Serendipity & Relationships (Talking Points Episode 5)

Episode Synopsis

In the 5th webisode, author and cultural icon Joanna Harcourt-Smith, host of the Future Primitive podcast, explores relationships, her history with Timothy Leary in her new book, and serendipity.

Guest Bio

Joanna was born high up in the Swiss mountains on a snowy January evening. She grew up in Paris and speaks 5 languages. School was boring but her curiosity about life was not extinguished by the dullness of the education system. Nature was her teacher, trees, horses, dogs and the ocean gave her a sense of belonging that she did not feel within her birth family.

Joanna turned fourteen in 1960, she was in love with Marlon Brando and Rock and Roll. During her adolescence she was torn between a desire to die and an intense love of life. Because she felt lost between despair and passion she wrote poetry and continues to do so up to this day. During the early 1960s she lived in Spain and wrote “The Little Green Book” an answer to Mao Tse Tong’s “Little Red Book”. The Book was published in 4 languages and widely sold in France, the Netherlands, England and Germany.

In 1968 moved by the music of the times and the spirit of revolution sweeping through her generation she emigrated to the United States. Her exploration of mind liberating substances led her to find Dr. Timothy Leary who was a fugitive from prison in the US. They became in love and were kidnapped by American authorities in Afghanistan and returned to California where Timothy Leary went back to prison to serve a sentence of possession of 00.1 grams of marijuana. During TL’s three and a half years in prison Joanna worked tirelessly to secure his release, she lived in San Francisco where she collaborated, published and distributed the 6 books he wrote in prison. In addition, Joanna traveled to England, Italy and across the United states lecturing about the imprisonment of Dr. Leary.

In 1977 Timothy and Joanna’s love affair came to an end after he was released from prison. She then went down to the Caribbean and bough a magnificent wooden sail boat named Kentra. For several years she lived on her boat and sailed around the islands attempting to heal her broken heart. In 1983 she returned to the United States, surrendered herself into the path of life long sobriety and became a celebrated chef in Philadelphia and Santa Fe.

She practices Buddhism and the elusive way of loving kindness and compassion mainly for herself and for others around her. Joanna’s great question in life is “What is true Kindness?”

New Book

Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary is a scathingly honest and breathless autobiographical memoir by Joanna Harcourt-Smith, the British Jet-Set “hippie heiress” scapegoat for Timothy Leary, the Harvard psychologist “Pied Piper” of the Sixties generation. Between 1972 and 1977, Joanna was his lover and voice to the outside world while he was in prison for three-and-a-half of those years. Tripping the Bardo is a missing piece of the Sixties puzzle. Joanna Harcourt-Smith knows. As an eyewitness, she was right at the heart of it. From the Rolling Stones and Andy Warhol to the relentless FBI harassment of the political Left, Tripping the Bardo moves at the fast pace of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll that the Sixties were known for.

Synchronicity vs Serendipity?

Serendipity is finding something unexpected and useful while searching for something else entirely. For instance, the discovery of the antibacterial properties of penicillin by Alexander Fleming is often said to have been serendipitous, because he was merely cleaning up his laboratory when he discovered that the Penicillium mold had contaminated one of his old experiments (it should be realized, however, that Fleming had been researching common substances for several years in the hopes of discovering antibacterial properties, and thus was prepared to understand what he was seeing).

Synchronicity is a word coined by the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung to describe the temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events. It was a principle that he felt compassed his concept of the collective unconscious, in that it was descriptive of a governing dynamic that underlay the whole of human experience and history—social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidence were due not merely to chance, but instead potentially reflected the manifestation of coincident events or circumstances consequent to this governing dynamic. – Wikipedia

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