« CALIFORNIA JOURNAL »
par MORIN Edgar (Translated by Deborah Cowell)
Sussex Academic Press., 2008, ISBN 978 1 84519 275 4 p/b, 240 pages
Présentation par l’éditeur Sussex Academic Press.
The reform in thinking is a key anthropological and historical problem. This implies a mental revolution of considerably greater proportions than the Copernican revolution. Never before in the history of humanity have the responsibilities of thinking weighed so crushingly on us.”
has not reached a stagnant end, nor is it triumphantly marching
towards the radiant future. It is being catapulted into an unknown
adventure.” Edgar Morin
“Edgar Morin has written an engaging journal about his trip from Paris to California in the tumultuous years of 1969 and 1970. Along the way this Frenchman learns about American youth who were generating their own counter-culture, reading their own free press, participating in their own unscripted revolution. A middle-aged philosopher, Morin worked at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and comments on everything from race relations to physico-chemical-biological systemology to Billy Graham. His journey takes him to a Los Angeles Park-In, where he is mystified by a young girl’s smile, to communes outside of San Francisco, where he considers the emerging cultural revolution, and into the homes and thoughts of Jonas Salk and Herbert Marcuse. Along the way Morin contemplates the evolving scene of the late 1960s, from adolescence to love to utopia. And in months, America had changed him: ‘Since I've been here,’ he wrote, ‘I've been intellectually high.’ He also discovered personal freedom: ‘At the age of forty-eight, I'm learning how to live!’ Come along, enjoy this trip; it's not to be missed.” Terry H. Anderson, author of The Movement and the Sixties, and The Sixties
“ Scanning America like a modern de Tocqueville, Morin’s personal meditations on the tumultuous sixties are filled with acute insights.” Philip Slater, author of The Pursuit of Loneliness and A Dream Deferred
In 1969, California is not just the new Eldorado: it is the crucible where civilization is accelerating, self-destructs, and is reborn. It’s the probe of Spaceship Earth. The hippy phenomenon, communes, the ecological movement, great collective ceremonies like park-ins and rock concerts, the flourishing of sects ranging from mystics to Marxists, the experience of “weed” and “acid,” are temporary images and elements of a search for a new truth, a new religion, a new society.
Long before it became fashionable for European intellectuals to write about their voyages to the United States, Edgar Morin, one of France’s leading intellectual figures and at that time known as a path-breaking and innovative sociologist and researcher of popular culture, recounts the story of his experiences in the cauldron of change that was California, including his encounters with some of the leading minds of that time. The book combines Morin’s accounts of his experiences with his own search for answers to fundamental questions about the human condition. For a few months, the author had a profound feeling of being drawn into the heart of the “great questions,” played out personally and societally. The result is an engaging and prophetic work that has as much if not more to offer today than it did when it was first published in French.