Documentary: ‘Supernature: Esalen And The Human Potential’

Documentary: ‘Supernature: Esalen And The Human Potential’

Feb 02



Supernature Kickstarter Page
Supernature Page on Facebook
Esalen Website
Esalen Center for Theory & Research
Wikipedia on Esalen

• ITP, George Leonard, Michael Murphy & Ken Wilber On Integral Transformative Practice
Esalen, Ken Wilber & Integral Life Practice
Followup: Integral: Esalen, Ken Wilber & Integral Life Practice
The Great Integral Awakening (Interviews & Links)

Esalen Institute Statement of Purpose
About The Esalen Center For Theory & Research
The Esalen Archives Of Extraordinary Human Functioning
Esalen Institute Explores The Survival Of Bodily Death

Important: Stephen Dinan Interviews Esalen Founder Michael Murphy
Human Potential Pioneer George Leonard Dies
Interview With Jeffrey Kripal: Esalen’s Tantric Transhumanism
The Supernatural, Supernormal & Popular Culture Conference At Esalen
Esalen America & The Religion Of No Religion
Esalen: Top Hippie Enclave Is Hip Again


A Documentary project in Houston, TX by Scott Hulan Jones

Original Link





In the early 1960’s two young visionaries, Richard Price and Michael Murphy, founded a place to explore and nurture what Aldous Huxley had named the “human potentialities,” his expression for the fantastic reaches of mind and body hinted at in the altered states of mystical literature, psychical research, and psychedelic experience. They named this new place “Esalen.” And they sparked an enduring movement that has changed countless lives.

Murphy and his colleague, journalist George Leonard, named their new initiative “The Human Potential Movement.” The result was a new visionary school, a Hogwarts before Hogwarts, that fostered both a set of techniques to actualize these human potentials and a worldview in which these potentials could be recognized, accepted, and nurtured. Most of all, they delved, enthusiastically, into questions about the latent or secret nature of reality and the human being that were, and still are, considered out of bounds in the universities and religions.

SUPERNATURE: ESALEN AND THE HUMAN POTENTIAL is a documentary film about the influential Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and The Human Potential Movement it spawned. At a time of unprecedented political, social and ideological conflict, we believe the world would benefit from a broad, beautiful, and sophisticated exposure to the ideas and practices fostered by Esalen, particularly those that move us beyond the present schizophrenic split between religion and science. We believe that the world is crying out for positive, even ecstatic models and ideas that can embrace the best of our religious pasts without being bound to those pasts; that can celebrate the discoveries of science without equating these discoveries with a materialism of despair and meaninglessness; and that can finally envision the human being as a conscious embodiment of the evolving cosmos. With SUPERNATURE, we hope to bring exactly this vision to a much wider audience and so play our part in the transformation and future of American culture.

SUPERNATURE is based on Jeffrey J. Kripal’s definitive and wide-ranging history, ESALEN: AMERICA AND THE RELIGION OF NO RELIGION. In the film we are focusing on Esalen as the mecca of the Human Potential Movement, and the people and ideas that have comprised that movement for 50 years. Principle photography began at Esalen in May, 2011, when we shot interviews with and presentations by a number of Esalen luminaries: Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, Track-Two Executive Director Dulce Murphy, Experimental Physicist Russell Targ, Theoretical Physicists Nick Herbert and Elizabeth Rauscher, Neuroscientist Ed Kelly, Historian of Psychology Adam Crabtree, Professor of Religion Dana Sawyer, Psychologist Charles Tart, Transpersonal Psychology Pioneers Stanislav and Christina Grof, Professor of Somatics Don Hanlon Johnson, and German Professor of Slavic Literatures and Culture Birgit Menzel. We also have previously recorded interviews with Astronomer, Computer Scientist and UFO Expert Jacques Vallee, Writers Erik Davis, Mitch Horowitz, Victoria Nelson, Doug Moench, Lawrence Sutin and Christopher Knowles, Parapsychologist Dean Radin, Physicist Ed May, Professor of Religious Studies Christopher Partridge, and Clairaudient Paul Selig.

We will be shooting additional interviews in Saulsalito, California in January 2012. Among those who have been confirmed are Jim Fadiman, Steve Harper, Ed Maupin, Michael Murphy, Chris Price, Richard Tarnas, Pam Walatka, Gordon Wheeler, and Nancy Lunney-Wheeler. Closer to home we will soon shoot interviews with G. William Barnard and Jessica Grogan. Our efforts to recruit additional interviewees is ongoing. We are also planning to shoot footage at Esalen for two or more weeks in July 2012. Finally, we hope at various times throughout the year to shoot expanded profiles of some of the principle subjects.

The work we’ve done so far on SUPERNATURE has been funded out of our own pockets. In this initial funding phase, we are raising $22,000 to help cover the travel and partial production costs for our upcoming shoots, and to acquire some archival imagery. Every dollar helps and will be greatly appreciated. Our goal is to finish at least a rough cut of the film in time for Esalen’s 50th anniversary in September of 2012 and premiere the film that same month in Big Sur.

Please reach out to anyone you know who might appreciate our effort to tell this story and so impact the broader culture in positive and creative ways. You can tell the world you like us on Facebook!


Producer/Director: Scott Hulan Jones
Writer/Producer: Jeffrey J. Kripal
Director of Photography: Richard Lacy
Composer: Noel Flatt


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