Looking Back Over My Experiences in the Sixties

I had led a relatively sheltered life up until 1968. It was Patty, a bright attractive married student of mine who first introduced me to the joys of sex, drugs and dancing to rock and roll. She walked into my office one day at UCR and let me know she wanted me to make love with her. I could not believe it. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before! At first I refused, but the prospect caught my fancy and rolled around gaining momentum in my imagination so after several further encounters with her in the following days I decided to accept her invitation. That was the beginning of the end of my marriage. 

At that time I became interested in sociology and particularly in social psychology. At that time I focused on “the social psychology of deviance” which I was attempting to understand through investigating different social worlds employing the technique of  “participant observation” which provided me with a rationale for exploring many things I had never done before. 

In the late sixties, after some acid trips and Gestalt experiences at Esalen Institute in Big Sur and at the Gestalt Institute in  San Francisco with Jack Downing, Eugene Sagan, Robert Hall, and Fritz Perls I began acting out an almost psychopathic rebellion towards my parents and society. For example, I arrived at Thanksgiving dinner in 1968 with Gina on my arm, though they had asked me not to bring her, challenging all  the values my parents lived for. I was dressed in exotic priestly red robes, and, of course, was heavily stoned and very provocative towards Tony, my stepfather, and expressed strong resentment against my mother and against the family money & their bourgeois values. I encouraged Gina to speak about the Marxist ideology of the migrant farm workers, especially Cesar Chavez who she admired very much. 

At one point Laurie [my ex-wife] came to my house in Berkeley. When I opened the door, she rushed in and threw Gina out and then she drove me back to Riverside.  Then Gina came to rescue me, with the help of Tyson, and we took off in my car  like a pair of bandits escaping from the police. I did not feel safe until we had actually crossed the California state border and entered Nevada. We made it to St. Louis in two days. I got a house there and began preparing my classes for the fall. I had been hired as an Associate Professor by the department of sociology at Washington University to teach courses in sociological theory and culture and personality.

This was the best job I ever had, but I blew it within one year. Why? I was in rebellion against myself. I pretended to be a revolutionary when I was not really one at all. When I returned to my true identity the students who had followed me as a radical, now turned against me. I should have stuck it out and worked through the difficulties, but I turned and ran as I was to run from similar  difficulties at Sonoma State College, where I taught the following year.

Seems like it has taken me twenty years to learn that flight is no answer. That just postponed dealing with the real problem, my own conflicted relationship with commitment, authority and responsibility. At Sonoma State in the winter of 1971 I should have attempted to defend myself against my attackers in the department in order to keep my job, as my psychiatrist of the time advised me to do.    

Instead, I resigned and appealed to my mother and the Trust at the Security Pacific National Bank for help. They agreed to support me until I could get on my feet. This turned out to be a mistake, for I proceeded to exhaust the entire trust in a few years. With hindsight it seems as though I was determined to do this and have been determined to spend every bit of money I could get my hands on ever since I left Laurie. My trust supported my Icarus flight for over twenty years in which time I completely exhausted the trust, originally valued at over two hundred thousand dollars. The last ten thousand went to pay off my debts after the conference I organized in 1987 in Switzerland. The trust also paid for my education at the Jung Institute and later for my Ph.D. in Psych at the Wright Institute in Berkeley. 

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