Jean Houston : biography
Jean Houston (born 10 May 1937) is an American scholar, lecturer, author, and philosopher active in the "human potential movement". She has been an adviser to political leaders and to UNICEF, and since 2003 has worked with the United Nations Development Group training leaders in the new field of Social Artistry.
Film and television appearances
- Dalai Lama Renaissance documentary.
- ABC Nightline program March 2010. With Deepak Chopra, Sam Harris, and Michael Shermer.
- Super Soul Sunday (OWN TV), November 2012.
In 1984, Houston began teaching a seminar based on the concept of the ancient mystery schools, specialized trainings available to seekers of knowledge and the advancement of spirituality. In Houston's modern day version, seekers experience teachings on many levels and participate in experiential processes.
Houston lectured in Psychology and Philosophy at Hunter College and taught at Marymount College. She has guest lectured at a number of universities, including The University of California, Santa Cruz. During this period, Houston began an association with the anthropologist Margaret Mead that would last until Mead's death and included periods during which Mead lived in Houston's home. Through Margaret Mead, Houston began to work in cultures around the world and expanded her knowledge of societies and cultural ethos. Another strong influence on Houston's work came from her association with mythologist Joseph Campbell. Houston worked closely with Campbell on his PBS television series. This work increased her understanding of and appreciation for the role of mythology and storytelling on societies. She had first become impressed by Campbell and his work as a young girl, when she read Campbell's groundbreaking work on world mythologies, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Education and early career
While earning her BA from Barnard College, Houston became involved in acting and combined her efforts to earn an academic degree with a stage career, spending most of her spare time in theaters and enjoying a measure of success as an actor. When the time came to make a decision for a life path, however, Houston found herself choosing to further her studies into the human mind. She subsequently earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Union Graduate School and a Ph.D. in Religion from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
While participating in a government sanctioned research project on the effects of LSD (before such research was banned), Houston became acquainted with Robert Masters, a writer and a researcher into the varieties of human behavior and potentials. The two married in 1965 and soon became known for their work in the Human Potential Movement. They are considered to be among the movement's principal founders. Together they established The Foundation for Mind Research.
Houston's early work in LSD research led her to a deeper awareness of the potentials of the human mind. She became a regular lecturer on college campuses, encouraging students to seek their potential without the use of drugs. Further research into the human mind and capacities led to associations with many high achieving people as she and Masters sought a better understanding of characteristics that led to greatness. Among many others, she worked closely with Carl Jung, Buckminster Fuller, and Aldous Huxley. During the years of NASA moon landings, she worked with returning astronauts, including Edgar Mitchell, to help them uncover details of what they saw in space.
Mystical Dogs: Animals as Guides to our inner Life Inner Ocean Publishing (2002) ISBN 1-930722-13-3
Jump Time: Shaping Your Future in a World of Radical Change Sentient Publications (2nd Ed. 2004) ISBN 1-59181-018-3
The Passion of Isis and Osiris: A Union of Two Souls Wellspring/Ballantine (1998) ISBN 0-345-42477-8
A Mythic Life: Learning to Live our Greater Story HarperSanFrancisco (1996) ISBN 0-06-250282-4
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