Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Water: Harbin Hot Springs

Harbin Hot Springs

I enjoy how free-flowing going into and out of the Harbin pools is. People trickle in and out at all times of the day and night, all days of the year, - quite wonderfully. The process is very organic, like water flowing down hill. When people come out of the pools, things seem quite harmonious for them, and they’ve only been soaking in warm water.

I’d like to document Harbin in the form of an ethnography to create an interpretive record. I’d like to start by characterizing the physical property of Harbin as a field site, leaving aside, for the moment, Sierra Hot Springs and the other properties that Heart Consciousness Church (Harbin) owns.

An anthropology of communities like Harbin on the west coast of the U.S., informed by the 1960s and 1970s, would also include Alpha Farm and Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon, for example. They have many aspects in common as communities and organizations, including having achieved economic sustainability. And they each have developed in conjunction with ‘cultural’ developments of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Perhaps there is less idealism, exploration, radicalism, and free-thought in U.S. culture at large, and, instead, a kind of basic business orientation. But each of these communities has survived because individuals here have paid attention to the business side of the communities that have emerged.

I see Harbin also as a kind of far-reaching 'virtual' space, with a unique fabric of life. I think many people share this at Harbin, as well. In one sense, Harbin is a leading expression of the New Age. Significantly influenced by the 1960s and 1970s, Ishvara bought the land in 1972 to be a Gestalt Center with hot pools. Lots of hippies came here in the 1960s as well, when Harbin was nominally Harbinger University. Institutionalized as Heart Consciousness Church around 1975, Harbin perhaps expresses its visionary aspect here, as well in its architecture, and the residents who live here.

What are the effects of the Harbin waters? People come to visit the Harbin pools, and some settle in the area, so Harbin contributes to building a fabric of life beyond the Harbin valley. The relaxation response that Harbin's pools elicit has an effect on people's sense of ease and community, which then translates Harbin 'rippling' in to the local community. And there are a lot of other effects of the pools, including 'virtualization' ones ... :)


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