• December 9, 2011

    What does it mean that, where we once had teachers gaining world recognition for Esalen in long-term residency, those programs are now eroded and our best teachers are turned into visiting outsiders?

    What does it mean that, where the tone of Esalen life was once shaped by its attached philosophers and practitioners, they have been substituted in this process by policy consultants and outsider executives?

    What does it mean that, where Esalen once praised radical self-expression and triggering as vital to healing and understanding, a workshop like The Max is being moved from the Lodge Deck to keep these things out of sight?

    What does it mean that, where the staff wage disparity was once 3:1 and the institute was financially viable, it is now 20:1 and we’re supposedly on the verge of collapse?


3 Responses to What does it mean?

  • Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t mean anything good. I don’t understand the whitewashing of every thing that makes Esalen unique, besides the land. The land will forever have its pull on people. I suppose that is an asset to be harvested for money. But the soul of Esalen is in the human potential for discovery and expression and freedom. When I leave Esalen 19 out of 20 people who mention a specific workshop that either impressed them (who had taken it) or intriqued them to come to Esalen (who hadn’t taken it) it is the Max. When I think of Watts, and Fritz, and Huxley … and the powerful idea that those people lived and transformed our culture and consciousness with this place as a base, I am proud. Where is that happening now. What would Maslow think … if our community is so busy worrying about survival level issues. Shelter, health, income, respect by others, etc… If so many of these base level needs are being threatened by the inherent nature of the corporatization of Esalen, how are we to explore the peak. The human potential. We are an institute founded in the pursuit of the human potential, not the corporate potential. I have to assume that even the administrative class understands Maslow’s hierarchy, it is a simple, parsimonious, entry level psychological theory. Eighteen year old kids in Psych 101 classes understand the simple, well conceived principal. I invite our community to once again pursue the pinnacle of human endeavors, to be self-actualized. We are models for the world, other people come to Esalen to get a glimpse of this possibility for themselves. I invite the administration to turn its focus towards fostering the blossoming of the human potential in the community, the profits will flow from that, I promise.

  • Anonymous says:

    It means that Esalen is reflecting, as it always has, the outside world. When the Nine held sway at the Institute the world was changing radically, and people were looking for new ways of being, new ways of seeing, new ways of interacting with the Divine and with each other. Esalen is as American as apple pie…and it is being taken over by corporate greed heads, group-speak fear mongers, and insidious Power Point thinking. And the workers are distracted, getting triggered by things like lack of health care and insecure financial futures. All are losing sight of the big picture…the transformation of consciousness and each person’s role in it. The transformation is partly in moving past a “Maslow”-based model. His ideas have been co-opted and twisted beyond recognition. His true focus was on peak experience, not management principles. Self actualization is available under all circumstances. If we all and each seek peak experience we will contribute to the transformation of human consciousness. And we will transform our community, and it’s influence in the world. Social transformation is coming. We are already a part of it. The trick is to experience ourselves as actors in this cosmic game, and to transcend the limited culture of our time. Know yourself as the “warrior with no enemy.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes the big picture is lost – not only at Esalen, but in the world at large – the economic crisis – is real and Esalen has its own form of it and it seems the world financial crisis has lead to Esalen Management using – what Melanie Klein calls the “shock doctrine” pushing the elite agenda – sheer capitalism – during a crisis, while folks are too numb and scared to respond