On a side note my previous post reminds me of a literary event I attended when I was in college. The speaker was Timothy Leary and he narrated a short story called “The Night Sea Journey” by John Barth which was published in 1968.
On the surface it appears to be a story about fish and a metaphor for the journey of life. In reality it is the monologue of a sperm. The story deals with absurdism, existentialism and social Darwinism. The monologue describes the sperm’s desire to reach his goal and the inner drive that encompasses him on that journey. The irony is when he accomplishes his mission (fertilization of the egg) he dies.
I love the story. Leave it to Leary to use this story as a discussion point for presenting his philosophical point of view. For those of you that are younger than me, Timothy Leary was a psychologist who later in life did a lot of research on LSD. He also was heavily involved in the counterculture of the 60’s. Due to his influence, Richard Nixon described him as the most dangerous man in America. Leary had a huge impact on pop culture. There are numerous references to him in songs, including songs by the Beatles. In fact Leary once worked with John Lennon to write a theme song for his campaign for governor of California (which was interrupted by his prison sentence). The song “Come Together” was based on Leary’s theme for his campaign.
Leary had a very interesting and colorful life. When I heard him speak it was around 1978. He had just been released from prison in 1976 by governor Jerry Brown. After his release he became a lecturer “stand up philosopher.”
Wow that was quite a side note. Sorry about that. As you may have concluded I was highly influenced by the 60’s.