Portrait of Conrad Hal Waddington

Conrad Hal Waddington

Biologist
November 8, 1905 – September 26, 1975

Conrad Hal Waddington was a British developmental biologist, paleontologist, geneticist, embryologist and philosopher who laid the foundations for systems biology, epigenetics, and evolutionary developmental biology. Waddington had wide interests that included poetry and painting, as well as left-wing political leanings. In his book The Scientific Attitude he touched on political topics such as central planning, and praised Marxism as a "profound scientific philosophy."

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Terence McKenna

Build Your Own Damn Wagon

"Do not watch, do not consume," implores Terence McKenna, inviting us on a thought-provoking journey to reclaim our humanness. By building our own conceptual wagons, rather than riding ready-made vehicles of meaning, we can travel along unique paths of critical thinking. Once within our own virtual worlds, the wonder of our distinctive minds will be open for discovery.

Terence McKenna

Ecology of Souls

Beginning with a comparison of reason and logic to intuition, Terence works his way towards exploring the idea of a purposeful goal in the universe which evolution is progressing towards, and humanity's role in this journey. Next, in a nod to the solstice which occurred at the time of the lecture, he plays with the idea of a precessional calendar and argues that it would remind us of the one constant in life, which is flux. Q&A topics include future social myths, morphogenesis, globalization, and psychedelic encounters with the dead.

Dean Wooldridge

Mechanical Man

A report on modern attempts to account for the origin and properties of living organisms, including man, by means of the principles of physics. It concludes that biology is a branch of physical science, and man is only (and astoundingly) a complex kind of machine.

Gregory Bateson

Mind and Nature

Renowned for his contributions to anthropology, biology, and the social sciences, Bateson asserts that man must think as Nature does to live in harmony on the earth and, citing examples from the natural world, he maintains that biological evolution is a mental process.

Terence McKenna

Our Cyberspiritual Future

Terence McKenna holds court on our civilization's journey toward the eschaton at this weekend Esalen gathering. With humor and eloquence he riffs on topics from psychedelic states and alien intelligences to time travel and VR. McKenna argues we're evolving toward an unimaginable state of accelerating novelty, propelled by advancing technology. A mind-expanding ride for the open-minded psychonaut or armchair traveler, guided by one of the twentieth century's most eclectic thinkers.

Terence McKenna

Plan, Plant, Planet

McKenna urges us to look at plants more deeply and find within their biological organization a model for sustainable modern civilization.

Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham

Psychedelics and the Computer Revolution

Psychedelics unlock the mind's eye, let mathematicians fly
To landscapes unseen, where patterns careen in colors serene.
As symbols may hide truths inside, these vines we must untwine.
With psychedelics we'll refine new ways for minds to shine:
Computers give form, classics reborn, realms to adorn.
Together they'll fuse, creativity diffuse, inventions produce!
So let inhibitions loose, imagine the use, as we choose the hues
Of mathematical views, and virtual worlds that enthuse!

Terence McKenna

State of the Stone

In this talk, McKenna gives one of his more hopeful presentations about love and the state of humanity at the end of the millenium.

Erich Jantsch

The Self-Organizing Universe

The evolution of the universe—ranging from cosmic and biological to sociocultural evolution—is viewed in terms of the unifying paradigm of self-organization. The contours of this paradigm emerge from the synthesis of a number of important concepts, and provide a scientific foundation to a new world-view which emphasizes process over structure, nonequilibrium over equilibrium, evolution over permanency, and individual creativity over collective stabilization. The book, with its emphasis on the interaction of microstructures with the entire biosphere, ecosystems etc., and on how micro- and macrocosmos mutually create the conditions for their further evolution, provides a comprehensive framework for a deeper understanding of human creativity in a time of transition.

Lancelot Law Whyte

The Universe of Experience

Modern experience forces philosophy and social thought to confront the basic problems of value. Is this life worth caring about? How can we find a way between the deceit of fanatical belief and despair? In the view of Lancelot Law Whyte, the essential challenge to mankind today is an underlying nihilism promoting violence and frustrating sane policies on major social issues. Avoiding the seductive trap of utopianism, Whyte approaches this challenge by defining the terms of a potentially worldwide consensus of heart, mind, and will.