Four Esalen Men
This chapter describes how four men who have been profoundly influenced by the Institute enact spiritual privilege in different ways. Their personal histories also illuminate the ways that different cohorts interpret and spread Esalen's contributions to spirituality, personal growth psychology, social action, and definitions of masculinity. All four men grew up with material comfort and emotional distress, burdened and motivated by their families' hopes that they would become extraordinary people whose endeavors could change the world. Their parents encouraged them to be great but failed to empathize with their sons' emotions or independent goals. When they came of age, each of the young men discarded his family's expectations in order to construct an individual path to personal and spiritual fulfillment. Gender advantage, the material and interpersonal resources that amplify men's power in American society, augments their spiritual privilege, allowing them to step outside the mainstream in order to reinvent themselves.
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