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Design for Dying
As the fringe guru himself put it, "Mademoiselle Cancer moved in to share [his] body." But in the days before he died, Leary -- never one to miss an opportunity for a party -- used his approaching death to create an exuberant new vision of what dying can be. Optimism, courage, joy and spirituality were central to Leary's final days and his death. Design for Dying -- Leary' ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 9th 1997 by HarperOne
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Brave, poetic, crazy, inconsistent - just like the man himself. He wrote it as he was dying, discussing what death means today in the face of modern science. He speaks frankly about how he chose to die - not the choices everyone would make of course, but compelling. This is a great little book taking on a vital and challenging topic that usually either gets ignored or railroaded down conventional religious/moral tracks. More books should be written like. And better books have, but I haven't read ...more
May 10, 2020 Gareth added it
Leary will always be remembered as the high-priest of LSD - but he was so much more than that. A high-ranking academic Harvard psychologist, his first acquaintance with the drug was through legitimate, government funded psychological experiments, and it was only later that he broke ranks to join the growing counter-culture, famously advising people to "Tune in, turn on, drop out" of the authoritarian, capitalist death machine that he had up until that point been in service of. His autobiography ...more
This changed the way I view death and dying. I bought this because my father in law was making some choices about his own death. Total eye opener. We are taught to "fight death" until our dying breath, maybe in a hospital which is sheer denial. When faced with the inevitable, why not celebrate it, orchestrate it and manage it. If you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at your own funeral, this shows you how by throwing your own going away party. I had cancer and this booke stayed with me. I'll ...more
This book was a fun read. I enjoyed the historical people and places that made appearances in it. I enjoy Agatha Christie novels in part because they give you a glimpse into another time and place and This book also had that feel of getting a glimpse into the past. Fun, light hearted reading!
I learned a lot about this interesting man's life by getting this glimpse at his process for death. He was conscious and exuberant about his life, and maintained that attitude for his own death. His final acts sought to make it okay to talk about the choices and make them for yourself, rather than let death just happen to you.
Timothy Francis Leary was an American writer, psychologist, futurist, modern pioneer and advocate of psychedelic drug research and use, and one of the first people whose remains have been sent into space. An icon of 1960s counterculture, Leary is most famous as a proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD. He coined and popularized the catch phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out." ...more