intended, the Be-In attracted not only national but international notice. It marked the beginning of a concentrated media assault on the Haight-Ashbury. Soon it became the most overexposed neighborhood in the country as reporters from all over the world zeroed in on the psychedelic underground. Nearly every major American media outlet, including all the big TV networks, ran features on the hip community, and for a time it seemed that the rest of the country was mesmerized by this baffling lifestyle revolution. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen bestowed a new title on the cultural rebels, branding the whole lot “hippies.” Other descriptions, such as “flower children” and “love generation,” reeled off the presses and into the mainstream vocabulary, providing straight society with an assortment of ready-made labels to pin on an otherwise inscrutable phenomenon. Hippies became the Other, the very people “our parents warned us against,” and this negative definition quickly congealed into a national obsession. The public response was typically ambivalent; the flower children were variously treated as threats to public order or as harmless buffoons. Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, described a hippie as someone who “dresses like Tarzan, has hair like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.”

Yet for all the ridicule, there was something deeply disturbing about the youth subculture that begged for an explanation. Why had the sons and daughters of white middle-class America forsaken the affluent lifestyle of their parents? Why did they give up the plush, easy routine of the suburbs to crash in a crowded commune? And why did they blow their minds with dangerous drugs? A panoply of pundits offered interpretations as to what it all meant. To some the hippies were a barometer of a sick society, a warning to industrial civilization of its impending collapse. Others compared them to the early Christians because of their commitment to universal brotherhood and love for all mankind. A journalist from Time suggested that “in their independence of material possessions and their emphasis on peacefulness and honesty, hippies lead considerably more virtuous lives than the great majority of their fellow citizens.” (This was quite a switch from an earlier assessment by the same publication which dismissed the longhairs as utopian dreamers in search of a “zero-hour day and freakouts for all.”) More than a few commentators projected absurd hopes on the youthful dropouts, claiming that they were “the most significant development of the twentieth century, “the salvation of the Western world,” the incarnation of the gospel,” and so forth and so on. Indeed, it was possible for reporters, sociologists, educators, clergymen, or psychologists to find nearly anything they wanted in the Haight. And some of the hippies actually believed what was written about them.

The media coverage in the wake of the Be-In obscured the fact that the Oracle group failed to accomplish one of its major goals: the unification—if only on a symbolic level—of political radicals and psychedelic dropouts. If anything, the be-in tended to underscore the differences between the two camps. This tension was crystallized when Jerry Rubin addressed the mind-blown throng. His aggressive ranting about the danger of the war in Vietnam, and the greater danger of doing nothing to stop it, seemed out of context at the peaceful gathering, and the audience generally ignored his speech. Except for Ginsberg, no one else mentioned the bloodshed in Southeast Asia.

The apolitical tone of the event was disconcerting to New Left activists, who had once looked upon their hipster brethren as spiritual allies. The radicals disagreed with acid eaters who thought they could elevate the world simply by elevating themselves. This wistful notion was shared by hippies, dropouts, and others in the LSD subculture who believed that massive change would only come about when enough people expanded their consciousness. They rejected the possibility of revamping the social order through political activity, opting instead for a lifestyle that celebrated political disengagement.

Not surprisingly, hard-core politicos were critical of some of the more bizarre manifestations of the acid scene. In an article for Ramparts magazine, the leading left-wing monthly of the late 1960s, Warren Hinkle attacked the Haight-Ashbury community for its mindless mystagogy, druggy excess, and latent fascist tendencies. Veteran political organizers, however, were not about to ignore the hippie phenomenon. They saw masses of youth all across the country getting off on this vague peace-and-love kick, and they made efforts to lure them into the political camp. In the spring of 1967 antiwar activists in New York sponsored Flower Power Day; handbills for the event made it look like a be-in, and rock bands were scheduled to entertain the marchers. By this time signs of an emerging counterculture were everywhere: bell-bottoms, work shirts, beads, light shows, pot parties, transistors pulsing with acid rock. People started showing up at political meetings in costume, the style firmly hippiesque, and it became increasingly difficult to discern where protest ended and lifestyle began.

This interaction was certainly evident at the SDS national office in Chicago, where staff members lived and slept together in communal apartments. They shared drug experiences—mostly marijuana, but also LSD—that engendered a sense of closeness and unity. But even as they got stoned during their daily activities, the SDS staffers were always cognizant of the difference between changing their heads and changing the system. “The hip thing,” explained former SDS president Carl Oglesby, “was fundamentally a mass introspection, a drug-boosted look-in. The New Left, on the other hand, went out to the world from a set of shared moral perceptions about race, war, and imperialism; it was recreating a private moral judgment as a public political act. Of course, the hippie’s every instinct indisposed him to war and made him wholly eager to demonstrate this, provided someone else set the stage. But he was satisfied to act without strategic thought, without any sense of political plan, except that the more people who smoked grass, the better off the country would be.”

The leaders of SDS saw grass as a mild pleasure rather than a social panacea. LSD, however, was a bit more problematic. A strong dose of acid could dredge up all sorts of weirdness that had little to do with the world of Realpolitik; if anything, all the psychic debris was likely to be more distracting than stimulating when it came to questions of strategy and organization. Bob Dylan’s nightmare surrealism, so much admired by student radicals, was heavily influenced by psychedelics, and he withdrew from political protest during the peak of his acid phase to probe the tangled roots of the self. The Dylan saga was proof to some that drugs in general and acid in particular nurtured a privatistic tendency within the youth culture or perhaps that the ingrained privatism of American life insinuated itself in such a way as to use the chemical high for its own purposes. In either case, certain activists were concerned about the long-range implications of the drug scene.

A few days after the Be-In, the Oracle hosted a hip summit conference focusing on “the whole problem of whether to drop out or take over,” as philosopher Alan Watts put it. Watts was joined by Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Timothy Leary, who made no bones about where he stood on the issue. In his opinion the psychedelic and antiwar movements were completely incompatible. “The choice is between being rebellious and being religious,” he declared. “Don’t vote. Don’t politic. Don’t petition. You can’t do anything about America politically.” To Leary there was no real difference between capitalism and Communism, between Ronald Reagan and Fidel Castro; both were hung up on competitive power politics. And so were the student activists, whom he denigrated as “young men with menopausal minds.” Leary dismissed any action that did not emanate from an expanded consciousness as “robot behavior.” “People should not be allowed to talk politics,” he stated, “except on all fours.”

Watts cautioned against imposing a particular vision on the world, but Leary persisted. As far as he was concerned, the psychedelic subculture was the only game in town. Forget about civil rights and exploitation, forget about the war; dropping out was the revolution. “The first thing you have to do is completely detach yourself from anything inside the plastic, robot Establishment.” And then what? Leary envisioned the Haight as a launching pad for thousands of young people who would gallantly band together in small tribes and wander the United States and Western Europe, living off the fat of what he contemptuously called the unenlightened “mineral culture” (technological society). He preached his own version of lysergic Leninism—the nation-state would eventually wither away as more and more people turned on. (“Let the State Disintegrate” was one of his less successful slogans.) In the meantime the hippies would “stamp out reality,” as the famous button read, by loving the establishment to death.

Leary’s rap was such an affront to the radical community that at one point when he brought his traveling religious road show to the Bay Area, the editors of the Berkeley Barb urged antiwar activists to demonstrate against the acid guru. Even his ostensible allies were put off by his aggressively apolitical stance. Gary Snyder felt that dropping out could easily mean copping out, unless people cultivated techniques of self-sufficiency as a prerequisite to building a new social order. He did not want to reject those who made tremendous sacrifices for the cause of social justice, although he hoped they could be brought around to what he considered “a more profound vision of themselves and society.” That was where LSD might prove useful—to help broaden the very definition of politics and thereby enhance the historical vision of the New Left. Snyder understood that student radicalism and the psychedelic subculture derived from similar roots, and he tried to encourage a creative dialogue between the two.

The flower power ethos was in some sense an extension of the nonviolent pacifist ideology that dominated the early history of the New Left. During the mid-1960s the psychedelic underground plugged into the spiritual rhetoric of the civil rights movement, which had nothing to do with “expanded consciousness” per se. Although acid in and of itself does not imply a particular moral framework or political outlook, as a nonspecific catalyst of psychic and social processes (the two realms are intimately connected) it brings out “the flavors and ingredients of whatever happens to be cooking in the cultural stew,” as Michael Rossman put it. That LSD and the subculture it inspired came to be so closely associated with peace and love and tra-la-la was in no small part due to the prevailing leftwing political gestalt of passive resistance.

The rhetoric of nonviolent pacifism constituted only one aspect of the legacy that was passed along to the acid subculture. Members of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, SDS, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the radical youth wing of the civil rights movement, were trying to create alternative structures within which “the loving community” could flourish. This notion—which harked back to the Wobblies’ slogan a half-century earlier, “Forming the new society within the shell of the old”— became a moving force in the Haight. By early 1967 a number of thriving alternative institutions already existed in the psychedelic city-state: the Oracle, the Community Switchboard, the Hip job Coop, Happening House (a cooperative teaching venture), Radio Free Hashbury; in coming months the Free Medical Clinic would open its doors. Even the neighborhood merchants formed a business council, HIP (Haight Independent Proprietors). The idea of building a parallel society smack-dab in the belly of the beast held great appeal to many a shellshocked pacifist who’d grown weary of sit-ins, demonstrations, and police violence. For these people the futility of trying to reform the system was amply confirmed by the landslide election of Ronald Reagan as governor of California. They were ready for a different approach; rather than try to overhaul the social and economic structures of mass commercial society, they would simply try to outflank them.

By dropping out and joining the Haight-Ashbury scene, young people were not necessarily renouncing their commitment to social change. But they felt that the personal and the political could not be split into separate categories. Human liberation was something to be acted out because it was right on, a better way to live, rather than an item petitioned for during protest hour. If, as Charles Olson proposed, “the private is public, and the public is where we behave,” then the clearest political statement was how people chose to comport themselves on a daily basis. This premise informed the hip penumbra of the radical left, that widening sphere where culture and politics overlapped in ways both complementary and problematic. The Haight became a crucible of dynamic interchange as leftwing activists cross-fertilized with turned-on poets, drifters, artists, and dropouts who were refashioning themselves into living articulations of the struggle against bureaucracy. A hybrid army of young rebels was on the move: politicos loosened up and grew their hair long, antiwar posters appeared in psychedelic design, and demonstrations incorporated more colorful elements of music, dance, and absurdity.

The hippies, for their part, never completely deserted the peace movement, despite Leary’s proddings. At their best they represented an edge where the perspectives and tactics of the New Left were being transformed. Although there were important distinctions that placed the two groups at either end of the spectrum of dissent, the common ground they shared was significant. Both were expressions of the “Great Refusal,” and the existential project they embraced was essentially the same: the regeneration of personality. The cultural renaissance fueled by LSD was the force that broke the stranglehold of bourgeois morality and the Protestant work ethic. It provided the passionate underpinning for a lifestyle that existed on the far side of power politics. Above all it insisted upon a revolution that would not only destroy the political bonds that shackle and diminish us but would also, in the words of Antonin Artaud, “turn and face man, face the body of man himself, and decide once and for all to demand that he change.”

Next week: The Capitol of Forever. Excerpted from ACID DREAMS (Grove Press) ©1986 Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain. Featured illustration by James Romberger.

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