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The Evolution of Human Nature

Our mission at Esalen to facilitate change within self and society has never been more vital than it is now. Michael Murphy, Esalen CTR Founder

The mission of the Esalen Center for Theory & Research is to help create an emerging “school” in which theory, research, and practice can co-evolve to embody and actualize our latent supernature.

The possibilities of the human future lie beyond the power of our imagination. We suspect that our creative capacity, like that of the universe itself, is ultimately limitless.

The prospect of further human development stands before us as an ethical demand, providing useful guidance for our scientific research, education, and legislation as well as for our individual and personal choices. The world needs those who believe in our common humanity, who understand and promote the development of all individuals and communities — body, mind, heart, and soul.

The Center for Theory & Research (CTR) was founded in the fall of 1998 as a means of revitalizing, quickening, and formalizing both our original Esalen vision and a particular format that had been in place from the Institute’s very beginning: the private symposium that brings together world-class intellectuals and practitioners to discuss a single focused theme or idea.

The founding vision of Esalen is to envision and promote personal and social transformation worldwide. To this end it explores, nurtures, and works to actualize those extraordinary capacities or “human potentials” that have been otherwise denied or repressed by modern cultures but appear to be emerging today with increasing force and excitement, now in concert with new science.

Traditionally framed in terms of mystical experiences, psychical phenomena, or extraordinary physical and cultural accomplishments, these “evolutionary buds,” whether personal, institutional, or social, have been extensively explored at Esalen through various channels, including philosophy, comparative religious studies, psychology, anthropology, somatic practices, quantum physics, evolutionary biology, citizen diplomacy, and other forms of social action.


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