[NB] Esalen, George Leonard, Liberation, and Potential

Still slowly moving through Kripal’s Esalen. It isn’t a difficult read, but I find myself putting it down a lot to chew over this or that discussion. I’ll admit to finding Esalen itself less interesting than the cultural networks in which it partakes and I think that makes me a little grumpy about some of Kripal’s approach. The central place he gives Esalen strikes me as excessive–it isn’t just that Esalen takes center stage because it is the topic of the book, but it seems like Kripal really believes it is the central stage.

Anyway. That isn’t what I want to jot down here. I have finally gotten to the point where he gives George Leonard direct attention. Leonard plays a big role at Esalen but what really catches my attention is the role of events outside of Esalen play in shaping George Leonard. Leonard’s conception of a ‘human potential movement’ is so much deeper & broader than the Esalen material, and I want to just make a note of how.

Continue reading “[NB] Esalen, George Leonard, Liberation, and Potential”

Esalen, California, and Speed

No, not that kind of speed. This isn’t a post about Burroughs. I’m thinking about a different sort of speed, the sort that plays a role in the thinking of Dumezil, of Deleuze and Guattari. The speed of thought, of the spirits that undergird them, of the match and mismatch of the two. Tempo, dancing, find your partner.

More than a little bit of this is about me, about how I found my tempo, but seeing that with a little more of the historical horizon in which that became possible. So, this is a bit of a messy hybrid of reading notebook and autobiography. Continue reading “Esalen, California, and Speed”

[NB] Esalen, Eros, Tantra

I mentioned in a previous post that I had been reading Jeffrey Kripal’s Esalen. I am still reading it–I have started reading it straight through while still dipping in and out of whatever section catches my interest. There are a couple of through-lines that organize a somewhat disparate narrative thread and I want to jot down a few thoughts about one of them: the crossroads of sexuality, liberation, and Tantra.

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Mercurial Matters

My final, somewhat off-the-cuff, post on the thoughts stirred up by Gordon’s review, this time regarding Mercury. More from the-book-I-haven’t-read here used as writing prompt, Epoch:

Mercury’s patronage of doctors…may seem a little odd, but until recently most medicine consisted almost entirely of charlatanism, quackery, placebos, convoluted explanations and excuses, huge bills and rapid exits. A fair bit of it stil does, both in its conventional and alternative modes.

The connections between Mercury and opportunism of all sorts is real enough, but this way of connecting them to medicine over-emphasizes them. There is a lot more than opportunism and trickery to Mercury. Digging into the quote just a little, there are two points I want to address: one is a matter of tone, the other of substance.

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