Podcast 193 – Alan Watts & friends “The Houseboat Summit – 1967″


Guest speakers: Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Allen Cohen


“The Houseboat Summit” was held in February 1967, and has been documented in several places on the Web. In addition to the quotes below, which are from this podcast, you can read a more complete transcript of this historic meeting here.

“I think that, thus far, the genius of this kind of underground that we’re talking about is that it has no leadership.”Alan Watts

“What we need to realize is that there can be, shall we say, a movement, a stirring among people, which can be organically designed instead of politically designed.”Alan Watts

“My historical reading of the situation is that these great monolithic empires developed, Rome, Turkey, and so forth, and they always break down when enough people, and it’s always the young, the creative, and minority groups drop out and go back to a tribal form.” Timothy Leary

“Our educational system in its entirety does nothing to give us any kind of material competence. In other words, we don’t learn how to cook, how to make clothes, how to build houses, how to make love, or to do any of the absolutely fundamental things of life.” -Alan Watts

“That society is strong and viable which recognizes its own provisionality.”

“And so when the essential idea of love is lost there comes talk of fidelity. Actually, the only possible basis for two beings, male and female, to relate to each other is to grant each other total freedom.” -Alan Watts

"Handbook of the Indians of California" by A.L. Kroeber“Increasingly, we’re developing all kinds of systems for verifying reality by echoing it.”

“Drop out of the public schools. The public schools cannot be compromised with.”Timothy Leary

“What are we saying when we say now, something is holy? That means you should take a different attitude to what you are doing than if you were, for example, doing it for kicks.” -Alan Watts

“Half the things I’ve done are wrong, mistakes [unintelligible]. The moratorium on pot and LSD a year ago is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have done that. I make a blunder at least one out of two times I come to bat.”Timothy Leary

“In other words, when there is a game going on that’s on a collision course, and that this game obviously is going to lead to total destruction, the only way of getting people out of a bad game is to indicate that the game is no longer interesting. See, we’ve left this game and it bores us.” Alan Watts, February 1967

“I would agree to change the slogan to
‘Drop out. Turn on. Drop in.’ “
Timothy Leary


PCs – Right click, select option
Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

Matt Muirhead’s e(n)tymology

Posted in Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg, Consciousness, Culture, Education, Family, Future, LSD, Psychedelics, Timothy Leary and tagged , , , , , , , , , .


  1. I find Leary’s comment on ‘his’ now famous slogan ‘s language interesting. I use the word ‘his’ lightly as I feel he had plenty of help and encouragement in choosing the language in said phrase.

    Drop out. Turn on. Drop in.

    This communicates to me that not only should I drop out and turn on but drop in. In other words that there is a group for me to cooperate with that Is also turned on once I’ve dropped out. It encourages disobedience to the status quo while also encouraging cooperation with your peers. Two big ‘no no’s’ as far as the social engineers are concerned ! I also like the logical progression in the language. You have your first two steps and then at the close of the sentence drop in almost seems to inherently present itself as the homogenizing solution to implementing the values that motivated you to drop out and turn on in the first place. Although this statement is not nearly as marketable, upon realization, this is a much more powerful statement than the now infamous one. Perhaps a little too dangerous an idea to the status quo to be throwing around…

    Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.

    You have the alliteration of Turn on, Tune in and then you end the phrase with drop out, an action that could be associated with ending (of a catch phrase in this case). A clever use of language, very marketable. Turn on is turn on, tune in is the problem. I’d equate ‘tune in’ to searching for yourself but in the very commercial way that was waiting just around the corner for all the rebels. The phrase perhaps encouraged participation in the new idea and next trap, the psychoanalysis driven ‘self expressive’, infinite growth economy. Finally, drop out, being the final statement and breaking the alliteration, really sticks with you when you read or say this phrase. This phrase communicates no sense of community or cooperation, it communicates loneliness and a sense of marginilization. I am a ‘dropout’ are n’t words said with pride.

    Again, quite interesting is the specific language Leary “chose” to communicate to the very receptive public.

  2. Joey,

    Wow! Amazing that you caught that mistake … kind of blows me away, actually … AND you made me feel great in that someone is actually reading this stuff 🙂 … Fixed it, thanks again!

  3. [“What are we saying when we say now, something is holy? That means you should take a different attitude to what you are doing than if you were, for example, doing it for kicks.” -Timothy Leary]

    -> In the original blog page this is correctly cited with Alan Watts as its author, not Timothy Leary. Just thought it something one may feel worth changing if aware.

  4. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=1334

    Fantastic! Lorenzo, I’d be really honored if you checked out the blog post I just put up about this podcast, which (within it) links to an interview I did with Douglas Rushkoff, author of the very topical book _Life, Inc_:


    I co-host a radio show with Diamond Dave Whitaker in San Francisco called Common Threads. (You can find out more about it through my blog.) We’re big fans of you, Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, and all the other great thinkers you make available through this podcast.

    Oh, and I follow you on Twitter and recommend others to do the same!


    “Drop out of the public schools. The public schools cannot be compromised with.”
    -Timothy Leary

    Wait a second, he said he never told anybody that. 😛

    @Naomi … thanks for the kind words … and please tell Diamond Dave that he’s long been a hero of mine … now that Fraser Clark is gone, Dave’s about the last great one standing.


    Lorenzo, you could tell him yourself! Call in to the show sometime. We operate on 87.9fm in San Francisco and we do a poetry and music open mic from 4pm to 6pm every Friday.

    The number to the station is 510-PIR-8-CAT…

    The nitty-gritty on the Common Threads show, where you can grab a podcast or two (and subscribe to them if you like):


    this was a highly enjoyable podcast…to be able to listen in on the conversation of such an all-star lineup of great thinkers in one room, it’s truly a great privilege to hear this. any chance you could post the rest of this session? i would appreciate it so much! thanks!!

    Fantastic file! Thanks.

    derek j
    lorenzo, thank you for this little jem. alan watts and gary snyder are two of the most important literary and consciousness expanding influences of my life, for many others I am sure. May this find you well, inspired and in good form going into the burn…. we are really looking forward to seeing you at symbiosis. the lineup this year for workshops and presentations could be among the best since the palenque series, or the world psychedelic forum in switzerland. and then there’s 180 musicians and artists. cheers!

    Holy Ganja! Tune in, turn off, and drop out….but to where? I am loving episode 193 Lorenzo! I hav been listening since the begining man, and although haven’t had the time rto listen to every podcast, this podcast will resonate with me (and hopefully the people around me) for a long while – or short time considering on one’s perspective of time. I am alos loving your efforts for creating this space lorenzo! I feel inspired to creat a podcast for sustainable living in my area. The game is over…the test begins now:) Nice qoutes from the Genesis Generation near the end of the show.

    One question though, after listening to this podcast: It seems to me that the everyday technological world around me (that is computers and the internet) requires people to drop in to a system of prdouction (like high tech maquiladoras). Can anyone share their thoughs on how we humans can use these technologies without perpetuating the system.

    Oh man, I know this is parttially answering my own question but the tech industry seems to be run by machines!

    thanks for this I’ll listen to it next time I hike mt. tamalpais

    Dan Weisman
    While searching for an Alan Watts lecture, America in the Year 2000, I found your wonderful podcast and ‘Dropped in’ on the amazing echos of their conversation that day. Thank you for posting it. Thank you VERY much. I’ll be dropping in again often. Aloha from Maui.

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