The Human Potential Movement

I was excited when I came across Walter Truett Anderson’s The Upstart Spring: Esalen and the Human Potential Movement: The First Twenty Years¬†as I had long been interested in individuality and human potential. Esalen fostered exploration in human potentiality and a new world view. A historical account of an American cultural revolution, The Upstart Spring is an absorbing and fun read. Anderson takes the reader through the history of Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California starting from it’s inception in the 1960’s. Founded by Michael Murphy and Dick Price, they brought a number of well known figures to lead seminars such as Aldous Huxley (English author and philosopher), Abraham Maslow (American psychologist), Joan Baez (American singer), Ida Rolf (creator of Structural Integration. Also known as Rolfing), Fritz Pearls (German psychiatrist. Developed Gestalt therapy) and many others. Anderson shares this culturally important history with care and honesty making for an entertaining, sometimes sobering, and informative read. Esalen, over fifty years later, continues to offer workshops and continuing education in arts, psychology, meditation, massage, and movement.