In 1962, Michael Murphy and his partner Richard Price founded Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Price died in a hiking accident in 1985, but Murphy has continued -- and expanded -- the work of Esalen.
Alan Hunt Badiner: In the past, we've talked about Aldous Huxley and Alan Watts being at Esalen.... what, essentially, is the psychedelic history of Esalen.
Michael Murphy: I'd been influenced by Sri Aurobindo, who saw human nature as part of cosmic evolution and participating in the awakening of the latent divinity in all things. In framing the language about Esalen, we got considerable help from the last essays of Aldous Huxley, who was writing about human potentialities. His language was more accessible than Aurobindo's. So, our first brochure was titled "Human Potentialities"...
Alan Hunt Badiner: So while Esalen had significant psychedelic origins, you weren't there yet?
Michael Murphy: I was not impelled by any knowledge of or interest in psychedelics, but once we started, there it was. It was there, first of all, among the first famous figures who came here -- like Aldous Huxley. In Mexico, he gave me Sandoz laboratory LSD and his wife Laura was my sitter.
The photo is from the March 2006 issue of GQ magazine. Note the smiley-face Hitler tees. The article is titled Minor Threat and the subslug says: "Lamb and Lynx Gaede are like a lot of 13-year-old girls. Except that they love Hitler and sing songs glorifying white supremacy. Aaron Gell confronts ethnic cleansing's hottest act, Prussian Blue."
If this is confrontation, then we really must live in a kinder, gentler nation. Go read it yourself. Maybe I somehow missed the hard-hitting news analysis. Then again, c'mon! This is GQ, not some liberal muckraking publication like say Time magazine. Our intrepid reporter, Aaron Gell, does however capture the sense of moral outrage that followed in the wake of what he calls the twins' "Cinderella moment on ABC's Primetime" last October 20.
The morning after the Primetime debut, the Gaedes' phone wouldn't stop ringing.... "The call-waiting was like beep-beep-beep," April [Geade, their mother] reports. "Every single news thing that you've ever heard of called us."
Dr. Phil's people left a message, she says. And Paula Zahn's. Newsweek. Good Morning America. Elle Girl.The Los Angeles Times. The booker for Maury even sent flowers, as though the Gaedes would really fall for something like that. April ignored them all, planning to lie low for a while. She relented only for Teen People (the girls begged her), especially after, she says, someone at the magazine offered to do an "as told to" piece that April could see before it went to press.
"Primetime mainstreamed us!" April marvels. "I don't think a white-pride band has ever gotten this kind of media attention before. I mean, these two girls have become some of the most powerful people in white nationalism."
“It can't happen here!” ~ Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
(they were just kidding, though)
The Stranger within my gate,
he may be true or kind,
but he does not talk my talk,
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
but not the soul behind.
The men of my own stock,
they may do ill or well,
but they tell the lies I am wonted to,
they are used to the lies I tell.
From the Universal Father who inhabits eternity there has gone forth the supreme mandate, "Be you perfect, even as I am perfect." In love and mercy the messengers of Paradise have carried this divine exhortation down through the ages and out through the universes, even to such lowly animal-origin creatures as the human races...
This magnificent and universal injunction to strive for the attainment of the perfection of divinity is the first duty, and should be the highest ambition, of all the struggling creature creation of the God of perfection. This possibility of the attainment of divine perfection is the final and certain destiny of all man's eternal spiritual progress.
More to be revealed. And oh, it's good. It's very rich.
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Gunfighter Nation completes Richard Slotkin’s trilogy, begun in Regeneration Through Violence and continued in Fatal Environment, on the myth of the American frontier. Slotkin examines an impressive array of sources - fiction, Hollywood westerns, and the writings of Hollywood figures and Washington leaders - to show how the racialist theory of Anglo-Saxon ascendance and superiority (embodied in Theodore Roosevelt’s The Winning of the West), rather than Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis of the closing of the frontier, exerted the most influence in popular culture and government policy making in the twentieth century.
In reference to the post immediately below this one --
more fascist foxism - then and now -- I got this email today from one Geoffrey -- last name withheld for now, though I'd be happy to add it if he's game.
I don't understand how one gets from a "... book [that] shows how the engagement of women in some sporting activity did promote and support some gender emancipation," as presented in "Italian Fascism..." plus the idea(l?)s in "Cult of Health and Beauty..." of an author who, "... examines how different social groups gave different meanings to the same hygienic practices and aesthetic ideals," naturally leads to 'Francesca "Franky" Cook (Angelina Jolie), who is the commodore of an armada of flying British aircraft carriers.' Yes, I do have questions. Please explain.
So, here goes...
Understandable. I have questions too. Seriously. I mean, I can't quite explain it myself -- which is of course a total copout. I should say: I haven't adequately explained it... yet. And that's because this blog is a book in progress, emphasis on the in-progress part. It's me musing "out loud" about ideas that are often not quite worked through -- and this is one of them.
I'll admit to a certain amount of intentional... um... let's call it subtlety (I'd prefer not to call it obfuscation, but one legitimately could) in how I'm presenting some of these ideas. On Mystic B, the blog, I'm doing something suggestive (no pun intended, but perhaps it fits) that I won't be able to do in the book, where I won't be able to use graphics (certainly not so many graphics) to explore, test, suggest, hint at the themes I'm developing.
Also (before I get down to concrete cases), keep in mind that these posts are not stand-alone communiques. Each is a part, some part, of a complex overall structure-to-be...
Numinous Lunacy & the
of the NewAge++
...the eventual (gods willing) book. Worse, these bits are not coming in linear -- or any other kind of -- order. Many are, as I've mentioned here and there, notes to myself, reminders not to forget this or that person, quote, book, thread, leitmotif.
However, there are continuities, too, and this is certainly the case here. I first visited this general theme on 27 September last year in the brief two-picture post, fascionistas. "Everybody wants a piece" is all I wrote there -- on my best double entendre behavior. The naked bowgirl first appeared on January 25 in a post titled sound familiar?, in which I quoted the following from the book whose cover it adorns, The Cult of Health and Beauty in Germany: A Social History, 1890-1930:
From the 1890s to the 1930s, a growing number of Germans began to scrutinize and discipline their bodies in a utopian search for perfect health and beauty. Some became vegetarians, nudists, or bodybuilders, while others turned to alternative medicine or eugenics.
Note that last word, which has been a major theme here on Mystic B. The same book-cover image figures again on February 1st in my post body, mind and spirit II: empire of ecstasy, which offers further graphical hints that "The Cult of Health and Beauty" is more than an isolated bit of evidence. Note also that every one of these images is linked to a book. Even if readers have not clicked through on these links, they may rest assured that I have, and spent considerable time there -- even before the books arrive by snailpost.
It seems needless to point out, but I will, that "Body, Mind and Spirit" is a core buzzphrase of the New Age um... literature. So there's another clue. I'm exploring certain trends that were already well burned-in before the Third Reich that one could imagine (imagine me imagining it) are making a bigtime comeback today.
One of these trends is an obsessional fixation on bodily perfection as a bulwark against the core concept of "degeneration" -- more about which first appeared on this blog on July 26 last year in who's afraid of virginia woolf? -- where I mentioned the book, Modernism and Eugenics: Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration -- and again in more detail on November 2nd in
perfection itself, which post I "explained" as...
A disturbing and undisciplined meditation on degeneration theory, H.G. Wells, Doctor Moreau, fear of the dark, white bourgeois racism, the Third Reich, art, big science and the Human Genome Project.
The ideal women were tall, blue eyed, blonde representatives of the Aryan Race. The ideal beauty corresponded to the type of human being that was politically sound. For Hitler beauty always involved health: "We only want the celebration of the healthy body in art."
If you look at the sunshine long enough, you go blind. Maybe it's time to look into those shadows. (Can you see your mother, baby?)
And all this is important why? It's important because biological arguments for "race betterment" -- a popular concept at the time -- were genetic arguments against "degeneration." And they underpinned, as was their purpose, a eugenics program that led to the murder of millions of "unfit" individuals: Jews, psychiatric patients, homosexuals, Afro-Germans, Gypsies. At risk was anyone unhealthy, less than beautiful, non-blond, non-Aryan -- in a word: imperfect.
So when I see evidence of what sure looks to me like crypto-Nazi chic (e.g., the fetching Frankie) combined with a rampant passion for physical culture -- Bikram Yoga, anyone? Pilates? -- plus star-struck celluloid celebrity worship, a tidal wave of intolerant religious fundamentalism, and a population of increasingly know-nothing faux-innocent (who me?) New Agers... then yeah, I think there might just be legit cause for concern. These phenomena may exist in different boxes to some degree today, but not-so-distant history shows how quickly such separate cultural boxcars can jump the tracks and "converge" in a train wreck that then seems to have come out of nowhere. Gee, who could have predicted it?
Forget about your mother standing in the shadows. Pick up a newspaper in the blindingly shadow-free glare of high noon.
Does this series of graphics really need further explication? The way "Frankie" is portrayed in the first speaks to a certain contemporary fascination with hot babes in darkly authoritarian military getup. And this fascination is hardly a new phenomenon. Let me hasten to add that I have a good deal of respect for Angelina Jolie, from the little I know about her, and very much enjoyed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (the site's pretty decent, too). Finally, let me say that I think Angelina and Brad seem a perfect match, and that Ms. Jolie looks especially fine in a wetsuit.
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The Yoga Tradition, Unabridged New Format Edition, by Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D. (oooh!) is unreservedly plugged by a usual-suspects stable of New Age luminaries, including: Ken Wilber (who also wrote the foreword), Jacob Needleman (simply called out as "Needleman" on the book's back cover thanks to typical New Age attention to detail), and Larry "I Can Quack Like a Duck" Dossey.
"Feuerstein is a renowned yoga scholar and a tireless communicator," enthuses Booklist, "sharing his knowledge in more than two dozen books on the subject as well as translations of key yoga scriptures." Guy really knows his shit, in other words. But Booklist would never say something like that. Instead, reviewer Donna Seaman tops it off: "No more adept or comprehensive study of yoga aimed at a Western audience is to be found."
Well, I never would have found it at all had I not been searching for dirt on one Jakob Wilhelm Hauer. And you ask: who??? I don't blame you. I'd never heard of the guy either, until I started reading New Religions and the Nazis, in which he figures quite prominently. However, Georg Feuerstein's erudite and definitive, New Age Approved, adept and comprehensive study of yoga speaks of the man only thus:
"the German Sanskritist J. W. Hauer" (p. 30)
"the German Yoga researcher Jakob Wilhelm Hauer" (p. 119)
"The German Indologist Jakob Wilhelm Hauer" (p. 133)
"The German Sanskritist and pioneering Yoga researcher J. W. Hauer" (p. 188)
No hint that Herr Doktor Hauer was also a highly enthusiastic Nazi. No clue, for instance, that...
Hauer collected his Nordic Faith Movement together under a pledge of having no Jewish or colored blood... In the Sportpalast [to a rally attended by 10,000] he was heard praising the virtues of Blood and Soil, and acclaiming the heroic SS-man. In 1935 he could see Adolf Hitler as "the genius of our people."
But I'm probably not being fair. It's probably just a coincidence that so many of these deep spiritual types keep turning out to be racists or fascists -- or, in the case of German Sanskritist, Indologist, and pioneering Yoga researcher Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, both. And it's probably just a coincidence that their various cheerleading sections keep being blissfully unaware of these facts.
Yeah, that's probably it. I guess I just need to work on developing a better attitude.
"Karla Poewe illuminates an important but neglected part of Nazi history: the contribution of new religions to the emergence of Nazi ideology in 1930s Germany. Looking at traditional German occultism as well as the established Church, this book takes new religions founded in the pre-Nazi and Nazi years, especially Jakob Hauer's German Faith Movement, as indicators of how German fascism distilled aspects of religious doctrine into political extremism. It is researched from original documents, including the SS personnel files held in Berlin's Bundesarchiv."
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Friday, February 17, 2006
a diamond necklace played the pawn
hand in hand some drummed along, oh
to a handsome man and baton
a blind class aristocracy
back through the opera glass you see
the pit and the pendulum drawn... beach boys ~ brian wilson ~ surf's up
you haven't got long before you are all
going to kill yourselves
because you are all crazy. charles manson ~ court statement
nice day for a
white wedding billy idol
note: As if the substance of this post were not enough, you may want something more to drive you to the brink of madness. Here's just the thing: a loop of Robert Fripp's ride on Baby's on Fire, from Eno's warped classic Here Come the Warm Jets....
So I just found out Charlie Manson and I were born on the same day. What to make of coincidence? One like that I can write off. Though of course I'm going like hmmm... high Scorpio, hmmm...
Others aren't so easy. Especially when they start to pile up. I call it Synchronicity City, for the (intensely personal) sense of which I am indebted neither to Carl Jung nor Wolfgang Pauli. It's just my own shorthand for something which otherwise would remain too obscure to even hint at. It is, in fact, itself the hint. Without the Jung/Pauli irony, however, my shorthand would definitely lose something.
The reason I think the book is "wonderful" lies not its penetrating analysis, but rather in what it so deftly manages not to say. Like that so many of the people it glowingly eulogizes were in fact far-right racist scum. One man's opinion. However, it doesn't shy from underscoring connections I'd like to doubly emphasize myself, the first being the enlightening subtitle: "A Pictorial Anthology from Germany to California: 1883-1949." And in the same vein, as it were, a couple more:
p. 9: The four significant social reform groups of this era were: Wandervogel (free spirit/migrating bird); Naturmenschen (natural men); Lebensreform (life reform); and Monte Verita (mountain of truth), the community at Ascona, Switzerland; a precursor to Esalen in Big Sur, California.
p. 61: The people of Ascona refused eggs, milk, meat, salt and alcohol. Nature cure was a powerful idea in the German mind, and was a widespread and profound rebellion against science and professionalism.
On August 20, 1903, a newspaper in San Francisco, California published a large article about Ascona/Monte Verita, describing the people and their philosophies. This was certainly one of the first times that detailed news of the European counter-culture had reached the California coast.
Although Ascona died out after 1920, the spirit of it was reborn in California at Big Sur in the 1960s, with Esalen Institute becoming a "Monte Verita" on the Pacific.
Here's a fun quote from The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, edited by good old boy Joe Campbell. The following is from the first paper, "The Indian Theories of Redemption in the Frame of the Religions of Salvation" (p. 3)...
Outside the Eranos circle, the nature of the underlying concept which gives these meetings their meaning is perhaps not fully realized. The wish to understand the Orient and an interest in psychology are uniquely combined in the personality and the work of Professor Jung. Each one of us, however, must seek to clarify what analytical psychology and the age-old experience of the Orient have in common.
...it seems to me that our essential task in these meditations at Ascona must be to find means -- every possible means -- of realizing the spiritual. The investigation of mystical phenomena, whether by psychiatry or by the study of comparative religion, is perhaps the most important, but not the only basis for this endeavor.
Meanwhile, I was stoked (surf's up!) to discover that much of the text of Children of the Sun is online (though you should buy it anyway, for the nakey Fidus "art" if nothing else; see Beethoven and Friend, right), at a page titled Hippie Roots & The Perennial Subculture -- self-described as "a book about the origins of the Hippie Movement in Germany and the ideas they introduced to the US in the early 1900s." And: "It clearly describes the important links between the German health and nature pioneers, and their latter day California counterparts." [emphasis: take a wild guess]
In addition to mentions of Esalen, Kennedy also writes about
...long-haired bearded individuals during this same era who wore sandals or bare feet and usually tended to favor mild subtropical places like southern California and Florida where they could forage their meals from the fruit trees that were so plentiful then.
"Nature Boys" as they were later called were without exception either German immigrants or American youths whose lives were influenced by transplanted Germans that spread their Lebensreform (life-reform) message to anyone ready for a radical departure from the accepted boundaries of 20th century civilization.
"Bill Pester at this palm log cabin in Palm
Canyon, California, 1917. With his "lebensreform"
philosophy, nudism and raw foods diet, he was one
of the many German immigrants, who 'invented' the
hippie lifestyle more than half a century before
the 1960s. He left Germany to avoid military
service in 1906 at age 19, for a new life in
America. (Photo Courtesy of Collection Palm
Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California)"
And Kennedy asks -- though with markedly different intent -- essentially the same questions I've been asking here on Mystic Bourgeoisie...
So why Germany? What was happening there in the 19th century that caused a phenomenon like this to erupt so big?
In partial answer to that one, he writes:
Perhaps the most central Neo-Pagan element in the German folk movements was sun-worship, believed to be the ancient Teutonic religion. From at least the Romantic era, sun-worship was offered by prominent Germans as the most rational alternative to Christianity. The solar images were at the center of a desire to return to natural Paganism and a natural lifestyle in harmony with the earth.
Eugene Diedrichs Publishing was the highly respected voice of Neo-Paganism and the religious -- not the political -- arm of the great Volkische movement. Diedrichs envisioned an "organic people's state" (organischer Volksstaat) and like Carl Jung preferred a return to the nature religion of the ancient Teutons.
Prominent Germans... Religious, not political... I like that. You like that?
But wait... I seem to have gotten totally off-track here with all this stuff about Jung und der organischer Volksstaat and so forth. What I was really thinking about at the start of all this was the cult movie, Surf Nazis Must Die! (1987)
Tagline: The Beaches Have Become Battlefields... The Waves Are A War Zone!
Plot Synopsis: When the grandson of a gun wielding woman is murdered by neo-nazi surf punks in the post-apocalyptic future, this grandma hunts them down for some bloodthirsty revenge.
And that got me thinking about The Beach Boys and how one of them at least (Dennis) did a fair amount of hanging out with Charlie Manson. How weird is that? So I looked up all kindsa stuff, like Stoked! A History of Surf Culture by Drew Kampion (which sounds pretty good), and
The Family, in which former-Fug (if you have to ask, it's too late) Ed Sanders writes (p. 112)...
Helter Skelter was a dream project for ambulatory schizophrenics. There was something in it for everybody. Those who had had creepy childhoods looked upon Helter Skelter as a means of "saving the children." Others had a more racist point of view in that Charlie put up a picture of a white elite ultimately ruling over a black population.
They say I became convinced the Beatles' White Album with its songs of "Piggies," "Revolution #9," and "Helter Skelter" held special messages for me and my circle, that I interpreted them as signals to create an uprising between the races, and began programming everyone to prepare themselves for the shit that was going to come down.
And that's when I found out Charlie and I share a birthday. But that's not the real Synchronicity City part. The real Synchronicity City part was where, right after learning that, I went into my bathroom -- for the usual reason one goes into any bathroom -- and got wondering whether any of the books I keep stashed in there (they're everywhere so I'll never be alone with my thoughts) had anything to offer on any of the above. Right?
So on a random hunch I pick up Dreamer of the Day, a really terrific book about arch-fascist extraordinaire Francis Parker Yokey, which of course I haven't (yet) read (much of). And I flip open to a chapter titled...
wait for it...
Children of the Sun
Which I still haven't read, but this has to end somewhere (for now anyway), and it must be soon. So I'll leave you with what I wrote at the beginning but now comes at the end. You just never know about these things...
side note: There's a technical explanation for this sort of thing. And it's a pretty profound one, about which I could write a book -- I've thought about it. The technical term is collaborative filtering, and the biggest user of the technology is Amazon.com, the site on which I -- not so coincidentally -- spend most of my time. (Note I did not qualify this by saying "most of my online time." No, most of my time. Period.) I have another shorthand term for what collaborative filtering enables: Wide-Area Knowledge Acquisition. WAKA is the short form. It helps to know that "knowledge acquisition" was a term of art in artificial intelligence, a field in association with which I squandered ten years of my life. It also helps to know that "knowledge acquisition" was the impossible dream that crashed AI.
So, non-sequiturially perhaps, let's hear it one more time for Fidus and solar völkisch pederasty...
The European communes sprouting up from the 1880s were based on ideas of positive health. Notable examples were the vegetarian colonies Heimgarten, founded in 1892, and Eden, in 1893, which survived by producing health foods and drinks. 'Eden Reform-Butter' was a prototype of margarine. The physician, Raphael Friedeberg, underwent a metamorphosis from adviser to sickness insurance funds and SPD member in the 1890s to anarchism and Lebensreform in the 1900s. He replaced materialism by a creed of 'psychism,' and conventional medical therapy by nature therapy. His settlement at Monte Verita near Ascona pioneered the first 'air huts' or Lufthütten for fresh air and nature therapy. The colony's vegetarianism and anarchism attracted such visitors as Bakunin, Kropotkin, Lenin, and Trotsky.
OBITUARY: Heiner Hesse; Son and promoter of Hermann Hesse, The Independent (London, England), 16 April 2003:
Hermann Hesse's novels became enormously popular in the youthful countercultures of the 1960s and 1970s. The royalties from their huge sales - some 100 million copies - allowed Heiner Hesse to devote his time to promoting his father's artistic legacy, and he remained active in doing so until the last year of his long life....
Heiner Hesse died in the village of Arcegno near Ascona, close to the Swiss-Italian border.
November 12, 1947. Triple Scorpio rising.
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Wednesday, February 15, 2006