Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion

by Jeffrey J. Kripal
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0226453707

ISBN-13: 9780226453705

Pub. Date: 11/01/2008

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Jeffrey Kripal here recounts the spectacular history of Esalen, the institute that has long been a world leader in alternative and experiential education and stands today at the center of the human potential movement. Forged in the literary and mythical leanings of the Beat Generation, inspired in the lecture halls of Stanford by radical scholars of comparative

Overview

Jeffrey Kripal here recounts the spectacular history of Esalen, the institute that has long been a world leader in alternative and experiential education and stands today at the center of the human potential movement. Forged in the literary and mythical leanings of the Beat Generation, inspired in the lecture halls of Stanford by radical scholars of comparative religion, the institute was the remarkable brainchild of Michael Murphy and Richard Price.
 
Set against the heady backdrop of California during the revolutionary 1960s, Esalen recounts in fascinating detail how these two maverick thinkers sought to fuse the spiritual revelations of the East with the scientific revolutions of the West, or to combine the very best elements of Zen Buddhism, Western psychology, and Indian yoga into a decidedly utopian vision that rejected the dogmas of conventional religion. In their religion of no religion, the natural world was just as crucial as the spiritual one, science and faith not only commingled but became staunch allies, and the enlightenment of the body could lead to the full realization of our development as human beings.
 
 “An impressive new book. . . . [Kripal] has written the definitive intellectual history of the ideas behind the institute.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Kripal examines Esalen’s extraordinary history and evocatively describes the breech birth of Murphy and Price’s brainchild. His real achievement, though, is effortlessly synthesizing a dizzying array of dissonant phenomena (Cold War espionage, ecstatic religiosity), incongruous pairings (Darwinism, Tantric sex), and otherwise schizy ephemera (psychedelic drugs, spaceflight) into a cogent, satisfyingly complete narrative.”—Atlantic Monthly
 

“Kripal has produced the first all-encompassing history of Esalen: its intellectual, social, personal, literary and spiritual passages. Kripal brings us up-to-date and takes us deep beneath historical surfaces in this definitive, elegantly written book.”—Playboy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226453705
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/01/2008
Edition description:
1
Pages:
594
Sales rank:
805,976
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents


Illustrations
Acknowledgments, Sins, and Delight

ONE: Openings

TWO: Geographic, Historical, and Literary Orientations (1882-1962)

THREE: The Empowerment of the Founders (1950-1960)

FOUR: The Outlaw Era and the American Counterculture (1960-1970)

FIVE: The Occult Imaginal and Cold War Activism (1970-1985)

SIX: Crisis and the Religion of No Religion (1985-1993)

SEVEN: Before and After the Storm (1993-2006)

(In) Conclusion

Abbreviations
Notes
On Rare Things: The Oral, Visual, and Written Sources
Index

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