Sensory Deprivation Tanks, Talking Dolphins, and Aliens: Remembrances of reading John C. Lilly

The Scientists: A Novel Autobiography

Simulations of God: Science of Belief

Programming and Metaprogramming of the Human Biocomputer

John C. Lilly

Lilly was a well know and respected scientist who, like many in the late sixties, kinda start going off the rails. Did young Sean read the works of science Lilly produced early in his career? No, he did not. Young Sean read the woo-woo stuff. Like lots of other people, I because interested in Lilly because of the film Altered States, which is (very, very) loosely based on Lilly’s works with sensory deprivation tanks. That deprivation tank work is what interested me in him, and when I moved in California, his books were all over the used bookstores. The books never did anything for me, but his work did inspire to give a tank a try. An experience much more worth while than the books.

I wrote about my experience in a sensory deprivation tank here. 

With the sensory deprivation tanks of course also comes communications with dolphins, new agey self-help, and a lot of other twaddle much of it dressed up as science when it really wasn’t. Unlike Robert Anton Wilson, I never really like Lilly’s books. I just kept picking them up thinking there’s eventually be something worth read in them. For me, at least, there wasn’t.

Not recommended.

Ginsberg, Leary, and Lilly — trifecta of drugged up post hippie culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



  1. A small memory of floating in a sensory deprivation tank. | Milo and the Calf

    […] I was living in San Francisco and fairly plugged in to the world of weird that exists in that incredible city. I knew so-called “modern primatives”, practicing magicians, radical fairies, and all manner of people on spiritual quests. Through one of these connections, I was turned on to the totally trashy film Altered States and the controversial man whose life it is allegedly based on – John Lilly. […]

%d bloggers like this: