Harbin ethnography today:
The Subject and Scope of this Inquiry
Arrivals and departures – Everyday Harbin – Terms of discussion – The emergence of actual Harbin – The emergence of virtual Harbin – Harbin Residents – What this, a book, does.
Harbin Gate House
Harbin 'Gate House' in-world
After you check in at the gate at Harbin, one Harbin resident who has worked there for years often says "Go play."
The interaction 'energy' is good. This resident, who has some native American ancestry and grew up in Maine on the northeastern coast of the U.S., has been a resident at Harbin for almost 2 decades. His words, in a way, say what Harbin is about.
Emerging from the 1960s and 1970s, Harbin in many ways is about freedom to play, at Heart Consciousness Church, which Harbin became around 1977, a few years after Ishvara bought the Harbin property in 1972. A lot of people have come through the Harbin front gate, and most come to play. Harbin is fun and free, apart from modernity.
Lao Tzu is supposed to have been asked by the gatekeeper of his city (possibly 2,300 years ago), as he was leaving some strife there (as I've heard the legend), to write down his philosophy, which became the "Tao te Ching." Successive generations have translated and transcribed this text over millennia, and it's a remarkable 81 chapter poems and book, partly about 'non-action,' drawing on many metaphors, including that of water, to understand and create a philosophy of life.
The Harbin gate seems to work in reverse. People are welcome at Harbin to soak in the pools, and to play. And some also find creativity at Harbin in the vision and milieu here. And geothermal waters continue to fill Harbin Hot Springs' pools, and hippies and other free spirits, from the San Francisco Bay Area, northern California, and from all over the world, come through the Harbin gate to enjoy the waters.
Harbin Hot Springs is an expression of a vision emerging from the 1960s and early 70s, which is actualized in an ongoing way, in its valley in Lake County, California, nearly 40 years later. So coming through the Harbin gate, for some, is like coming into an altered reality, a kind of virtual world. The Harbin Hot Springs' world is open, and free, and a place where people can do what they want, perhaps in contrast to what some people experience in modernity. (Harbin Hot Springs is similar to the Rainbow Gathering, which also started in 1972, when two tribes, one from northern California and the other from the Pacific Northwest and a bunch of other folks from all over mostly the western U.S. gathered in Colorado to celebrate the Rainbow Festival, and which has met annually in national parks in the first week of July since then). Harbin Hot Springs is open all the time and is a hot springs' retreat center, emerging out of the human potential movement, the holistic, natural movement and universal spirituality, and while the language some use to describe Harbin may have changed over the decades, Harbin's countercultural, clothing-optional, pool-centric milieu remains unbroken since at least the early 1970s.
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/02/natural-bonsai-harbin-ethnography-today.html - February 16, 2010)