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Book Title: Amazing Dope Tales|
ISBN 13: 9781579510107
The author of the book: Stephen Gaskin
Edition: Ronin Publishing
Date of issue: April 23rd 1999
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.73 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.3
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I grew up on the East Coast and went to college in the Midwest. It’s generally a good idea in college to spend a year overseas studying in France or Italy. It broadens you. Plus, you get immersed in a foreign language. I didn’t go overseas. I hitchhiked through San Francisco, stopping at Haight-Ashbury in 1967 and 1968. Broadened. Immersed in a new language. In 1970 after college I settled in San Francisco and heard good things about a white man guru named Stephen. (I also heard good things about a white man preacher named Jim Jones who had a church downtown – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) I went out by the Pacific Ocean to Stephen’s Monday Night Class, which was a weekly gathering of hundreds of wonderful open-minded people and a few schizophrenic nutcases, though sometimes it took a while to spot the difference.
Stephen was a truly inspirational figure. Some folks followed his every word to the point of almost worshiping him, which was kind of scary and not something he encouraged. Then they all took off in buses and landed in Tennessee, and stayed there. I couldn’t – and wouldn’t – go. But I admire them, Stephen and his flock. They were the best of what came out of the Haight. Jim Jones was the other side.
Amazing Dope Tales takes me right back. The language. The mindset. The innocent, hopeful quest for a better life, better society, better world. A better soul. To an outside observer, it can sound nutty:Sometimes we said that all the hippies left their bodies on Saturday night and went up in the air and came down in different people.
“I tripped yesterday.”
“Oh yeah? You get on?”
“Yeah, I got on.”
“Naw, I didn’t get off.”
“Too bad, man.”
There were hidden subtleties that people who took acid regularly shared as a lore among them, not as something out of a medical book or a textbook, but the real experiences from the street. Folks would say things like, “Well, I usually trip once a week because I can stand it if I trip once a week. If I went two weeks, I’d grow enough ego in two weeks that it would just devastate me, blow me to pieces. But, if I go a week between trips, and really yoga in between, it’s bearable, and I can stand it. I hate to skip a week.”
These were acid aphorisms. And acid aphorisms were tough.
But there’s a beauty behind it. A truth. Stephen writes:Thank God I’m a hippy.
It saved me.
That’s not a fanciful word.
As in prevented-from-being-a-total-waste.
Saved. Kept from being lost and useless.Amen, Stephen. Amen.
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Read information about the authorGaskin was born in Denver & served in the US Marines from 1952 to 1955. In the 1960s, he moved to San Francisco & taught English, creative writing & general semantics at San Francisco State College, where he was a student of S.I. Hayakawa. His writing class became an open discussion known as Monday Night Class, which involved up to 1500 students.
In 1970, Gaskin was part of a caravan of 60 vehicles that crossed the USA to settle 60 miles sw of Nashville, TN, forming a community called "The Farm", which the Wall Street Journal came to call "the General Motors of American Communes". This community was "a platform from which to launch efforts to improve the lot of poor & indigenous peoples, whales & old growth trees" For example, raising 1,200 earthquake-resistant homes in Guatemala as well as several public buildings & water lines to 5 villages, sending independent dosimetry teams after the Three Mile Island accident & the Chernobyl disaster, or giving the Rainbow Warrior equipment to scape a Spanish harbor.
He went to prison in 1974 for marijuana possession, as he had planted several marijuana plants with other members of The Farm. He served one year of a three-year sentence. While in prison, a class action suit on his behalf returned voting rights to more than a quarter of a million convicts.
In Volume One: Sunday Morning Services on the Farm & earlier talks, Gaskin produced a substantial body of spiritual teaching. His ideas are now contained in books & tapes of the Services which were published by the Farm. They speak of magic, energy & life in community as well as of service to humanity.
Gaskin was recipient of the first Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) in 1980 & an inductee into the Counterculture Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded the Golden Bolt Award by The Farm Motor Pool (for helping buy a lemon semi), & won the Guru-Off (without even entering), racking up 77 points to Krishnamurti’s 73.
Gaskin works as an international activist & speaker. He continues to write. His topics range from advice on all aspects of communal life & farming to CB radio, the counter-culture, spirituality, drug law reform & socio- spiritual issues. He was a drummer in The Farm Band, an early Jam Band which toured in the seventies & eighties. His most recent books are revised & annotated versions of Monday Night Class & The Caravan.
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