“Legend of a Mind,” from the album In Search of the Lost Chord, was a song released in January 1968 by the British Band Moody Blues.  The song’s central theme was the life, drug experiments, and philosophy of Timothy Leary.  If you haven’t heard of Timothy Leary, from the Wikipedia article, he was an “American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Both studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university nonetheless because of the public controversy surrounding their research….Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry.”  The catch-phrase which Leary made most popular was, “Turn on, tune in, drop out."  In this phrase, he was encouraging people to experiment with drugs in order to expand their consciousness.  At the time, Leary was riding the crest of a cultural wave of experimentation in all things that would persist well into the 70s and 80s for most young Americans. 

In addition to the Leary quote, there was a common phrase that also rose out of the 60’s, and that was to “find yourself.”  It’s really the most elemental and perhaps the most important existentially-oriented question in the world.  Who am I?  Not only that but also why am I here in this life?  What is my purpose or destiny?  The experiments which Leary advocated became the cultural norm for young Americans and even Europeans as we tried all things chemical, sexual, spiritual, etc., which were on the fringe of acceptability, in search of the answers to those basic life questions.  Unfortunately, all these wild pursuits never produced any satisfying answers.   There’s an iconic scene in the movie Forest Gump which captures the insanity and emptiness of this American pursuit of meaning through experimentation.  In this particular scene, the female friend, Jenny, of the main character, Forest, stands on a balcony wall of a room high up on a tall building.  She is apparently contemplating suicide, the final leap from this life. 

She has experimented with everything possible, and at the end of it all, she finds nothing, no answers, no meaning, only emptiness and loneliness.   She did not find what she was after.  So she stands there for several tense minutes, as we hear the fast, furious, and high energy guitar solo of Allen Collins and Gary Rossington from  Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” playing in the background.  “Freebird” was essentially a song about the wanderlust, the “rambling” of Americans in search for themselves during that era, so it perfectly suits the scene.  And Robert Zemeckis, the director of Forest Gump, so perfectly captures in that scene the manic, chaotic, insanity of American youth in pursuit of meaning and only to reach the end of the line.  It was pure genius.  He had encapsulated the craziness of that era as we had sown to the wind, trying anything and everything which would make us feel alive and which would give us clues as to why we are here, but instead we “reaped the whirlwind” of out-of-control lives, empty and meaningless.

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that you would search for and find meaning in life in the only place you will find satisfactory answers:  with God.

 


Comments

The moral of that dead end search and the meaning of life is that we are note came here just to make ourselves rich and live happy life, there are many aspects which should be done from the teachings of last Prophet.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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