Ch'ing Ch'ing Goes the Bell


Kurt loved teaching, honored his teachers, and felt gratitude for the entire lineage of teachers who came before him. This was true in his experience of both the academic and spiritual world. In this short, devotional homage we see Kurt’s immersion into Vajrayana Buddhism of the mid-1970s. Of the teachings, he sings, “…up from the mud & Kurt von Meier, through the waters of the Lake Danakoss, wherever it might be as in the Taoist Water Wheel "reversing the flow" of the Golden Light within, onto the lily/lotus flower…”

Study and Travel - 1975


“Refugee cultures reflect, in their adaptation to new spatial surroundings, the temporal changes undergone by cultures which remain in place. The refugee is a 20th Century archetype in which we may see our own process of transformation; like the Hopis, we are refugees in our own country.”
This quote is included in a three-page summary of Kurt’s plans, perhaps in light of an upcoming sabbatical leave. It provides some historical information about Kurt’s activities, but also adds to the considerable store of his written material focused on archteypes, transformation, Laws of Form, and Tibetan Buddhism.

Omnicon on Superliterate Societies


In 1979 Kurt participated in a group forum “online,” an “Omnicon” open to invited parties provided access to what was an early precursor to the World Wide Web. Sponsored by Omni Magazine, (now defunct), over a ten-week period, utilizing the EIES (Electronic Information Exchange System), the topic for discussion was Superliterate Societies, ie: reading and writing via computer code (Fortran, hence the warning ‘only 57 lines may be used for this text’), use of a connected terminal, and the issues that might arise from it, such as elitism. One participant was Kurt’s pal Walter (Clifford) Barney, and this gave Kurt the opportunity to also toss his many ideas into the online mix, which he did with enthusiasm. Again, in 1979 we find Kurt ahead of his time, as his Omnicon comments about the environment clearly indicate.
“Transcending belief is the task of consciousness in coming to recognize itself. All of which prompts a few searching inquiries--specifically about the four "great killers" in the present history of our watery planet. They may be identified as pollution, population, climatic change, mismanagement of the earth's resources. …The problem is not running short of fossil fuels, it is burning them.”

The Eternal Present and the Forty-Eight Laws of Cosmic Objectivity


Kurt’s prodigious memory was not simply an accident of nature, but also the result of his concerted efforts at memory training. As he notes in this essay circa 1979, the use of mnemonic devices to enhance memory were promoted by Giordano Bruno during the Renaissance, and the use of complex mandalas by Tibetan Buddhists serve a similar function. Kurt employed a comparable technique, which combined with his natural powers as a polymath allowed him to teach and speak extemporaneously on a variety of topics for hours at a time, without resorting to any notes.
When it comes to the exercise of memory, he states, “Any person capable of reading, understanding and following injunctions can now practice the exercise of constructing this psychic space with the disciplined imagination. Although this is a very ancient exercise, traditionally it has been a part of the esoteric teaching, distinguished from the exoteric tradition that concerns itself with outward manifestations rather than with the interior imagination. Therefore, published indications for performing the exercise, if any, have appeared in symbolic guise, as in the literature of Western alchemy.”

Gestalt Mathematics


“The contribution of the Gestalt approach is the recognition that figure and ground are formally the same and may be exchanged without violence to the whole, and in fact must be changed for a complete experience of the whole. When we understand something, we stand under it, experience it from without as well as within.” So states Kurt von Meier and Clifford Barney at the beginning of this 1975 exploration into the relationships between the Gestalt therapy and psychology of Fritz Perls, mathematics, and knowledge of the divine as seen by Dante Alighieri.

Kurt Gets Interviewed in 1967


This recording of Kurt von Meier being interviewed by a woman named Kris Koch sometime around 1967 was made while Kurt was still teaching at UCLA and had become a wildly-popular professor. Ninety-nine percent of the interview is Kurt rapidly talking a blue-streak, delivering a wide-ranging discourse about his interests in the wisdom of “primitive” people and cultures, and the ways “western civilization doesn’t work for people well at all.” His comments range among art history and world ecology; presciently for 1967, he raises the prospect of the greenhouse effect, climate change, rising oceans and the possible death of planet Earth. His comments convey why Kurt was so popular and controversial. A poor microphone produces some clicks and sustained “hum” as the interview progresses, but his comments remain easily heard. At some point, a phone rings, he checks the mike, and sadly, the interview comes to an abrupt end after 38 minutes.