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Dying to Know 

Wednesday, Jul 8 2015

Gay Dillingham's documentary Dying To Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary follows the lives of the title's social revolutionaries together and apart, as they helped to found the counterculture and brought psychedelia and Eastern philosophies to the masses in the 1960s. A running theme is spiritual teacher Dass' homosexuality, which many readers of his 1971 classic Be Here Now are unaware of to this day, since it wasn't something he could openly discuss in the mainstream world or the still-quite-homophobic counterculture. Dying To Know also presents an evenhanded look at the rise of psilocybin ('shrooms) and LSD, including an animated representation of the first acid trip, when chemist Albert Hoffman accidentally dosed himself. (Narrator Robert Redford hilariously refers to this as Hoffman's "epic bike ride home.") Epic beard man Dr. Andrew Weil is also on hand to tell it like it is about psychedelic drugs, arguing for their long-overdue decriminalization, and hopefully Dying to Know will help to rehabilitate the image of hallucinogens from being just the domain of hippies and Burners. (Burners ruin everything.) Sadly, Leary comes across a bit dickish in his final meeting with Dass before Leary's 1996 death, particularly when Dass expresses affection, and one gets the sense that Leary never quite came to terms with his friend's queerness. Not everyone transcends.


About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


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