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  • The prospect of further human development stands before us as an ethical demand, providing useful guidance for our scientific research, education, and legislation as well as for our individual and personal choices. The world needs those who believe in our common humanity, who understand and promote the development of all individuals and communities — body, mind, heart, and soul.

    Our mission at Esalen to facilitate such change within self and society has never been more vital than it is now.

    – Michael Murphy, Esalen CTR Founder

  • Political Polarization
    October 5 - 8, 2014

    [Please note that the invitation-only conference is full. For limited availability sponsorships, please contact]

  • Current Center for Theory & Research Initiatives

    Esalen is a preeminent alternative education center charged with helping to transform and evolve world culture through its public workshops and its Center for Theory & Research (CTR) projects. For over 50 years, Esalen has initiated new areas of research, theory, practice, and action, all of which have fostered social change and the realization of the human potential. A brief overview of our current initiatives follows.

About CTR


About Esalen Center for Theory & Research

The goals of the Esalen Center for Theory & Research (CTR) span a wide range of commitments, projects, and passions. One of these is the development of a new worldview that can make sense of all of this and a transformative practice that can embody it, since vision without action is lame and action without vision is blind. Under the banner of “Toward a New Worldview,” CTR seeks to nourish and support an emerging 'school' in which theory, research, and practice will co-evolve to embody our latent supernature. 


Alternately known as the Big SUR Seminar and the SURvival Seminar, Sursem, now in its fourteenth year, is the longest running series ever to take place at Esalen. Spearheaded by Michael Murphy, these events have brought together neuroscientists, psychiatrists, philosophers, physicists, and historians to assess the empirical evidence for human survival of bodily death evident in such phenomena as near-death and out-of-body experiences, mystical experiences, psychical phenomena, and children who remember previous lives. 

In 2009, neuroscientist Ed Kelly and historian of psychology Emily Kelly led the group toward the production of Sursem’s groundbreaking book, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology of the 21st Century

The Evolution of Human Nature

Throughout Esalen’s history Michael Murphy has hosted leading scholars of evolution and spiritual transformation to discuss the emerging vision of human evolution. Often described as “evolutionary panentheism,” this vision looks at how to reconcile scientific and mystical perspectives into a more encompassing vision of human possibility. It includes Jeff Kripal’s pioneering work on how the film, comic book, and television industries portray the evolutionary emergence of paranormal capacities in humans and so, in effect, advance Esalen’s own long-standing vision under the guise of entertainment and fiction


We offer a rich and varied integral learning environment devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.


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