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Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius Paperback – June 1, 2003
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I did not know just how heavily the Sixties were influenced by ideas taken from writers of fantasy, science fiction, and occult literature. Imagine designing a commune based on novels written by persons who had never lived in communes themselves, who had no practical experience of them. Small wonder so many communes ran into trouble!
Shortly after reading the chapter on Carlos Castaneda ('The Teachings of Don Carlos') Amy Wallace published her memoir, 'Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda.'
Reading that book in conjunction with Lachman's book will be fascinating.
One large demerit I would assign to this book is that Mr. Lachman does not disclose what his own philosophical position is, which means the reader cannot take Mr. Lachman's biases into account.
My take is that Gary Lachman appears to be deeply sympathetic to Gurdjieff/Fourth Way work. There is nothing at all the matter with this, but if you're a practitioner of 'the Work', this will affect your perspective on spiritual and occult/magickal practice. If this is where an author is coming from, his or her readers deserve to know.
At the same time Lachman gave some very misleading information about Zen Buddhism, classifying it as an occult discipline, which in fact Zen is not. The radical thing about Zen is that it rejects all attempts to pursue or cultivate special powers or special states of mind, and considers these distractions that keep the ego busy spinning webs of illusion
In the academic world, it is standard practice for authors to tell the reader what their own stance is, so the reader can take author biases into account when reading their material. I wish Gary Lachman had been up front about his belief system.Read more ›
Lachman makes the most tenuous connections to build his argument. For example, Bobby Beausoleil wore a top hat (not unusual at the time). So did Mick Jagger on a concert tour. Therefore the Rolling Stones are connected with the Manson family. One use of the word "magic" is enough for him to label a writer as magical. He labels the Marxist philosopher Marcuse a Gnostic, who wanted to bring magic to politics. Lachman follows the common newspaper editorials of the day in equating student activism with Nazism. He also argues that occultism=Nazism and environmentalism=Nazism! He finds Anton LaVey's philosophy "revolting" although I doubt he knows anything about it. He supplies untruths, such as that LaVey had a "dope-smoking lion" and "often appeared in the buff" in girlie magazines.
The book has a British slant, although he is unaware the Picts were not fictional. Some terms will be unfamiliar to Americans. He is unaware California has a long history of religious cults, and never mentions Ravi Shankar in a discussion of the sitar. The first 200 pages are hard to get though, as it is a historical survey through books - who wrote what, and who turned who on. Writing about Jack Parsons, he uses the term "South Orange Grove Avenue" for his house at least 8 times in 10 pages, and "spit and image" for "spitting image", showing the need for an editor.Read more ›
First let me start with the negative. Lachman has a tendency of drowning his paragraphs with sentences. Long and wordy, sometimes, you as the reader, feel like you're getting lost in the shuffle of facts and narrations. You begin to notice several instances where Lachman could have alleviated the reader by breaking up the paragraph, but instead, he opted to slide from one event to the next in a single contraption. Lachman also has a tendency to produce relatively long sentences structured in a sometimes confusing way. Maybe he's spent too much time in England, or is so excited about his writing that he drones on in glee (which would be justified in this case), but a few more commas or semi-colons, and he would have reduced much of the strain on his audience.
With that said, let me just state one thing: if you are interested in the occult in any way, you must buy this book - more than that, you must READ this book. Lachman, despite my few complaints, manages to weave an intricate web of occult influence for an era that is dramatically affecting the youth of today. Turn Off Your Mind might be an account of the "mystic sixties," but every figure that he discusses holds great influence in the shaping of the youth of the modern era. This book is invaluable. At first - before reading this book - I was skeptical of Lachman because of quoted harsh words I had read of his reactions to Aleister Crowley. After reading his tome, I must say: harsh words indeed. Lachman doesn't pull a single punch.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In my late teens and early 20s, I became obsessed with mysticism. While I was never much good at meditation or ceremonial magic, and never had the guts to ask anyone for... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Cryptic Counselor
It is heavy on the shortcomings of the Flower Power Generation. Also, it is vague on where the fault lies. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Richard Dengrove
Despite most of the unfavorable reviews here, at the time that I read this book, it helped open my eyes to certain aspects of the occult that were not exactly healthy... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Anonymous
This book offers all kinds of different routes on investigation. rather than going really deep into any one topic, it looks broadly at occultism in the 60s as a whole. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jeff Suwak
loved this book. Great stories about the untold stories of California and the 60 sPublished 15 months ago by Cheryl Muller
As a child of the 60s , this incredible book really spoke to me. In pulling back the facade of that increasingly, superficial age, Lachman shows us the inanity of some of our most... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book for old hippies with interest in the sixties and the occult.Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer