Journal 3: from April 2002 through 2003
In late March 2002 I took a merciful job offer from my old consulting company back in Connecticut to go to work for "a couple of months" in Boston working for an engineering company, Stone & Webster, in the process of tying up loose ends from a joint venture in building a power plant north of Hanoi, Vietnam where there had been many problems including lateness of construction. A shot of money, friends in Boston, interesting work with colleagues doing more tangible things than epistemology even if often in the form of computer screens. Even the Red Sox kept me content for what turned out to be almost 7 months of work. Our portion of the work ended in October of 2002.
November was productive for getting back to philosophy and for getting the Express ready to hit the road again after more than a year of non-use. December was a trip to Northern Virginia where my family gathered at my sister Mary Meurisse's for a long Christmas. January was a sailing trip with my good friends, Cochise and Vic, from Florida down to Cartegena, Colombia before Vic headed to Panama for life as a writer in the tropics. February I got together with my ex, Cheryl, for a month of touring the California coast in the Express. Many good delays to fun with epistemology.
As of March 1, 2003 I was able to pull together scattered work from the last several months and write the Declaration of Interdependence before making a visit to the University of California Berkeley in mid month. The intent was to use the Declaration as a springboard for debate. In the next couple of weeks I posted it at several places at UCB, at Stanford and at University of California Santa Cruz. Posting a Declaration is not as simple these days as it would seem. At Berkeley's Sociology Department it took multiple permissions to even get it okayed in an obscure place behind glass. The Berkeley Biology Department didn't like it anywhere because it couldn't make any direct tie to biology. Meanwhile I continued trying to make cold calls in the manner that I had grown somewhat accustomed. The best luck was with Terrence Deacon of the Anthropology Dept. He is the author of The Symbolic Species and was very exciting to talk to.
During this period, however, I was also in regular contact with friends in the Bay Area including my close friend Dick, writer and therapist in Berkeley. Between his exhortations for the more practical side of my work and the realization that no matter how good a meeting of the minds I made in my campus forays there would be no project or institution behind me with which to invite others to join. In short I felt disembodied personally while paradoxically pursuing a philosophy with more embodiment. (Paradoxical or hypocritical?) I knew that I needed a personal change of directions. Among the prime choices was coming down to Esalen Institute, the famous think tank and experiential exploration center on the Big Sur coast of California. This would allow me to live more cheaply if I could get work there, be around more people and be around people who would challenge me personally to live and relate closer to my ideals. In early April I got into a month long work/study program. And as of June I have signed on for a year of working in the maintenance program. The people, the place, the possibilities for me to write and integrate myself to my own aspirations are simply awesome.
At the end of August 2003 I excitedly went to the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Wow. Such a conflagration of the human spirit. Who would have thought that right here in North America there could be revealed the incredible incendiary power of giving and creating (art).
Here we have the maintenance team at Esalen sometime in late 2003 or early 2004. Left to right standing are: George, Dave, Bill Lee, myself, Berni, Gregg, Steve and Kent with left to right in the front on knees are: Bryan, Joe and Bill.
To continue, go to Journal 4