To say that American and the former Soviet Union were not on speaking terms from 1950’s up to the 90’s would be like saying Michael Jordan was a decent basketball player.
In the 80’s Russia was off limits to Americans. And the only time the American government saw the Russian leader was the annual visit to Lenin’s tomb.
So two countries with enough nukes to destroy the world a dozen times are so made at each other that they won’t even speak to each other.
Recipe for disaster right?
Enter hot tub politics.
In 1962 the Esalen institute was established to explore art, religion, psychedelic drugs, and mysticism. It was new age retreat center that attracted people best described as “white collar hippies.”
The people at the Esalen institute didn’t think that American and The Soviet union being at odds with stakes so high was a great idea so they invited any Soviets who could travel to America to stay at the institute to keep communication between the two countries alive.
American and Soviet writers, engineers, astronauts, scientists, any many other professions all mixed at a sunny retreat center with hot tubs and a view of the ocean in Southern California.
The networking that took place at the Esalen institute made it possible for citizens to talk to each other when the two most powerful governments in the world were scratching their heads trying to figure out the same thing.
But why does this matter to you?
A relaxing environment allowed regular citizens to do what their governments couldn’t.
Imagine what you could do if you were able to work from a hot tub. Or a beach. Or a hammock.
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