An anonymous contributor writes:
I was the other half of this conversation, which was held in the shadow of the ruins at South Coast.
Esalen is billing itself as a community, when it is running itself as a corporation. The response to the fire at South revealed how poorly suited the leaders were/are to crisis situations, and how all the talk of community and caring didn’t translate into caring action. I was, and am, appalled by the treatment of the displaced. In addition, there were a few other casualties in the brief time I was there, and the ham handed treatment of letting people go — in the presence of serious medical conditions! — bespoke the corporate “fuck you” attitude the management seems to have towards employees.
I entered the compound feeling hopeful and optimistic, and left three months later with the scales fallen from my eyes. But it’s the management that’s the problem — not the place, which is still magical and needs to be stewarded responsibly.