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Weather Underground, etc.

One of the comments I got in response to the "How the Hippies Saved Physics" thread was from someone who directed me to this intriguing video of Werner Erhard's legacy:


It filled in more about Erhard that I found interesting. His techniques and ideas were precursors to powerful memes that I've encountered here and there while I was living in California. Specifically the "human potential" movement, but to some extent the very idea of "self help" is due to him.

That video led me to another video on Hulu, that was marked as related--a documentary on the communist terrorist organization "Weather Underground" that grew out of the Vietnam War protests in the 1960's at Berkeley and other universities. It's not actually that related, other than being another documentary about things that took place during the same era in northern California. But there is a lot of interesting stuff in there, including interviews with many of the former leaders of the Weather Underground and how they look at it in retrospect. (One of them being Bill Ayers, whom McCain and Palin accused Obama of being pals with during the 2008 election in some of their mudslinging ads). There was one thing though that does sort of connect it with my "Hippies Saved Physics" post--in a segment of it they talk about Timothy Leary's imprisonment, and mention that the Weather Underground was the group that actually broke him out of jail (with funding from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love):


The two above videos are both very long, but here's a quick clip that I ran across recently so while I'm linking to videos I may as well link to this one. Ron Reagan (Jr.) expresses his views on his father, Ronald Reagan:

(The only connection Ronald Reagan has to the rest is that he ran for governor of California against Timothy Leary. Leary's campaign slogan was "Come Together, Join the Party!" which inspired John Lennon to back his campaign by writing the song "Come Together", but he was thrown in jail (for marijuana possession) before the election, rendering him ineligible. The Weathermen then broke him out of jail and smuggled him and his wife safely into Algeria.)

Oh, right--and another response I got regarding my "Hippies Save Physics" post was from Nick Herbert, whom I mentioned having met briefly a while back, although he didn't remember me. He writes a blog (that I was previously unaware of) called Quantum Tantra. As I indicated in my previous post, we have pretty different views on quantum mechanics, but nevertheless have some similar interests and passions and managed to do our best at bonding over email last week. Was a fun and playful conversation and reminds me of how much I'd like to move back to California at some point. He also reminded me that the weekly meetings at Robert Anton Wilson's pad where I initially ran into him were on Wednesdays--not Fridays, as I mistakenly said in one of the comment threads. (Incidentally, Robert Anton Wilson was also a friend of Timothy Leary's.) Don't ask me what exactly he means by quantum tantra, but it seems to involve among other things--writing poetry filled with obscure references to physics, which I of course approve of! It also apparently involves fucking atoms, which I'm not so sure about. You never know where those electrons have been.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2011 08:07 am (UTC)
Fucking atoms... hrm. It's not the size of your sausage, it's the measuring precision of your instrument?

Sorry, I find all this fascinating, but frankly many of your stories just remind me of what an intellectual wasteland my state is. I'm sure I'm the only physicist for miles.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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