Gregory Bateson in the Weirdlands

Deterritorial Investigations


While prepping some materials on Gregory Bateson for my work in progress, I was perusing the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Inventory of the Gregory Bateson Papers. While Bateson was known for his interest in what Andrew Pickering, following W. Grey Walter, calls the “strange performances” of the mind, the contents of box #80 stuck out in my mind as particularly curious:

Session with Jenny O’Connor, English psychic who channeled “The Nine”, Esalen Institute, unedited transcript & notesFeb. 7, 1979

In my post Into the Mystic: Capitalism and the Structuralization of Spirituality, I wrote about how as time went on, Esalen, under the successive leaderships of Richard Price and Julian Silvermann, became estranged from its countercultural roots and transitioned into a kind of ‘wellness center’ for corporate retreaters. Poking around, I was surprised to see this:

Dick [Richard Price] still maintained his scan of the spiritual/psychological horizon and was…

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