JOHN LILLY, SO FAR. . .: The Story of the Pioneer of Human-Dolphin Communication and Altered States of Consciousness by

JOHN LILLY, SO FAR. . .: The Story of the Pioneer of Human-Dolphin Communication and Altered States of Consciousness

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In case Lilly's previous three autobiographies (The Center of the Cyclone, 1971, The Dyadic Cyclone, 1976, and The Scientists: A Novel Autobiography, 1978) have left readers panting for more, here's an update on how the 74-year-old inventor of the isolation tank has weathered the chilly Eighties. It's been a heavy trip, but Lilly's phenomenal narcissism has helped shield America's gonzo scientist from professional criticism that would destroy lesser men. Born into an upper-class Catholic family, Lilly began his lifelong search for Reality by studying physics at Cal Tech and obtaining a medical degree, then throwing himself into a series of intellectual infatuations (including psychoanalysis, dolphin communications, isolation tanks, and consciousness expansion through psychedelic drugs), using his oft-maligned parents' money to buy his own labs and hire staff. Lilly was lucky enough to choose popular research areas at just the right time: isolation tanks and friendly dolphins made him famous. As the years passed, though, a lack of scientific objectivity, a dilettante's enthusiasm, and a marked tendency to overdo the drugs began to tell on Lilly, as did his compulsive series of marriages and divorces. The onset of the Eighties meant hard times for this self-described cosmic clown, and though Lilly--writing here with Jeffrey, his longtime research assistant--blames his research-funding difficulties on the ignorance of an unimaginative world, his accusations ring hollow. The old comrade of Timothy Leafy, Baba Ram Dass and Alan Watts lives out his golden years in California speaking at pro-dolphin rallies, hoping for ""a new companion, perhaps a wife,"" rambling on about angels, and, alas, thinking about continuing his story in a new book.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1989
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by St. Martin's