the modern salon
Thoughtful gatherings with topics focused at the intersection of different cultural movements.
The Dutchess - Rhinebeck, NY
The inaugural Smart Farms weekend. We were joined by some of the biggest players in food production, sales and distribution. We srt a discussion along a full system and multi-disciplinary approach to reward farmers who produce wholesome, regenerative food. In order to ensure that enough agricultural land is transitioned to drawdown carbon, we must make sure farmers have support from large buyers with the resources to make that happen.
We gathered at The Dutchess where our food is produced at the on site biodynamic organic farm and produced by Michelin star chefs.
Community and Identity on the edge of an unwritten future
Île des Rimains - Cancale, France
What makes a community today? What made one in the past? From Religious Communities and to Nationalism - from Tribalism to Facebook groups and membership clubs. These are structures that have given us as human beings meaning, security and identity for as long as anyone can remember. The word 'community' is a now an official buzzword but what does it actually mean, what are people truly yearning for and how can we create something authentic, global and deeply satisfying?
We gather at the home of our host within a newly renovated 18th century fortress island in Bretagne near the small fishing village of Cancale, France. The fortress was constructed by the French to defend against the British at the dawning of the nationalist movement which birthed what we know today as Nation-States.
Community in the 21st Century
Esalen Institute, Big Sur
What makes a community today? Meaning making stories such as patriotism and self-identification based on geography, political or religious views are receding in their ability to create the definitions of community that people have relied on for 1000’s of years. Smaller interest groups, self organized digital communities, trade organizations and even musical taste are beginning to help us see, connect, and define our communities. What does community mean and how can we help those who feel lost and alone is a rapidly globalizing world?
A conversation on Trust and Responsibility at the beginning of new era.
Hosted by RETURN & Habitas at Esalen
There exists a concept that power will shift from nation-state controlled and regulated economies into a distributed and decentralized world. Assuming all goes according to plan - with this shift comes the burden of trust, order, identity and meaning - all of the things the governed seek from those governing. As a new system begins we invited those leading the charge to gather amongst peers in a location where cultures have been born.
A weekend of diverse leaders within the Blockchain Industry. Accommodations and experience were complimentary with invitation.
Participants included coin founders, community leads, fund managers, exchange founders, developers, federal regulators and hedge fund managers.
Religion of No Religion
HABITAS | Tulum, Mexico
Today, people are forced to cobble together what it means to be spiritual in a world full of shamans, yogis, meditation networking events, stadium preachers, ayahuasca, secular shabbats and temple burns. We are the people offering these options.
This RETURN we gathered within the ruins of a location known by historians to be the spiritual epicenter of Mayan Culture and held a discussion with those at the forefront of modernizing, translating and sharing these practices. There is something going on in the world right now and it’s time we take a step back, look at the bigger picture, see how these new elements are all related and understand what comes next.
Participants included university professors, religious leaders, musicians, technology leaders, large event founders, yoga teachers, tantra teachers, writers, speakers, thought leaders and designers.
The Attention Economy & The Human Potential
Co-Hosted by the Esalen Center for Theory & Research (CTR)
We live in an attention economy, where products and websites succeed by getting users time and breaking their ability to remain focused and aware.
A small group of technology leaders and thought leaders set out for the weekend to open a conversation about a new kind of design ethics that puts awareness and maximizing each user's human potential at the forefront.
Participants included a Google Founder, Founder Slack, Founder Tinder, Chairperson Kiva, Burning Man Founder, CEO & Founders of Esalen, Top Tier VC's, Industry thought leaders, writers and speakers, Current and Past Facebook Executive leadership and members of the early Apple Executive team.
Ritual and Community
As technology and industry grow and disconnect us from our innate connection with the natural world, ancient practices of self discovery, mindfulness and ceremony become an increasingly important facet for the current culture of leaders. An experience and dialogue centered around postmodern ritual.
Participants included Festival Founders, Musicians, Workshop Leaders, Shamans, Ceremony Leaders, Large Event Producers, Esalen Leadership, Film Makers, Community Founders and Curators. 1 Hippy.
An exportation and celebration of independence as community. Saturday the Esalen lawn turned into a music venue on the cliff's edge and our good friends Nahko & Medicine to the People took a Big Sur pause from their global tour to play with us.
Relationships, Sex & Modern Community
A 25 person, invitation only, three-day conversation, experience and exploration about what it means to be a man or a woman today and how we relate and connect in the world of airplanes, Airbnb, constant travel and multiple networked communities.
Participants included a Entrepreneurs, Relationship and Sex Speakers and Coaches, Performers, Writers, TV hosts, Top 5 Tech Company Founders, Several Women's Leaders, Cultural Photographer. Viewpoints represented from gay, straight, bi, trans, single, straight, married, monogamous, poly and the gray area folks. 1 Shaman a Lawyer and a Doctor.
Movements & the Future
Safehouse, San Francisco
An evening conversation about what it means to steward culture. We are joined by those who pioneered both the Esalen Institute and the Human Potential movement over 50 years ago. We'll enjoy a farm-to-warehouse experience with sunset cocktails and a fireside conversation about how stewarding emergent culture.
Independence + Interdependence
Fiercely independent yet engaged in a numerous communities. This is the journey of the modern hero. We'll look at how strong community allows an individual to be more free and independent than on their own. The conversation takes place on the day a nation celebrates become free as individuals by coming together as one.
Curating Nomadic Community
A gathering of the conveners and space creators. From Burning Man to Summit Series. From Davos to secret warehouses in SF. What do all these communities have in common? We explored our personal and collective experiences of building modern nomadic communities and what that looks like in the future.
Modern Hero's Journey
Joseph Campbell’s framework guided us in an exploration of the myths & stories that create our world.A trail of stories left in the wake of a fully engaged group of humans, is fodder for the great myths of antiquity. Fully connected to a global community with few day to day ties to physical place.
A 75 person 5-day experience. We explored the question, "What creates an incubator for culture?" We looked at social, spiritual and financial conditions that influence culture. This week featured some special guests, sweat lodges and a cliff-side dance party.