A very brief review of the life and work of neuroscientist, physician, psychoanalyst, inventor, animal rights activist and pioneer in dolphins, isolation tanks and psychedelics John C Lilly 1915-2001.

In Michael Starks (ed.), Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 by Michael Starks 662p (2016). Michael Starks. pp. 577-580 (2016)
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Abstract
Lilly was one of the greatest scientists and pioneers on the limits of human possibility but after his death a collective amnesia has descended and he is now almost forgotten. His Wiki is good but inevitably incomplete so here are a few missing details and viewpoints. Lilly was a generation (or more) ahead of his time. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the great interest in dolphins (which led to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the USA and helped to found the animal rights movement). In 1958 he noted that the brains of elephants and cetaceans were larger than ours, that we should not abuse them and that it was one our most important projects to communicate with them. He invented sensory isolation tanks (at NIMH in 1954) and used them extensively with and without powerful psychoactive drugs at a time when it was thought that either the brain would shut down or one would go insane if external stimuli were eliminated. He created methods for implanting electrodes in mammal brains and was planning to do it to himself. He was one of the first to make serious use of computers in bioscience research and created the hardware and software to make the first attempts to communicate with dolphins. He self experimented with dangerous physiological investigations in high altitude medicine for the military during WW2, took LSD with dolphins and movie stars, submitted himself to the rigors of various forms of yoga and of Arica training, and taught classes at Esalen. He was a computer pioneer who forsaw the rapid advances in A.I. and it's inevitable clash with humans. He was the first one to investigate the bizarre psychedelic ketamine (" vitamin K "), and his results (published in the two last chapters of his book `The Scientist`) are still the best data on the dose/effect relation of any psychedelic on one person. It cured his lifelong daily migraine headaches (see http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/UFOs/Gorightly.htm). And all this happened before most of us were born! He had courage, honesty and integrity that is rare anywhere and almost nonexistent in science. His goal was to find the ultimate truth about everything and he went about as far as anyone ever has. He had little patience with the stupid and hypocritical games one has to play to fit into monkey society. Of course the reaction of the establishment was predictable. He left the NIMH and was never given any government or academic support for the last 35 years of his life. His paper and comments at a conference on sensory deprivation were removed from the published version. He was not invited to government sponsored symposia on dolphins (he had refused to help develop them as weapons), though he clearly knew more about them than anyone in the world. He liked to live and work on the edge and few could keep up with him, as his books make clear. If you have read some of his other books it will be much easier going. He was a pioneer in consciousness research and pushed the boundaries of our understanding of who we are and what we might become. Among other things he catalogs the various states reached by drugs, meditation, and isolation, tries to determine their significance, and suggests how to use them. I very briefly review and comment on his life and work. Those interested in all my writings in their most recent versions may download from this site my e-book ‘Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks (2016)- Articles and Reviews 2006-2016’ by Michael Starks First Ed. 662p (2016). All of my papers and books have now been published in revised versions both in ebooks and in printed books. Talking Monkeys: Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071HVC7YP. The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071P1RP1B. Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711R5LGX
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