... As a kind of landscape-based, moving, musical prelude to the 'world' of Harbin Hot Springs ahead, driving in on this beautiful road is a harbinger of the transition to a different place, a liminal, clothing-optional hot springs' retreat center, which is Heart Consciousness Church (HCC) in 2011.
As place, I sometimes anthropologically interpret Harbin as a kind of countercultural 'system,' or metaphorical, human, cultural 'ecosystem,' in its valley, in the context of a milieu that emerges out of the 1960s. People come to Harbin, enter through the gate, having entered the visual beauty around Harbin after leaving Middletown, CA, head into the pools – immerse themselves, get Harbinized, hang out with other people who are naked in and around the pools and pool area, and at Harbin in general, and then leave Harbin. In this sense, Harbin produces 'Harbinization,' or the Harbin experience – even as a kind of soft, earth-based 'technology'. Actual Harbin, in this sense, also creates something a little like what the Grateful Dead create; in the pools, the experience of being in that place is like the 'space,' and the bliss, the Grateful Dead create with their music (recordings, too), which people love. But there are so many people who come through the gate here, that, to generalize for many people about the Harbin experience is to possibly omit a variety of experiences. Nevertheless, I would hypothesize that the immersive experience of the warm pool probably elicits the relaxation response, a similar, biological effect for all, and which is integral to the Harbin experience. Harbin's gatehouse is the in-out portal to this hippie-'system,' or counterculture-cum-system, of getting in touch with your warm pool self, and of living the future (Ishvara, “Living the Future,” Harbin publications, 1996), and to a kind of place-based freedom, especially in relation to the 'modernities,' as milieu, from which people are coming.
“When I think of Harbin as place, the pools are most significant, and the softening that goes on there, tucked as the pools are in a pretty little canyon very distant from the activity of a metropolis or modernities 'out there,' is quite unique” (MacLeod, Harbin Field Notes 2007-2008, May 30, 2008). ...
(February 14, 2011)
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/02/himalayan-valley-as-place-i-sometimes.html - February 14, 2011)