Anthony Chaney

in Runaway

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print October 2017 | ISBN: 9781469631738
Published online January 2018 | e-ISBN: 9781469631752

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This chapter describes how a surge of protest over the Vietnam War brought back the classic debate over the nature of revolution. Should change be directed at the interior, at perception and culture, or should it be directed at the exterior, at existing institutions? This debate was framed by 1966's most celebrated play, Marat/Sade. England’s leading culturalist, R. D. Laing, founder of Kingsley Hall in Swinging London, planned an event for the following year: the Congress on the Dialectics of Liberation. He invited Bateson, an old mentor, to speak. Bateson’s letter of acceptance included a scientific critique of radicalism. In the States, the experience of San Francisco Digger founder Emmett Grogan, demonstrated culturalist and structuralist strains within an emerging counterculture. In March of 1967, as the Summer of Love approached, Grogan and the Diggers disrupted a Michigan executive meeting of the Students for a Democratic Society. The event demonstrated fragmentation within a movement suddenly too large and amorphous for its purported leadership. Before leaving for London, Bateson reads Philip Wylie's The Magic Animal in light of his recent friendship with Konrad Lorenz.

Keywords: Marat/Sade; R. D. Laing; Kingsley Hall; San Francisco Diggers; Emmett Grogan; counterculture; Summer of Love; Students for a Democratic Society; The Magic Animal; Congress on the Dialectics of Liberation

Chapter.  11060 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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