Counterculture Essay

As with the New Left, the participation mystique was a central aspect of the counter culture. The more mainstream Esalen Institute, founded in 1962 at a spa in the Big Sur area, was dedicated to cultivating personal growth for those who had the money and inclination to do group work there.What might an intellectual history of that summer and of the counter culture look like?Some in the counter culture did not see the point of conventional politics, including the New Left.

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Note to readers: this is the final essay in our Summer of Love Roundtable.

(Follow these links to read the first, second, third, and fourth instalments.) Richard H.

And yet counter cultural thinkers and writers drew upon the very traditions they sought to undermine for their ammunition against the established cultural order.

The summer of 1967 saw the culmination, in George Cotkin’s words, of a post-war “new sensibility” that became evident in various “feasts of excess,” including San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and the Monterrey Pop Festival between June 16 and 18.

3]Weber— Roszak’s focus on the repressive power of the technocracy and objective consciousness pointed to the relevance of Max Weber’s idea of “rationalization of the world” as the power driving modern life.

Socialist rationality was not an oppositional force to, but merely another version of, capitalist rationality.

Yet others thought that what was needed was a coalescence of Marx and Freud, as it were.

For Marxists, this meant another look at the Marx who stressed the alienated consciousness and what it might have in common with the radical wing of the psychoanalytic movement.

King is Professor of American Studies (emeritus) at the University of Nottingham.

There is something counter-intuitive about trying to identify the intellectual and cultural roots of The Summer of Love and the counter culture.


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