Sunday, September 02, 2012

Theory Leary's Mind Mirror

Tim Leary invented a grid against which we can measure a range of human characteristics, back in the day before psychedelics and he still had a job as a Harvard Lecturer.  

His PHD thesis explored his InterPersonal Grid as a tool for thinking about human typology.  In spite of losing his reputation after some of his prankster days, elements of this work still appear to figure in quite a lot of modern psychological practice – quite apart from popularisations like Eric Berne’s “I’m OK, You’re OK”.
 Leary Circumplex

In later years, when Leary became an enthusiast for personal computers, he made a clunky, interactive game version - running on DOS, and pretty inaccessible once the 21st Century computers kicked in (you had to run it in odd retro modes) – available on a 51/4” floppy (remember those?).

Equal parts party game, roleplaying game and social simulation, Timothy Leary's Mind Mirror was released for Commodore 64, Apple II, and MS-DOS computers by Electronic Arts in 1985. The game was a digital reinterpreting of Leary's doctoral thesis.

He later stated that he had plans to release an updated version of the program with advanced graphics (including Apple Macintosh and Amiga versions), but that never occurred.
Text from back of original sleeve

Mind Mirror is an innovative, dynamic game bringing a whole new concept to "personality" software. Written by Dr. Timothy Leary, famous Harvard psychologist, author and lecturer, Mind Mirror combines the science of Leary's psychometric studies with his own inimitable wit and charm. Part tool, part game, and part philosopher on a disk, Mind Mirror is a provocative game perfect for parties or social gatherings like the popular board games Scruples or Trivial Pursuit.
The Rating Games.
Rate any person, place or concept with the numeric rating scales. Mind Mirror evaluates your ratings, gives a brief text analysis and plots your input on comparison charts called Mind Maps. You can even use the rating scales to create your own characters and personalities.
Try comparing yourself to your ideal self, yourself to a friend or loved one, even Reagan to Gorbachev. Be creative, have a partner rate you while you rate yourself... you'll be surprised at the differences.
Mind play and mind tools.
You can play the game using either Mind Play or Mind Tools. In Mind Play, applications are light hearted, allowing you explore topics and celebrities from areas like TV, films, athletics, and more. In Mind Tools, applications are somewhat more serious, focusing on Psychological Insight, Career Productivity, and Education.
Life Simulations.
Life Simulations gives you the opportunity to take any of the subjects or personalities used in the rating games on humorous, interactive text odysseys written by Dr. Leary.
You can play dozens of different life simulations in any of four psychological realms. For example, enter the realm of emotional insight and go back to kindergarten to face the class bully. Or try the realm of social interaction and spend an evening in a punk rock bar or a snooty bankers club.

Now Mind Mirror has finally been brought up-to-date and appears as a Facebook App.

Eventually it may all appear on the MindMirror website.  You can find a video ofTim explaining the possible uses - which lie far beyond a simple profiling device.  He suggested it could work as a tool for changing oneself.

In one great story that goes around we hear that when sent to prison (for 10 years, as 'the most dangerous man on the planet') he found himself confronted with a test based on his own Interpersonal Grid.

In January 1970, Leary received a ten-year sentence for his 1968 conviction. When Leary arrived in prison, he was given psychological tests that were used to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Having designed many of the tests himself, Leary answered them in such a way that he seemed to be a very conforming, conventional person with a great interest in forestry and gardening.

As a result, Leary was assigned to work as a gardener in a lower security prison, which made escape possible. Leary claimed his non-violent escape was a humorous prank and left a challenging note for the authorities to find after he was gone. For a fee paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary and his wife Rosemary Woodruff Leary out of the United States and into Algeria. [Wikipedia accessed 02/06/2012]   More on the prison escape in Confessions of  a Hope Fiend.

Other Resources:

Bruce Eisner  "What is Futique?"

Original questionnaire format 

Thought Processing Appliance

If original versions of old games appeal to you, find it here on the old games site (with Manual)

[I just downloaded the Manual for a small contribution, only to remember I already did that three or four years ago!   The 18pp manual may or may not enhance your fun with the software]

You may also find some relevant material in Leary's  "Changing My Mind, Among Others".

The Interpersonal Meaning of Music and Ethology by Ferdinand Knobloch

Interview with Bob, from RAWilsonFans website

STARSHIP: Timothy Leary has had a profound impact on you, both in terms of your life and work. How would you assess his overall influence on modern society?

WILSON: Leary has made a number of important contributions. In the first place, the Leary Interpersonal Grid is one of the most widely used diagnostic tools in the nation. In fact, it was used on Leary himself when he first arrived in the California prison system. An understanding of the grid will give you a better appreciation of yourself and other people. Leary's comprehension of LSD is, I think, superior to any other scientist who has written about it; he understands it and knows how to use it constructively. He recognizes, as few others do, that LSD suspends the printed neurological programs of one's life, thereby creating imprint vulnerability, in which a new imprint can be created. This means that if one is working with someone who understands LSD, or the person himself understands it, it is possible to create an entirely new ego for oneself. On the other hand, if one is simply experimenting casually with it, one is likely to imprint anything (including delusions).

Robert Anton Wilson wrote quite a lot of material based on the interpersonal grid in Prometheus Rising.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.


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