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October 25, 2005

Esalen Institute

Esalen is a non-profit organization that has been devoted to the exploration of human potential since the 1960's. Historical luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Joan Baez, and countless others have gathered here to develop revolutionary ideas, transformative practices, and innovative art forms. Today Esalen is a retreat center where people live and work in a communal setting. Residents and guests participate in an incredible variety of alternative education and personal growth programs in subjects ranging from meditation to massage, yoga, psychology, ecology, spirituality, art, music, and much more.

Esalen Institute was founded by Michael Murphy and Dick Price in 1962 as an alternative educational center devoted to the exploration of what Aldous Huxley called the "human potential," the world of unrealized human capacities that lies beyond the imagination. Esalen soon became known for its blend of East/West philosophies, its experiential/didactic workshops, the steady influx of philosophers, psychologists, artists, and religious thinkers, and its breathtaking grounds blessed with natural hot springs.

In 1992 Michael Murphy published The Future of the Body which is a massive historical and cross-cultural collection of documentation of various occurrences of extraordinary human functioning such as healing, hypnosis, martial arts, yogic techniques, telepathy, clairvoyance, and feats of superhuman strength. Rather than presenting such documentation as scientific proof, he presents it as a body of evidence to motivate future investigation.

The Human Potential Movement has its conceptual roots in existentialism and humanism. Its formation was strongly tied to Humanistic psychology, also known as the "3rd force" in psychology (after psychoanalysis and behaviorism, and before the "4th force" of Transpersonal psychology which emphasizes esoteric, psychic, mystical, and spiritual development). It is often considered synonymous with Humanistic psychology. The movement views Abraham Maslow's idea of self actualization as the supreme expression of a human's life.

There are interesting parallels between Sri Aurobindo's vision and that of Teilhard de Chardin (see e.g. K.D. Sethna 1973 Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo - a focus on fundamentals). Sri Aurobindo's ideas about the further evolution of human capabilities influenced the thinking of Michael Murphy (who studied at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India) – and indirectly, the human potential movement, through Murphy's writings. The American philosopher Ken Wilber, although deeply influenced by Sri Aurobindo, has tried to reduce the reliance on metaphysics in Sri Aurobindo's thought. Wilber's interpretation has been strongly criticised by Rod Hemsell. New Age writer Andrew Harvey also looks to Sri Aurobindo as a major inspiration.

Integral theorists: Sri Aurobindo Jean Gebser Haridas Chaudhuri Ervin László Michael Murphy Graves, Beck Ken Wilber Integral themes: AQAL, Evolution, Involution Integral ecology Integral politics Integral psychology Integral yoga Influences on integral theory: James Mark Baldwin Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Arthur M. Young Edward Haskell Erich Jantsch Stanislav Grof Rupert Sheldrake Francisco Varela Integral artists: Alex Grey Stuart Davis Saul Williams Integral organizations: Integral Institute Cal. Inst. of Integral Studies Past Teachers at Esalen Institute: Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Abraham Maslow, Will Schutz, Richard Feynman, Paul Tillich, Arnold J. Toynbee, B.F. Skinner, Stanislav Grof, Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, Carl Rogers, Linus Pauling, Buckminster Fuller, Rollo May, Joseph Campbell, Susan Sontag, George Leonard, J. B. Rhine, Warren Farrell, Ken Kesey, Gary Snyder, Gregory Bateson, John C. Lilly, Carlos Castaneda, Claudio Naranjo, Fritjof Capra, Ansel Adams, John Cage, Babatunde Olatunji, Terence McKenna, Joan Baez, Robert Anton Wilson, Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Robert Bly, Marion Woodman, Dean Ornish, Matthew Fox, Andrew Harvey, James Hillman, Gabrielle Roth, Rusty Schweickart, Fred Frith, Spaulding Gray, Amory Lovins, Albert Hoffman, Bob Dylan, Daniel Sheehan and Sara Nelson of the Christic Institute

1 comment:

  1. http://www.wbabin.net/philos/amrit.pdfMarch 14, 2008

    hi
    we work also on INTEGRAL ECOLOGY, see on weeb below

    yours amrit

    http://www.wbabin.net/philos/amrit.pdf

    ReplyDelete