Esaleaks stands not only for the right of people to speak anonymously, but for the particular power of anonymous speech to air marginalized voices and to enlarge the overall Esalen discourse.
The Nine’s collective stance, we have hoped to establish, is that subjective speech without names or faces has a unique power to challenge the status quo, as evidenced not only by some of the great political writings of the 20th Century, not only by many an Esalen séance, but by our own progress. Esaleaks has challenged the unilateralism of the Esalen directorial class, bringing discussions into a new context free from establishment spin and the peril of retribution.
On December 28th, a veteran Esalen contributor wrote to scorn us for the publication of “Super-hero mission” with a bevy of pejoratives, seeking to openly name the article’s author. We responded by inviting him (twice) to contribute his own different interpretation of Tricia McEntee’s much-criticized Staff Week presentation. He (twice) declined, deriding Esaleaks as “immature and shameful” and pronouncing that “a bystander who observes a beating must take action to stop it.” That conversation was only disappointing, but much to our shock it became the first domino to fall in a conflict — that culminated in the trashing of our Internet server, our site going missing for nearly two weeks, and some powerful realizations about conflicting agendas within our own ranks.
That people would sooner attack the very venue of Esaleaks for its imperfection, than contribute to its positive potential, is a commentary on the desperation of a whole cadre which is seeking consolidated power through controlling not only the discourse but also its container. Some would prefer us to behold an uncomplicated painting of Esalen (and indeed placate themselves by gazing upon it too) than to let be promulgated the complex and sometimes hideous picture of Esalen’s spiritual neglect and decline into superficiality. But we, the larger Community, and those of us who remain at Esaleaks, are not afraid to scrutinize, to articulate, to get messy, and to hopefully paint a new picture of Esalen together that is as rich as the human potential.
The whole story of Esaleaks may one day appear in a history book — but with our internal battles now past, and so much happening at Esalen, we wish now only to return to our focus. Our mission is clear as ever. We are back, at dear expense, stronger than before, to publish your words. It is not the goal of the editors to please or appease every reader — and whatever one might find lacking or disagreeable in one contribution, one is beckoned to improve or counteract with better words of new invention. Whether our editors might now be exposed or scandalized by those of conflicted values or shaky conscience, we can assure you that the identities of our many contributors will remain absolutely anonymous, and we will continue to discuss Esalen here. With wishes for personal empowerment, growth, and transformation in 2012, we await your contribution.
The Esaleaks Editors