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Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary (2014)

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Dying to Know is an intimate portrait celebrating two very complex controversial characters in an epic friendship that shaped a generation. In the early 1960s Harvard psychology professors ... See full summary »





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Credited cast:
... Himself
Dean Chamberlain ... Himself
... Himself
Peggy Mellon Hitchcock ... Herself
... Himself (archive footage)
Zach Leary ... Himself
Ralph Metzner ... Himself
Chhultim Sherpa ... Herself (as Lama Tsultrim Allione)
Huston Smith ... Himself
... Himself


Dying to Know is an intimate portrait celebrating two very complex controversial characters in an epic friendship that shaped a generation. In the early 1960s Harvard psychology professors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert began probing the edges of consciousness through their experiments with psychedelics. Leary became the LSD guru, asking us to think for ourselves, igniting a global counter-cultural movement and landing in prison after Nixon called him 'the most dangerous man in America'. Alpert journeyed to the East becoming Ram Dass, a spiritual teacher for an entire generation who continues in his 80s teaching service through compassion. With interviews spanning 50 years the film invites us into the future encouraging us to ponder questions about life, drugs & the biggest mystery of all: death. Written by Anonymous

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26 August 2016 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Two men - one the heart, one the mind - of their times, and ours.
17 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

What starts off as a bit of a light trip, adorned in the most superficial of psychedelic and new- age imagery, ends up being a beautiful deep dig into the philosophy and psychology of death, as well as a fantastic history lesson that reminds us of just how simenal the work, minds and hearts of Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, both together and after they diverged, really were (or IS in the case of Ram Dass, who is still with us).

I discovered Ram Dass' "Be Here Now" on my mom's bookshelf when I was, I don't know, twelve or thirteen years old. I was a latchkey single-chid, a product of Reaganomics, I had a single parent who had to work her ass off to support us, so I was home alone a lot. That's when Ram Dass first came in to my life. "Be Here Now" was pictographic and I was already a huge fan of comic books. It was easy to understand but far from simple. It blew the top of my head open.

Eventually that started me down the path of discovering other "like-minded" minds. Alan Watts, Terrence McKinnon, Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan (whose "The Medium is the Message" was another pictographic work that rocked my brain) Anton Wilson, of course Timothy Leary, and on and on and on. All bricks in a road leading me to where I am today. A forty-five year old man who writes comic books for a living.

And in my life, ever since those early days of discovery, I've realized that I have been most happy in the moments when I remembered to embrace the mind of Leary, but the heart of Ram Dass. This movie did that for me. Reminded me. And so it seems impossible to review this film without getting personal, which is a victory of any work of art.

Right now I am so busy with my life. It's a good life, filled with authenticity, but I hate being this busy. When I'm too busy I forget all the things that make me who I am. I forget to meditate, stop exploring with psychotropics, do more "work" but feel less creative, etc. But then this morning this movie came along randomly. I saw it on a whim at a 10 am showing in Santa Monic, and was surprised to find Tim Leary's son, Zac, in attendance and willing to speak for a bit after. Finding it was a wonderful gift and a reminder of the kind of personalities I gravitated toward when I was just starting to try and figure things out.

I am a huge fan of the film "Fierce Grace". I feel it to be a masterpiece. Every time I watch it, it emotionally destroys me and rebuilds me. "Dying to Know" isn't that, but this movie is a genuine delivery mechanism for true emotion and deep contemplation, and it brought me to tears more than once (I cry easily). There's not really more that you can expect a movie to do.

So thanks to all who brought this project to my nieghborhood on a Sunday morning. I didn't even know how much I needed it.


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