When discussing motives, there is a line of thinking that says Charlie (and to a lesser extant his followers) were all just simply crazy, and who can understand crazy, and thus it's pointless to look further. And in fact there is good evidence to suggest that Manson actually did suffer some mental illness, at least to some extant.
Certainly you can't have a belief in Helter Skelter without a certain level of craziness. Maybe not so much in believing the coming race war bit (many were prophesizing that) but certainly the stuff about the whites slaughtering each other to pave the way for the militant blacks, their spending 50 years in the desert without having aged a day, the blacks handing power over to you in the end, the underground fountains spouting liquid chocolate, the trees bearing 10 different kinds of fruit, etc., etc.
Helter Skelter by Vince Bugliosi c.1974 pg.233 unk Manson follower: "Every tuned-tribe of people that's ever lived [has] escaped the destruction of [its] race by going underground, literally, and they're all living in a golden city where there's a river that runs through it of milk and honey, and a tree that bears twelve kinds of fruit, a different fruit each month... and you don't need to bring candles nor any flashlights down there. He says it will be all lit up because... the walls will glow and it won't be cold and it won't be too hot. There will be warm springs and fresh water, and people are already down there waiting for him."
He gathered unknowing young women from Berkeley and the Haight-Ashbury, where the clinicians at the landmark free clinic diagnosed him as an “ambulatory schizophrenic” with all manner of manipulative behaviors...
Dr. Smith(of the HAFMC) said, "The problem was that Charlie was disturbed. He developed a paranoid delusional system that led to violence.... "There are a lot of people like that, and many of them are in mental hospitals. Any individual who has an all-encompassing delusional system ... If you know schizophrenics, you know how persuasive they can get...
Manson's "Rolling Stone" 12/5/2013 interview "Helter Skelter wasn't a lie. It was just Bugliosi's perspective. ..There was a lot of motives, man. You got a motive for every person there. It was a collective idea. It was an episode. A psychotic episode..."
Emmons: "Manson's grandfather and uncle both suffered from serious mental illnesses, and his grandfather was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, where he died."
Manson was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1963, when he was incarcerated for check kiting at the U.S. Penitentiary on McNeil Island. ... During the forty-plus years that Manson has been in CDC custody since the murders, he has been diagnosed with several serious mental illnesses, primarily paranoid schizophrenia and chronic psychosis....
He spent most of his early years of imprisonment there(Vacaville), in the S-Wing of Seguin Unit, the intensive psychiatric segregation unit. ... In 1985, the CDC diagnosed Manson with schizophrenia... In 1987, a psychologist recommended placing Manson in mental-health care...
(in 1997) ...that (psychological)evaluation determined that Manson was severely mentally ill, because he was "out of touch with reality" and would not stop rambling incessantly...
Post-1997, a consensus seems to have emerged among CDC psychiatrists and psychologists that Manson suffers from serious, organic, psychotic mental illness.
There is evidence Charlie had already started going off the deep end by the summer of '67, when he got the idea he was Jesus Christ:
Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties by Dianne Lake c.2018
Chapter 20 OUT OF SIGHT re Charlie lecture to the group at Gresham St
"Some of you already know what happened when I first took the sacrament of psilocybin(LSD in another version)." Several of us nodded, but kept silent.
"Mary, you were there." Mary Brunner smiled and nodded. She was all but glowing with pride.
"In some way, you were all there. You know the truth. I am just reminding you in case you forgot. We were on a mattress and Mary, my Mary, my Mary Magdalene was at my feet. It was beautiful."
Then Charlie's voice got louder; it was booming. "Then I was on the cross.* I was on the cross for all of you." He arched his back, looked at the ceiling, and put out his arms as if they were on the cross. "They nailed my hands, they speared me, and I wore the crown of thorns for all of you. And Mary wept as I died for you."
And of course claiming that the Beatles are trying to send you secret messages via their albums is another classic sign of the 'delusions of grandeur' so often seen in schizophrenics.
There's a Riot Going On by Peter Doggett c.2007 pg305
Manson replayed these tracks over and over, and claimed that he could detect a hidden message from the Beatles, intended for his ears alone. It was a sure sign of madness....
The trouble is, is that, despite the above quotes, Manson never showed any symptoms of any real mental illness (generally defined as schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia, and manic depression) before or after his two and a half years of freedom from '67 to '69. None of the shrinks who interviewed him in prisons, before and after, ever said he was clinically nuts(and only a trained psychiatrist is qualified to make this diagnosis). And Charlie never spent any time in any nut house. So why would he suddenly, in his early 30s, start going off the deep end during that time period? Mental illness usually starts affecting its victims while they are in their late teens or early 20s, and it is a lifelong affliction. He wouldn't just start going crazy at age 32 and just as suddenly stop going crazy at age 35.
Dr. Joel Fort interview by Caroline Crawford c.1997
Some of his(Manson's) ideas are bizarre, but he does not display any overt psychosis. There are some things he says that could be interpreted as schizophrenic or schizoid. But he was never close to being judged legally insane despite the best efforts of the media and his lawyers to present him as a madman and a crazy person, an image of somebody who must be severely mentally ill. His acts were violent, extreme, and clearly antisocial, and he comes across that way in conversations. But in general, his speech and manner are controlled.
So how do we account for Charlie's increasingly strange beliefs, or his "psychotic episode" as Charlie himself called it, in the brief two and half years he was out of jail/prison?
Was it the LSD use? Certainly heavy users of LSD sometimes get into really strange beliefs, and LSD may help to bring an underlying psychosis to the forefront, but there is no evidence that LSD actually causes mental illness.
Or maybe it was the heavy amphetamine use by the summer of '69. Prolonged lack of sleep can cause symptoms very close to paranoid schizophrenia. Though those symptoms quickly disappear with rest and nutrition. Yet Charlie kept pushing his HS theory without interruption.
I keep thinking of how close CIA mind control dirty trickster Dr. Jollyon West was to Manson at the HAFMC. The same Jolly West who would, according to author Tom O'Neill, induce a psychotic break in Jack Ruby, Oswald's killer. Did he somehow do the same to Manson?
Dr. West complained to Aldous Huxley, famous writer of 'Brave New World,' of the difficulty of attempting to hypnotize people who were under the influence of LSD. Huxley had a solution:
www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1991/eirv18n34-19910906/eirv18n34-19910906_058-dr_l_jolyon_west_the_lsd_cult_be.pdf Aldous Huxley: "I suggested to him(JollyonWest) that he should hypnotize his people before they took LSD."
Was Charlie thus hypnotized before his seminal LSD trip, and while later flying high on LSD, did he hear a pre-planted 'trigger word' which set him off on his psychosis?
*Interestingly, at least two other Mansonoids seem to have had the same "up on the cross" trip:
LADA Transcripts Trial of Charles Manson for Hinman/Shea murders Box54-2 pg2280 Ella Jo on acid at Gresham, feels she was "being crucified."
Q: You thought that you--you felt that you were being on the cross?
Q: You felt as if you were a Christ figure on the cross?
A: Yes, I did.
LVH taped interview w/ Marvin Part: She describes a crucifixtion experience during an acid trip.
"One time I had an acid trip like that. .... I lived in Hollywood one time and I had an acid trip.. and I was up on the cross. It sounds far out but I was, for real. I was feeling them do it. And I could feel the knives and the sword when it went in too."