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W. B. Yeats
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/19



William Butler Yeats photographed in 1903 by Alice Boughton

William Butler Yeats[a] (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.

Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland and educated there and in London. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.


Early years

William Butler Yeats was born at Sandymount in County Dublin, Ireland.[1] His father, John Butler Yeats (1839–1922), was a descendant of Jervis Yeats, a Williamite soldier, linen merchant, and well-known painter who died in 1712.[2] Benjamin Yeats, Jervis's grandson and William's great-great-grandfather, had in 1773[3] married Mary Butler[4] of a landed family in County Kildare.[5] Following their marriage, they kept the name Butler. Mary was of the Butler of Neigham (pronounced Nyam) Gowran family, descended from an illegitimate brother of the 8th Earl of Ormond.[6]

By his marriage, William's father John Yeats was studying law but abandoned his studies to study art at Heatherley School of Fine Art in London.[7] His mother, Susan Mary Pollexfen, came from a wealthy merchant family in Sligo, who owned a milling and shipping business. Soon after William's birth, the family relocated to the Pollexfen home at Merville, Sligo to stay with her extended family, and the young poet came to think of the area as his childhood and spiritual home. Its landscape became, over time, both literally and symbolically, his "country of the heart".[8] So also did its location on the sea; John Yeats stated that "by marriage with a Pollexfen, we have given a tongue to the sea cliffs".[9] The Butler Yeats family were highly artistic; his brother Jack became an esteemed painter, while his sisters Elizabeth and Susan Mary—known to family and friends as Lollie and Lily—became involved in the Arts and Crafts movement.[10]

Yeats was raised a member of the Protestant Ascendancy, which was at the time undergoing a crisis of identity. While his family was broadly supportive of the changes Ireland was experiencing, the nationalist revival of the late 19th century directly disadvantaged his heritage and informed his outlook for the remainder of his life. In 1997, his biographer R. F. Foster observed that Napoleon's dictum that to understand the man you have to know what was happening in the world when he was twenty "is manifestly true of W.B.Y."[11] Yeats's childhood and young adulthood were shadowed by the power-shift away from the minority Protestant Ascendancy. The 1880s saw the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell and the home rule movement; the 1890s saw the momentum of nationalism, while the Catholics became prominent around the turn of the century. These developments had a profound effect on his poetry, and his subsequent explorations of Irish identity had a significant influence on the creation of his country's biography.[12]

In 1867, the family moved to England to aid their father, John, to further his career as an artist. At first, the Yeats children were educated at home. Their mother entertained them with stories and Irish folktales. John provided an erratic education in geography and chemistry and took William on natural history explorations of the nearby Slough countryside.[13] On 26 January 1877, the young poet entered the Godolphin school,[14] which he attended for four years. He did not distinguish himself academically, and an early school report describes his performance as "only fair. Perhaps better in Latin than in any other subject. Very poor in spelling".[15] Though he had difficulty with mathematics and languages (possibly because he was tone deaf[16]), he was fascinated by biology and zoology. In 1879 the family moved to Bedford Park taking a two-year lease on 8 Woodstock Road.[17] For financial reasons, the family returned to Dublin toward the end of 1880, living at first in the suburbs of Harold's Cross[18] and later Howth. In October 1881, Yeats resumed his education at Dublin's Erasmus Smith High School.[19] His father's studio was nearby and William spent a great deal of time there, where he met many of the city's artists and writers. During this period he started writing poetry, and, in 1885, the Dublin University Review published Yeats's first poems, as well as an essay entitled "The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson". Between 1884 and 1886, William attended the Metropolitan School of Art—now the National College of Art and Design—in Thomas Street.[1] In March 1888 the family moved to 3 Blenheim Road in Bedford Park.[20] The rent on the house was £50 a year.[17]

He began writing his first works when he was seventeen; these included a poem—heavily influenced by Percy Bysshe Shelley—that describes a magician who set up a throne in central Asia. Other pieces from this period include a draft of a play about a bishop, a monk, and a woman accused of paganism by local shepherds, as well as love-poems and narrative lyrics on German knights. The early works were both conventional and, according to the critic Charles Johnston, "utterly unIrish", seeming to come out of a "vast murmurous gloom of dreams".[21] Although Yeats's early works drew heavily on Shelley, Edmund Spenser, and on the diction and colouring of pre-Raphaelite verse, he soon turned to Irish mythology and folklore and the writings of William Blake. In later life, Yeats paid tribute to Blake by describing him as one of the "great artificers of God who uttered great truths to a little clan".[22] In 1891, Yeats published John Sherman and "Dhoya", one a novella, the other a story. The influence of Oscar Wilde is evident in Yeats's theory of aesthetics, especially in his stage plays, and runs like a motif through his early works.[23] The theory of masks, developed by Wilde in his polemic The Decay of Lying can clearly be seen in Yeats's play The Player Queen,[24] while the more sensual characterisation of Salomé, in Wilde's play of the same name, provides the template for the changes Yeats made in his later plays, especially in On Baile's Strand (1904), Deirdre (1907), and his dance play The King of the Great Clock Tower (1934).[25]

Young poet

1900 portrait by Yeats’ father, John Butler Yeats

The family returned to London in 1887. In March 1890 Yeats joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and with Ernest Rhys[26] co-founded the Rhymers' Club, a group of London-based poets who met regularly in a Fleet Street tavern to recite their verse. Yeats later sought to mythologize the collective, calling it the "Tragic Generation" in his autobiography,[27] and published two anthologies of the Rhymers' work, the first one in 1892 and the second one in 1894. He collaborated with Edwin Ellis on the first complete edition of William Blake's works, in the process rediscovering a forgotten poem, "Vala, or, the Four Zoas".[28][29]

Yeats had a lifelong interest in mysticism, spiritualism, occultism and astrology. He read extensively on the subjects throughout his life, became a member of the paranormal research organisation "The Ghost Club" (in 1911) and was especially influenced by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.[30] As early as 1892, he wrote: "If I had not made magic my constant study I could not have written a single word of my Blake book, nor would The Countess Kathleen ever have come to exist. The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write."[31] His mystical interests—also inspired by a study of Hinduism, under the Theosophist Mohini Chatterjee, and the occult—formed much of the basis of his late poetry. Some critics disparaged this aspect of Yeats's work.[32]

His first significant poem was "The Island of Statues", a fantasy work that took Edmund Spenser and Shelley for its poetic models. The piece was serialized in the Dublin University Review. Yeats wished to include it in his first collection, but it was deemed too long, and in fact, was never republished in his lifetime. Quinx Books published the poem in complete form for the first time in 2014. His first solo publication was the pamphlet Mosada: A Dramatic Poem (1886), which comprised a print run of 100 copies paid for by his father. This was followed by the collection The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889), which arranged a series of verse that dated as far back as the mid-1880s. The long title poem contains, in the words of his biographer R. F. Foster, "obscure Gaelic names, striking repetitions [and] an unremitting rhythm subtly varied as the poem proceeded through its three sections";[33]

We rode in sorrow, with strong hounds three,
Bran, Sceolan, and Lomair,
On a morning misty and mild and fair.
The mist-drops hung on the fragrant trees,
And in the blossoms hung the bees.
We rode in sadness above Lough Lean,
For our best were dead on Gavra's green.

"The Wanderings of Oisin" is based on the lyrics of the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology and displays the influence of both Sir Samuel Ferguson and the Pre-Raphaelite poets.[34] The poem took two years to complete and was one of the few works from this period that he did not disown in his maturity. Oisin introduces what was to become one of his most important themes: the appeal of the life of contemplation over the appeal of the life of action. Following the work, Yeats never again attempted another long poem. His other early poems, which are meditations on the themes of love or mystical and esoteric subjects, include Poems (1895), The Secret Rose (1897), and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). The covers of these volumes were illustrated by Yeats's friend Althea Gyles.[35]

During 1885, Yeats was involved in the formation of the Dublin Hermetic Order. The society held its first meeting on 16 June, with Yeats acting as its chairman. The same year, the Dublin Theosophical lodge was opened in conjunction with Brahmin Mohini Chatterjee, who travelled from the Theosophical Society in London to lecture. Yeats attended his first séance the following year. He later became heavily involved with the Theosophy and with hermeticism, particularly with the eclectic Rosicrucianism of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. During séances held from 1912, a spirit calling itself "Leo Africanus" apparently claimed it was Yeats's Daemon or anti-self, inspiring some of the speculations in Per Amica Silentia Lunae.[36] He was admitted into the Golden Dawn in March 1890 and took the magical motto Daemon est Deus inversus—translated as 'Devil is God inverted'.[ b] He was an active recruiter for the sect's Isis-Urania Temple, and brought in his uncle George Pollexfen, Maud Gonne, and Florence Farr. Although he reserved a distaste for abstract and dogmatic religions founded around personality cults, he was attracted to the type of people he met at the Golden Dawn.[37] He was involved in the Order's power struggles, both with Farr and Macgregor Mathers, and was involved when Mathers sent Aleister Crowley to repossess Golden Dawn paraphernalia during the "Battle of Blythe Road". After the Golden Dawn ceased and splintered into various offshoots, Yeats remained with the Stella Matutina until 1921.[38]

Maud Gonne

Main article: Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne c. 1900

In 1889, Yeats met Maud Gonne, a 23-year-old English heiress and ardent Irish Nationalist.[c] She was eighteen months younger than Yeats and later claimed she met the poet as a "paint-stained art student."[39] Gonne admired "The Island of Statues" and sought out his acquaintance. Yeats began an obsessive infatuation, and she had a significant and lasting effect on his poetry and his life thereafter.[40] In later years he admitted, "it seems to me that she [Gonne] brought into my life those days—for as yet I saw only what lay upon the surface—the middle of the tint, a sound as of a Burmese gong, an over-powering tumult that had yet many pleasant secondary notes."[41] Yeats's love was unrequited, in part due to his reluctance to participate in her nationalist activism.[42]

In 1891 he visited Gonne in Ireland and proposed marriage, but was rejected. He later admitted that from that point "the troubling of my life began".[43] Yeats proposed to Gonne three more times: in 1899, 1900 and 1901. She refused each proposal, and in 1903, to his dismay, married the Irish nationalist Major John MacBride.[44] His only other love affair during this period was with Olivia Shakespear, whom he first met in 1894, and parted from in 1897.

W. B. Yeats (no date)

Yeats derided MacBride in letters and in poetry. He was horrified by Gonne's marriage, at losing his muse to another man; in addition, her conversion to Catholicism before marriage offended him; Yeats was Protestant/agnostic. He worried his muse would come under the influence of the priests and do their bidding.[45]

Gonne's marriage to MacBride was a disaster. This pleased Yeats, as Gonne began to visit him in London. After the birth of her son, Seán MacBride, in 1904, Gonne and MacBride agreed to end the marriage, although they were unable to agree on the child's welfare. Despite the use of intermediaries, a divorce case ensued in Paris in 1905. Gonne made a series of allegations against her husband with Yeats as her main 'second', though he did not attend court or travel to France. A divorce was not granted, for the only accusation that held up in court was that MacBride had been drunk once during the marriage. A separation was granted, with Gonne having custody of the baby and MacBride having visiting rights.[46]

William Butler Yeats, Charcoal drawing by John Singer Sargent,1908

Yeats's friendship with Gonne ended, yet, in Paris in 1908, they finally consummated their relationship. "The long years of fidelity rewarded at last" was how another of his lovers described the event. Yeats was less sentimental and later remarked that "the tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul."[43] The relationship did not develop into a new phase after their night together, and soon afterwards Gonne wrote to the poet indicating that despite the physical consummation, they could not continue as they had been: "I have prayed so hard to have all earthly desire taken from my love for you and dearest, loving you as I do, I have prayed and I am praying still that the bodily desire for me may be taken from you too."[47] By January 1909, Gonne was sending Yeats letters praising the advantage given to artists who abstain from sex. Nearly twenty years later, Yeats recalled the night with Gonne in his poem "A Man Young and Old":[48]

My arms are like the twisted thorn
And yet there beauty lay;
The first of all the tribe lay there
And did such pleasure take;
She who had brought great Hector down
And put all Troy to wreck.

In 1896, Yeats was introduced to Lady Gregory by their mutual friend Edward Martyn. Gregory encouraged Yeats's nationalism and convinced him to continue focusing on writing drama. Although he was influenced by French Symbolism, Yeats concentrated on an identifiably Irish content and this inclination was reinforced by his involvement with a new generation of younger and emerging Irish authors. Together with Lady Gregory, Martyn, and other writers including J. M. Synge, Seán O'Casey, and Padraic Colum, Yeats was one of those responsible for the establishment of the "Irish Literary Revival" movement.[49] Apart from these creative writers, much of the impetus for the Revival came from the work of scholarly translators who were aiding in the discovery of both the ancient sagas and Ossianic poetry and the more recent folk song tradition in Irish. One of the most significant of these was Douglas Hyde, later the first President of Ireland, whose Love Songs of Connacht was widely admired.

Abbey Theatre

Main article: Abbey Theatre

Yeats photographed in 1908 by Alvin Langdon Coburn

In 1899, Yeats, Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and George Moore began the Irish Literary Theatre to present Irish plays.[50] The ideals of the Abbey were derived from the avant-garde French theatre, which sought to express the "ascendancy of the playwright rather than the actor-manager à l'anglais."[51][52] The group's manifesto, which Yeats wrote, declared, "We hope to find in Ireland an uncorrupted & imaginative audience trained to listen by its passion for oratory ... & that freedom to experiment which is not found in the theatres of England, & without which no new movement in art or literature can succeed."[53]

The collective survived for about two years but was not successful. Working with two Irish brothers with theatrical experience, William and Frank Fay, Yeats's unpaid yet independently wealthy secretary Annie Horniman, and the leading West End actress Florence Farr, the group established the Irish National Theatre Society. Along with Synge, they acquired property in Dublin and on 27 December 1904 opened the Abbey Theatre. Yeats's play Cathleen ni Houlihan and Lady Gregory's Spreading the News were featured on the opening night. Yeats remained involved with the Abbey until his death, both as a member of the board and a prolific playwright. In 1902, he helped set up the Dun Emer Press to publish work by writers associated with the Revival. This became the Cuala Press in 1904, and inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, sought to "find work for Irish hands in the making of beautiful things."[54] From then until its closure in 1946, the press—which was run by the poet's sisters—produced over 70 titles; 48 of them books by Yeats himself.

Yeats met the American poet Ezra Pound in 1909. Pound had travelled to London at least partly to meet the older man, whom he considered "the only poet worthy of serious study."[55] From that year until 1916, the two men wintered in the Stone Cottage at Ashdown Forest, with Pound nominally acting as Yeats's secretary. The relationship got off to a rocky start when Pound arranged for the publication in the magazine Poetry of some of Yeats's verse with Pound's own unauthorised alterations. These changes reflected Pound's distaste for Victorian prosody. A more indirect influence was the scholarship on Japanese Noh plays that Pound had obtained from Ernest Fenollosa's widow, which provided Yeats with a model for the aristocratic drama he intended to write. The first of his plays modelled on Noh was At the Hawk's Well, the first draft of which he dictated to Pound in January 1916.[56]

The emergence of a nationalist revolutionary movement from the ranks of the mostly Roman Catholic lower-middle and working class made Yeats reassess some of his attitudes. In the refrain of "Easter, 1916" ("All changed, changed utterly / A terrible beauty is born"), Yeats faces his own failure to recognise the merits of the leaders of the Easter Rising, due to his attitude towards their ordinary backgrounds and lives.[57]

Yeats was close to Lady Gregory and her home place of Coole Park, Co, Galway. He would often visit and stay there as it was a central meeting place for people who supported the resurgence of Irish literature and cultural traditions. His poem, "The Wild Swans at Coole" was written there, between 1916 and 1917.

He wrote prefaces for two books of Irish mythological tales, compiled by Augusta, Lady Gregory: Cuchulain of Muirthemne (1902), and Gods and Fighting Men (1904). In the preface of the latter, he wrote: "One must not expect in these stories the epic lineaments, the many incidents, woven into one great event of, let us say the War for the Brown Bull of Cuailgne or that of the last gathering at Muirthemne."[58]


Yeats was an Irish Nationalist, who sought a kind of traditional lifestyle articulated through poems such as 'The Fisherman'. However, as his life progressed, he sheltered much of his revolutionary spirit and distanced himself from the intense political landscape until 1922, when he was appointed Senator for the Irish Free State.[59][60]

In the earlier part of his life, Yeats was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.[61] Due to the escalating tension of the political scene, Yeats distanced himself from the core political activism in the midst of the Easter Rising, even holding back his poetry inspired by the events until 1920.

In the 1930s Yeats was fascinated with the authoritarian, anti-democratic, nationalist movements of Europe, and he composed several marching songs for the right-wing Blueshirts, although they were never used. He was a fierce opponent of individualism and political liberalism and saw the fascist movements as a triumph of public order and the needs of the national collective over petty individualism. On the other hand, he was also an elitist who abhorred the idea of mob-rule, and saw democracy as a threat to good governance and public order.[62] After the Blueshirt movement began to falter in Ireland, he distanced himself somewhat from his previous views, but maintained a preference for authoritarian and nationalist leadership.[63] D. P. Moran called him a minor poet and "crypto-Protestant conman."[64]

Marriage to Georgie Hyde Lees

Main article: Georgie Hyde-Lees

Walter de la Mare, Bertha Georgie Yeats (née Hyde-Lees), William Butler Yeats, unknown woman, summer 1930; photo by Lady Ottoline Morrell

By 1916, Yeats was 51 years old and determined to marry and produce an heir. His rival John MacBride had been executed for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, so Yeats hoped that his widow might remarry.[65] His final proposal to Maud Gonne took place in mid-1916.[66] Gonne's history of revolutionary political activism, as well as a series of personal catastrophes in the previous few years of her life—including chloroform addiction and her troubled marriage to MacBride—made her a potentially unsuitable wife;[43] biographer R. F. Foster has observed that Yeats's last offer was motivated more by a sense of duty than by a genuine desire to marry her.

Yeats proposed in an indifferent manner, with conditions attached, and he both expected and hoped she would turn him down. According to Foster "when he duly asked Maud to marry him and was duly refused, his thoughts shifted with surprising speed to her daughter." Iseult Gonne was Maud's second child with Lucien Millevoye, and at the time was twenty-one years old. She had lived a sad life to this point; conceived as an attempt to reincarnate her short-lived brother, for the first few years of her life she was presented as her mother's adopted niece. When Maud told her that she was going to marry, Iseult cried and told her mother that she hated MacBride.[67] When Gonne took action to divorce MacBride in 1905, the court heard allegations that he had sexually assaulted Iseult, then eleven. At fifteen, she proposed to Yeats. In 1917, he proposed to Iseult but was rejected.

That September, Yeats proposed to 25-year-old Georgie Hyde-Lees (1892–1968), known as George, whom he had met through Olivia Shakespear. Despite warnings from her friends—"George ... you can't. He must be dead"—Hyde-Lees accepted, and the two were married on 20 October.[43] Their marriage was a success, in spite of the age difference, and in spite of Yeats's feelings of remorse and regret during their honeymoon. The couple went on to have two children, Anne and Michael. Although in later years he had romantic relationships with other women, Georgie herself wrote to her husband "When you are dead, people will talk about your love affairs, but I shall say nothing, for I will remember how proud you were."[68]

During the first years of marriage, they experimented with automatic writing; she contacted a variety of spirits and guides they called "Instructors" while in a trance. The spirits communicated a complex and esoteric system of philosophy and history, which the couple developed into an exposition using geometrical shapes: phases, cones, and gyres.[69] Yeats devoted much time to preparing this material for publication as A Vision (1925). In 1924, he wrote to his publisher T. Werner Laurie, admitting: "I dare say I delude myself in thinking this book my book of books".[70]

Nobel Prize

Yeats photographed in 1923

In December 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation".[71] He was aware of the symbolic value of an Irish winner so soon after Ireland had gained independence, and sought to highlight the fact at each available opportunity. His reply to many of the letters of congratulations sent to him contained the words: "I consider that this honour has come to me less as an individual than as a representative of Irish literature, it is part of Europe's welcome to the Free State."[72]

Yeats used the occasion of his acceptance lecture at the Royal Academy of Sweden to present himself as a standard-bearer of Irish nationalism and Irish cultural independence. As he remarked, "The theatres of Dublin were empty buildings hired by the English travelling companies, and we wanted Irish plays and Irish players. When we thought of these plays we thought of everything that was romantic and poetical because the nationalism we had called up—the nationalism every generation had called up in moments of discouragement—was romantic and poetical."[73] The prize led to a significant increase in the sales of his books, as his publishers Macmillan sought to capitalise on the publicity. For the first time he had money, and he was able to repay not only his own debts but those of his father.[74]

Old age and death

By early 1925, Yeats's health had stabilised, and he had completed most of the writing for A Vision (dated 1925, it actually appeared in January 1926, when he almost immediately started rewriting it for a second version). He had been appointed to the first Irish Senate in 1922, and was re-appointed for a second term in 1925.[75][76] Early in his tenure, a debate on divorce arose, and Yeats viewed the issue as primarily a confrontation between the emerging Roman Catholic ethos and the Protestant minority.[77] When the Roman Catholic Church weighed in with a blanket refusal to consider their anti position, The Irish Times countered that a measure to outlaw divorce would alienate Protestants and "crystallise" the partition of Ireland.

In response, Yeats delivered a series of speeches that attacked the "quixotically impressive" ambitions of the government and clergy, likening their campaign tactics to those of "medieval Spain."[78] "Marriage is not to us a Sacrament, but, upon the other hand, the love of a man and woman, and the inseparable physical desire, are sacred. This conviction has come to us through ancient philosophy and modern literature, and it seems to us a most sacrilegious thing to persuade two people who hate each other... to live together, and it is to us no remedy to permit them to part if neither can re-marry."[78] The resulting debate has been described as one of Yeats's "supreme public moments", and began his ideological move away from pluralism towards religious confrontation.[79]

William Butler Yeats, 1933; photo by Pirie MacDonald (Library of Congress)

His language became more forceful; the Jesuit Father Peter Finlay was described by Yeats as a man of "monstrous discourtesy", and he lamented that "It is one of the glories of the Church in which I was born that we have put our Bishops in their place in discussions requiring legislation".[78] During his time in the Senate, Yeats further warned his colleagues: "If you show that this country, southern Ireland, is going to be governed by Roman Catholic ideas and by Catholic ideas alone, you will never get the North... You will put a wedge in the midst of this nation".[80] He memorably said of his fellow Irish Protestants, "we are no petty people".

In 1924, he chaired a coinage committee charged with selecting a set of designs for the first currency of the Irish Free State. Aware of the symbolic power latent in the imagery of a young state's currency, he sought a form that was "elegant, racy of the soil, and utterly unpolitical".[81] When the house finally decided on the artwork of Percy Metcalfe, Yeats was pleased, though he regretted that compromise had led to "lost muscular tension" in the finally depicted images.[81] He retired from the Senate in 1928 because of ill health.

Towards the end of his life—and especially after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, which led some to question whether democracy could cope with deep economic difficulty—Yeats seems to have returned to his aristocratic sympathies. During the aftermath of the First World War, he became sceptical about the efficacy of democratic government, and anticipated political reconstruction in Europe through totalitarian rule.[82] His later association with Pound drew him towards Benito Mussolini, for whom he expressed admiration on a number of occasions.[73] He wrote three "marching songs"—never used—for the Irish General Eoin O'Duffy's Blueshirts.

Chantry House, Steyning. A plaque on the wall reads "William Butler Yeats 1865–1939 wrote many of his later poems in this house".

At the age of 69 he was 'rejuvenated' by the Steinach operation which was performed on 6 April 1934 by Norman Haire.[83] For the last five years of his life Yeats found a new vigour evident from both his poetry and his intimate relations with younger women.[84] During this time, Yeats was involved in a number of romantic affairs with, among others, the poet and actress Margot Ruddock, and the novelist, journalist and sexual radical Ethel Mannin.[85] As in his earlier life, Yeats found erotic adventure conducive to his creative energy, and, despite age and ill-health, he remained a prolific writer. In a letter of 1935, Yeats noted: "I find my present weakness made worse by the strange second puberty the operation has given me, the ferment that has come upon my imagination. If I write poetry it will be unlike anything I have done".[86] In 1936, he undertook editorship of the Oxford Book of Modern Verse, 1892–1935.[44]

He died at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France, on 28 January 1939, aged 73.[1] He was buried after a discreet and private funeral at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Attempts had been made at Roquebrune to dissuade the family from proceeding with the removal of the remains to Ireland due to the uncertainty of their identity. His body had earlier been exhumed and transferred to the ossuary.[87] Yeats and George had often discussed his death, and his express wish was that he be buried quickly in France with a minimum of fuss. According to George, "His actual words were 'If I die, bury me up there [at Roquebrune] and then in a year's time when the newspapers have forgotten me, dig me up and plant me in Sligo'."[88] In September 1948, Yeats's body was moved to the churchyard of St Columba's Church, Drumcliff, County Sligo, on the Irish Naval Service corvette LÉ Macha.[89] The person in charge of this operation for the Irish Government was Seán MacBride, son of Maud Gonne MacBride, and then Minister of External Affairs.[90] His epitaph is taken from the last lines of "Under Ben Bulben",[91] one of his final poems:

Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by!

French ambassador Stanislas Ostroróg was involved in returning the remains of the Irish poet from France to Ireland in 1948; in a letter to the European director of the Foreign Ministry in Paris "Ostrorog tells how Yeats's son Michael sought official help in locating the poet's remains. Neither Michael Yeats nor Sean MacBride, the Irish foreign minister who organised the ceremony, wanted to know the details of how the remains were collected, Ostrorog notes. He repeatedly urges caution and discretion and says the Irish ambassador in Paris should not be informed." Yeats' body was exhumed in 1946 and the remains were moved to on ossuary and mixed with other remains. The French Foreign Ministry authorized Ostrorog to secretly cover the cost of repatriation from his slush fund. Authorities were worried about the fact that the much-loved poet's remains were thrown into a communal grave, causing embarrassment for both Ireland and France. "Mr Rebouillat, (a) forensic doctor in Roquebrune would be able to reconstitute a skeleton presenting all the characteristics of the deceased." per a letter from Ostroróg to his superiors.[92]


See also: W. B. Yeats bibliography and Category:Works by W. B. Yeats

Yeats is considered one of the key twentieth century English language poets. He was a Symbolist poet, using allusive imagery and symbolic structures throughout his career. He chose words and assembled them so that, in addition to a particular meaning, they suggest abstract thoughts that may seem more significant and resonant. His use of symbols[93] is usually something physical that is both itself and a suggestion of other, perhaps immaterial, timeless qualities.[94]

Unlike other modernists who experimented with free verse, Yeats was a master of the traditional forms.[95] The impact of modernism on his work can be seen in the increasing abandonment of the more conventionally poetic diction of his early work in favour of the more austere language and more direct approach to his themes that increasingly characterises the poetry and plays of his middle period, comprising the volumes In the Seven Woods, Responsibilities and The Green Helmet.[96] His later poetry and plays are written in a more personal vein, and the works written in the last twenty years of his life include mention of his son and daughter,[97] as well as meditations on the experience of growing old.[98] In his poem, "The Circus Animals' Desertion", he describes the inspiration for these late works:

Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.[99]

During 1929, he stayed at Thoor Ballylee near Gort in County Galway (where Yeats had his summer home since 1919) for the last time. Much of the remainder of his life was lived outside Ireland, although he did lease Riversdale house in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham in 1932. He wrote prolifically through his final years, and published poetry, plays, and prose. In 1938, he attended the Abbey for the final time to see the premiere of his play Purgatory. His Autobiographies of William Butler Yeats was published that same year.[100] In 1913, Yeats wrote the preface for the English translation of Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali (Song Offering) for which Tagore received Nobel Prize in literature.[101]

"A Coat" on a wall in Leiden

While Yeats's early poetry drew heavily on Irish myth and folklore, his later work was engaged with more contemporary issues, and his style underwent a dramatic transformation. His work can be divided into three general periods. The early poems are lushly pre-Raphaelite in tone, self-consciously ornate, and, at times, according to unsympathetic critics, stilted. Yeats began by writing epic poems such as The Isle of Statues and The Wanderings of Oisin.[102] His other early poems are lyrics on the themes of love or mystical and esoteric subjects. Yeats's middle period saw him abandon the pre-Raphaelite character of his early work[103] and attempt to turn himself into a Landor-style social ironist.[104]

Critics who admire his middle work might characterize it as supple and muscular in its rhythms and sometimes harshly modernist, while others find these poems barren and weak in imaginative power. Yeats's later work found new imaginative inspiration in the mystical system he began to work out for himself under the influence of spiritualism. In many ways, this poetry is a return to the vision of his earlier work. The opposition between the worldly-minded man of the sword and the spiritually minded man of God, the theme of The Wanderings of Oisin, is reproduced in A Dialogue Between Self and Soul.[105]

Some critics claim that Yeats spanned the transition from the nineteenth century into twentieth-century modernism in poetry much as Pablo Picasso did in painting while others question whether late Yeats has much in common with modernists of the Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot variety.[106]

Modernists read the well-known poem "The Second Coming" as a dirge for the decline of European civilisation, but it also expresses Yeats's apocalyptic mystical theories and is shaped by the 1890s. His most important collections of poetry started with The Green Helmet (1910) and Responsibilities (1914). In imagery, Yeats's poetry became sparer and more powerful as he grew older. The Tower (1928), The Winding Stair (1933), and New Poems (1938) contained some of the most potent images in twentieth-century poetry.[107]

Yeats's mystical inclinations, informed by Hinduism, theosophical beliefs and the occult, provided much of the basis of his late poetry,[108] which some critics have judged as lacking in intellectual credibility. The metaphysics of Yeats's late works must be read in relation to his system of esoteric fundamentals in A Vision (1925).[109]


Yeats is commemorated in Sligo town by a statue, created in 1989 by sculptor Ronan Gillespie. It was erected outside the Ulster Bank, at the corner of Stephen Street and Markievicz Road, on the 50th anniversary of the poet's death. Yeats had remarked, on receiving his Nobel Prize that the Royal Palace in Stockholm "resembled the Ulster Bank in Sligo". Across the river is the Yeats Memorial Building, home to the Sligo Yeats Society.[110]


1. Pronounced /jeɪts/ YAYTS, rhyming with gates.
2. Daemon est Deus inversus is taken from the writings of Madame Blavatsky in which she claimed that "... even that divine Homogeneity must contain in itself the essence of both good and evil", and uses the motto as a symbol of the astral plane's light.
3. Gonne claimed they first met in London three years earlier. Foster notes how Gonne was "notoriously unreliable on dates and places (1997, p. 57).


1. Obituary. "W. B. Yeats Dead". The New York Times, 30 January 1939. Retrieved on 21 May 2007.
2. Jeffares, A. Norman. W. B. Yeats, Man and Poet. Palgrave Macmillan, 1996. 1
3. Conner, Lester I.; Conner, Lester I. (2 May 1998). "A Yeats Dictionary: Persons and Places in the Poetry of William Butler Yeats". Syracuse University Press. Retrieved 2 May 2018 – via Google Books.
4. Limerick Chronicle, 13 August 1763
5. Margaret M. Phelan. "Journal of the Butler Society 1982. Gowran, its connection with the Butler Family". p. 174.
6. Old Kilkenny Review, The Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, vol. 2, no. 1, 1979, p. 71
7. "Ricorso: Digital materials for the study and appreciation of Anglo-Irish Literature". Retrieved 2 May 2018.
8. Yeats 1994, p. vii.
9. W. B. Yeats, Autobiographies (1956), p. 12. London: Macmillan.
10. Gordon Bowe, Nicola. "Two Early Twentieth-Century Irish Arts and Crafts Workshops in Context". Journal of Design History, Vol. 2, No. 2/3 (1989). 193–206
11. Foster (1997), p. xxviii
12. Foster (1997), p. xxvii
13. Foster (1997), p, 24
14. Hone 1943, p. 28.
15. Foster (1997), p. 25
16. Sessa, Anne Dzamba; Richard Wagner and the English; p. 130. ISBN 0-8386-2055-8
17. Yeats in Bedford Park,
18. Jordan 2003, p. 119.
19. Hone 1943, p. 33.
20. "The attraction of Bedford Park" Archived 19 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine by Amy Davies, 8 April 2013, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
21. Foster (1997), p. 37
22. Paulin, Tom. Taylor & Francis, 2004. "The Poems of William Blake". Retrieved on 3 June 2007.
23. Doody 2018, pp. 10–12.
24. Doody 2018, pp. 116–123.
25. Doody 2018, pp. 207, 280.
26. Hone 1943, p. 83.
27. Alford, Norman. "The Rhymers" Club: Poets of the Tragic Generation". Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 50, No. 4, March 1996, pp. 535–538
28. Lancashire, Ian. "William Blake (1757–1827): Archived 14 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Department of English, University of Toronto, 2005. Retrieved on 3 June 2007.
29. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
30. Burke, Martin J. "Daidra from Philadelphia: Thomas Holley, Chivers and The Sons of Usna". Columbia University, 7 October 2005. Retrieved on 15 July 2007.
31. Ellmann (1948), p. 97.
32. Mendelson, Edward (ed.) "W. H. Auden" Archived 10 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. The Complete Works of W.H. Auden: Prose, Vol. II, 1939–1948, 2002. Retrieved on 26 May 2007.
33. Foster (1997), pp. 82–85
34. Alspach, Russell K. "The Use by Yeats and Other Irish Writers of the Folklore of Patrick Kennedy". The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 59, No. 234, December 1946, pp. 404–412
35. Gould, Warwick (2004). "Gyles, Margaret Alethea (1868–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
36. Nally, Claire V. "National Identity Formation in W. B. Yeats' A Vision". Irish Studies Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, February 2006, pp. 57–67
37. Foster (1997), p. 103
38. Cullingford, Elizabeth. "How Jacques Molay Got Up the Tower: Yeats and the Irish Civil War". English Literary History, Vol. 50, No. 4, 1983, pp. 763–789
39. Foster (1997), p. 57
40. Uddin Khan, Jalal. "Yeats and Maud Gonne: (Auto)biographical and Artistic Intersection". Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 2002.
41. Foster (1997), pp. 86–87
42. "William Butler Yeats". BBC Four."William Butler Yeats 1865–1939". Archived from the original on 5 February 2008. Retrieved 20 June2007.
43. Cahill, Christopher. "Second Puberty: The Later Years of W. B. Yeats Brought His Best Poetry, along with Personal Melodrama on an Epic Scale". The Atlantic Monthly, December 2003.
44. Ó Corráin, Donnchadh. "William Butler Yeats Archived 2 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine". University College Cork. Retrieved on 15 July 2007.
45. Jordan 2003, pp. 139–153; Jordan 1997, pp. 83–88
46. Jordan 2000, pp. 13–141.
47. Foster (1997), p. 394
48. Malins; Purkis (1994), p. 124
49. Corcoran, Neil. After Yeats and Joyce: Reading Modern Irish Literature. Oxford University Press, 1997, p. viii
50. Foster (2003), pp. 486, 662
51. Foster (1997), p. 183
52. Text reproduced from Yeats's own handwritten draft.
53. Foster (1997), p. 184
54. "Irish Genius: The Yeats Family and The Cuala Press". Trinity College Dublin, 12 February 2004. Retrieved on 2 June 2007.
55. Monroe, Harriet (1913). "Poetry". (Chicago) Modern Poetry Association. 123
56. Sands, Maren. "The Influence of Japanese Noh Theater on Yeats". Colorado State University. Retrieved on 15 July 2007.
57. Foster (2003), pp. 59–66
58. Lady Gregory, Augusta (1904), Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danann and of the Fianna of Ireland, p. xiv
59. Sanford, John (18 April 2001). "Roy Foster: Yeats emerged as poet of Irish Revolution, despite past political beliefs". Stanford University. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
60. Ellmann (1948), p. 244.
61. Sternlicht, Sanford V. A Reader's Guide to Modern Irish Drama, Syracuse University Press, 1998, p. 48
62. Nally, Claire. 2010. Envisioning Ireland: W. B. Yeats's Occult Nationalism. Peter Lang
63. Allison, Jonathan (ed.). 1996. Yeats's Political Identities: Selected Essays. University of Michigan Press
64. "An Irishman's Diary" by Brian Maye, The Irish Times, 7 January 2002
65. Jordan 2003, p. 107.
66. Mann, Neil. "An Overview of A Vision". The System of W. B. Yeats's A Vision. Retrieved on 15 July 2007.
67. Gonne MacBride, Maud. A Servant of the Queen. Gollanz, 1938 pp. 287–289
68. Brown, Terence. The Life of W. B. Yeats: A Critical Biography". Wiley-Blackwell, 2001, p. 347. ISBN 0-631-22851-9
69. Foster (2003), pp. 105, 383
70. Mann, Neil. "Letter 27 July 1924". The System of W. B. Yeats's A Vision. Retrieved on 24 April 2008.
71. "Nobel Prize in Literature 1923". Retrieved 7 December 2014.
72. Foster (2003), p. 245
73. Moses, Michael Valdez. "The Poet As Politician". Reason, February 2001. Retrieved on 3 June 2007.
74. Foster (2003), pp. 246–247
75. Foster (2003), pp. 228–239
76. William Butler Yeats Membership History, Tithe an Oireachtas. Retrieved on 19 February 2019.
77. Foster (2003), p. 293
78. Jump up to:a b c Foster (2003), p. 294
79. Foster (2003), p. 296
80. ""Seanad Resumes: Debate on Divorce Legislation Resumed"Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine". Seanad Éireann, Vol. 5, 11 June 1925. Retrieved on 26 May 2007.
81. Jump up to:a b Foster (2003), p. 333
82. Foster (2003), p. 468
83. Wyndham, Diana; Kirby, Michael (2012), Norman Haire and the Study of Sex, Sydney University Press, Foreword, and pp. 249–263, ISBN 978-1-74332-006-8
84. "The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats". National Library of Ireland (search for Steinach). Retrieved on 19 October 2008.
85. Foster (2003), pp. 504, 510–511
86. Letter to Dorothy Wellesley, 17 June 1935; cited Ellmann, "Yeats's Second Puberty", The New York Review of Books, 9 May 1985
87. Jordan 2003, p. 114.
88. Foster (2003), p. 651
89. Foster (2003), p. 656.
90. Jordan 2003, p. 115.
91. Allen, James Lovic. "'Imitate Him If You Dare': Relationships between the Epitaphs of Swift and Yeats". An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 70, No. 278/279, 1981, p. 177
92. "The Documents". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
93. Ulanov, Barry. Makers of the Modern Theater. McGraw-Hill, 1961
94. Gale Research International. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, No. 116. Gale Cengage Learning, 2002, p. 303
95. Finneran, Richard. Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies 1995. University of Michigan Press, 1997. 82
96. Logenbach, James. Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism. Oxford University Press, 1988, pp. 13–14
97. Bell, Vereen. Yeats and the logic of formalism. University of Missouri Press, 2006. 132
98. Seiden, Morton. William Butler Yeats. Michigan State University Press, 1962, p. 179
99. O'Neill (2003), p. 6.
100. Martin, Wallace. Review of "Tragic Knowledge: Yeats' "Autobiography" and Hermeneutics" by Daniel T. O'Hara. Contemporary Literature. Vol. 23, No. 2, Spring 1982, pp. 239–243
101. Paul, S. K. (1 January 2006). The Complete Poems of Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali: Texts and Critical Evaluation. Sarup & Sons. p. 29. ISBN 8176256609.
102. Howes, Marjorie. Yeats's nations: gender, class, and Irishness. Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 28–31
103. Seiden, 153
104. Bloom, Harold. Yeats. Oxford University Press, 1972, p. 168 ISBN 0-19-501603-3
105. Raine, Kathleen. Yeats the Initiate. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1990, pp. 327–329. ISBN 0-389-20951-1
106. Holdeman, David. The Cambridge Introduction to W. B. Yeats. Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 9780521547376, p. 80
107. Spanos, William. ″Sacramental Imagery in the Middle and Late Poetry of W. B. Yeats.″ Texas Studies in Literature and Language. (1962) Vol. 4, No. 2. pp. 214-228.
108. Lorenz, Dagmar C. G. Transforming the Center, Eroding the Margins. University of Rochester Press, 2004, p. 282. ISBN 1-58046-175-1
109. Powell, Grosvenor E. "Yeats's Second Vision: Berkeley, Coleridge, and the Correspondence with Sturge Moore". The Modern Language Review, Vol. 76, No. 2, April 1981, p. 273
110. "Sligo: W.B. Yeats Statue". 8 July 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2018.


• Doody, Noreen (2018). The Influence of Oscar Wilde on W. B. Yeats: "An Echo of Someone Else's Music". Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-319-89547-5.
• Ellmann, Richard (1948). Yeats: The Man and the Masks. New York: Macmillan.
• Foster, R. F. (1997). W. B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. I: The Apprentice Mage. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-288085-3
• Foster, R. F. (2003). W. B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. II: The Arch-Poet 1915–1939. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-818465-4
• Hone, Joseph (1943). W. B. Yeats, 1865–1939. New York: Macmillan Publishers. OCLC 35607726.
• Jordan, Anthony J. (1997). Willie Yeats & The Gonne-MacBrides. Westport Books. ISBN 0-9524447-1-2.
• Jordan, Anthony J. (2000). The Yeats Gonne MacBride Triangle. Westport Books. ISBN 0-9524447-4-7.
• Jordan, Anthony J. (2003). W. B. Yeats: Vain, Glorious, Lout – A Maker of Modern Ireland. Westport Books. ISBN 0-9524447-2-0.
• O'Neill, Michael (2003). Routledge Literary Sourcebook on the Poems of W. B. Yeats. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23475-1.
• Yeats, W. B. (1994). The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats. Wordsworth Poetry Library. ISBN 1-85326-454-7.

Further reading

• Cleeve, Brian (1972). W. B. Yeats and the Designing of Ireland's Coinage. New York: Dolmen Press. ISBN 0-85105-221-5
• Igoe, Vivien (1994). A Literary Guide to Dublin. Methuen Publishing. ISBN 0-413-69120-9
• Jordan, Anthony J. (2013). Arthur Griffith with James Joyce & WB Yeats – Liberating Ireland. Westport Books. ISBN 978-0-9576229-0-6.
• Longenbach, James (1988). Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506662-6
• Ryan, Philip B. (1998). The Lost Theatres of Dublin. Wiltshire: The Badger Press. ISBN 0-9526076-1-1
• Yeats, W. B. (1900). "The Philosophy of Shelley's Poetry", in Essays and Introductions, 1961. New York: Macmillan Publishers. OCLC 362823

External links

• Media related to William Butler Yeats at Wikimedia Commons
• Works written by or about William Butler Yeats at Wikisource
• The National Library of Ireland's exhibition, Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats
• Works by W. B. Yeats at Project Gutenberg
• William Butler Yeats: Profile and Poems at
• Yeats' correspondence and other archival records at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Special Collections Research Center
• Recordings of 24 lectures Donald Davie gave at Stanford in 1975 on W. B. Yeats
• Boston College collection of Yeats family papers at John J. Burns Library, Boston College
• Yeats and Mysticism, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Roy Foster, Warwick Gould and Brenda Maddox (In Our Time, 31 January 2002)
• Yeats and Irish Politics, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Roy Foster, Fran Brearton & Warwick Gould (In Our Time, 17 April 2008)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Swami Satchidananda Saraswati
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/19



Swami Satchidananda
Swami Satchidananda in Switzerland in 1987
Born C. K. Ramaswamy Gounder
22 December 1914
Chettipalayam, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, British India
Died 19 August 2002 (aged 87)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Religion Hinduism, Ecumenism
Nationality Indian, then American citizenship in 1976, granted to him as "Minister of Divine Words"
Philosophy Integral Yoga
Senior posting
Guru Sivananda Saraswati
Honors U Thant Peace Award, B'nai B'rith Antidefamation League Award and many more.
Occupation Spiritual teacher
His motto:
"Easeful, peaceful and useful"

Satchidananda Saraswati (22 December 1914 – 19 August 2002), born as C. K. Ramaswamy Gounder and known as Swami Satchidananda, was an Indian religious teacher, spiritual master and yoga adept, who gained fame and following in the West. He was the author of philosophical and spiritual books. He had a core of founding disciples who compiled and requested of Satchidananda Saraswati updated traditional handbooks of yoga such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita for modern readers.

The international school Satchidananda Jothi Niketan is located in Mettupalyam, Tamil Nadu.

Early years

Satchidananda was born in a Kongu Vellalar family in 1914 in Chettipalayam, a small village in Coimbatore, near Podanur in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and was named C. K. Ramaswamy Gounder. His parents affectionately called him Ramu. He was Perur Temple manager early in his life.

He remained a vegetarian all his life, and wrote a book called The Healthy Vegetarian.[1] After study at agricultural college, he worked in a family business which imported motorcycles. At the age of 23 he became a manager at India's National Electric Works. He married and had two sons. He briefly served with the Indian defense forces and is a WW2 veteran who saw combat. His wife died five years after their marriage.[2] Ramaswamy's children remained with his mother Sri Vellamai, and he embarked on the life of an ascetic yogi, for many years practising and mastering classical yoga.[3] Apostle of Peace, his later biography, includes many details updated in the 1990s.

Spiritual quest

After the sudden death of his wife, Ramaswamy travelled throughout India, meditating at holy shrines and studying with revered spiritual teachers. For years, Ramaswamy searched for real sages, saints, and spiritual masters. Eventually, he was initiated into pre-sannyasa in the Ramakrishna Thapovanam and given the name Sambasiva Chaitanya. While at the ashram, his job was to care for orphaned young boys. During this period, he also studied along with the renowned Ramana Maharshi. He eventually left the ashram when he could not bear the suffering of Sri Ramana's arm cancer and treatment procedures. Ramana Maharshi died shortly after his departure. He then travelled to Rishikesh, a holy town in the foothills of the Himalayas, located on the banks of the Ganges River. There, he discovered his guru, Sivananda Saraswati, founder of the Divine Life Society and a former physician, who ordained him into the holy order of sannyasa in 1949 and gave him the name Satchidananda Saraswati.[3]

The name Saccidānanda or Satchidananda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानंद) is a compound of three Sanskrit words, Sat (सत्), Cit (चित्), and Ānanda (आनंद), meaning essence, consciousness, and bliss, respectively. The expression is used in yoga and other schools of Indian philosophy to describe the nature of Brahman as experienced by a fully liberated yogi. Saccidānanda may be understood as the energetic state of non-duality, a manifestation of our spiritually natural, primordial, and authentic state which is comparable in quality to that of deity.

During the late 1950s and into the 1960s, Satchidananda headed (jointly with another Sivananda disciple, Satchidananda Saraswati Mataji) the Kandy Thapovanam, one of Sivananda's ashrams situated in the hill country of Sri Lanka. Here, Satchidananda taught yoga, conceived and implemented innovative interfaith approaches to traditional Hindu festivals and modernised the ancient mode of living that renunciates had followed for many years. For instance, Satchidanda drove a car (to teach throughout Sri Lanka), wore a watch (to be on time), and actively engaged the questions of seekers. These modernisations were ridiculed by certain individuals in the orthodoxy but he felt them to be necessary natural extensions and serving tools for betterment in his spiritual yogic work.

Time in America

Swami Satchidananda on stage at the 1969 Woodstock Festival

After serving his guru for many years, in 1966 he visited New York City at the request of the artist Peter Max. Soon after his initial visit Satchidananda formally moved to the United States, and eventually became a citizen. From his new home he spread his teachings of yoga, selfless service, ecumenism and enlightenment.

Satchidananda came to public attention as the opening speaker[4] at the Woodstock music arts and peace festival in 1969, after he was called in as an emergency measure. Over the years he wrote numerous books and gave hundreds of lectures. He also ordained a number of western disciples into the order of sannyasa. He was the founder of the Integral Yoga Institute and Yogaville in America, and Spiritual Guru of major Hollywood actors and western musicians. In 1986 he opened the Light of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) at Yogaville in Buckingham County, Virginia.

On 19 August 2002, Satchidananda Saraswati died after speaking at a peace conference in Chennai. His funeral took place in Buckingham, Virginia on 22 August at Chidambaram, a designated shrine for contemplation facing the ecumenical shrine to the Light, LOTUS ( which Satchidananda Saraswati considered the most important part of all his life's work: A place to honour the universality of all faiths, through the symbol of light which is shared by all cultures in the world.

Integral Yoga International and Yogaville continue to educate yogis around the world and at the world headquarters in Buckingham, Virginia.[5]

Integral Yoga origins

Further information: Integral yoga (Satchidananda)

Satchidananda characterised Integral Yoga as "...a flexible combination of specific methods to develop every aspect of the individual: physical, intellectual, and spiritual. It is a scientific system which integrates the various branches of Yoga to bring about a complete and harmonious development of the entire person.

Integral Yoga was trademarked to keep the teachings consistent as the popularity of yoga increased exponentially in the West and to have duly trained instructors imparting the teachings of the Satchidananda Saraswati lineage. Sivananda Saraswati, the Master of Satchidananda Saraswati, was founder of the global Divine Life Society and known worldwide as Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati: a trained physician who wrote books on all aspects of yoga in English for the first time in history, thereby paving the way for a modern Western audience and the current vigorous practice of yoga around the world.[6][7]


Manifestos relating to religious belief are described as Credos. "Easeful, peaceful and useful" was the simple motto of Satchidananda Saraswati.

Integral Yoga believes:

The goal and the birthright of all individuals is to realize the spiritual unity behind the diversity throughout creation and to live harmoniously as members of "one universal family".
This goal is achieved by the maintaining of our natural condition as:

• a body of optimal health and strength,
• senses under total control,
• a mind well disciplined, clear, and calm,
• an intellect as sharp as a razor,
• a will as strong and pliable as steel,
• a heart full of unconditional love and compassion,
• an ego as pure as crystal, and
• a life filled with supreme peace, joy and bliss.

Attain this through asanas, pranayama, the chanting of holy names, self-discipline, selfless action, mantra japa, meditation, study, and reflection.

Notable Disciples

• Alice Coltrane, who titled her 1971 album Journey in Satchidananda[8]
• Rivers Cuomo[9]
• Laura Dern[10]
• John Fahey, who dedicated his 1973 album Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice) to "my guru, Swami Satchidananda." Fahey later said that "Probably the primary reason I got involved with them was that I fell in love with Swami Satchidananda's secretary Shanti Norris. So I was doing benefits for them, hoping to score points with her, and along the way I learned a lot of hatha yoga."[11]
• Jeff Goldblum[12]
• Carole King, who donated 600 acres of land to the Yogaville ashram.[10][13]
• Sally Kirkland[10]
• Diane Ladd[10]
• Peter Max[14]
• Dean Ornish[10][15]
• Scott Shaw[16]
• Paul Winter[13]
• Paul Horn[13]
• Gerald Blitz, founder of Club Med[13]


1. Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Healthy Vegetarian, Integral Yoga Publications, third edition, 1994, p. 115.
2. Martin, Douglas (21 August 2002). "Swami Satchidananda, Woodstock's Guru, Dies at 87". New York Times.
3. Swami Satchidananda: His Biography, Straight Arrow Books, First Edition, 1970.
4. Attendance at Woodstock Archived 23 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
5. Martin, Douglas (21 August 2002). "Swami Satchidananda, Woodstock's Guru, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
6. Trademark history 1
7. Trademark history 2
8. Livingstone, Josephine (3 February 2019). "Alice Coltrane | Journey in Satchidananda". Pitchforlk. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
9. Grigoriadis, Vanessa. "Rivers Cuomo: Weezer's Invisible Man". RollingStone. Retrieved 7 March 2019. his childhood, which was spent on ashrams – first at the Zen Center in upstate New York and, after his father left the family when he was five (he eventually settled in Germany for a while as a suffragan bishop in a Pentecostal church), at “Woodstock guru” Swami Satchidananda’s Yogaville commune in Connecticut. Everyone was a vegetarian, and no one raised his voice or cursed. Cuomo didn’t like it much.
10. Woo, Elaine (25 August 2002). "Swami Satchidananda, 87; Yoga Master and Guru Preached and Practiced a Life of Spiritual Unity". Los Angeles Times. Among his disciples are singer-composer Carole King, who donated 600 acres to his Virginia ashram; jazz pianist Alice Coltrane; and actresses Diane Ladd, Laura Dern and Sally Kirkland. Another adherent is Dr. Dean Ornish, the best-selling author,
11. "The Fahey Files - John Fahey - Notes on the Songs -Fare Forward Voyagers". Retrieved 4 June 2018.
12. Martin, Douglas (21 August 2002). "Swami Satchidananda, Woodstock's Guru, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June2018.
13. Jump up to:a b c d Baker, Donald P. (21 July 1986). "Swami Dedicates $2 Million Temple in Va". The Washington Post. Among well-known devotees who participated in the weekend dedication were pop artist Peter Max, who has illustrated several of the swami's books, composer-singer Carole King, jazz musicians Paul Winter and Paul Horn, and Gerald Blitz, founder of the Club Med resorts.
14. "Love Yoga? Thank Peter Max". Park West Gallery. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
15. Kolata, Gina. "SCIENTIST AT WORK: Dean Ornish; A Promoter of Programs To Foster Heart Health". Retrieved 21 August 2018.
16. "Be Positive". Scott Shaw. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

External links

• Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville
• Swami
• Swami Satchidananda at New York Times
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:40 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/19



Army Comrades Association /
National Guard /
Young Ireland / League of Youth
Abbreviation Blueshirts, ACA
Leader Eoin O'Duffy
Key Members Thomas F. O'Higgins
Ernest Blythe
Ned Cronin
Founded 1932
Dissolved 1933
Merged into Fine Gael
Succeeded by National Corporate Party
Newspaper The Nation
Ideology Fascism
Irish integral nationalism
Catholic corporatism
Political position Far-right
Religion Roman Catholicism
Colours Light Blue
Party flag
Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Political parties

The Army Comrades Association (ACA), later the National Guard, then Young Ireland[1] and finally League of Youth, but better known by the nickname The Blueshirts (Irish: Na Léinte Gorma), was a paramilitary movement in the Irish Free State in the early 1930s. The organisation provided physical protection for political groups such as Cumann na nGaedheal from intimidation and attack by the anti-Treaty IRA.[2] Some former members went on to fight for the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. (It had been dissolved before the civil war started.)

Most of the political parties whose meetings the Blueshirts protected would merge to become Fine Gael, and members of that party are still sometimes nicknamed "Blueshirts".

Origins and early history

In February 1932, the Fianna Fáil party was elected to lead the Irish Free State government. On 18 March 1932, the new government suspended the Public Safety Act, lifting the ban on a number of organisations including the Irish Republican Army. Some IRA political prisoners were also released around the same time. The IRA and many released prisoners began a "campaign of unrelenting hostility" against those associated with the former Cumann na nGaedheal government. There were many cases of intimidation, attacks on persons, and the breaking-up of Cumann na nGaedheal political meetings in the coming months. In view of the increased activities of the IRA, National Army Commandant Ned Cronin founded the Army Comrades Association in early 1932. As its name suggested, it was designed for Irish Army veterans, a society for former members of the Free State army. The Blueshirts felt that freedom of speech was being repressed, and began to provide security at Cumann na nGaedheal events. This led to several serious clashes between the IRA and the ACA. In August 1932, Dr. Thomas F. O'Higgins, a Cumann na nGaedheal TD, became the leader of the ACA. By September 1932 it had over 30,000 members.[3]

Eoin O'Duffy becomes leader

O'Duffy with Blueshirts

In January 1933, the Fianna Fáil government called a surprise election, which the government won comfortably. The election campaign saw a serious escalation of rioting between IRA and ACA supporters. In April 1933, the ACA began wearing the distinctive blueshirt uniform. Eoin O'Duffy was a guerrilla leader in the IRA in the Irish War of Independence, a National Army general in the Irish Civil War, and the Garda Síochána police commissioner in the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1933. After Fianna Fáil's re-election in February 1933, President of the Executive Council Éamon de Valera dismissed O'Duffy as commissioner; that July, O'Duffy was offered and accepted leadership of the ACA and renamed it the National Guard. He re-modelled the organisation, adopting elements of European fascism, such as the Roman straight-arm salute, uniforms and huge rallies. Membership of the new organisation became limited to people who were Irish or whose parents "profess the Christian faith". O'Duffy was an admirer of Benito Mussolini, and the Blueshirts adopted corporatism as their chief political aim. According to the constitution he adopted, the organisation was to have the following objectives:[4]

• To promote the reunification of Ireland.
• To oppose Communism and alien control and influence in national affairs and to uphold Christian principles in every sphere of public activity.
• To promote and maintain social order.
• To make organised and disciplined voluntary public service a permanent and accepted feature of our political life and to lead the youth of Ireland in a movement of constructive national action.
• To promote of co-ordinated national organisations of employers and employed, which with the aid of judicial tribunals, will effectively prevent strikes and lock-outs and harmoniously compose industrial influences.
• To cooperate with the official agencies of the state for the solution of such pressing social problems as the provision of useful and economic public employment for those whom private enterprise cannot absorb.
• To secure the creation of a representative national statutory organisation of farmers, with rights and status sufficient to secure the safeguarding of agricultural interests, in all revisions of agricultural and political policy.
• To expose and prevent corruption and victimisation in national and local administration.
• To awaken throughout the country a spirit of combination, discipline, zeal and patriotic realism which will put the state in a position to serve the people efficiently in the economic and social spheres.

Stanley G. Payne has argued that the Blueshirts "really was never a fascist organization at all".[5] Maurice Manning also did not consider them fascists, with their mixture of patriotic conservatism, militia activities and corporatism amounting "to no more than a kind of Celtic Croix-de-Feu".[6] Historians are divided on the extent to which the Blueshirts took a lead from Mussolini and his many imitators at that time.[7][8] Some of the Blueshirts later went to fight for Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War and were anti-communist in nature, however historian R. M. Douglas has stated that it is incorrect to portray them as an "Irish manifestation of fascism".

March on Dublin

The National Guard planned to hold a parade in Dublin in August 1933. It was to proceed to Glasnevin Cemetery, stopping briefly on Leinster lawn in front of the Irish parliament, where speeches were to be held. The goal of the parade was to commemorate Irish leaders Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins and Kevin O'Higgins. It is clear that the IRA and other fringe groups representing various socialists intended to confront the Blueshirts if they marched in Dublin.

The government banned the parade, remembering Mussolini's March on Rome, and fearing a coup d'état. Decades later, de Valera told Fianna Fáil politicians that in late summer 1933 he was unsure whether the Irish Army would obey his orders to suppress the perceived threat, or whether the soldiers would support the Blueshirts (who included many ex-soldiers). O'Duffy accepted the ban and insisted that he was committed to upholding the law. Instead, several provincial parades took place to commemorate the deaths of Griffith, O'Higgins and Collins. De Valera saw this move as defying his ban, and the Blueshirts were declared an illegal organisation.

Fine Gael and the National Corporate Party

In response to the banning of the National Guard, Cumann na nGaedheal and the National Centre Party merged to form a new party, Fine Gael, on 3 September 1933. O'Duffy became its first president, with W. T. Cosgrave and James Dillon acting as vice-presidents. The National Guard changed into the Young Ireland Association, and became part of a youth wing of the party. The party's aim was to create a united Ireland within the British Commonwealth, although its programme made no mention of a corporatist state.[9] The 1934 local elections were a trial of strength for the new Fine Gael and the Fianna Fáil government. When Fine Gael won only six out of 23 local elections, O’Duffy lost much of his authority and prestige. The Blueshirts began to disintegrate by mid-1934.[3] The Blueshirts floundered also on the plight of farmers in the Economic War, as the Blueshirts failed to provide a solution. Following disagreements with his Fine Gael colleagues, O'Duffy left the party, although most of the Blueshirts stayed in Fine Gael. In December 1934, O'Duffy attended the Montreux Fascist conference in Switzerland. He then founded the National Corporate Party, and later raised an Irish Brigade that took General Francisco Franco's side in the Spanish Civil War.[10]

See also

• Ailtirí na hAiséirghe
• Irish Christian Front
• Greenshirts

Notes and references

1. Young Ireland was historically the name of a 19th Century Irish revolutionary movement. There is, however, no organizational continuity - and little ideological similarity - between it and the 20th Century movement.
2. R. M. Douglas, "Architects of the Resurrection: Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and the Fascist 'New Order' in Ireland, Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-7190-7998-5
3. Mark Tierney, OSB, MA "Modern Ireland", Gill & Macmillan, 1972 p 175-182
4. Maurice Manning, "The Blueshirts", Dublin, 1970
5. Stanley G. Payne, 'Fascism in Western Europe' in Walter Laqueur (ed.), Fascism: A Reader's Guide. Analyses, Interpretations, Bibliography (Pelican Books, 1979), p. 310.
6. Payne, p. 310.
7. here Archived 2009-10-31 at WebCite and here Archived August 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
8. O’Halpin, E. (1999). Defending Ireland: The Irish State and its Enemies since 1922. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820426-4.
9. Eoin O'Duffy: A Self-Made Hero, Fearghal McGarry, OUP Oxford, 2005, page 222
10. "Irish Involvement in the Spanish Civil War 1936-39". Retrieved 6 February 2014.


• Eunan O'Halpin, (1999). Defending Ireland: The Irish State and its Enemies since 1922. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820426-4.
• Mike Cronin, The Blueshirts and Irish Politics
• Michael O'Riordan. 1979 Connolly Column. New Books Dublin. ASIN: B0006E3ABG
• J. Bower Bell. 1983 The Secret Army: The IRA 1916-1979. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-52090-7.
• Tim Pat Coogan. De Valera.
• Michael Farrell. 1980. Northern Ireland: The Orange State. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 0-86104-300-6.
• F.S.L. Lyons. Ireland Since the Famine.
• Maurice Manning. The Blueshirts.
• Keith Thompson, Irish Blueshirts. 2012. London: Steven Books. ISBN 9781-899435-74-6
• The Blueshirts - fascism in Ireland? The Irish Story
• Cian McMahon, The Blueshirts and the Abyssinian Crisis. History Ireland
• Donal O Driscoll, When Dev deaulted on the Land annuities. History Ireland
• Niall Cunningham, Eoin O'Duffy, Ireland's answer to Mussolini
• 'Before the Blueshirts - early Fianna Fáil and fascism', Mark Phelan, Irish Times, 27 June 2016
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:29 am

Mohini Mohun Chatterji [Chatterjee]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/19



Mohini Chatterji, 1884

Mohini Mohun Chatterji (1858 - 1936) was a Bengali attorney and scholar who belonged to a prominent family that for several generations had mediated between Hindu religious traditions and Christianity.[1] He joined the Theosophical Society in 1882 and became Assistant Secretary of the Bengal branch. Later that year he became a chela in probation of the Mahātmā Koot Hoomi, and saw apparitions of Mahatmas on five or six occasions.[2] He eventually failed as a chela, and resigned from the Theosophical Society in 1887, after only five years of membership.

Early life and education

Mr. Chatterji, usually known as Mohini, was born in 1858 into a Brahmin family, descended from Hindu reformer Rammohan Roy.[3] He attended university in Calcutta, and was awarded Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts degrees. His wife was the niece of Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.[4]

Theosophical Society involvement

Mohini became a member of the Bengal Theosophical Society on April 16, 1882. According to Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, "When HSO opened the first Theosophical Sunday School in Calcutta on March 10, 1883, with 17 boys, Mohini was appointed their teacher".[5]

Being a chela of Master K.H., he gave evidence to the Society for Psychical Research concerning the reality of psychic phenomena at Adyar,[6] in what came to be known as the Hodgson investigation.

Mohini worked as private secretary to H. S. Olcott and accompanied him and Mme. Blavatsky on their European tour in 1884:

The purpose of his trip to Europe was seemingly to give the members there some assistance in understanding the Eastern doctrines which had been brought into prominence by APS in his book Esoteric Buddhism."[7]

From a letter from Mme. Blavatsky to Mr. Sinnett, it would appear that he was going to be used in a similar manner as Babaji was:

On February 17th Olcott will probably sail for England on various business, and Mahatma K. H. sends his chela, under the guise of Mohini Mohun Chatterjee, to explain to the London Theosophists of the Secret Section — every or nearly every mooted point and to defend you and your assumptions. You better show Mohini all the Master's letters of a non-private character — saith the Lord, my Boss — so that by knowing all the subjects upon which he wrote to you he might defend your position the more effectually — which you yourself cannot do, not being a regular chela. Do not make the mistake, my dear boss, of taking the Mohini you knew for the Mohini who will come. There is more than one Maya in this world of which neither you nor your friends and critic Maitland is cognisant. The ambassador will be invested with an inner as well as with an outer clothing. Dixit.[8]

Mohini was present in London in 1884 when the young German artist Hermann Schmiechen painted the Portraits of the Masters. He was described by Laura C. Holloway as being “nearer the Master than all others in the room, not even excepting H.P.B.”[9]

In 1885, he went to Ireland to lecture, and helped to establish the Dublin Lodge of the TS. There, he produced a deep impression on Irish poets George Russell (Æ) and William Butler Yeats and is said to have influenced the oriental turn of their writings. Yeats wrote a poem entitled 'Mohini Chatterjee'.

Mohini Chatterjee
by William Butler Yeats

I ASKED if I should pray.
But the Brahmin said,
'pray for nothing, say
Every night in bed,
'I have been a king,
I have been a slave,
Nor is there anything.
Fool, rascal, knave,
That I have not been,
And yet upon my breast
A myriad heads have lain.'''
That he might Set at rest
A boy's turbulent days
Mohini Chatterjee
Spoke these, or words like these,
I add in commentary,
'Old lovers yet may have
All that time denied --
Grave is heaped on grave
That they be satisfied --
Over the blackened earth
The old troops parade,
Birth is heaped on Birth
That such cannonade
May thunder time away,
Birth-hour and death-hour meet,
Or, as great sages say,
Men dance on deathless feet.'

The adulation he received from some of the European members fueled his pride and he showed poor judgment on several matters. In late 1885, Mohini became involved in scandal with female Theosophists. The case came to public attention when one of the women, in response to Blavatsky's criticisms, intended to publicize letters written to her by Mohini Chatterjee.[10] Mme. Blavatsky wrote to Mr. Sinnett in March 1886:

Mohini was sent, and at first won the hearts and poured new life into the L.L. He was spoiled by male and female adulation, by incessant flattery and his own weakness.[11]

Mohini resigned from the Theosophical Society in 1887 and went back to his former home in Calcutta, where he resumed his practice of law.


Mohini wrote poetry and prose in both English and his native Bengali.

He and Mrs. Holloway wrote Man: Fragments of Forgotten History, published in 1887 under the pseudonym "Two Chelâs".[12]

He translated The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom (Viveka-Cūḍāmaṇi) of Sankaracharya. He worked with G. R. S. Mead in translating the Upanishads in 1896, using the pseudonym J. C. Chattopadhyaya.[13]

Later years

Yeats and George Russell (Æ) believed that at the turn of the century Mohini was working as a lawyer in Bombay. According to Harbans Rai Bachchan, the last heard of him was that he was a blind old man living in London with his daughter, in the early 1930s.[14] Mohini died in February, 1936.

Online resources


• Mohini Mohun Chatterji at Theosopedia.
• Morality and Pantheism by Mohini Chatterji
• A Few Words on The Theosophical Organization by Mohini Mohun Chatterji and Arthur Gebhard
• On the Higher Aspects of Theosophic Studies by Mohini M. Chatterji
• Qualifications for Chelaship by Mohini M. Chatterjee
• On the Existence of the Mahatmas by Mohini M. Chatterji
• The Crest Jewel of Wisdom translated by Mohini M Chatterji
• Atmanatma-Viveka: Discrimination of Spirit and Not-Spirit translated by Mohini M Chatterji

Additional resources

See also references in:

• The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett
• A Short History of the Theosophical Society
• The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett


1. Diane Sasson, Yearning for the New Age (Bloomington, IN:Indiana University Press, 2012), 78.
2. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 29, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
3. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 223.
4. ”Chatterji, Mohini Mohun,” The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 172.
5. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 223.
6. ”Chatterji, Mohini Mohun,” The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 172.
7. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 223.
8. A. Trevor Barker, The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett Letter No. XXVIII, (Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1973), ??.
9. Laura C. Holloway, “The Mahatmas and Their Instruments Part II,” The Word(New York), July 1912, pp. 200-206, available at The Blavatsky Archives Portraits of the Mahatmas
10. See The Open University web site
11. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 14o (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 459.
12. The complete text is available at [1]
13. ”Chatterji, Mohini Mohun,” The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 172.
14. See The Open University web site
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:57 am

Part 1 of 2

Werner Erhard
by Wikipedia
Accessed" 8/4/19



Werner Erhard
Born John Paul Rosenberg
September 5, 1935 (age 83)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Occupation Author, lecturer
Spouse(s) Patricia Fry, 1953–1960 (divorced)
Ellen Erhard (June Bryde), 1960–1983 (divorced)
Children 7

Toward the end of January, His Holiness the Karmapa arrived for his second visit in North America. There were thousands of people in North America who wanted to meet His Holiness and receive his blessings. In Boulder a large white mansion on Mapleton Hill, about six blocks from our house, was rented for him. We nicknamed it the Wedding Cake House because it had so many columns and the exterior was so ornate. Once again, there were armies of attendants, drivers, cooks, and members of the DOIje Kasung to help with the visit. Rinpoche was to depart for Charlemont to begin his retreat in late February, but before his departure, he took time to travel to San Francisco with the Karmapa as well as to receive him in Boulder.

In San Francisco, His Holiness performed the Vajra Crown ceremony for several thousand followers of EST, or Erhard Seminar Training, which was popular in this era. EST was started by Werner Erhard, who was quite enamored of His Holiness and asked him to do the Vajra Crown ceremony for his students. Rinpoche thought that Erhard was something of a charlatan, although he also seemed to find him interesting, or perhaps amusing would be a better word. Before the Vajra Crown ceremony itself, His Holiness asked Rinpoche to make remarks to the assembled students explaining what would happen. Rinpoche told the crowd to keep their shirts on -- metaphorically speaking. It was a bit cryptic, but it seemed to be addressing their tendency to bliss out, or indulge in the energy.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian

Werner Hans Erhard (born John Paul Rosenberg; September 5, 1935[1]:7) is an American author and lecturer known for founding "est", which operated from 1971 to 1984.[2]:xiv[3] He has written and lectured on integrity, leadership, personal and organizational performance, and individual and organizational transformation.[a][ b]

In 1977 Erhard, with the support of John Denver, Robert W. Fuller and others, founded The Hunger Project [27][28] (an NGO accredited by the United Nations)[29] in which more than 4 million people have participated in establishing "the end of hunger as an idea whose time has come".[30][31]

In 1991, Erhard retired from business and sold his then-existing intellectual property to his employees who then formed Landmark Education, renamed in 2013 "Landmark Worldwide", with which he consults occasionally.[32][33] Erhard continues to lecture and present.[c]

Much of Erhard's scholarly writing can be found on his author's page in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).[d]

Early life

John Paul Rosenberg was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 5, 1935.[1]:6[41] His father was a small-restaurant owner who left Judaism for a Baptist mission before joining his wife in the Episcopal Church,[1]:6[41] where she taught Sunday School.[1]:6 They agreed that their son should choose his religion for himself when he was old enough.[1]:6 He chose to be baptized in the Episcopal Church, served there for eight years as an acolyte,[1]:6 and has been an Episcopalian ever since.[42]

Rosenberg attended Norristown High School, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the English award in his senior year.[1]:25,29 He graduated in June 1953, along with his future wife Patricia Fry.[1]:30 From the early mid-1950s until sometime in 1960, Rosenberg worked in various automobile dealerships (starting with a Ford dealership where he was trained by Lee Iacocca, and then Lincoln Mercury, and finally Chevrolet), with a stint when he was given the opportunity to manage a nearly defunct medium-duty industrial equipment firm, which became successful under his management.[1]:42[43] Rosenberg married Patricia Fry on September 26, 1953,[1]:40 and they had four children.[1] In 1960, he left Patricia and their children in Philadelphia, traveled to Indianapolis with June Bryde,[1]:57 and changed his name to "Werner Hans Erhard".[44] He chose his new name from Esquire magazine articles he read about then West German economics minister Ludwig Erhard and the physicist Werner Heisenberg.[1]:57–58 June Bryde changed her name to Ellen Virginia Erhard.[1]:53

The renamed Erhards moved to St. Louis, where Erhard took a job as a car salesman.[1]:54,55 His wife Patricia Rosenberg and their four children initially relied on welfare and help from family and friends. After five years without contact, Patricia Rosenberg divorced Erhard for desertion and remarried.[1]:226 In October 1972, a year after creating the est training, Erhard contacted his first wife and family. He arranged to provide support and college educations for the children, as well as repaying Pat's parents for their financial support[1]:335 Between 1973 and 1975, members of his extended family took the est training, and both his former wife Patricia and his younger siblings took jobs in the est organization.[1]:242,243


Parents Magazine Cultural Institute

In 1961, Erhard began selling correspondence courses in the Midwest. He then moved to Spokane, Washington,[1]:85 where he worked at Encyclopædia Britannica's "Great Books" program as an area training manager. In January 1962, Erhard began working at Parents Magazine Cultural Institute, a division of W.R. Grace & Co.[1]:112[45] In the summer of 1962, he became territorial manager for California, Nevada, and Arizona, and moved to San Francisco; and in the spring of 1963 to Los Angeles.[1]:82–106 In January 1964, Parents transferred him to Arlington, Virginia as the southeast division manager, but after a dispute with the company president he returned to his previous position as west coast division manager for Parents in San Francisco.[1]:53:117–138 During the next few years, Erhard brought on as staff at Parents many people who would later become important in est, including Elaine Cronin, Gonneke Spits, and Laurel Scheaf.


Erhard, while being largely self-educated,[46][47] was influenced by or worked closely with academics, philosophers, thinkers and artists.[e][1]:63

During his time in St. Louis, Erhard read two books which were to have a marked effect on him: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937) and Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (1960).[1]:122 When a member of his staff at Parents Magazine introduced him to the ideas of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, both key figures in the human potential movement, his interests became more focused on personal fulfillment rather than sales success.[62] After his move to Sausalito, he attended seminars by Alan Watts, a Western interpreter of Zen Buddhism, who introduced him to the distinction between mind and self;[62] Erhard subsequently became close friends with Watts.[1]:117–138 Erhard also studied in Japan with Zen rōshi Yamada Mumon.[63] In Bartley's biography, Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, the Founding of est (1978), Bartley quotes Erhard as acknowledging Zen as an essential contribution that "created the space for" est.[1]:146,147 Bartley details Erhard's connections with Zen beginning with his extensive studies with Alan Watts in the mid 1960s[1]:118 and quotes Erhard as acknowledging:

Of all the disciplines that I studied, practiced, learned, Zen was the essential one. It was not so much an influence on me, rather it created space. It allowed those things that were there to be there. It gave some form to my experience. And it built up in me the critical mass from which was kindled the experience that produced est.[1]:118

Erhard attended the Dale Carnegie public speaking course in 1967.[62] He was sufficiently impressed with it to make his staff attend the course as well, and began to think about developing a course of his own.[62] Over the following years, Erhard continued to investigate a wide range of movements, including Encounter, Transactional Analysis, Enlightenment Intensive, Subud and Scientology.[62]

In 1970, Erhard became involved in Mind Dynamics[1]:158 and began teaching his own version of Mind Dynamics classes in San Francisco and soon also Los Angeles.[1]:136–137 The directors of Mind Dynamics eventually invited him into their partnership, but Erhard rejected the offer, saying he would rather develop his own seminar program – "est", the first program of which he conducted in October 1971.[1]:178

est (1971–1984)

Further information: Erhard Seminars Training

Starting in 1971, Erhard's organization, "est", short for Erhard Seminars Training and also Latin for "it is," offered in-depth personal and professional development workshops, the initial program of which was called "The est Training."[64] The purpose of the est Training was to transform the way one sees and makes sense of life so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up in the process of living itself.[65] The point of the est training was to leave participants free to be, while increasing their level of effectiveness and the quality of their lives.[66] The est Training was experiential and transformational in nature.[67]

The workshops were offered until 1984, when the est training was replaced by the Forum.
Through 1984 700,000 people completed the est Training.[68] Professor Jonathan D. Moreno, Ph.D., American ethicist, philosopher, and historian, describes the est training as "the most important cultural event after the human potential movement itself seemed exhausted”[69] and a form of "Socratic interrogation.” Erhard challenged participants to be themselves and live in the present[70] instead of playing a role that had been imposed on them[69] by their past and aimed to press people beyond their own current points of view, into a perspective from which they could observe their own positionality.[69] As the author Robert Hargrove said, “you’re going to notice that things do begin to clear up, just in the process of life itself.”[70]

The first est course was held in San Francisco, California, in October 1971.[71] While Erhard led all the early est courses himself, by the mid-1970s there were ten trainers trained by him (doctors, attorneys, and successful businessmen and -women).[62]:384 Further est centers opened in Los Angeles, Aspen, Honolulu and New York, and many other cities, and est was enthusiastically endorsed by celebrities and people of influence such as leadership and business academic Warren Bennis, philosopher Walter Kaufmann, social activist Jerry Rubin, business magnate David Geffen, author and businesswoman Arianna Huffington, artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, singer-songwriter John Denver and actress Valerie Harper.[62]:384

Werner Erhard Foundation (1973–1991)

In the early 1970s, the est Foundation became the Werner Erhard Foundation[72] with the aim of "providing financial and organizational support to individuals and groups engaged in charitable and educational pursuits – research, communication, education, and scholarly endeavors in the fields of individual and social transformation and human well-being." The foundation supported projects that were launched by individuals expressing their commitment to altering what is possible for humanity, such as The Hunger Project, The Mastery Foundation, The Holiday Project, and the Youth at Risk Program, programs which continue to be vital and active today. The foundation also organized presentations by scholars and humanitarians such as the Dalai Lama and Buckminster Fuller[73] and hosted an annual conference in theoretical physics, a science in which Erhard was especially interested.[74] The annual conference was designed to give physicists an opportunity to work with their colleagues on what they were developing before they published, and was attended by such physicists as Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking,[74] and Leonard Susskind.[75] Physicist Leonard Susskind, who attended some of these conferences, writes, "I met Hawking and Gerard 't Hooft in the attic of Werner Erhard's house in San Francisco. Erhard was a fan of Sidney Coleman. Dick Feynman, myself, and David Finkelstein were his gurus. He was very, very smart."[76]

Werner Erhard and Associates (1981–1991) and "The Forum"

Further information: Werner Erhard and Associates

In the 1980s, Erhard created a new program called "the Forum," which began in January 1985. Also during that period Erhard developed and presented a series of seminars, broadcast via satellite, that included interviews with contemporary thinkers in science, economics, sports, and the arts on topics such as creativity, performance, and money. The interviews were designed not to present particular views, but to inquire into the commitments, visions and influences at the source of their work. People interviewed in this diverse series included Mike Wallace, Milton Friedman, Alice Cahana, Robert Reich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Senator Daniel Inouye.[77][78][79]

In October 1987, Erhard hosted a televised broadcast with sports coaches John Wooden, Red Auerbach, Tim Gallwey and George Allen to discuss principles of coaching across all disciplines. They sought to identify distinctions found in coaching, regardless of the subject being coached. Jim Selman moderated the discussion and in 1989 he documented the outcome in an article called "Coaching and the Art of Management."[80]

On February 1, 1991,[81] some of the employees of Werner Erhard and Associates purchased its assets, licensed the right to use its intellectual property and assumed some of its liabilities, paying $3 million and committing to remitting up to $15 million over the following 18 years in licensing fees.[82] Shortly afterwards, the new owners established Landmark Education.[81]

Presentations that evolved from the "Forum" continue to take place today in major cities in the US and worldwide as the "Landmark Forum" under the auspices of Landmark Worldwide.

Academic lectures

Throughout his career, Erhard has lectured at universities and organizations around the world.[83] The Harvard Business Review On Change states, "We are indebted to numerous philosophers, scholars, and thinkers who have inquired into the nature of being, especially Werner Erhard." In their publication the Harvard Review cited, "Transformation and Its Implications for Systems-Oriented Research," lecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Massachusetts, April 1977 and "The Nature of Transformation," Oxford University Union Society, Oxford, England, September 1981" and stated "Numerous writers have grappled with the relationship of past, present and future in the workplace, especially Werner Erhard," citing "Organizational Vision and Vitality: Forward from the Future," Academy of Management, San Francisco, California, August 1990.[84][24][85][86] While Erhard did not attend university, he "breached the 'split' in American intellectual life between the ideology of the university and the ideology of the American marketplace."[1] "Erhard organized and led Harvard seminars and training sessions with Michael C. Jensen professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School who co-founded the Journal of Financial Economics and was the recipient of the 2009 Morgan Stanley-American Finance Association Award for Excellence in Financial Economics."[87]

Subsequent work

After retiring from Werner Erhard & Associates, Erhard continued to make public appearances. One of these was on CNN's Larry King Live in an episode titled, "Whatever Happened to Werner Erhard?" via satellite from Moscow, Russia on December 8, 1993 where Erhard was working with the All Union Knowledge Society,[88] and some members of the newly formed Russian parliament.[47] As of 2001 Erhard maintained a residence with Gonneke Spits in George Town, Cayman Islands.[89] During this time he worked in the area of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and on some occasions with author Peter Block.[90]

Currently Erhard devotes his time to scholarly research and writing and presentations of his ideas. He participated in an event on May 11, 2004 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University entitled "From Thought to Action: Growing Leaders in a Changing World." The event was in honor of a friend, Warren Bennis, who had taken the est Training and for some time consulted with Werner Erhard and Associates. In 2007, he presented a talk exploring the link between integrity, leadership, and increased performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for Public Leadership,[91] led a course on integrity at the 2007 MIT Sloan School of Management's SIP (Sloan Innovation Period),[92] and spoke at the Harvard Law School program on Corporate Governance.[b][93] In 2008, he took part in a presentation on integrity at DePaul University[94] and co-led a course on leadership at the Simon School of Business.[95] In 2009 he presented Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model at the Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference: Law, Behavior & the Brain.[8]

Erhard, along with colleagues Michael C. Jensen and Steve Zaffron, authored the paper, "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality." Quoting from The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Well-Being, "Erhard, Jensen, and Zaffron (2007) aimed to present a positive model of integrity that provides powerful access to increased performance for individuals, groups, and organizations." [b](Positive as used here is as it is used in the sciences – it does not mean integrity as something good or desirable, it means integrity as the way integrity actually works in the world.)[96]

He presented his work on "Why We Do What We Do: A New Model Providing Actionable Access to the Source of Performance" at the Kennedy Center For Public Leadership at Harvard University in December 2009.[97] Author Bartley J. Madden wrote about Werner Erhard, professor Michael C. Jensen, and colleagues’ development of a new paradigm of individual, group, and organizational performance. He writes that their paradigm “emphasizes how one's worldview shapes and constrains each individual's perceptions. The paradigm takes one to the source of performance, which is not available by merely explaining performance through linear cause and effect analysis.”[10] He goes on to say that their work reveals that “the source of performance resides in how actions correlate naturally with the way circumstances occur” and that “language (including what is said and unsaid in conversations) plays a dominant role in how situations occur and so is instrumental in improving performance.”[10]

[bMadden points out that a cornerstone of their new paradigm of performance is its emphasis on integrity (keeping or when not keeping, then honoring [as they define honoring] one's word). Erhard, Jensen, et al. write, “Integrity is important to individuals, groups, organizations and society because it creates workability. Without integrity, the workability of any object, system, person, group or organization declines; and as workability declines, the opportunity for performance declines. Therefore integrity is a necessary condition for maximum performance. As an added benefit, honoring one's word is also an actionable pathway to being trusted by others.”[10][98][/b]

A major part of Werner Erhard’s current work is devoted to the creation and development of the course “Being A Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model” which he and his colleagues have led at numerous universities and is being taught by 34 professors in their own schools.[10][99] The Financial Times management editor Andrew Hill writes that this leadership course contributes to the field of business education and furthers academic research.[100] This course supports the participants in discovering the constraints on being and acting as a leader imposed by their worldview. These constraints impede their cognitive abilities that could otherwise be brought to bear on the circumstances calling for leadership with which they are confronted. Rather than simply learning about leadership, the course promises to leave participants being leaders and exercising leadership as their natural self-expression.[101][102]

Erhard and his colleagues, Professor Michael C. Jensen and United States Air Force Academy fellow, Kari Granger,
were asked to contribute to the 2012 Harvard University publication, The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing and Being,[26] edited by the Dean of Harvard Business School, Nitin Nohria,[103] HBS Senior Lecturer of Business Administration Scott Snook, and Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana.[104] In their introduction the editors write, "Erhard, Jensen and Granger anchor this collection by taking dead aim at the BE component. In a highly provocative chapter titled 'Creating Leaders', this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education...For these authors, integrity, authenticity, and being committed to something bigger than oneself form the base of 'the context for leadership', a context that once mastered, leaves one actually being a leader.[b] It is not enough to know about or simply understand these foundational factors, but rather by following a rigorous, phenomenologically based methodology, students have the opportunity to create for themselves a context that leaves them actually being a leader and [b]exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression."[105]

Erhard's ontological work has been a topic for discussion by academics. At the 2013 Philosophy of Communication Division National Communication Association Conference in Washington, D.C., two professors, Bruce Hyde and Drew Kopp, presented their paper "Connecting Philosophy and Communication; A Heideggerian Analysis of the Ontological Rhetoric of Werner Erhard", in which they state "We are not suggesting here that Heidegger's philosophical writings were the source of Erhard's ideas. We see both men as being at work in the same field, sharing a view toward language and its relationship to Being."[106]

Erhard is the author of the final chapter in the book about Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek, Hayek: A Collaborative Biography, edited by Robert Leeson, Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford University.[107]

In 2014 the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) issued Erhard's and Michael C. Jensen's paper "Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach" in which they summarize their theory of integrity as a purely positive phenomenon (i.e. that integrity does not mean integrity as something good or desirable, rather it means integrity as the way integrity actually works in the world) and that "adding integrity as a positive phenomenon to the paradigm of financial economics provides actionable access (rather than mere explanation with no access) to the source of the behavior that has resulted in damaging effects on value and human welfare, thereby significantly reducing that behavior."[5][108]

Critics and disputes

Erhard became the object of both popular fascination and criticism, with the media tending to vilify him over the span of several decades.[69] Professor of Ethics Jonathan D. Moreno writes, "Allegations of all sorts of personal and financial wrongdoing were hurled at him, none of which were borne out and some of which were even publicly retracted by major media organizations."[69] Various skeptics have questioned or criticized the validity of Erhard's work and his motivations. Psychiatrist Marc Galanter described Erhard as "a man with no formal experience in mental health, self help, or religious revivalism, but a background in retail sales."[109] Michael E. Zimmerman, chair of the philosophy department at Tulane University, who wrote "A Philosophical Assessment of the est Training"[110] described Erhard as "a kind of artist, a thinker, an inventor, who has big debts to others, borrowed from others, but then put the whole thing together in a way that no one else had ever done."[111][112] Philosophy professor at Sacramento City College, Robert Todd Carroll referred to est as a "hodge-podge of philosophical bits and pieces culled from the carcasses of existential philosophy, motivational psychology."[113] Social critic John Bassett MacCleary called Erhard "a former used-car salesman" and est "just another moneymaking scam."[114] NYU psychology professor Paul Vitz noted that est "was primarily a business" and that its "style of operation has been labeled as fascist."[115]

In 1991, Erhard "vanished amid reports of tax fraud (which proved false and won him $200,000 from the IRS[47][116]) and allegations of incest (which were later recanted)."[117] The March 3, 1991 60 Minutes broadcast of these allegations was later removed by CBS due to factual inaccuracies.[33] On March 3, 1992, Erhard sued CBS, San Jose Mercury News reporter John Hubner and approximately twenty other defendants for libel, defamation, slander, and invasion of privacy, as well as conspiracy.[118][119] On May 20, 1992, Erhard filed for dismissal of his own case and sent checks for $100 to each of the defendants, covering their filing fees in the case.[120] Erhard told Larry King in an interview that he dropped the suit after receiving legal advice telling him that in order to win it, it would not be sufficient to prove that CBS knew the allegations were false, but that he would also need to prove that CBS acted with malice.[121] Erhard stated to King that his family members (as reported in Time magazine)[116] had since retracted their allegations, which according to Erhard had been made under pressure from the 60 Minutes producer.[121]

Erhard's daughters retracted the allegations of sexual abuse they had made against their father.[122][123] Celeste Erhard, one of the daughters featured in the CBS program, subsequently sued journalist John Hubner and the San Jose Mercury News seeking US$2 million.[124] Celeste Erhard accused the newspaper of having "defrauded her and invaded her privacy".[124] She asserted that she had exaggerated information, had been promised a book deal to be co-authored with Hubner for revenue of $2 million, and stated on the record that the articles and her appearance on CBS television's 60 Minutes were to get publicity for the book.[124][125] Celeste claimed that the quotes in the article were obtained by deceitful measures.[126] The case was dismissed in August 1993, the judge ruling that the statute of limitation had expired and that Celeste Erhard "had suffered no monetary damages or physical harm and that she failed to present legal evidence that Hubner had deliberately misled her,"[124] which is legally required for damages.

The video of the CBS 60 Minutes program was subsequently withdrawn from the market by CBS.[127] A disclaimer said that "this segment has been deleted at the request of CBS News for legal or copyright reasons".[33]

In 1992 a court entered a default judgment of $380,000 against Werner Erhard in absentia in a case alleging negligent injury.[128]:262 The appellate court stated that Erhard had not been personally served and was not present at the trial.[129]

In 1993, Erhard filed a wrongful disclosure lawsuit against the IRS, asserting that IRS agents had incorrectly and illegally revealed to the media details of information from his tax returns.[130] In the first half of April 1991, IRS spokesmen were widely quoted, alleging that "Erhard owed millions of dollars in back taxes, that he was transferring assets out of the country, and that the agency was suing Erhard", branding Erhard a "tax cheat".[130] On April 15, the IRS was reported to have placed a lien of $6.7 million on personal property belonging to Erhard.[131] In his wrongful disclosure lawsuit against the IRS Erhard stated that he had never refused to pay taxes that were lawfully due,[130] and in September 1996 he won the suit. The IRS settled the lawsuit with Erhard, paying him $200,000 in damages. While admitting that the media reports quoting the IRS on Erhard's tax liabilities had been false, the IRS took no action to have the media correct those statements.[130][132]

A private investigator quoted in the Los Angeles Times stated that by October 1989, Scientology had collected five filing cabinets worth of materials about Erhard, many from ex-members of est who had joined Scientology, and that Scientology was clearly in the process of organizing a "media blitz" aimed at discrediting Erhard.[133] According to Harry Rosenberg, Erhard's brother, "Werner made some very, very powerful enemies. They really got him."[122]

In their 1992 book Perspectives on the New Age James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton noted that est used "authoritarian trainers who enforce numerous rules," require applause after participants "share" in front of the group, and de-emphasize reason in favor of "feeling and action." The authors also pointed out that graduates of est were "fiercely loyal," and recruited heavily, reducing marketing expenses to virtually zero.[134]


A 2012 Financial Times article stated that Erhard's influence "extends far beyond the couple of million people who have done his courses; there is hardly a self-help book or a management training programme that does not borrow some of his principles."[47] Fortune magazine's 40th Anniversary issue (5/15/95), in examining the major contributions to management thinking over the last two decades along with Peter Drucker's The Practice of Management and Michael Hammer and James Champy's Reengineering The Corporation, recognized Erhard's ideas about methods for empowering people as one of the major innovations in management thinking of the last two decades.[135] Erhard and his programs have been cited[136] as having a significant cultural impact on America in the 1970s.[137] Erhard's teachings have influenced the field of professional coaching. The late Thomas Leonard, who founded or helped found Coach U, the International Coach Federation, Coachville, the International Association of Coaches and the Coaches Training Institute, was an employee of est.[138][139] Sociologist and Professor Earl Babbie acknowledged the value that he got out of his work with Werner Erhard. As Babbie says "I want to thank Werner Erhard for all the value I've gotten from my association with him, especially as it was reflected in the writing of this book" (Society By Agreement, which at the time was a widely used introductory sociology textbook in the United States).[140]

Paul Fireman (former CEO of Reebok),[141] Peter Block,[142] leadership expert Warren Bennis,[143] and economist Michael C. Jensen,[144][145] spoke positively of Erhard's impact on their own performance. David Logan, an associate professor of business at the University of Southern California said, "Werner's thinking – I don't know any nice way of saying it – is just out there in the world. You can't do a Master's Degree in organizational development or human resources without picking up some of it. And it's usually not credited back to him. His stuff is just out there."[146] Over the years, Werner Erhard's philosophy has been cited in helping to promote[147] a multibillion-dollar personal growth industry based on Erhard's original concepts.[148][149] Social scientist Daniel Yankelovich said of the large scale study he conducted of participants of The Forum (a program that Erhard created): "Several of the study's findings surprised me quite a bit, especially the large number of participants for whom The Forum proved to be 'one of the most valued experiences of my life'. This is not a sentiment that people, especially successful, well-educated people, express lightly."[150]

Many scholars have been influenced by Werner Erhard, such as the founder of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and former president of the Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapies Steven C. Hayes,[151] researcher and author Bartley J. Madden, whose current focus is on market-based solutions to public policy,[152] Jay Greenberg, Professor of Mathematics and author of Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometries,[153] and Bernard Roth, Rodney H. Adams Professor in the School of Engineering and Academic Director and co-founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the at Stanford University.[154]

Professor Roth says about Erhard's influence on his work: "I learned a lot from Werner and his work. For me it put an intellectual framework around all the fragments ... I also benefited from coleading several workshops with Werner and his associates. Three years ago I participated in a leadership workshop colead by Werner, Michael C. Jensen, and Kari Granger. It had been twenty-two years since I last worked with Werner. This experience brought a renewed realization as to how deeply his style and content have influenced my teaching."[155]

Other organizations

The Hunger Project

Main article: The Hunger Project

In 1977, Erhard along with the support of John Denver, Robert W. Fuller (former Oberlin College president), and others, founded The Hunger Project, a non-profit, NGO accredited to the United Nations Economic and Social Council[28] in which more than 4 million people have participated. Erhard authored the Hunger Project Source Document, subtitled, "The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come." The document called for people to examine and transcend their own unconscious beliefs about the problem of persistent hunger and take personal responsibility for the context in which hunger seemed inevitable. Erhard wrote, "What we're attempting to do is to get at the truth about hunger and starvation on our planet. And when you get to the truth of it, when you work your way to the source of it, you see that hunger and starvation on this planet are a function of the forces in which we live on this planet. Victor Hugo said, essentially, that all the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. If, in fact, the time were to come for the end of hunger and starvation on this planet, hunger and starvation on this planet would end. When the time for things comes, they happen by whatever means are available."[156] The foundational purpose of the Hunger Project was for people to create the context that the time for ending hunger on the planet had come.[157] It called for individuals to “take a stand for the end of hunger and begin to integrate the end of hunger into the very fabric of daily life actions that would help transform hunger and end it."[158]

Catherine Parrish, former CEO of the Hunger Project US, writes, “as a project, as an organization, the Hunger Project never intended to take all the actions that would be necessary to end the persistence of hunger. What the Hunger Project intended to do was to catalyze the global grass-roots committed movement and action that would put all of that in place. You see, it’s a project of great faith in human beings. Great faith that if hundreds and thousands and millions of individuals took a stand for the end of the persistence of hunger as an idea whose time has come, that they would then find an action that was appropriate to them...The Hunger Project enrolled over four million individuals who signed a paper saying ‘I have taken a stand. I will make the end of hunger an idea whose time has come as my personal responsibility.’ So millions took it and went with it, and there were many many skeptics, and understandably so. People had been working on this problem from a context of “It can’t be done” for centuries and doing really good work and really well-educated work. So I think it sounded brass and naïve, whereas it was actually deeply, deeply thoughtful and faithful.”[158]

Father Basil Pennington said "Erhard’s program, The Hunger Project, was the first major project I encountered that worked not just to satisfy the immediate needs of the hungry but to raise consciousness to produce the political will for long-range permanent solutions.”[159] Lynne Twist writes, "The Hunger Project, by systematically challenging false assumptions about chronic hunger and food aid, exposed the myth of scarcity and opened new avenues of inquiry and possibility, eventually succeeding in making a significant contribution to the eradication of hunger by empowering people to author their own recovery. In every situation, from individuals to large populations of people, uncovering the lie and the myths of scarcity has been the first and most powerful step in the transformation from helplessness and resignation to possibility and self-reliance."[160]

The Hunger Project’s unconventional approach to solving the problem of hunger through changing the social conversation about the root causes of hunger led to skepticism and critical reactions.[161] A six-month investigation by the Center For Investigative Reporting of Oakland, California and Mother Jones Magazine found that very little of the money collected for The Hunger Project was used for the purchase and distribution of food[162] and alleged in a report on the investigation published in the magazine in December 1978 that Erhard was "using the Hunger Project not only for self-aggrandizement but for promoting the for-profit corporation he founded, as well."[163] A follow-up article in Mother Jones in 2009 by Suzanne Gordon (author of the 1978 piece) reasserted the criticism that The Hunger Project had failed to do anything significant to alleviate world hunger while at the same time providing the disclaimer that "Twelve years after it was supposed to become obsolete, the Hunger Project now has only one former Erhard associate on its board and notes it has 'no ties to Mr. Erhard or his interests.' "[164]

However, despite the criticisms, the Hunger Project has achieved results in alleviating starvation throughout the world. In 2010, James E. Parco of the U.S. Armed Forces in his book Attitudes Aren't Free writes, "On a very large scale, the Hunger Project has seen remarkably positive results with a long period of success in Africa, South Asia and Latin America according to a model which can be duplicated in nation building and peace-keeping environments. The Hunger Project uses proven strategies to bring villages out of poverty and hunger and make them self-sufficient - typically within five years. Core to the Hunger Project's philosophy is empowerment of women and girls in order to achieve lasting change." [165]

Landmark Education

In 1991 the group that later formed Landmark Education purchased the intellectual property of Werner Erhard. In 1998, Time magazine published an article[166] about Landmark Education and its historical connection to Werner Erhard. The article stated that: "In 1991, before he left the U.S., Erhard sold the 'technology' behind his seminars to his employees, who formed a new company called the Landmark Education Corp., with Erhard's brother Harry Rosenberg at the helm." Landmark Education states that its programs have as their basis ideas originally developed by Erhard, but that Erhard has no financial interest, ownership, or management role in Landmark Education.[167] In Stephanie Ney v. Landmark Education Corporation (1994),[168] the courts determined Landmark Education Corporation did not have successor-liability to Werner Erhard & Associates, the corporation whose assets Landmark Education purchased.

According to Pressman in "Outrageous Betrayal": Landmark Education further agreed to pay Erhard a long-term licensing fee for the material used in the Forum and other courses. Erhard stood to earn up to $15 million over the next 18 years."[128]:253–255 However, Arthur Schreiber's declaration of May 3, 2005 states: "Landmark Education has never paid Erhard under the license agreements (he assigned his rights to others)." [169]

In 2001, New York Magazine reported that Landmark Education's CEO Harry Rosenberg said that the company had bought outright Erhard's license and his rights to the business in Japan and Mexico.[89] From time to time Erhard consults with Landmark Education.[170]
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Barbados Group

The Barbados Group represents a "self-selected group of scholars, consultants and practitioners"[171] which aims to build an ontological paradigm of performance in organizations.[172] The group and its main publication-vehicle SSRN both have at their head Michael C. Jensen, Emeritus Professor at the Harvard Business School. Werner Erhard's Barbados Group publications can be found at SSRN.[173] Some members of the Barbados Group are affiliated with Landmark Education.[174]

The Barbados Group was analyzed by economics journalist and author David Warsh, in an article in Economic Principals.[175]

Film and television

See also: est and The Forum in popular culture

In 2006 Erhard appeared in the documentary Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard.[176] Robyn Symon and Walter Maksym (who had earlier served as Erhard's attorney in the lawsuit against CBS) co-produced the film.[176]

Werner Erhard featured in the 2002 British documentary by Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self, episode part 3 of 4. This segment of the video discusses the est Training in detail, and includes interviews with est graduates John Denver and Jerry Rubin.


Selected Erhard writings as lead author

• Being Well Chapter 5 in Beyond Health and Normality: Explorations of Exceptional Psychological Well-Being, edited by Roger Walsh, M.B., PhD and Deane H. Shapiro Jr., PhD. Van Nostrand. 1983.[177]
• A Breakthrough in Individual and Social Transformation in Eranos Foundation Yearbook 69: 2006/2007/2008. Daimon Verlag. 2010.[16]
• Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model with Michael C. Jensen, and Kari Granger, Chapter 16 in Handbook For Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being, edited by Scott A. Snook, Rakesh Khurana, and Nitin Nohria, Harvard Business School. SAGE Publications. 2012.[178]
• Epistemological And Contextual Contributions of est to General Systems Theory – presentation to the symposium on Evolving Trends in General Systems Theory and the Future of the Family at the Sixth World Congress of Social Psychiatry, Opatija, Yugoslavia, 5 October 1976.[179]
• est: Communication in a Context of Compassion with Victor Gioscia, PhD. The Journal of Current Psychiatric Therapies, Volume 18. 1978.
• The est Standard Training with Victor Gioscia, PhD. Biosciences Communication 3:104-122. 1977.[180]
• Ethiopia: 1988 A Remarkable Achievement – newspaper article, 12 January 1989.[181]
• Four Ways of Being that Create the Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and A Great Organization with Michael C. Jensen, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus Harvard Business School.[182]
• Hayek: A Collaborative Biography: Part 1 Influences from Mises to Bartley, Chapter 12: "Bill Bartley: An Extraordinary Biographer" edited by Robert Leeson, Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford University. Palgrave Macmillan. 2013.[46]
• The Hunger Project Source Document, The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come 1977.[183]
• Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality with Michael C. Jensen, and Steve Zaffron. Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 06-11; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 06-03; Simon School Working Paper No. FR 08-05.[184]
• Introductory Reading for the 'Being a Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model' Course with Michael C. Jensen, and Steve Zaffron. Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 12-074; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 12-01; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) – Finance Working Paper No. 417/2014.[185]
• The Mind's Dedication to Survival with Gilbert Guerin and Robert Shaw The Journal of Individual Psychology Volume 31, Number 1, May. 1975.[186]
• Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach with Michael C. Jensen. Journal: Capitalism and Society, Issue 12, Volume 1, May 2017;[38] National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) #19986, March 2014;[5] European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) Finance Working Paper No. 417/2014;[39] and Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.[187]
• Some Aspects of the est Training and Transpersonal Psychology: A Conversation with James Fadiman. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Volume 9, Number J. 1977.[188]

Published Interviews

• You Don't Alter What You Know, You Alter The Way You Know It − An Interview with Werner Erhard. The Network Review, Volume 1, Number 4. 1983.[189]
• Werner Erhard on Transformation and Productivity – An Interview with Werner Erhard. Revision: The Journal of Consciousness and Change, Volume 7, Number 3. Winter 1984/Spring 1985.,

Books by others

• Bartley, William Warren III: Werner Erhard The Transformation of a Man: The Founding of est, New York: Clarkson N. Potter Inc. (1978) ISBN 0-517-53502-5.
• Bry, Adelaide: est: 60 Hours That Transform Your life, Harper Collins (1976) ISBN 978-0-06-010562-4.
• Fenwick, Sheridan: Getting It: The psychology of est, J. B. Lippincott Company. (1976) ISBN 0-397-01170-9.
• Hargrove, Robert: est: Making Life Work, Delacorte (1976) ISBN 978-0-440-19556-6.
• Kettle, James: The est Experience, Zebra Books (1976) ISBN 978-0-89083-168-7.
• Marks, Pat R.: est: The Movement and the Man, Playboy Press (1976) ASIN B004BI5A3E.
• Morantz, Paul and Lancaster, Hal: Escape: My Life Long War Against Cults, Cresta Publications (2013) ISBN 978-0-615-84869-3.
• Moreno, M.D., Ph.D., Jonathan D. Impromptu Man: J.L. Moreno and the Origins of Psychodrama, Encounter Culture, and the Social Network. Bellevue Literary Press (2014) ISBN 1-934137-84-7.
• Pressman, Steven: Outrageous Betrayal: The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile, New York, New York, USA: St. Martin's Press (1993) ISBN 0-312-09296-2.
• Rhinehart, Luke: The Book of est, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1976) ISBN 978-0-557-30615-2.
• Rubin, Jerry: Growing (Up) at Thirty-Seven, M. Evans & Company. (1976) ISBN 978-0-87131-189-4.
• Self, Jane: 60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard: How America's Top Rated Television Show Was Used in an Attempt to Destroy a Man Who Was Making a Difference, Breakthru Publishing (1992) ISBN 0-942540-23-9.
• Weir, D., Noyes, D.: Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets the Story, chapter "Let Them Eat est". Addison-Wesley (1983) ISBN 0-201-10858-5.

See also

• Large-group awareness training


1. integrity,[4][5][6] leadership [7][8][9] personal and organizational performance, [10][11][12] and individual and organizational transformation.[13][14]
2. Some of the Universities Erhard has given talks or taught classes at are Harvard University,[15] Stanford University,[16] Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine,[17] University of California, Berkeley,[18] University of Chicago,[18] University of Southern California,[19] University of Rochester,[20] Erasmus University Rotterdam,[21] Yale University,[22]Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),[23] Oxford University, Oxford Union,[24] University of California, Los Angeles[25] and the US Air Force Academy.[26]
3. Talks: [34][35][36]
4. Erhard's writings appear: at Social Science Research Network,[37] in Columbia University's Capitalism and Society Center Journal, May 2017,[38] in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER),[5] at the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) Working Paper Series in Finance (April 2014)[39] or linked from the Harvard Law SchoolForum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (March 2014).[40]
5. [clarification needed]Philosophers Isaiah Berlin, Hubert Dreyfus,[48] Michel Foucault,[49] Karl Popper,[49] Hilary Putnam,[49] and Michael E. Zimmerman;[50][26] leadership and business academics Warren Bennis,[51][26] Fernando Flores,[52][53] Ronald Heifetz,[26] and Dave Logan;[50] economists Milton Friedman[54] and Michael C. Jensen;[50]neuroscientists David Eagleman and Karl H. Pribram; theoretical physicists Richard Feynman[49][55] and Leonard Susskind;[55] anthropologist Gregory Bateson;[56] cyberneticists Heinz von Foerster and James Grier Miller; biologist Humberto Maturana;[49][57] artist Robert Rauschenberg;[58] IBM fellow Allan Scherr;[50] and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller;[59]among others.[60] Philosopher Michael E. Zimmerman said of Erhard, "He had no particular formal training in anything, but he understood things as well as anyone I'd ever seen; and I've been around a lot of smart people in academia."[61]
1. Bartley, William Warren III(1978). Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, the Founding of est. New York: Clarkson N. Potter. ISBN 0-517-53502-5.
2. Bartley, William Warren III (1978). Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, the Founding of est. New York: Clarkson N. Potter. ISBN 0-517-53502-5. est is a training program in the expansion and transformation of consciousness which was founded by Werner Erhard in California in 1971.
3. Erhard, Werner. "Curriculum Vitae". Werner Erhard. Retrieved February 2, 2017. These companies were: Erhard Seminars Training Inc. (1971–1975); est, an educational corporation (1975–1981), and Werner Erhard and Associates (1981–1991).
4. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Zaffron, Steve (February 2016). "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics, and Legality". SSRN. We show that defining integrity as honoring one's word, as we have defined 'honoring one's word': 1) provides an unambiguous and actionable access to the opportunity for superior performance and competitive advantage at the individual, organizational and social levels, and 2) empowers the three virtue phenomena of morality, ethics and legality.
5. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C. (March 2014). "Putting Integrity into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach". NBER Working Paper No. 19986. doi:10.3386/w19986. We summarize here our new theory of integrity that reveals integrity as a purely positive phenomenon with no normative aspects whatsoever.
6. Madden, Bartley J. (August 28, 2012). "Management's Worldview: Four Critical Points about Reality, Language, and Knowledge Building to Improve Organization Performance". Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce. 22(4): 334–346. doi:10.1080/10919392.2012.723586. Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen, and their Barbados Group colleagues (hereafter EJB) have developed a new paradigm of individual, group, and organizational performance. [...] A centerpiece of EJB's new paradigm is its emphasis on integrity (keeping one's word), which has significant impact on performance [...].
7. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Granger, Kari (2012). Snook, Scott; Nohria, Nitin; Khurana), Rakesh (eds.). "Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model", in The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being. SAGE Publications. pp. xxii–xxiv, 245–262. ISBN 978-1-4129-9094-3. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
8. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Granger, Kari L. (2011). "Introduction to Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model (PDF File of PowerPoint Slides)". doi:10.2139/ssrn.1392406. ISSN 1556-5068.
9. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Zaffron, Steve; Granger, Kari L. (2011). "Course Materials for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model". doi:10.2139/ssrn.1263835. ISSN 1556-5068.
10. Madden, Bartley J. (August 28, 2012). "Management's Worldview: Four Critical Points about Reality, Language, and Knowledge Building to Improve Organization Performance". Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce. 22 (4): 334–346. doi:10.1080/10919392.2012.723586. Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen, and their Barbados Group colleagues (hereafter EJB) have developed a new paradigm of individual, group, and organizational performance
11. Zaffron, Steve; Logan, David (2009). The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-0-470-19559-8. This section draws on work from Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, and Steve Zaffron, 'Integrity: A Positive Model That Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality,', Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper no. 06-11 (April 25, 2008). Available at
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18. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C. (2015). "Creating Leaders, a New Model: An Evening with Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen (PDF File of Powerpoint Slides)". doi:10.2139/ssrn.2606342. ISSN 1556-5068.
19. "". August 31, 2011. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2011. The Marshall School was pleased to host Harvard University Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Michael C. Jensen, Werner Erhard, creator of transformational models and applications for individuals, groups, and organizations, and Steve Zaffron, CEO Landmark Education and Business Development, as our honored guests in the Marshall Distinguished Researcher Series for this past fall.
20. "". July 3, 2008. Retrieved November 13,2011. The course is co-taught with Alan Scherr, a consultant based in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Steve Zaffron of the Vanto Group and Werner Erhard, the creator of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational and social transformation and recipient of the 1988 Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award.
21. "HBS Professor Michael Jensen to Present Seminar at Erasmus Academie - About RSM - Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University". Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2014. The seminar, 'Being a Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model,' will be led by Dr. Jensen, an internationally renowned business scholar, along with his team of fellow experts: Werner Erhard, Steve Zaffron and Kari Granger.
22. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Zaffron, Steve (2009). "A New Model of Integrity: An Actionable Pathway to Trust, Productivity and Value (PDF File of Keynote Slides)". doi:10.2139/ssrn.932255. ISSN 1556-5068.
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183. Erhard, Werner (1977). "The End of Starvation: Creating An Idea Whose Time Has Come". Graduate Review Publication of the Hunger Project. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
184. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Zaffron, Steve (2009). "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality". doi:10.2139/ssrn.920625. ISSN 1556-5068.
185. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Zaffron, Steve; Granger, Kari L. (2012). "Introductory Reading for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model". doi:10.2139/ssrn.1585976. ISSN 1556-5068.
186. Erhard, Werner; Guerin, Gilbert; Shaw, Robert (May 1975). "The Mind's Dedication to Survival". The Journal of Individual Psychology. 31 (1).
187. Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C. "Putting Integrity Into Finance". Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.
188. Erhard, Werner; Fadiman, James (1977). "Some Aspects of the est Training and Transpersonal Psychology: A Conversation". The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 9 (J): 27–42.
189. Erhard, Werner (1983). "You Don't Alter What You Know, You Alter The Way You Know It". The Network Review. 1 (4).

External links

• Official website
• Werner Erhard's Author Page at SSRN (Social Science Research Network)
• Erhard biographical website
• Erhard on transforming performance
• est and Werner Erhard, The Skeptic's Dictionary
• Werner Erhard Foundation
• Being a Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model
• Werner Erhard (60 Minutes), via Wikiquote
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Alan Watts
by Wikipedia
Accessed 8/6/19



Alan Watts
Born: Alan Wilson Watts, 6 January 1915, Chislehurst, London, England
Died: 16 November 1973 (aged 58), Mount Tamalpais, California, US
Nationality: British
Alma mater: Seabury-Western Theological Seminary
Notable work: The Way of Zen (1957)
Spouse(s): Eleanor Everett, (m. 1938; div. 1949)
Dorothy DeWitt, (m. 1950; div. 1963)
Mary Jane Yates King (m. 1964)
Era: Contemporary philosophy
School: Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Christianity, religious naturalism, Taoism
Institutions: American Academy of Asian Studies
Main interests: Personal identity, higher consciousness, aesthetics, cultural criticism, public ethics, individualism
Influences: Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Laozi, Zhuang Zhou, Lie Yukou, Dōgen, Bankei Yōtaku, Hakuin Ekaku, Christmas Humphreys, Ruth Fuller Sasaki, D. T. Suzuki, Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Jean Burden, G. K. Chesterton, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Haridas Chaudhuri, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Marshall McLuhan, Robert Theobald
Influenced: John Cage, Mark Tobey, Gordon Onslow Ford, Jean Varda, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Chungliang Al Huang, Monica Furlong, Seraphim Rose, Robert Anton Wilson, Brian Bates, Emerson Barrett Kropp

Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British[1] philosopher who interpreted and popularised Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, England, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master's degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest in 1945, then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.

Watts gained a large following in the San Francisco Bay Area while working as a volunteer programmer at KPFA, a Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley. Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism. In Psychotherapy East and West (1961), Watts proposed that Buddhism could be thought of as a form of psychotherapy and not a religion. He considered Nature, Man and Woman (1958) to be, "from a literary point of view—the best book I have ever written."[2] He also explored human consciousness in the essay "The New Alchemy" (1958) and in the book The Joyous Cosmology (1962).

Towards the end of his life, he divided his time between a houseboat in Sausalito and a cabin on Mount Tamalpais. According to the critic Erik Davis, his "writings and recorded talks still shimmer with a profound and galvanizing lucidity."[3]

Early years

Alan Watts, aged 7

Watts was born to middle-class parents in the village of Chislehurst, Kent (now south-east London), on 6 January 1915, living at 3 (now 5) Holbrook Lane, which was previously lived in by author John Hemming-Clark [4]in the early 1900s. Watts' father, Laurence Wilson Watts, was a representative for the London office of the Michelin Tyre Company.

The father of this prodigy, L. W. Watts, was the treasurer and vice-president of the Buddhist Lodge.

-- The Occult Establishment, by James Webb

His mother, Emily Mary Watts (née Buchan), was a housewife whose father had been a missionary. With modest financial means, they chose to live in pastoral surroundings and Alan, an only child, grew up playing at brookside, learning the names of wildflowers and butterflies.[5] Probably because of the influence of his mother's religious family[6] the Buchans, an interest in "ultimate things" seeped in. It mixed with Alan's own interests in storybook fables and romantic tales of the mysterious Far East.[7]

Watts also later wrote of a mystical dream he experienced while ill with a fever as a child.[8] During this time he was influenced by Far Eastern landscape paintings and embroideries that had been given to his mother by missionaries returning from China. The few Chinese paintings Watts was able to see in England riveted him, and he wrote "I was aesthetically fascinated with a certain clarity, transparency, and spaciousness in Chinese and Japanese art. It seemed to float...".[9] These works of art emphasized the participatory relationship of man in nature, a theme that stood fast throughout his life, and one that he often wrote about. See, for instance, the last chapter in The Way of Zen.[10]


By his own assessment, Watts was imaginative, headstrong, and talkative. He was sent to boarding schools (which included both academic and religious training of the Muscular Christian sort) from early years. Of this religious training, he remarked "Throughout my schooling my religious indoctrination was grim and maudlin".[11]

Watts spent several holidays in France in his teen years, accompanied by Francis Croshaw, a wealthy Epicurean with strong interests in both Buddhism and exotic little-known aspects of European culture. It was not long afterward that Watts felt forced to decide between the Anglican Christianity he had been exposed to and the Buddhism he had read about in various libraries, including Croshaw's. He chose Buddhism, and sought membership in the London Buddhist Lodge, which had been established by Theosophists, and was then run by the barrister Christmas Humphreys. Watts became the organization's secretary at 16 (1931). The young Watts explored several styles of meditation during these years.


Watts attended The King's School, Canterbury, next door to Canterbury Cathedral. Though he was frequently at the top of his classes scholastically and was given responsibilities at school, he botched an opportunity for a scholarship to Oxford by styling a crucial examination essay in a way that was read as "presumptuous and capricious."[12]

When he left secondary school, Watts worked in a printing house and later a bank. He spent his spare time involved with the Buddhist Lodge and also under the tutelage of a "rascal guru" named Dimitrije Mitrinović. (Mitrinović was himself influenced by Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, G. I. Gurdjieff, and the varied psychoanalytical schools of Freud,Jung and Adler.) Watts also read widely in philosophy, history, psychology, psychiatry and Eastern wisdom.

By his own reckoning, and also by that of his biographer Monica Furlong, Watts was primarily an autodidact. His involvement with the Buddhist Lodge in London afforded Watts a considerable number of opportunities for personal growth. Through Humphreys, he contacted eminent spiritual authors, e.g. the artist, scholar, and mystic Nicholas Roerich, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, and prominent theosophists like Alice Bailey.

In 1936, aged 21, he attended the World Congress of Faiths at the University of London, heard D. T. Suzuki read a paper, and afterwards was able to meet this esteemed scholar of Zen Buddhism.
[13] Beyond these discussions and personal encounters, Watts absorbed, by studying the available scholarly literature, the fundamental concepts and terminology of the main philosophies of India and East Asia.

Influences and first publication

Watts's fascination with the Zen (or Ch'an) tradition—beginning during the 1930s—developed because that tradition embodied the spiritual, interwoven with the practical, as exemplified in the subtitle of his Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East. "Work", "life", and "art" were not demoted due to a spiritual focus. In his writing, he referred to it as "the great Ch'an (or Zen) synthesis of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism after 700 CE in China."[14] Watts published his first book, The Spirit of Zen, in 1936. Two decades later, in The Way of Zen[15] he disparaged The Spirit of Zen as a "popularisation of Suzuki's earlier works, and besides being very unscholarly it is in many respects out of date and misleading."

Watts married Eleanor Everett, whose mother Ruth Fuller Everett was involved with a traditional Zen Buddhist circle in New York. Ruth Fuller later married the Zen master (or "roshi"), Sokei-an Sasaki, who served as a sort of model and mentor to Watts, though he chose not to enter into a formal Zen training relationship with Sasaki. During these years, according to his later writings, Watts had another mystical experience while on a walk with his wife. In 1938 they left England to live in the United States. Watts became a United States citizen in 1943.[16]

Christian priest and after

Watts left formal Zen training in New York because the method of the teacher did not suit him. He was not ordained as a Zen monk, but he felt a need to find a vocational outlet for his philosophical inclinations. He entered Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, an Episcopal (Anglican) school in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied Christian scriptures, theology, and church history. He attempted to work out a blend of contemporary Christian worship, mystical Christianity, and Asian philosophy. Watts was awarded a master's degree in theology in response to his thesis, which he published as a popular edition under the title Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion.

He later published Myth & Ritual in Christianity (1953), an eisegesis of traditional Roman Catholic doctrine and ritual in Buddhist terms. However, the pattern was set, in that Watts did not hide his dislike for religious outlooks that he decided were dour, guilt-ridden, or militantly proselytizing—no matter if they were found within Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism.

As recounted in his autobiography, Alan was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1945 (aged 30) and resigned the ministry by 1950, partly as a result of an extramarital affair which resulted in his wife having their marriage annulled, but also because he could no longer reconcile his Buddhist beliefs with the formal doctrine of the church. He spent the New Year getting to know Joseph Campbell and Campbell's wife, Jean Erdman, as well as the composer John Cage.

In early 1951, Watts moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. Here he taught from 1951 to 1957 alongside Saburō Hasegawa (1906–1957), Frederic Spiegelberg, Haridas Chaudhuri, lama Tada Tōkan (1890–1967), and various visiting experts and professors. Hasegawa, in particular, served as a teacher to Watts in the areas of Japanese customs, arts, primitivism, and perceptions of nature. It was during this time he met the poet, Jean Burden with whom he had a four-year love affair.[17]

Alan credited her as an "important influence" in his life and gave her dedicatory cryptograph in his book "Nature, Man and Woman", to which he alludes in his autobiography (p. 297). Besides teaching, Watts served for several years as the Academy's administrator. One notable student of his was Eugene Rose, who later went on to become a noted Orthodox Christian hieromonk and controversial theologian within the Orthodox Church in America under the jurisdiction of ROCOR. Rose's own disciple, a fellow monastic priest published under the name Hieromonk Damascene, produced a book entitled Christ the Eternal Tao, in which the author draws parallels between the concept of the Tao in Chinese philosophy and the concept of the Logos in classical Greek philosophy and Eastern Christian theology.

Watts also studied written Chinese and practiced Chinese brush calligraphy with Hasegawa
as well as with some of the Chinese students who enrolled at the academy. While Watts was noted for an interest in Zen Buddhism, his reading and discussions delved into Vedanta, "the new physics", cybernetics, semantics, process philosophy, natural history, and the anthropology of sexuality.

Middle years

Watts left the faculty for a career in the mid-1950s. In 1953, he began what became a long-running weekly radio program at Pacifica Radio station KPFA in Berkeley. Like other volunteer programmers at the listener-sponsored station, Watts was not paid for his broadcasts. These weekly broadcasts continued until 1962, by which time he had attracted a "legion of regular listeners".[18][19]

Watts continued to give numerous talks and seminars, recordings of which were broadcast on KPFA and other radio stations during his life. These recordings are broadcast to this day. For example, in 1970 Watts lectures were broadcast on Sunday mornings on San Francisco radio station KSAN;[20] and even today a number of radio stations continue to have an Alan Watts program in their weekly program schedules.[21][22][23] Original tapes of his broadcasts and talks are currently held by the Pacifica Radio Archives, based at KPFK in Los Angeles, and at the Electronic University archive founded by his son, Mark Watts.

In 1957 Watts, then 42, published one of his best known books, The Way of Zen, which focused on philosophical explication and history. Besides drawing on the lifestyle and philosophical background of Zen, in India and China, Watts introduced ideas drawn from general semantics (directly from the writings of Alfred Korzybski) and also from Norbert Wiener's early work on cybernetics, which had recently been published. Watts offered analogies from cybernetic principles possibly applicable to the Zen life. The book sold well, eventually becoming a modern classic, and helped widen his lecture circuit.

In 1958, Watts toured parts of Europe with his father, meeting the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and the German psychotherapist Karlfried Graf Dürckheim.[24]

Upon returning to the United States, Watts recorded two seasons of a television series (1959–1960) for KQED public television in San Francisco, "Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life".[25]

In the 1960s, Watts became increasingly interested in how identifiable patterns in nature tend to repeat themselves from the smallest of scales to the most immense. This became one of his passions in his research and thought.[26]

Though never affiliated for long with any one academic institution, he was Professor of Comparative Philosophy at the California Institute of Integral Studies (as mentioned above), had a fellowship at Harvard University (1962–1964), and was a Scholar at San Jose State University (1968).[27] He also lectured to many college and university students as well as the general public.[28] His lectures and books gave him far-reaching influence on the American intelligentsia of the 1950s–1970s, but he was often seen as an outsider in academia.[29] When questioned sharply by students during his talk at University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1970, Watts responded, as he had from the early sixties, that he was not an academic philosopher but rather "a philosophical entertainer".


Some of Watts' writings published in 1958 (e.g., his book Nature, Man and Woman and his essay "The New Alchemy") mentioned some of his early views on the use of psychedelic drugs for mystical insight. Watts had begun to experiment with psychedelics, initially with mescaline given to him by Oscar Janiger. He tried LSD several times in 1958, with various research teams led by Keith S. Ditman, Sterling Bunnell Jr., and Michael Agron. He also tried marijuana and concluded that it was a useful and interesting psychoactive drug that gave the impression of time slowing down. Watts' books of the '60s reveal the influence of these chemical adventures on his outlook.[30]

He later said about psychedelic drug use, "If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen."[31]

For a time, Watts came to prefer writing in the language of modern science and psychology (such as Psychotherapy East and West), finding a parallel between mystical experiences and the theories of the material universe proposed by 20th-century physicists. He later equated mystical experience with ecological awareness, and typically emphasized whichever approach seemed best suited to the audience he was addressing.[citation needed]

Applied aesthetics

Watts sometimes ate with his group of neighbors in Druid Heights (near Mill Valley, California) who had endeavored to combine architecture, gardening, and carpentry skills to make a beautiful and comfortable life for themselves. These neighbors accomplished this by relying on their own talents and using their own hands, as they lived in what has been called "shared bohemian poverty".[32] Druid Heights was founded by the writer Elsa Gidlow,[33] and Watts dedicated his book The Joyous Cosmology to the people of this neighborhood.[34] He later dedicated his autobiography to Elsa Gidlow, for whom he held a great affection.

Regarding his intentions, Watts attempted to lessen the alienation that accompanies the experience of being human that he felt plagued the modern Westerner, and (like his fellow British expatriate and friend, Aldous Huxley) to lessen the ill will that was an unintentional by-product of alienation from the natural world. He felt such teaching could improve the world, at least to a degree. He also articulated the possibilities for greater incorporation of aesthetics (for example: better architecture, more art, more fine cuisine) in American life. In his autobiography he wrote, "… cultural renewal comes about when highly differentiated cultures mix".[35]

In his last novel, Island (1962), Aldous Huxley mentions the religious practice of maithuna as being something like what Roman Catholics call "coitus reservatus". A few years before, Watts had discussed the theme in his own book, Nature, Man and Woman, in which he discusses the possibility of the practice being known to early Christians and of it being kept secretly by the Church.

Later years

In his writings of the 1950s, he conveyed his admiration for the practicality in the historical achievements of Chán (Zen) in the Far East, for it had fostered farmers, architects, builders, folk physicians, artists, and administrators among the monks who had lived in the monasteries of its lineages. In his mature work, he presents himself as "Zennist" in spirit as he wrote in his last book, Tao: The Watercourse Way. Child rearing, the arts, cuisine, education, law and freedom, architecture, sexuality, and the uses and abuses of technology were all of great interest to him.

Though known for his discourses on Zen, he was also influenced by ancient Hindu scriptures, especially Vedanta. He spoke extensively about the nature of the divine reality which Man misses: how the contradiction of opposites is the method of life and the means of cosmic and human evolution, how our fundamental Ignorance is rooted in the exclusive nature of mind and ego, how to come in touch with the Field of Consciousness and Light, and other cosmic principles. These are discussed in great detail in dozens of hours of audio that are in part captured in the 'Out of Your Mind' series.

Watts sought to resolve his feelings of alienation from the institutions of marriage and the values of American society, as revealed in his classic comments on love relationships in "Divine Madness" and on perception of the organism-environment in "The Philosophy of Nature". In looking at social issues he was quite concerned with the necessity for international peace, for tolerance and understanding among disparate cultures.

Watts also came to feel acutely conscious of a growing ecological predicament. Writing, for example, in the early 1960s: "Can any melting or burning imaginable get rid of these ever-rising mountains of ruin—especially when the things we make and build are beginning to look more and more like rubbish even before they are thrown away?"[36] These concerns were later expressed in a television pilot made for NET (National Educational Television) filmed at his mountain retreat in 1971 in which he noted that the single track of conscious attention was wholly inadequate for interactions with a multi-tracked world.


In October 1973, Watts returned from a European lecture tour to his cabin in Druid Heights, California. Friends of Watts had been concerned about him for some time over what they considered his alcoholism.[37] On 16 November 1973, he died in his sleep. He was reported to have been under treatment for a heart condition.[38] His body was cremated very shortly thereafter. His ashes were split, with half buried near his library at Druid Heights and half at the Green Gulch Monastery.

A personal account of Watts' last years and approach to death is given by Al Chung-liang Huang in Tao: The Watercourse Way.[39] His son Mark Watts has prepared a biographical documentary that details questions surrounding his father's death and performed ritual cremation on a nearby beach.[40] His father's ashes were returned to the cabin where he had died.[41]


On spiritual and social identity

In regards to his ethical outlook, Watts felt that absolute morality had nothing to do with the fundamental realization of one's deep spiritual identity. He advocated social rather than personal ethics. In his writings, Watts was increasingly concerned with ethics applied to relations between humanity and the natural environment and between governments and citizens. He wrote out of an appreciation of a racially and culturally diverse social landscape.

He often said that he wished to act as a bridge between the ancient and the modern, between East and West, and between culture and nature.

Watts led some tours for Westerners to the Buddhist temples of Japan. He also studied some movements from the traditional Chinese martial art taijiquan, with an Asian colleague, Al Chung-liang Huang.


In several of his later publications, especially Beyond Theology and The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Watts put forward a worldview, drawing on Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, pantheism or panentheism, and modern science, in which he maintains that the whole universe consists of a cosmic Self playing hide-and-seek (Lila); hiding from itself (Maya) by becoming all the living and non-living things in the universe and forgetting what it really is – the upshot being that we are all IT in disguise. In this worldview, Watts asserts that our conception of ourselves as an "ego in a bag of skin," or "skin-encapsulated ego" is a myth; the entities we call the separate "things" are merely aspects or features of the whole.

Watts' books frequently include discussions reflecting his keen interest in patterns that occur in nature and which are repeated in various ways and at a wide range of scales – including the patterns to be discerned in the history of civilizations.[42][43]

Supporters and critics

Watts's explorations and teaching brought him into contact with many noted intellectuals, artists, and American teachers in the human potential movement. His friendship with poet Gary Snyder nurtured his sympathies with the budding environmental movement, to which Watts gave philosophical support. He also encountered Robert Anton Wilson, who credited Watts with being one of his "Light[s] along the Way" in the opening appreciation of Cosmic Trigger. Werner Erhard attended workshops given by Alan Watts and said of him, "He pointed me toward what I now call the distinction between Self and Mind. After my encounter with Alan, the context in which I was working shifted."[44]

Watts has been criticized by Buddhists such as Philip Kapleau and D. T. Suzuki for allegedly misinterpreting several key Zen Buddhist concepts. In particular, he drew criticism from those who believe that zazen must entail a strict and specific means of sitting, as opposed to a cultivated state of mind available at any moment in any situation. Typical of these is Kapleau's claim that Watts dismissed zazen on the basis of only half a koan.[45]

In regard to the aforementioned koan, Robert Baker Aitken reports that Suzuki told him, "I regret to say that Mr. Watts did not understand that story."[46] In his talks, Watts addressed the issue of defining zazen practice by saying, "A cat sits until it is tired of sitting, then gets up, stretches, and walks away", and referring[47] to Zen master Bankei: "Even when you're sitting in meditation, if there's something you've got to do, it's quite all right to get up and leave".[48]

Watts's biographers saw him, after his stint as an Anglican priest, as representative of no religion but as a lone-wolf thinker and social rascal. In David Stuart's warts-and-all biography of the man, Watts is seen as an unusually gifted speaker and writer driven by his own interests, enthusiasms, and demons.[49] Elsa Gidlow, whom Alan called "sister", refused to be interviewed for this work but later painted a kinder picture of Alan's life in her own autobiography, Elsa, I Come With My Songs.

However, Watts did have his supporters in the Zen community, including Shunryu Suzuki, the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center. As David Chadwick recounted in his biography of Suzuki, Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, when a student of Suzuki's disparaged Watts by saying "we used to think he was profound until we found the real thing", Suzuki fumed with a sudden intensity, saying, "You completely miss the point about Alan Watts! You should notice what he has done. He is a great bodhisattva."[50]

Personal life

Watts married three times and had seven children (five daughters and two sons). Watts met Eleanor Everett in 1936, when her mother, Ruth Fuller Everett, brought her to London to study piano. They met at the Buddhist Lodge, were engaged the following year and married in April 1938. A daughter, Joan, was born in November 1938 and another, Anne, was born in 1942. Their marriage ended in 1949, but Watts continued to correspond with his former mother-in-law.[51]

In 1950, Watts married Dorothy DeWitt. He moved to San Francisco in early 1951 to teach. They began a family that grew to include five children: Tia, Mark, Richard, Lila, and Diane. The couple separated in the early 1960s after Watts met Mary Jane Yates King (called "Jano" in his circle) while lecturing in New York. After a difficult divorce he married King in 1964. The couple divided their time between Sausalito, California,[52] where they lived on a houseboat called the Vallejo,[53] and a secluded cabin in Druid Heights, on the southwest flank of Mount Tamalpais north of San Francisco.

Watts' eldest daughters, Joan and Anne, own and manage most of the copyrights to his books. His son, Mark, serves as curator of his father's audio, video and film and has published content of some of his spoken lectures in print format.

Jean Burden, his lover and the inspiration/editor of Nature, Man and Woman, remained in his thoughts to the end of his life.


Main article: Works by Alan Watts

Note: ISBN's for titles originally published prior to 1974 are for reprint editions.

• 1932 An Outline of Zen Buddhism, The Golden Vista Press (32 page pamphlet)
• 1936 The Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work and Art in the Far East, E.P. Dutton ISBN 0-8021-3056-9
• 1937 The Legacy of Asia and Western Man, University of Chicago Press
• 1940 The Meaning of Happiness. (reprinted, Harper & Row, 1979, ISBN 0-06-080178-6)
• 1944 Theologia Mystica: Being the Treatise of Saint Dionysius, Pseudo-Areopagite, on Mystical Theology, Together with the First and Fifth Epistles, West Park, New York: Holy Cross Press[54]
• 1947 Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-394-71761-9
• 1948 Zen, James Ladd Delkin, Stanford, California
• 1950 Easter: Its Story and Meaning New York: Schuman
• 1950 The Supreme Identity: An Essay on Oriental Metaphysic and the Christian Religion, Noonday Press/Farrar, Straus & Giroux[55] ISBN 0-394-71835-6
• 1951 The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety. Pantheon Books. 1951. ISBN 0-394-70468-1.
• 1953 Myth and Ritual in Christianity, Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0-8070-1375-7, including essay "God and Satan"
• 1957 The Way of Zen, Pantheon Books ISBN 0-375-70510-4
• 1958 Nature, Man and Woman, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-679-73233-0
• 1959 Beat Zen Square Zen and Zen, San Francisco: City Lights Books, ASIN B000F2RQL4
• 1960 This Is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-394-71904-2
• 1961 Psychotherapy East and West, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-394-71609-4
• 1962 The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness, Pantheon Books
• 1963 The Two Hands of God: The Myths of Polarity, George Braziller
• 1964 Beyond Theology: The Art of Godmanship, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-394-71923-9
• 1966 The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. Pantheon Books. 1966. ISBN 0-679-72300-5.
• 1967 Nonsense, illustrations by Greg Irons (a collection of literary nonsense), San Francisco: Stolen Paper Editions[56]
• 1970 Does It Matter?: Essays on Man's Relation to Materiality, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-394-71665-5
• 1971 The Temple of Konarak: Erotic Spirituality, with photographs by Eliot Elisofon, London: Thames and Hudson. Also published as Erotic Spirituality: The Vision of Konarak, New York: Macmillan
• 1972 The Art of Contemplation: A Facsimile Manuscript with Doodles, Pantheon Books
• In My Own Way: An Autobiography 1915–1965. Pantheon Books. 1972. ISBN 9781577315841., Vintage Books pocket edition 1973, ISBN 0-394-71951-4, New World Library edition, 2007, ISBN 1-57731-584-7
• 1973 Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal, Pantheon Books. Also published in Canada in 1974 by Jonathan Cape, ISBN 0224009729. ISBN 0-394-71999-9

Posthumous publications

• 1974 The Essence of Alan Watts, ed. Mary Jane Watts, Celestial Arts
• 1975 Tao: The Watercourse Way, with Chungliang Al Huang, Pantheon
• 1976 Essential Alan Watts, ed. Mark Watts,
• 1978 Uncarved Block, Unbleached Silk: The Mystery of Life
• 1979 Om: Creative Meditations, ed. Mark Watts
• 1982 Play to Live, ed. Mark Watts
• 1983 Way of Liberation: Essays and Lectures on the Transformation of the Self, ed. Mark Watts
• 1985 Out of the Trap, ed. Mark Watts
• 1986 Diamond Web, ed. Mark Watts
• 1987 The Early Writings of Alan Watts, ed. John Snelling, Dennis T. Sibley, and Mark Watts
• 1990 The Modern Mystic: A New Collection of the Early Writings of Alan Watts, ed. John Snelling and Mark Watts
• 1994 Talking Zen, ed. Mark Watts
• 1995 Become What You Are, Shambhala, expanded ed. 2003. ISBN 1-57062-940-4
• 1995 Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion, ed. Mark Watts A preview from Google Books
• 1995 The Philosophies of Asia, ed. Mark Watts
• 1995 The Tao of Philosophy, ed. Mark Watts, edited transcripts, Tuttle Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-8048-3204-8
• 1996 Myth and Religion, ed. Mark Watts
• 1997 Taoism: Way Beyond Seeking, ed. Mark Watts
• 1997 Zen and the Beat Way, ed. Mark Watts
• 1998 Culture of Counterculture, ed. Mark Watts
• 1999 Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion, ed. Mark Watts, edited transcripts, Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3203-X
• 2000 What Is Zen?, ed. Mark Watts, New World Library. ISBN 0-394-71951-4 A preview from Google Books
• 2000 What Is Tao?, ed. Mark Watts, New World Library. ISBN 1-57731-168-X
• 2000 Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation, ed. Mark Watts, New World Library. ISBN 1-57731-214-7
• 2000 Eastern Wisdom, ed. Mark Watts, MJF Books. ISBN 1-56731-491-0, three books in one volume: What is Zen?, What is Tao?, and An Introduction to Meditation(Still the Mind). Assembled from transcriptions of audio tape recordings made by his son Mark, of lectures and seminars given by Alan Watts during the last decade of his life.
• 2002 Zen, the Supreme Experience: The Newly Discovered Scripts, ed. Mark Watts, Vega
• 2006 Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life: Collected Talks, 1960–1969, New World Library
• 2017 Collected Letters of Alan Watts, Ed. Joan Watts & Anne Watts, New World Library. ISBN 978-1608684151

Audio and video works, essays

Including recordings of lectures at major universities and multi-session seminars.

• 1960 Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life, television series, Season 1 (1959) and Season 2 (1960)
• 1960 Essential Lectures
• 1960 Nature of Consciousness (here)
• 1960 The Value of Psychotic Experience
• 1960 The World As Emptiness
• 1960 From Time to Eternity
• 1960 Lecture On Zen
• 1960 The Cross of Cards
• 1960 Taoism
• 1962 This Is It - Alan Watts and friends in a spontaneous musical happening (Long playing album - MEA LP 1007)
• 1968 Psychedelics & Religious Experience, in California Law Review (here)
• 1969 Why Not Now: The Art of Meditation
• 1971 A Conversation With Myself: Part 1 on YouTube, Part 2 on YouTube, Part 3 on YouTube, Part 4 on YouTube
• 1972 The Art of Contemplation, Village Press
• 1972 The Way of Liberation in Zen Buddhism, Alan Watts Journal, vol. 2, nr 1
• 1994 Zen: The Best of Alan Watts (VHS)
• 2004 Out of Your Mind: Essential Listening from the Alan Watts Audio Archives, Sounds True, Inc. Unabridged edition,
• 2005 Do You Do It, or Does It Do You?: How to let the universe meditate you (CD)
• 2007 Zen Meditations with Alan Watts, DVD (here)
• 2013 What If Money Was No Object? (3 minutes) on YouTube
• 2016 "You Are The Universe" Youtube
• 2019 PY1 Multimedia Show

Biographical publications

• Furlong, Monica (1986). Genuine Fake: A Biography of Alan Watts. Heinemann (or titled Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts as published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, ISBN 0-395-45392-5).
• Lhermite, Pierre (1983) Alan Watts, Taoïste d'Occident, éd. La Table Ronde.
• Stuart, David (pseudonym for Edwin Palmer Hoyt Jr.)(1976). Alan Watts: The Rise and Decline of the Ordained Shaman of the Counterculture. Chilton Book Co., Pa. ISBN 9780801959653

See also

• In the Spike Jonze movie Her, set in the near future, Watts's writings were collated and analyzed, and his intellect simulated and made even more brilliant, by a group of AI operating systems. Brian Cox provides the program's voice.
• San Francisco Bay Area portal


1. James Craig Holte The Conversion Experience in America: A 'Sourcebook on American Religious Conversion Autobiography page 199
2. Watts, Alan W. (1973). In My Own Way: An Autobiography 1915–1965. New York: Pantheon Books. p. 280.
3. David, Erik (2006). The Visionary State: A Journey through California's Spiritual Landscape. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-4835-3.
4. Missing or empty |title= (help)
5. Watts, Alan W. 1973, Part 1
6. Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts, by Monica Furlong, p. 12
7. Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts, by Monica Furlong, p. 22
8. Watts, Alan W. 1973, p. 322
9. Watts, Alan W. 1973, pp. 71–72
10. Watts, Alan W. 1957, Part 2, Chapter 4
11. Watts, Alan W. 1973, p. 60
12. Watts, Alan W. 1973, p. 102
13. Watts, Alan W. 1973, pp. 78–82
14. Watts, Alan W. 1947/1971 Behold the Spirit, revised edition. New York: Random House / Vintage. p. 32
15. Watts, Alan W., 1957, p.11
16. "Alan Wilson Watts". Encyclopedia of World Biography.
17. Hudson, Berkley (16 August 1992). "She's Well-Versed in the Art of Writing Well : Poetry: Author, editor and teacher Jean Burden shares her lifelong obsession through invitation-only workshops in her home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
18. KPFA Folio, Volume 13, no. 1, 9–22 April 1962, p. 14. Retrieved at on 26 November 2014.
19. KPFA Folio, Volume 14, no. 1, 8–21 April 1963, p. 19. Retrieved at on 26 November 2014.
20. Susan Krieger, Hip Capitalism, 1979, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, ISBN 0-8039-1263-3 pbk., p. 170.
21. KKUP Program Schedule Archived 10 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 26 November 2014.
22. KPFK Program Schedule. Retrieved on 26 November 2014.
23. KGNU Program Schedule. Retrieved on 26 November 2014.
24. Watts, Alan W. 1973, p. 321.
25. Alan Watts, "Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life, Season 1 (1959)" and Season 2 (1960), KQED public television series, San Francisco
26. Ropp, Robert S. de 1995, 2002 Warrior's Way: a Twentieth Century Odyssey. Nevada City, CA: Gateways, pp. 333–334.
27. "Alan Watts - Life and Works".
28. "Deoxy Org: Alan Watts". Archived from the original on 19 August 2007.
29. Weidenbaum, Jonathan. "Complaining about Alan Watts". Archived from the original on 3 August 2014.
30. The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness (the quote is new to the 1965/1970 edition (page 26), and not contained in the original 1962 edition of the book).
31. The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness (the quote is new to the 1965/1970 edition (page 26), and not contained in the original 1962 edition of the book).
32. Davis, Erik (May 2005). Druids and Ferries "Druids and Ferries". Arthur (Brooklyn: Arthur Publishing Corp.) (16). "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. Druids and Ferries.
33. Davis, Erik (May 2005). "Druids and Ferries". Arthur. Brooklyn: Arthur Publishing Corp. (16). Archived from the original on 16 October 2012.
34. The Joyous Cosmology, p. v
35. Watts, Alan W. 1973, p. 247.
36. The Joyous Cosmology, p. 63
37. Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts, by Monica Furlong
38. "Alan Watts, Zen Philosopher, Writer and Teacher, 58, Dies" (PDF). The New York Times. 16 November 1973. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
39. Watts, Alan (1975). Huang, Chungliang Al (ed.). TAO: The Watercourse Way (Foreword). New York: Pantheon Books. pp. vii–xiii. ISBN 0-394-73311-8.
41. Live Fully Now: Mark Watts, interview at Druid Heights cabin by Volvo Cars (posted to YouTube on Feb 22, 2017)
42. De Ropp, Robert S. 2002 Warrior's Way. Nevada City, CA: Gateways, p. 334.
43. Watts, Alan W. 1947/1971, pp. 25–28.
44. William Warren Bartley, Werner Erhard, The Transformation of a Man
45. Kapleau 1967, pp. 21–22
46. Aitken 1997, p. 30. [1]
47. Alan Watts: The truth of the birthless mind, from Out of You Mind, Session 8, Lecture 8.
48. Peter Haskel (ed.): Bankei Zen: Translations from The Record of Bankei. Grove Press, New York 1984. Page 59.
49. Stuart, David 1976 Alan Watts. Pennsylvania: Chilton.
50. Chadwick, D: Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, Broadway Books,2000
51. Stirling 2006, p. 27
52. The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966)
53. Watts, Alan, 1973, pp. 300–304
54. Theologia Mystica at WorldCat
55. The Supreme Identity atWorldCat
56. Nonsense at WorldCat


• Aitken, Robert. Original Dwelling Place. Counterpoint. Washington, D.C. 1997. ISBN 1-887178-41-4 (paperback)
• Charters, Ann (ed.). The Portable Beat Reader. Penguin Books. New York. 1992. ISBN 0-670-83885-3 (hardcover); ISBN 0-14-015102-8 (paperback).
• Furlong, Monica, Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts. Houghton Mifflin. New York. 1986 ISBN 0-395-45392-5, Skylight Paths 2001 edition of the biography, with new foreword by author: ISBN 1-893361-32-2.
• Gidlow, Elsa, Elsa: I Come With My Songs. Bootlegger Press and Druid Heights Books, San Francisco. 1986. ISBN 0-912932-12-0.
• Kapleau, Philip. Three Pillars of Zen (1967) Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-5975-7.
• Stirling, Isabel. Zen Pioneer: The Life & Works of Ruth Fuller Sasak, Shoemaker & Hoard. 2006. ISBN 978-1-59376-110-3.
• Watts, Alan, In My Own Way. New York. Random House Pantheon. 1973 ISBN 0-394-46911-9 (his autobiography).
• Van Morrison "Alan Watts Blues" . Album: Poetic Champions Compose, 1987

Further reading

• Clark, David K. The Pantheism of Alan Watts. Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press. 1978. ISBN 0-87784-724-X

External links

• run by Watts' son Mark, who has produced a documentary about his father's life called Why Not Now?
• "You're It." on YouTube
• Why Not Now? film trailer
• Alan Watts Mountain Center north of San Francisco
• Alan Watts Electronic University – Alan Watts' audio and video courses, co-founded by Alan Watts, Mark Watts, and Henry Jacobs in 1973.
• Alan Watts Podcast – the official podcast
• Master Enlightenments Arts Seminars and Lectures by Alan Watts – looking at many different forms of enlightenment; recorded by Henry Jacobs in 1964/65.
• Alan Watts Online – Project Unicorn (also Archived 31 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine)
• Watts essay on Nothingness
• Alan Watts Lectures and Essays audio, video, essays, and articles – resources from
• Alan Watts' This Is It: The First Psychedelic LP essay by Patrick Lundborg
• Alan Watts Resource Compilation audio and video links of his lectures and essays
• "Alan Watts on YouTube, South Park". Archived from the original on 9 September 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-09. interview with Mark Watts on the resurgence of his father's work
• "What if money was no object?" interpretation of Watts' lecture at
• Alan Watts on
• Alan Watts page on Facebook public discussion group
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Norbert Wiener
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/6/19



Norbert Wiener
Born November 26, 1894
Columbia, Missouri, U.S.
Died March 18, 1964 (aged 69)
Stockholm, Sweden
Nationality American
Education Tufts College, B.A. 1909
Cornell University
Harvard University, Ph.D. 1913
Known for
Awards Bôcher Memorial Prize (1933)
National Medal of Science (1963)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thesis A Comparison Between the Treatment of the Algebra of Relatives by Schroeder and that by Whitehead and Russell[1]
Doctoral advisors
Karl Schmidt[1]
Other academic advisors Josiah Royce[2]
Doctoral students
Amar Bose
Colin Cherry
Shikao Ikehara
Yuk-Wing Lee
Norman Levinson
Dorothy Walcott Weeks

Norbert Wiener (November 26, 1894 – March 18, 1964) was an American mathematician and philosopher. He was a professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and mathematical noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.

Wiener is considered the originator of cybernetics, a formalization of the notion of feedback, with implications for engineering, systems control, computer science, biology, neuroscience, philosophy, and the organization of society.

Norbert Wiener is credited as being one of the first to theorize that all intelligent behavior was the result of feedback mechanisms, that could possibly be simulated by machines and was an important early step towards the development of modern AI.[3]



Wiener was born in Columbia, Missouri, the first child of Leo Wiener and Bertha Kahn, Jews[4] from Poland and Germany, respectively. Through his father, he was related to Maimonides, the famous rabbi, philosopher and physician from Al Andalus, as well as to Akiva Eger, chief rabbi of Posen from 1815 to 1837.[5] Leo had educated Norbert at home until 1903, employing teaching methods of his own invention, except for a brief interlude when Norbert was seven years of age. Earning his living teaching German and Slavic languages, Leo read widely and accumulated a personal library from which the young Norbert benefited greatly. Leo also had ample ability in mathematics and tutored his son in the subject until he left home. In his autobiography, Norbert described his father as calm and patient, unless he (Norbert) failed to give a correct answer, at which his father would lose his temper.

He became an agnostic.[6]

After graduating from Ayer High School in 1906 at 11 years of age, Wiener entered Tufts College. He was awarded a BA in mathematics in 1909 at the age of 14, whereupon he began graduate studies of zoology at Harvard. In 1910 he transferred to Cornell to study philosophy.

Harvard and World War I

The next year he returned to Harvard, while still continuing his philosophical studies. Back at Harvard, Wiener became influenced by Edward Vermilye Huntington, whose mathematical interests ranged from axiomatic foundations to engineering problems. Harvard awarded Wiener a Ph.D. in 1912, when he was 17 years old, for a dissertation on mathematical logic, supervised by Karl Schmidt, the essential results of which were published as Wiener (1914). In that dissertation, he was the first to state publicly that ordered pairs can be defined in terms of elementary set theory. Hence relations can be defined by set theory, thus the theory of relations does not require any axioms or primitive notions distinct from those of set theory. In 1921, Kazimierz Kuratowski proposed a simplification of Wiener's definition of ordered pairs, and that simplification has been in common use ever since. It is (x, y) = {{x}, {x, y}}.

In 1914, Wiener traveled to Europe, to be taught by Bertrand Russell and G. H. Hardy at Cambridge University, and by David Hilbert and Edmund Landau at the University of Göttingen. During 1915–16, he taught philosophy at Harvard, then was an engineer for General Electric and wrote for the Encyclopedia Americana. Wiener was briefly a journalist for the Boston Herald, where he wrote a feature story on the poor labor conditions for mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, but he was fired soon afterwards for his reluctance to write favorable articles about a politician the newspaper's owners sought to promote.[7]

Although Wiener eventually became a staunch pacifist, he eagerly contributed to the war effort in World War I. In 1916, with America's entry into the war drawing closer, Wiener attended a training camp for potential military officers, but failed to earn a commission. One year later Wiener again tried to join the military, but the government again rejected him due to his poor eyesight. In the summer of 1918, Oswald Veblen invited Wiener to work on ballistics at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.[8] Living and working with other mathematicians strengthened his interest in mathematics. However, Wiener was still eager to serve in uniform, and decided to make one more attempt to enlist, this time as a common soldier. Wiener wrote in a letter to his parents, "I should consider myself a pretty cheap kind of a swine if I were willing to be an officer but unwilling to be a soldier."[9] This time the army accepted Wiener into its ranks and assigned him, by coincidence, to a unit stationed at Aberdeen, Maryland. World War I ended just days after Wiener's return to Aberdeen and Wiener was discharged from the military in February 1919.[10]

After the war

Norbert Wiener was regarded as a semi-legendary figure at MIT

Norbert (standing) and Margaret (sitting) Wiener at the International Congress of Mathematicians, Zurich 1932

Wiener was unable to secure a permanent position at Harvard, a situation he blamed largely on anti-semitism at the university and in particular on the antipathy of Harvard mathematician G. D. Birkhoff.[11] He was also rejected for a position at the University of Melbourne. At W. F. Osgood's suggestion, Wiener became an instructor of mathematics at MIT, where he spent the remainder of his career, becoming promoted eventually to professor. There is a photograph of him prominently displayed in one of the hallways, often used in giving directions.

In 1926, Wiener returned to Europe as a Guggenheim scholar. He spent most of his time at Göttingen and with Hardy at Cambridge, working on Brownian motion, the Fourier integral, Dirichlet's problem, harmonic analysis, and the Tauberian theorems.

In 1926, Wiener's parents arranged his marriage to a German immigrant, Margaret Engemann; they had two daughters. His sister, Constance, married Philip Franklin. Their daughter, Janet, Wiener's niece, married Václav E. Beneš.[12]

Many tales, perhaps apocryphal, were told of him at MIT, especially concerning his absent-mindedness. It was said that he returned home once to find his house empty. He inquired of a neighborhood girl the reason, and she said that the family had moved elsewhere that day. He thanked her for the information and she replied, "That's why I stayed behind, Daddy!"[13]

In the run-up to World War II (1939–45) Wiener became a member of the China Aid Society and the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars.[14] He was interested in placing scholars such as Yuk-Wing Lee and Antoni Zygmund who had lost their positions.[15]

During and after World War II

During World War II, his work on the automatic aiming and firing of anti-aircraft guns caused Wiener to investigate information theory independently of Claude Shannon and to invent the Wiener filter. (To him is due the now standard practice of modeling an information source as a random process—in other words, as a variety of noise.) His anti-aircraft work eventually led him to formulate cybernetics.[16] After the war, his fame helped MIT to recruit a research team in cognitive science, composed of researchers in neuropsychology and the mathematics and biophysics of the nervous system, including Warren Sturgis McCulloch and Walter Pitts. These men later made pioneering contributions to computer science and artificial intelligence. Soon after the group was formed, Wiener suddenly ended all contact with its members, mystifying his colleagues. This emotionally traumatized Pitts, and led to his career decline. In their biography of Wiener, Conway and Siegelman suggest that Wiener's wife Margaret, who detested McCulloch's bohemian lifestyle, engineered the breach.[17]

Wiener later helped develop the theories of cybernetics, robotics, computer control, and automation. He discussed the modeling of neurons with John von Neumann, and in a letter from November 1946 von Neumann presented his thoughts in advance of a meeting with Wiener.[18]

Wiener always shared his theories and findings with other researchers, and credited the contributions of others. These included Soviet researchers and their findings. Wiener's acquaintance with them caused him to be regarded with suspicion during the Cold War. He was a strong advocate of automation to improve the standard of living, and to end economic underdevelopment. His ideas became influential in India, whose government he advised during the 1950s.

After the war, Wiener became increasingly concerned with what he believed was political interference with scientific research, and the militarization of science. His article "A Scientist Rebels" from the January 1947 issue of The Atlantic Monthly[19] urged scientists to consider the ethical implications of their work. After the war, he refused to accept any government funding or to work on military projects. The way Wiener's beliefs concerning nuclear weapons and the Cold War contrasted with those of von Neumann is the major theme of the book John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener.[20][full citation needed]

Wiener was a participant of the Macy conferences. He died in March 1964, aged 69, in Stockholm, from a heart attack. Wiener and his wife are buried at the Vittum Hill Cemetery in Sandwich, New Hampshire.

Awards and honors

• Wiener was a Plenary Speaker of the ICM in 1936 at Oslo and in 1950 at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
• Wiener won the Bôcher Memorial Prize in 1933 and the National Medal of Science in 1963, presented by President Johnson at a White House Ceremony in January, 1964, shortly before Wiener's death.
• Wiener won the 1965 U.S. National Book Award in Science, Philosophy and Religion for God & Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion.[21]
• The Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics was endowed in 1967 in honor of Norbert Wiener by MIT's mathematics department and is provided jointly by the American Mathematical Society and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
• The Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility awarded annually by CPSR, was established in 1987 in honor of Wiener to recognize contributions by computer professionals to socially responsible use of computers.
• The crater Wiener on the far side of the Moon is named after him.
• The Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis and Applications, at the University of Maryland, College Park, is named in his honor.[22]
• Robert A. Heinlein named a spaceship after him in his 1957 novel Citizen of the Galaxy, a "Free Trader" ship called the Norbert Wienermentioned in Chapter 14.

Doctoral students

• Shikao Ikehara (Ph.D. 1930)
• Dorothy Walcott Weeks (Ph.D. 1930)
• Norman Levinson (Sc.D. 1935)
• Brockway McMillan (Ph.D. 1939)
• Abe Gelbart (Ph.D. 1940)
• Amar Bose (Sc.D. 1956)
• Colin Cherry (Ph.D. 1956)[23]


Information is information, not matter or energy.

— Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine

Wiener was an early studier of stochastic and mathematical noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems. It was Wiener's idea to model a signal as if it were an exotic type of noise, giving it a sound mathematical basis. The example often given to students is that English text could be modeled as a random string of letters and spaces, where each letter of the alphabet (and the space) has an assigned probability. But Wiener dealt with analog signals, where such a simple example doesn't exist. Wiener's early work on information theory and signal processing was limited to analog signals, and was largely forgotten with the development of the digital theory.[24]

Wiener originated cybernetics, a formalization of the notion of feedback, with many implications for engineering, systems control, computer science, biology, philosophy, and the organization of society.

Wiener's work with cybernetics influenced Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, and through them, anthropology, sociology, and education.[25]

In the mathematical field of probability, the "Wiener sausage" is a neighborhood of the trace of a Brownian motion up to a time t, given by taking all points within a fixed distance of Brownian motion. It can be visualized as a cylinder of fixed radius the centerline of which is Brownian motion.

Wiener equation

A simple mathematical representation of Brownian motion, the Wiener equation, named after Wiener, assumes the current velocity of a fluid particle fluctuates randomly.

Wiener filter

For signal processing, the Wiener filter is a filter proposed by Wiener during the 1940s and published in 1942 as a classified document. Its purpose is to reduce the amount of noise present in a signal by comparison with an estimate of the desired noiseless signal. Wiener developed the filter at the Radiation Laboratory at MIT to predict the position of German bombers from radar reflections. It is necessary to predict the future, because by the time the shell reaches the vicinity of the target, the target has moved, and may have changed direction slightly. They even modeled the muscle response of the pilot, which led eventually to cybernetics. The unmanned V1's were particularly easy to model, and on a good day, American guns fitted with Wiener filters would shoot down 99 out of 100 V1's as they entered Britain from the English channel, on their way to London. What emerged was a mathematical theory of great generality—a theory for predicting the future as best one can on the basis of incomplete information about the past. It was a statistical theory that included applications that did not, strictly speaking, predict the future, but only tried to remove noise. It made use of Wiener's earlier work on integral equations and Fourier transforms.[26] [27]

In mathematics

Wiener took a great interest in the mathematical theory of Brownian motion (named after Robert Brown) proving many results now widely known such as the non-differentiability of the paths. Consequently, the one-dimensional version of Brownian motion was named the Wiener process. It is the best known of the Lévy processes, càdlàg stochastic processes with stationary statistically independent increments, and occurs frequently in pure and applied mathematics, physics and economics (e.g. on the stock-market).

Wiener's Tauberian theorem, a 1932 result of Wiener, developed Tauberian theorems in summability theory, on the face of it a chapter of real analysis, by showing that most of the known results could be encapsulated in a principle taken from harmonic analysis. In its present formulation, the theorem of Wiener does not have any obvious association with Tauberian theorems, which deal with infinite series; the translation from results formulated for integrals, or using the language of functional analysis and Banach algebras, is however a relatively routine process.

The Paley–Wiener theorem relates growth properties of entire functions on Cn and Fourier transformation of Schwartz distributions of compact support.

The Wiener–Khinchin theorem, (also known as the Wiener – Khintchine theorem and the Khinchin – Kolmogorov theorem), states that the power spectral density of a wide-sense-stationary random process is the Fourier transform of the corresponding autocorrelation function.

An abstract Wiener space is a mathematical object in measure theory, used to construct a "decent", strictly positive and locally finite measure on an infinite-dimensional vector space. Wiener's original construction only applied to the space of real-valued continuous paths on the unit interval, known as classical Wiener space. Leonard Gross provided the generalization to the case of a general separable Banach space.

The notion of a Banach space itself was discovered independently by both Wiener and Stefan Banach at around the same time.[28]

The Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis and Applications (NWC) in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park is devoted to the scientific and mathematical legacy of Norbert Wiener. The NWC website highlights the research activities of the Center. Further, each year the Norbert Wiener Center hosts the February Fourier Talks, a two-day national conference displaying advances in pure and applied harmonic analysis in industry, government, and academia.

In popular culture

His work with Mary Brazier is referenced in Avis DeVoto's As Always, Julia.[29]

A character named after him appears briefly in the Hugo Award winner The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin.[30]

The song Dedicated to Norbert Wiener appears as the second track on the 1980 album Why? by G.G. Tonet (Luigi Tonet), released on the Italian It Why label.[31]


Wiener wrote many books and hundreds of articles:[32]

• 1914, "A simplification in the logic of relations". Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. 13: 387–390. 1912–14. Reprinted in van Heijenoort, Jean (1967). From Frege to Gödel: A Source Book in Mathematical Logic, 1879–1931. Harvard University Press. pp. 224–7.
• 1930, Wiener, Norbert (1930). "Generalized harmonic analysis". Acta Math. 55 (1): 117–258. doi:10.1007/BF02546511.
• 1933, The Fourier Integral and Certain of its Applications Cambridge Univ. Press; reprint by Dover, CUP Archive 1988 ISBN 0-521-35884-1
• 1942, Extrapolation, Interpolation and Smoothing of Stationary Time Series. A war-time classified report nicknamed "the yellow peril" because of the color of the cover and the difficulty of the subject. Published postwar 1949 MIT Press.])
• 1948, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Paris, (Hermann & Cie) & Camb. Mass. (MIT Press) ISBN 978-0-262-73009-9; 2nd revised ed. 1961.
• 1950, The Human Use of Human Beings. The Riverside Press (Houghton Mifflin Co.).
• 1958, Nonlinear Problems in Random Theory. MIT Press & Wiley.
• 1964, Selected Papers of Norbert Wiener. Cambridge Mass. 1964 (MIT Press & SIAM)
• 1964, God & Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points Where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion. MIT Press.
• 1966, Levinson, N. (1966). "Norbert Wiener 1894–1964". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 72 (1 Part 2): 1–33. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1966-11450-7. Published in book form.
• 1966, Generalized Harmonic Analysis and Tauberian Theorems. MIT Press.
• 1993, Invention: The Care and Feeding of Ideas. MIT Press. 1993. ISBN 978-0-262-73111-9. This was written in 1954 but Wiener abandoned the project at the editing stage and returned his advance. MIT Press published it posthumously in 1993.
• 1976–84, The Mathematical Work of Norbert Wiener. Masani P (ed) 4 vols, Camb. Mass. (MIT Press). This contains a complete collection of Wiener's mathematical papers with commentaries.


• 1959,The Tempter. Random House.


• 1953. Ex-Prodigy: My Childhood and Youth. MIT Press.
• 1956. I am a Mathematician. London (Gollancz).

Under the name "W. Norbert":

• 1952 The Brain and other short science fiction in Tech Engineering News.

See also

• Systems science portal
• List of things named after Norbert Wiener


1. Norbert Wiener at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
2. Leone Montagnini, Harmonies of Disorder – Norbert Wiener: A Mathematician-Philosopher of Our Time, Springer, 2017, p. 61.
3. Research, AI (11 January 2019). "The Beginnings of AI Research". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
4. "Norbert Wiener". NNDB. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
5. Leone Montagnini, Harmonies of Disorder: Norbert Wiener: A Mathematician-Philosopher of Our Time, Springer (2017), p. 4
6. "On June 2, 1964, Swami Sarvagatananda presided over the memorial service at MIT in remembrance of Norbert Wiener – scion of Maimonides, father of cybernetics, avowed agnostic – reciting in Sanskrit from the holy books of Hinduism, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita." , Conway & Siegelman 2005, p. 329
7. Conway & Siegelman 2005, p. 45
8. Conway & Siegelman 2005, pp. 41–43
9. Conway & Siegelman 2005, p. 43
10. Conway & Siegelman 2005, pp. 43–44
11. Conway & Siegelman 2005, pp. 40, 45
12. Franklin biography. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
13. Adams, Hass & Thompson 1998, p. 8
14. Masani, Pesi R. (2012-12-06), Norbert Wiener 1894–1964, Birkhäuser, p. 167, ISBN 978-3-0348-9252-0, retrieved 2016-03-20
15. McCavitt, Mary Jane (September 2, 2009), Guide to the Papers of Norbert Wiener (PDF), Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries, p. 15, retrieved 2016-03-20
16. Conway & Siegelman 2005, p. 12
17. Conway & Siegelman 2005, pp. 223–7
18. Letters to Norbert Wiener in John von Neumann: Selected Letters, edited by Miklós Rédei, in History of Mathematics, Volume 27, jointly published by the American Mathematical Society and the London Mathematical Society, 2005
19. Wiener, Norbert (January 1947). "A Scientist Rebels". Atlantic Monthly. p. 46.
20. Heims 1980
21. "National Book Awards – 1965". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
22. "Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis and Applications". University of Maryland, College Park.
23. Mandrekar, V.; Masani, P. R., eds. (1997). Proceedings of Symposia in Applied Mathematics Vol 52: Proceedings of the Norbert Wiener Centenary Congress 1994. Providence, Rhode Island: Michigan State University. p. 541. ISBN 978-0-8218-0452-0.
24. John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Steve Joshua Heims, MIT Press, 1980
25. Heims, Steve P. (April 1977). "Gregory Bateson and the mathematicians: From interdisciplinary interaction to societal functions". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. 13 (2): 141–159. doi:10.1002/1520-6696(197704)13:2<141::AID-JHBS2300130205>3.0.CO;2-G. PMID 325068.
26. John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Steve Joshua Heims, MIT Press, 1980, p.183
27. Norbert Wiener, Extrapolation, Interpolation and Smoothing of Stationary Time Series, MIT Press, 1949. Originally published as a classified document in 1942
28. "Note on a paper of M. Banach". Fund. Math. 4: 136–143. 1923. See Albiac, F.; Kalton, N. (2006). Topics in Banach Space Theory. Graduate Texts in Mathematics. 233. New York: Springer. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-387-28141-4.
29. Reardon, Joan. As Always, Julia. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. 223.
30. Liu, Cixin (2015). The Three Body Problem. Chongqing Publishing Group. ISBN 9787229100605.
31. "G.G. Tonet – Why?". Discogs. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
32. A full bibliography is given by the Cybernetics Society Publications of Norbert Wiener

Further reading

• Adams, Colin; Hass, Joel; Thompson, Abigail (1998). How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.
• Almira, J. M. (2009). Norbert Wiener. Un matemático entre ingenieros [Norbert Wiener. A mathematician between engineers] (in Spanish). Madrid: Nivola Libros Y Ediciones Sl. ISBN 978-84-92493-49-4.
• Bluma, Lars (2005). Norbert Wiener und die Entstehung der Kybernetik im Zweiten Weltkrieg: eine historische Fallstudie zur Verbindung von Wissenschaft, Technik und Gesellschaft (Ph.D.). Münster. ISBN 3-8258-8345-0. OCLC 60744372.
• Bynum, Terrell W. "Norbert Wiener's Vision: The impact of "the automatic age" on our moral lives" (PDF).
• Conway, Flo; Siegelman, Jim (2005). Dark Hero of the Information Age: in search of Norbert Wiener, the father of cybernetics. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-7382-0368-3.
• Faucheux, Michel; Wiener, Norbert (2008). le Golem et la cybernetique. Editions du Sandre.
• Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. New York: Pantheon Books.
• Grattan-Guinness, Ivor (2000). The Search for Mathematical Roots 1870–1940. Princeton University Press. pp. 290, 296, 394, 395, 410, 419–422, 427, 442, 528, 531, 536, 538, 567. ISBN 978-1400824045.
• Hardesty, Larry (July–August 2011). "The Original Absent-Minded Professor - An MIT institution, Norbert Wiener did seminal work in control theory and signal processing". MIT News.
• Heims, Steve J. (1980). John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-08105-4.
• Heims, Steve J. (1993). Constructing a Social Science for Postwar America. The Cybernetics Group, 1946–1953. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-58123-3.
• Ilgauds, Hans Joachim (1980). Norbert Wiener. Biographien hervorragender Naturwissenschaftler, Techniker und Mediziner. 45. Teubner..
• Masani, P. Rustom (1990). Norbert Wiener 1894–1964. Birkhauser.
• Montagnini, Leone (2017). Harmonies of Disorder. Norbert Wiener, A Mathematician-Philosopher of our time. New York - Berlin - Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-50656-2.

External links

• Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis and Applications
• Norbert Wiener and Cybernetics – Living Internet
• O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Norbert Wiener", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
• Norbert Wiener at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
• Dr Norbert Wiener at Find a Grave
• [1] - Norbert Wiener in Encyclopedia o Com
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:13 am

Dimitrije Mitrinović
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/6/19



Dimitrije Mitrinović
Born Dimitrije Mitrinović, 21 October 1887, Donji Poplat, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary
Died 28 August 1953 (aged 65), Richmond, United Kingdom
Other names Mita Mitrinović
Education: Mostar Gymnasium
Alma mater: University of Munich
Era: 20th-century philosophy
School: Critical theory
Main interests: Social theory, Futurology, Pan-Europeanism, Third Way
Influences: Plotinus, Lao-Tzu, Böhme, Clement of Alexandria, Adler, Husserl, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, Freud, Jung
Influenced: Predrag Palavestra [sr]

Dimitrije "Mita" Mitrinović (Serbian Cyrillic: Димитрије Мита Митриновић; 21 October 1887 – 28 August 1953) was a Serbian philosopher, poet, revolutionary, mystic, theoretician of modern painting and traveler.


Mitrinović was born in 1887 into a family of Orthodox faith and Serbian culture at Donji Poplat, municipality Berkovići in Herzegovina during the Austro-Hungarian occupation. His father, Mihailo, was in the service of the Austro-Hungarian government and ran an experimental farm. Dimitrije was educated at Mostar Gymnasium. As a young student he was the formulator of the principal program of the political movement Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia), in his country's struggle for independence from Austria-Hungary and in the moves to create a united Yugoslavia. During this period Mitrinović edited the Sarajevo literary paper, Bosanska Vila, whose contributors included poets Risto Radulović and Vladimir "Vlado" Gaćinović. All three were born a few years apart in the late second half of the nineteenth century and all three have been members of secret political societies illegal in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Of the three friends, only Mitrinović survived World War I (Gaćinović died in 1917 and Radulović died in an Austrian prison camp in 1915).

Having studied history of art in Munich, Mitrinović came to England in 1914 to work for the Serbian Legation in London and moved among influential cultural circles in this country. From late 1914 to early 1915, there was an exhibition of work by Ivan Meštrović at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which included a model of a monument he had designed to commemorate the Battle of Kosovo.

A mysterious personality in Serbian and European cultural history, he began his work in the field of art by translating Rig-Veda and the works of Virgil into Serbian. He studied philosophy and art history while staying in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Munich, and Tübingen. He was one of the first advocates of the avant-garde artistic group Der Blaue Reiter and gave a lecture on the art of Wassily Kandinsky.

Being in favour of the building of a universal utopia, like many of the leading minds of his time, he wrote about the inevitable creation of the Pan-European community
.Ten years before La rebellión de las masas by Ortega y Gasset, Mitrinović prophesied: "Being different from the other races, the population of Europe has always given birth to its contradictions and always with the chances of their solution in some ultimate synthesis."

He was a regular contributor to the epoch-making periodical The New Age (the author of the column "World Affairs"), alongside Ezra Pound, and according to Edwin Muir, Mitrinović "has erupted with wild and profound contemplations ... not looking several ages ahead, like Shaw or Wells, but several millennia ahead."

The Utopian and messianic ideas of Mitrinović (incorporating the philosophical concepts of Husserl and Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, the theosophical doctrine of G. I. Gurdjieff, and the psychoanalytical school of Freud, Jung and Adler) were brought to the attention of the public not only in the periodical The New Age but also in the periodical The New Atlantis (which Mitrinović edited) and The New Albion (which he co-edited with A. R. Orage).

Mitrinović founded the Adler's Society (the English Branch of the International Society for Individual Psychology), but later he and Adler went different ways due, allegedly, to "politicizing of his [Mitrinović's] scientific concepts". Mitrinović later founded the New Europe Group.

Mitrinović advocated a metaphysical Utopia (based on Plotinus, Clement of Alexandria, Lao Tzu, Jakob Böhme) but was also politically pragmatic. He published an open letter to Adolf Hitler in 1933 in which he accused Hitler of "behaving and acting as an evil superman ... possessed with some weird vision" which is "incomprehensible for the human mind and belief and quite certainly, and in all forms and essence, directed against the Orthodox soul."

The works of Mitrinović have remained scattered in numerous European periodicals (like the provocative texts based on psychological and philosophical theories, such as: Frojd prema Adleru (Freud versus Adler), Značaj Jungovog dela (The Importance of Jung's Work), Marks i Niče kao istorijska pozadina Adlera (Marx and Nietzsche as the Historical Background of Adler), Načela genija (The Principles of Genius), Carstvo snova (The Realm of Dream). Many of his works (including much of his poetry) were published in Serbian periodicals, and one of his major works, Aesthetic Contemplations, was published in Bosanska Vila.

In addition to the selected works of Dimitrije Mitrinović (published in Serbian language, a number of years after his death) and the special study by Predrag Palavestra, Dogma i utopija (Dogma and Utopia) published in Serbian language in 1977), two books have been distributed by Columbia University Press, New York; the first of them was published in 1984 and the second one in 1987. The authors of these books are Andrew Rigby (Initiation and Initiative: An Exploration of the Life and Ideas of Dimitrije Mitrinović) and H. C. Rutherford (Certainly Future: Selected Writings by Dimitrije Mitrinović).

In 1914, wishing to establish the movement "The Fundamentals of the Future", he maintained correspondence with the following potential associates: Giovanni Papini, Stanisław Przybyszewski, Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Upton Sinclair, Henri Bergson, H. G. Wells, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Leonid Andreyev, Maxim Gorky, Maurice Maeterlinck, Pablo Picasso, Filippo T. Marinetti, Anatole France, George Bernard Shaw, and Knut Hamsun.

Library and archive

The Mitrinović Library contains a collection of over 4,500 volumes, based on Mitrinović's private collection. The Library thus reflects Mitrinović's very wide range of interests and command of languages. Particular areas of strength are philosophy, politics, society, religions and esoterica. The collection includes rare books on art history, literature, psychology, history, science, oriental studies, astrology, Freemasonry, theosophy, and more. Most material is from the nineteenth and early twentieth century; the main languages used are English and German, with also French and some Asian and Eastern European languages.

Part of the library was bequeathed to the Belgrade University Library in 1956 and part of it donated to University of Bradford in 2003 and 2004.

The archive that was donated to the University of Bradford by the Foundation New Atlantis in 2003 and 2004 includes published and unpublished writings of Mitrinović and documents and correspondence produced by members of Mitrinović's circle, of the New Europe Group, and of the New Atlantis Foundation.


• Christophe Le Dréau, «L’Europe des non-conformistes des années 30 : les idées européistes de New Britain et New Europe», dans Olivier Dard et Etienne Deschamps (sous la dir.), Les nouvelles relèves en Europe, Bruxelles, Peter Lang, 2005, pp. 311–330.
• Mairet, Philip, «A.R. Orage: a memoir», London: J.M. Dent, 1936, 132p; reissued under the same title with a new 'Reintroduction,' by Philip Mairet, New Hyde Park, N.Y: University Books, 1966, xxxp + 140p, index. Mairet reveals in his 'Reintroduction,' that the pen-name for the frequent pieces Mitrinović contributed to the 'New Age' was M.M. Cosmoi; Mairet also mentions that he had been "devoted for fourteen years" to Mitrinović's "esoteric school"(p.vii). Mairet was an editorial colleague of Orage's and makes detailed comparisons of Mitrinović's philosophy with the ideas of Orage, Ouspensky and Gurdjieff.
• «Autobiographical and Other Papers by Philip Mairet», edited by C.H. Sisson, Manchester, Carcanet: 1981, 266p, index. Mairet's lengthy additional reminiscences about Mitrinović are well indexed.
• Paul Selver, «Orage and the New Age Circle», London: George Allen & Unwin, 1959, 100p, index. Selver offers a four-page description of his initial meeting with Mitrinović.
• «Certainly, future: selected writings by Dimitrije Mitrinović», edited with introductions by H. C. Rutherford, Boulder: East European Monograph, 1987, 471 p.

External links

• Dimitrije Mitrinovic, pesnik, vizionar, pokretač
• Belgrade University Library Svetozar Markovic
• Dimitrije Mitrinović and New Atlantis Foundation Library and Archive of the University of Bradford
• D. G. Page, Dimitrije Mitrinović
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:47 am

Pan-European identity
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/6/19



In 1922, Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi launched the Pan European Union, at a founding convention in Vienna, attended by more than 6,000 delegates. Railing against the "Bolshevist menace" in Russia, the Venetian Count called for the dissolution of all the nation-states of Western Europe and the erection of a single, European feudal state, modeled on the Roman and Napoleonic empires. "There are Europeans," Coudenhove-Kalergi warned, who are "naïve enough to believe that the opposition between the Soviet Union and Europe can be bridged by the inclusion of the Soviet Union in the United States of Europe. These Europeans need only to glance at the map to persuade themselves that the Soviet Union in its immensity can, with the help of the [Communist] Third International, very quickly prevail over little Europe. To receive this Trojan horse into the European union would lead to perpetual civil war and the extermination of European culture. So long, therefore, as there is any will to survive subsisting in Europe, the idea of linking the Soviet Union with Pan Europe must be rejected. It would be nothing less than the suicide of Europe."

Elsewhere, Coudenhove-Kalergi echoed the contemporaneous writings of British Fabian Roundtable devotees H.G. Wells and Lord Bertrand Russell, declaring: "This eternal war can end only with the constitution of a world republic.... The only way left to save the peace seems to be a politic of peaceful strength, on the model of the Roman Empire, that succeeded in having the longest period of peace in the west thanks to the supremacy of his legions."

The launching of the Pan European Union was bankrolled by the Venetian-rooted European banking family, the Warburgs. Max Warburg, scion of the German branch of the family, gave Coudenhove-Kalergi 60,000 gold marks to hold the founding convention. Even more revealing, the first mass rally of the Pan European Union in Berlin, at the Reichstag, was addressed by Hjalmar Schacht, later the Reichsbank head, Economics Minister and chief architect of the Hitler coup. A decade later, in October 1932, Schacht delivered a major address before another PanEuropa event, in which he assured Coudenhove-Kalergi and the others, "In three months, Hitler will be in power.... Hitler will create PanEuropa. Only Hitler can create PanEuropa."

According to historical documents, Italy's Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was initially skeptical about the PanEuropa idea, but was "won over" to the scheme, following a meeting with Coudenhove-Kalergi, during which, in the Count's words, "I gave him a complete harvest of Nietzsche's quotes for the United States of Europe.... My visit represented a shift in the behavior of Mussolini towards PanEuropa. His opposition disappeared."

At the founding congress of the Pan European Union in Vienna, the backdrop behind the podium was adorned with portraits of the movement's leading intellectual icons: Immanuel Kant, Napoleon Bonaparte, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

-- Synarchism: The Fascist Roots Of the Wolfowitz Cabal, by Jeffrey Steinberg

European Union
This article is part of a series on the politics and government of the European Union

Pan-European identity is the sense of personal identification with Europe, in a cultural or political sense. The concept is discussed in the context of European integration, historically in connection with hypothetical proposals, but since the formation of the European Union (EU) in the 1990s increasingly with regards to the project of ever-increasing federalisation of the EU.

Pan-European identity has roots as far back as the Middle Ages, when poet and political advisor Dante Alighieri claimed, "My country is the whole world."[1] Much of its foundational definition emerged during the Renaissance. Artists and scholars of that period collaborated across national boundaries, travelling to centres of activity in their respective fields and believing that freedom came from common bonds and individualism in a way that transcended national allegiances.[2]

Developing of Pan-European identity continued during the Enlightenment. During this time, leading philosophical and political thinkers in Europe articulated a form of nationalism that acknowledged local cultural differences while incorporating a sense of shared, universal values based on the application of reason. Towards the end of the Eighteenth Century, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau remarked that "there are no longer any Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, or even Englishmen; there are only Europeans."[3] Irish statesman and political theorist Edmund Burke spoke of a "European Commonwealth" brought together by commercial and economic bonds, and in 1796 wrote: "No citizen of Europe could be altogether an exile in any part of it... When a man travelled or resided for health, pleasure, business or necessity, from his country, he never felt himself quite abroad."[4][3]

The model of a "pan-European" union is the Carolingian Empire, which united "Europe" in the sense of Latin Christendom.

The original proposal for a Paneuropean Union was made in 1922 by Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi. The term "Pan-European" is to be understood not as referring to the modern geographic definition of the continent of Europe but in the historical sense of the western parts of continental Europe sharing the common history of Latin Christendom, the Carolingian Empire and the early modern Habsburg Empire. Coudenhove-Kalergi saw the Pan-European state as a future "fifth great power", in explicit opposition to the Soviet Union, "Asia", Great Britain and the United States (as such explicitly excluding both the British Isles and Eastern Europe from his notion of "Pan-European").[5]

After 1945, an accelerating process of European integration culminated in the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1993. In the period of 1995–2013, the EU has been enlarged from 12 to 28 member states, far beyond the area originally envisaged for the "pan-European" state by Coudenhove-Kalergi (with the exception of Switzerland), its member states accounting for a population of some 510 million, or two thirds of the population of the entire continent.

In the 1990s to 2000s, there was an active movement towards a federalisation of the European Union, with the introduction of symbols and institutions usually reserved for sovereign states, such as citizenship, a common currency (used by 19 out of 28 members), a flag, an anthem and a motto (In Varietate Concordia, "United in Diversity"). An attempt to introduce a European Constitution was made in 2004, but it failed to be ratified; instead, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007 in order to salvage some of the reforms that had been envisaged in the constitution.

A debate on the feasibility and desirability of a "pan-European identity" or "European identity" has taken place in parallel to this process of political integration. The ideology of pan-European nationalism, which had been a hallmark of neo-fascist or far-right currents of European politics during the 1950s to 1970s, has been largely abandoned in favour of a resurgence of national identity paired with "Euroscepticism", while the proponents of European integration do not connect the "European idea" with nationalism, but rather with a "postmodern world order" characterised by "diversity of identity" combined with a "commonality of values",[6] while the remaining loyalties to national or cultural identities are seen as a threat to the "supranational prospect" of European integration.[7]

A possible future "European identity" is seen at best as one aspect of a "multifaceted identity" still involving national or regional loyalties. Two authors writing in 1998 concluded that "In the short-term it seems that the influence of this project [of European integration] will only influence European identity in certain limited niches and in a very modest way. It is doubtful if this will do to ensure a smooth process of ongoing European integration and successfully address the challenges of the multicultural European societies."[8] Even at that time, the development of a common European identity was viewed as rather a by-product than the main goal of the European integration process, even though it was actively promoted by both EU bodies and non-governmental initiatives, such as the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. [8][9] With the rise of EU-scepticism and opposition to continued European integration by the early 2010s, the feasibility and desirability of such a "European identity" has been called into question.[10]

History of Pan-Europeanism

Main article: Pan-European nationalism

Further information: Ideas of European unity before 1945 and History of the European Union

Pan-Europeanism, as it emerged in the wake of World War I, derived a sense of European identity from the idea of a shared history, taken to be the source of a set of fundamental "European values".

Typically the 'common history' includes a combination of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the feudalism of the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, 19th century liberalism and different forms of socialism, Christianity and secularism, colonialism and the World Wars.

The oldest European unification movement is the Paneuropean Union, founded in 1923 with the publishment of Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi's book Paneuropa, who also became its first president (1926–1972), followed by Otto von Habsburg (1973–2004) and Alain Terrenoire (from 2004). This movement initiated and supported the "integration process" pursued after World War II, which eventually led to the formation of the European Union. Notable "Paneuropeans" include Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide De Gasperi.

European values

Further information: Europeanism and European integration

Especially in France, "the European idea" (l'idée d'Europe) is associated with political values derived from the Age of Enlightenment and the Republicanism growing out of the French Revolution and the Revolutions of 1848 rather than with personal or individual identity formed by culture or ethnicity (let alone a "pan-European" construct including those areas of the continent never affected by 18th-century rationalism or Republicanism).[11]

The phrase "European values" arises as a political neologism in the 1980s in the context of the project of European integration and the future formation of the European Union. The phrase was popularised by the European Values Study, a long term research program started in 1981, aiming to document the outlook on "basic human values" in European populations. The project had grown out of a study group on "values and social change in Europe" initiated by Jan Kerkhofs, and Ruud de Moor (Catholic University in Tilburg).[12] The claim that the people of Europe have a distinctive set of political, economic and social norms and values which are gradually replacing national values has also been named "Europeanism" by McCormick (2010).[13]

"European values" were contrasted to non-European values in international relations, especially in the East–West dichotomy, "European values" encompassing individualism and the idea of human rights in contrast to Eastern tendencies of collectivism. However, "European values" were also viewed critically, their "darker" side not necessarily leading more peaceful outcomes in international relations.[14]

The association of "European values" with European integration as pursued by the European Union came to the fore with the eastern enlargement of the EU in the aftermath of the Cold War. [15]

The Treaty of Lisbon (2007) in article 2 lists a number of "values of the Union", including "respect for freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights including the rights of persons belonging to minorities", invoking "a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail".[16]

The 2012 Eurobarometer survey reported that 49% of those surveyed described the EU member states as "close" in terms of "shared values" (down from 54% in 2008), 42% described them as "different" (up from 34% in 2008).[17]

Identity factors

It has been for long a matter of discussions[18][19][20] to know whether or not this feeling of belonging was shared by a majority of Europeans, geographically speaking, and the strength of this feeling.

There are discussions as well about the question of the objective factors or "Europeanness". An approach[21] underlines how, for being European, a person would at least have to:

• be a citizen of a state, located by stipulation, to be geographically within Europe;
• speak a language which is officially accepted as one of the official languages of that state;
• share an historical destiny with other people, within that state, speaking the aforementioned language;
share a cultural pattern with other such people, where the cultural pattern is seen as consisting of similar cognitive, evaluative and emotional elements".

Usually four steps are considered as conditions in the building of cultural and political identity:

The recognition of a “self” distinct from others, “them”.
• The recognition that this “self,” this “identification” is in opposition to “them.” In order for an identity to thrive there must be a challenge, a competitive edge or conflicts of interests.
• The establishment of a separate political identity involves a cognitive simplification of the world, where most events are interpreted in dual categories such as “European” versus “non-European”.
• The establishment of common expected and desired goals. Such goals can be elaborated as utopian systems or models, like the federalist and confederalist conceptions of a new European order, or as partial working solutions to pragmatically felt needs, such as those postulated by neo-functionalists.

One of the clearly stated political objectives of the European Union is the deepening of the European identity feeling[22].

Cultural and linguistic identity

Defining an European identity is a very complex processes. From outside, "Europeanness" would be a thing for a Chinese or an American, but on the internal plan geography is not sufficient to define Europe in the eyes of Europeans. According to Jean-Baptiste Duroselle[23], "there has been, since men think, an immense variety of Europes". Paul Valéry cites three major heritages to define the European identity : the Greek democracy, the Roman Law, and the Judeo-Christian tradition[24]. Yet Emmanuel Berl[25] criticizes this thesis as reductive, since it supposes a level of "europeanness", decreasing for West to East. According to him, Europe is shape-shifting, and no culture historically prevails over another, and European Islam, which concerns around 8% of the population, is one of the many sides of European identity.

Eurobarometer surveys on identity

The Eurobarometer surveys show that European and national identities tend to add rather than rule themselves out. In 2009, 3 French out of 5 felt French and European, a feeling that dominated in every socio-political group except the National Front supporters. Yet this tendency is not geographically homogeneous : 63 % of Britons favoured their sole nationalities (which has been one of the main explanations of the Brexit vote), against 27% Luxembourgian. During these surveys, the respondents are asked which notions they spontaneously associate with the EU. Democracy, Human Rights, Freedom of movement and the euro are the most cited. There are divergences between generations : those who knew war directly or through their parents narrations mention peace, while the younger evoke market economy. The idea that identity is built through opposition to other groups is also confirmed since 60 % Europeans state they rather or fully agree with the idea that "compared with other continents, it is distinctly easier to see what Europeans have in common in terms of values"[26]

Linguistic diversity

Five languages have more than 50 million native speakers in Europe: Russian, German, French, Italian and English. While Russian has the largest number of native speakers (more than 100 million in Europe), English has the largest number of speakers in total, including some 200 million speakers of English as a second language[27]. There is no final account of all European languages, but the sole EU recognizes 24 official languages. For some, the linguistic diversity is constituent of European identity[28].

In popular culture

Aspects of an emerging "European identity" in popular culture may be seen in the introduction of "Pan-European" competitions such as the Eurovision Song Contest (since 1956), the UEFA European Championship (since 1958) or, more recently, the European Games (2015). In these competitions, it is still teams or representatives of the individual nations of Europe that are competing against one another, but a "European identity" may argued to arise from the definition the "European" participants (often loosely defined, e.g. including Morocco, Israel and Australia in the case of the Eurovision Song Contest), and the emergence of "cultural rites" associated with these events.[29] In the 1990s and 2000s, participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was to some extent perceived as a politically significant confirmation of nationhood and of "belonging to Europe" by the then-recently independent nations of Eastern Europe.[30]

Pan-European events not organised along national lines include the European Film Awards, presented annually since 1988 by the European Film Academy to recognize excellence in European cinematic achievements. The awards are given in over ten categories, of which the most important is the Film of the year. They are restricted to European cinema and European producers, directors, and actors.[31]

The Ryder Cup golf competition is a biennial event, originally between a British and an American team, but since 1979 admitting continental European players to form a "Team Europe". The flag of Europe was used to represent "Team Europe" since 1991, but reportedly most European participants preferred to use their own national flags.[32] There have also been attempts to use popular culture for the propagation of "identification with the EU" on the behalf of the EU itself. These attempts have proven controversial. In 1997, the European Commission distributed a comic strip titled The Raspberry Ice Cream War, aimed at children in schools. The EU office in London declined to distribute this in the UK, due to an expected unsympathetic reception for such views.[33][34] Captain Euro, a cartoon character superhero mascot of Europe, was developed in the 1990s by branding strategist Nicolas De Santis to support the launch of the Euro currency.[35][36][37] In 2014, London branding think tank, Gold Mercury International, launched the Brand EU Centre, with the purpose of solving Europe's identity crisis and creating a strong brand of Europe.[38][39] There have been proposals to create a European Olympic Team, which would break with the existing organisation through National Olympic Committees.[40] In 2007, European Commission President Romano Prodi suggested that EU teams should carry the EU flag, alongside the national flag, at the 2008 Summer Olympics – a proposal which angered eurosceptics.[41][42] According to Eurobarometer surveys, only 5% of respondents think that a European Olympic team would make them feel more of a 'European citizen'.[43]

Institutional actions to promote European identity

The European institutions made several concrete attempts to reinforce two things: identity contents (what is Europe in people’s minds?) and identity formation (what makes people feel European?)[44]. The .eu domain name extension was introduced in 2005 as a new symbol of European Union identity on the World Wide Web. The .eu domain's introduction campaign specifically uses the tagline "Your European Identity". Registrants must be located within the European Union.

Direct policies

On the cultural plan, the European Union began a policy in the 70's with the directive "Television without Frontiers", which allowed free trade of TV programs and guaranteed more than half of the air time to European operas[45]. The Culture program finances other cultural activities in order to strengthen the European common identity. The European Union also bet on symbols: the flag, the anthem ("Ode to Joy" from the final movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony), the motto "In varietate concordia", the Europe day. Great cultural unifying events are organised, such as the European heritage days, or the election of the Capital of Culture. The youth mobility has been encouraged since the launching of the Erasmus programme in 1987, which has permitted students to go to 33 European countries.

The challenge of communication, to make the European project more understandable to the 500 million citizens, in 24 languages, has also been addressed: in 2004, the first Vice-President of the Commission has the Communication Strategy portfolio. The common values are reasserted through the judicial action of the European Court of Human Rights. Linked to this, the European Union funds many surveys (such as Eurobarometer) and scientific studies, to improve its identity-building policies. A collection of such studies is for example The development of European Identity/Identities : Unfinished Business[22]

The boundaries of European identity

Just as every sociological identity, the European identity is not as much defined by its contents than by its boundaries[46]. There are today heated political debates on whether to allow or not immigrants coming to Europe, on which criteria. The debate is also on whether to integrate or assimilate people that come form very different cultures, and how to do it. Many European right-wing politicians[47] are now advocating a vision of European identity (often seen as a White and Christian one) as a citadel being threaten by immigration, and thus needing to be defended by harsher policies on this matter. A new far right movement even baptized itself the Identitarians. Their adversaries often say that this vision of Europe is racist[48], and that it symbolically excludes people who are already European by law.

The geographical definitions of Europe do not seem to be a matter of discussions any more, but the question of an European identity merges with this one concerning countries that are part of Asia as well, such as Russia or Turkey (which has more territory in Europe than Belgium). The question of the European frontiers also rises when it comes to European territories outside of Europe, such as the French Guiana. French Guyanese are European citizen even thought they are born and live in South America.


The risk, defining an European identity, is to close up from other cultures that would not correspond to pre-defined criteria. To face this difficulty, vagueness is necessary : the Treaty of Lisbon mentions for example "cultural, religious and humanist inheritance"[49]. Moreover, it would be illusory to impose a principle of cultural homogeneity to states with various national identities. Jean-Marc Ferry considers[50] that the European construction developed new differentiation, between citizenship and nationality for example, with the birth of post national citizenship[51] in 1992. According to Raymond Aron[52], the construction can predate the European sentiment, but the last is essential to avoid a fictional Europe, a Europe that would only be a meaningless word in which the people do not recognize themselves. This idea is backed by Jacques Delors in 1992 who writes that it is needed to "give Europe a soul, (...) a spirituality, a meaning" beyond the simple economic and administrative realities[53].

See also

• Symbols of Europe
• Symbols of the European Union
• Brand EU
• Captain Euro
• Continentalism
• Europe a Nation
• Eurocentrism
• The European Dream (2004)
• Paneuropean Union
• Pan-European nationalism
• Pan-nationalism
• European integration
• Europeanisation
• Europeanism
• Euroscepticism
• Federalisation of the European Union
• Fourth Reich
• Potential Superpowers – European Union
• Pre-1945 ideas on European unity
• Pro-Europeanism
• United States of Europe
• NEOS – The New Austria and Liberal Forum
• Volt Europa


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