R.D. Laing Esalen Intstitute Symposium 2014 “R.D. Laing in the Twenty-First Century”

The theme for our proposed Laing Esalen Symposium Workshop was one of Laing’s favorite
subjects: “What is Sanity? What is Madness?” We see this workshop as an opportunity to revisit the 1968 Esalen summer-long symposium in order to assess the current state of alternative to psychiatry practices and to further explore amongst ourselves who is sane, if anyone, and who is crazy, if anyone, and what do these distinctions really mean outside of a medicalized psychodiagnostic context? We want to explore and debate a series of relevant questions, including:
1) if we encounter someone who appears to be crazy and suffering beyond his or her ability to cope, how can we help that person become less crazed, but in a manner that doesn’t violate one’s fundamental right of possession of one’s body and mind?
2) Are each of us, perhaps, a bit crazy, and to the degree that we are, how have we managed to contain or channel our craziness into acceptable, perhaps productive, even creative endeavors?
3) How can we work together to create places of sanctuary, like Kingsley Hall, Soteria House, or Diabasis, for those in society who are no longer able to hold it together, and who need the time and the help them pull it together?
4) How might revisioning conventional notions about sanity and madness help our society to better grasp this ongoing tragedy and inspire more support, both private and public, to alleviate this problem?

For further information please refer to the pdf file.

Esalen proposal with all photos