The brainchild of two Stanford graduates, Michael Murphy and Richard Price, Esalen Institute on the Big Sur coast has had a profound influence on American religious history over the last half-century. Many of the practices and ideas the institute stood for at its inception in 1962—from meditation and yoga to the synthesis of evolutionary biology and theology—are now common features of American culture and discourse. Join us as we discuss the history and influence of a pioneering project that has long been on the leading edge of alternative and experiential education.
Michael Murphy began his journey toward the founding of Esalen Institute when, by chance, he heard a lecture on comparative religion by Frederic Spiegelberg in Cubberley Auditorium during his sophomore year at Stanford in 1950. Among his many books are Golf in the Kingdom and In the Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports.
Jeffrey Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. His book, Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press.