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Don Lattin's Blog

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Outside the Meditation Lounge at "Wisdom 2.0"
  I'll confess  that I walked into the "Wisdom 2.0" convention with the mind of a skeptic. This, I thought,  was where the San Francisco digerati -- the new Masters of the Universe -- gather to convince themselves that their  high tech revolution  has actually  raised...
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The title of my new book, Distilled Spirits -- Getting High, then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher and a Hopeless Drunk, was inspired by a letter the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung wrote to Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the aforementioned "hopeless drunk...
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  Perhaps it's true of any generation, but those of us who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s tend to romanticize the past. We remember the good times - the good sex, the good drugs and the good rock 'n' roll. David Talbot, the San Francisco journalist and founder of Salon, has issued a gritty...
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  Nearly half a century has passed since two Stanford University graduates, Michael Murphy and Dick Price, held their first series of seminars at an old hot springs resort on a cliff overlooking a spectacular stretch of the Big Sur coast. Their first brochure outlined a weekend devoted to "...
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On this Thanksgiving week, the sidewalks of downtown San Francisco have been bustling with activity as thousands of people ignored a rainy cold front, bustling to and fro clutching bright red tote bags.  No, this is not an early wave of Christmas shoppers, although these folks do ...
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Talk about your flashbacks…   Blogging about media coverage of Prop. 19 takes my boggled mind back to those heady days in  the spring of 1973 and my own misadventures covering the Berkeley Marijuana Initiative, the first law in the nation that sought to decriminalize pot.   At the...
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In the beginning, Michael Krasny tells us that his new book is "for seekers who long for answers." In the end, he confesses that he began working on "Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest" not knowing what he believed. He hoped that writing the book would finally allow him "...
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Last week (Aug. 9, 1960) marked this 50th anniversary of the day Timothy Leary, a research psychologist at Harvard University, swallowed some magic mushrooms down in Mexico and decided that America was ready to embark on a long, strange trip. So perhaps it’s time to look back at “the high priest of...
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Having spent the last three years tripping through the history of the psychedelic sixties, I couldn't help but laugh at the following paragraph in a recent front-page story in the New York Times:   "Scientists are especially intrigued by the similarities between hallucinogenic experiences...
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Northern California's latest attempt to re-invent journalism, the Bay Citizen, went on-line May 26, and as someone who covered the Godbeat in that neighborhood for 25 years, I was happy to see an entertaining religion story prominently displayed on Day One. The story was headlined "At Episco...
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  Writing a memoir is shameless act of self-indulgence – an admission that, yes, ladies and gentlemen, we do think the entire world revolves around us. It's an even trickier task when we're working on a "spiritual memoir," which, judging by the best-seller lists in recent years, has...
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Jesus Freak.jpeg
You don't have to be a Bible scholar to know that Jesus hung out with the wrong people - lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, crazy people. But knowing that is not living that. Many if not most churches have some kind of ministry reaching out to those people, but most Christians (and non-Christians...
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Gregory Cowles of the NY Times Book Review was kind enough to throw me a few "Stray Questions" for the Times "Paper Cuts" blog. The questions aren't really stray -- everyone featured is asked the same three questions.  Here are my answers:   What are you working on now?  ...
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The author at Harvard Square
You never know who will show up or what to expect when you face the folding chairs and start reading from your new book. Especially when the book you just wrote is all about LSD. On Tuesday night, I made my fourth bookstore appearance to promote my new book, and it happened again. Someone tried to...
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Photo by Michael Macor, SF Chronicle
Coming of age in the 1950s and early 1960s, Jacob Needleman was part of a generation that spent much of their lives running away from God. Even people in the God business - priests, ministers and especially seminary professors - challenged traditional Judeo-Christian ideas about the nature of God....
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