March 01, 2006

Sri Aurobindo, Aldous Huxley and Human Potentialities

brave old world In 1962, Michael Murphy and his partner Richard Price founded Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Price died in a hiking accident in 1985, but Murphy has continued -- and expanded -- the work of Esalen.
  • Alan Hunt Badiner: In the past, we've talked about Aldous Huxley and Alan Watts being at Esalen.... what, essentially, is the psychedelic history of Esalen.

Michael Murphy: I'd been influenced by Sri Aurobindo, who saw human nature as part of cosmic evolution and participating in the awakening of the latent divinity in all things. In framing the language about Esalen, we got considerable help from the last essays of Aldous Huxley, who was writing about human potentialities. His language was more accessible than Aurobindo's. So, our first brochure was titled "Human Potentialities"...

  • Alan Hunt Badiner: So while Esalen had significant psychedelic origins, you weren't there yet?

Michael Murphy: I was not impelled by any knowledge of or interest in psychedelics, but once we started, there it was. It was there, first of all, among the first famous figures who came here -- like Aldous Huxley. In Mexico, he gave me Sandoz laboratory LSD and his wife Laura was my sitter. ~ Michael Murphy, as interviewed inZig Zag Zen: Buddhism and PsychedelicsChronicle Books, 2002 posted by clocke at # Tuesday, February 28, 2006

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article.
    The despondency of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita is typically human. Sri Krishna, by sheer power of his inspiring words, changes Arjuna's mind from a state of inertia to one of righteous action, from the state of what the French philosophers call "anomie" or even alienation, to a state of self-confidence in the ultimate victory of " dharma" (ethical action.)

    When Arjuna got over his despondency and stood ready to fight, Sri Krishna reminded him of the purpose of his new-found spirit of intense action - not for his own benefit, not for satisfying his own greed and desire, but for the good of many, with faith in the ultimate victory of ethics over unethical actions and of truth over untruth.

    Sri Krishna's advice with regard to temporary failures is, "No doer of good ever ends in misery." Every action should produce results. Good action produces good results and evil begets nothing but evil. Therefore, always act well and be rewarded.

    My purport is not to suggest discarding of the Western model of efficiency, dynamism and striving for excellence but to tune these ideals to India's holistic attitude of " lokasangraha" - for the welfare of many, for the good of many. There is indeed a moral dimension to business life. What we do in business is no different, in this regard, to what we do in our personal lives. The means do not justify the ends. Pursuit of results for their own sake, is ultimately self-defeating. ("Profit," said Matsushita-san in another tradition, "is the reward of correct behavior." – ed.)