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Mind Games
November 19, 2009 3:24 AM   Subscribe

In 1972, the book Mind Games - The Guide to Inner Space, inspired* a song by John Lennon. This was during the heyday of the human potential movement, which offered the heretical and possibly dangerous idea that people can achieve heretofore unimagined potentials. Inevitably this movement led to military applications and even a movie about men staring at goats.
posted by twoleftfeet (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
In 1974 I spent a couple of week at Esalen doing a seminar that had nothing to do with psychic phenomena, although it was the leading center in America at that time for new age psychologies. But interestingly during those two weeks a whole group of young naval officers turned up there - initially in uniform. They were not allowed to talk to the rest of us and vice versa, although we tried. It was a very unlikely place to find such a group or so it seemed back then then since it was also famous for encouraging people to do acid and engage in free sex and public nudity along with the more conservative activities like gestalt and rolfing.
posted by donfactor at 4:28 AM on November 19, 2009


"initially in uniform"? Does that mean that they eventually engaged in the free sex and public nudity? Enquiring minds demand to know.
posted by Skeptic at 5:19 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


since it was also famous for encouraging people to do acid and engage in free sex and public nudity along with the more conservative activities like gestalt and rolfing.

I suspect the rolfing may not have been what brought people to these seminars.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:25 AM on November 19, 2009


Their infamous "eighteen-hole" rolf course led to federal raids.
posted by Abiezer at 6:40 AM on November 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I suspect the rolfing may not have been what brought people to these seminars.

Yes, I can picture how those young naval officers ended up there:

"The Admiral has got the idea from an article in Reader's Digest that we may be able to defeat the Russkies using mind power."

"With all due respect, what utter load of bollocks, sir!"

"Indeed, Lieutenant. However he's asking for volunteers to research the matter. If you join, you'll get to hang out with hippie chicks who engage in free sex and public nudity. If not, there's always that posting in a nuclear submarine waiting for you."

"Where do I have to sign, sir?"
posted by Skeptic at 7:17 AM on November 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's kind of bizarre, to say the least, that what began as such an open-minded, go-anywhere venture as the human potential movement seems to have wound up benefiting the military and business sectors as much anyone.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:58 AM on November 19, 2009


Anywhere there's a buck to be made by delivering absolutely nothing, business will be there. Anywhere there's a way to spend ludicrous sums of money on an infinitesimal chance of combat advantage, the military will find its way.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:13 AM on November 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Re John Lennon, that is a great song..
posted by kuatto at 10:18 AM on November 19, 2009


If I comment in here, can I still leave to use the bathroom?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:31 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


^ bEST joke in thread.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:25 PM on November 19, 2009


The First Earth Battalion Field Manual is, um, interesting. I've read other army field manuals, but none of the others cover ginseng regulators, super luminal transmitters, or terranauts in space. And none of the other ones discuss the deployment of "soft tactics" - the manipulation of world opinion through televised benevolent commando raids.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:44 PM on November 19, 2009


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