Why I Am Skeptical of Timothy Leary’s SMI2LE Formula


Although you should be skeptical of any formula that claims to solve existence, here are some reasons to be wary of this one in particular.

While the influence and intelligence of Timothy Leary were incredibly important factors in progressive thinking in the 20th century, some of his works were painfully naive and unexamined. This is not even to mention his disheartening character flaws. Often his most misguided ideas tended to coincide with the scientific materialism which shaped most of his thinking. SMI2LE fails on that level, as well as on others.

Space Migration

From a non-materialist perspective, space is a fascinating phenomena. When not viewed as just a massive clockwork of interacting objects, other questions arise. Why do we have an experience of space at all? Why do those experiences change over time? Should we think of space as an object at all, or like margins in the narrative of our collective experience framework? Is there really an out there filled with objects, or is there just an out there filled with potential for unknown experiences? Are our observations of an out there really just the collective archetypes of our expectations, constantly evolving with new ‘discoveries’?

These are fascinating and perplexing questions that keep me up at night.

And yet even if I rejected the materialist view of space as a clockwork collection of interacting objects (which I do, because, well why not – nobody else is) – because our expectations have tended to view it as such, it may be possible to experience it as such. Even though it all began as an abstraction, space migration could become a thing. But should it?

Considering that consensus seems to suggest that we haven’t really learned to respect ourselves, others and this seeming-object in seeming-space called Earth, might we not want to focus our attention on that first? What will become of the out there if we use all of what we got going on in the here and now now to create it? Shouldn’t we learn to be in peace and harmony before we start taking using our existential baggage as a brush to paint the canvas of the unknown?

What of our minds? If everything out there is a projection of what is inside of our minds, wouldn’t that suggest that we have an infinitude of mind to explore without going anywhere? What new worlds might already lie in our minds if we just looked harder and began to ask questions about awareness and it’s experiences, rather than the objects of experience?

Then even if I am to concede to the view of space rendered by scientific materialism, haven’t we learned any lessons at all about the price of colonialism? What we have conquered and destroyed right here on this stage is regrettable enough, so do we really need to attempt it on the cosmic level? Who knows what dangers we might present to whatever or whoever we encounter out there?

I am not saying that we should not attempt to explore whatever out there is, and whatever might be in (or become of) it, but I would not have prioritized it as highly as Leary – or any of the super rich tech bros now working to realize his dreams. As Buckminister Fuller would have agreed, there are plenty of challenges right here on Spaceship Earth to keep us busy for a very long time.

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