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On Deadline: Global Community disappears from Palo Alto

Original post made by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus, on Feb 26, 2011

A major component of the Palo Alto area’s history for more than a half century came to an end on New Year’s Eve when the Foundation for Global Community officially dissolved itself, ending a six-year process of winding down.

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Comments (9)

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Posted by John
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I remember one of my co-workers, who got heavily involved with this group. He became non-rational, though not irrational. It was clear to me that he had drunk the koolaid. It WAS a cult! It reminded me of Synanon, in the way it used psychological techniques on the serachers (like Jay T., apprently).

This group left a sad legacy of opposing nuclear power, something we dearly need.

It is so good that they are now gone.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

The article leaves out The Foundation's major contribution to Peninsula humor: inspiring the bumper sticker "Visualize Whirled Peas."

Its final physical legacy may be the signs in the parking lot at High and Everett, near its former HQ: "Visualize Being Towed."

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Posted by They-Won't-Be-Missed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

> This group left a sad legacy of opposing nuclear power,
> something we dearly need.

Weren't they influential in the 1988 referendum to outlaw nuclear power in Palo Alto (or some such)?

> It is so good that they are now gone.

Ditto .. they won't be missed.

2 people like this
Posted by Carol Brouillet
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

Carol Brouillet is a registered user.

I attended many lectures and events at Foundation for Global Community and learned a great deal from the experience- all very positive which resulted in some serious collaborations which have spanned many, many years. I will always be appreciative of what they did. One thing Jay forgot to mention is the Earth flag or Earth image which they tried to get out to schools and seen widely, to shift human perspective of our relationship with other people outside the United States and across boundaries, to see ourselves as part of a whole. They also had a display of a "Walk Through Time."... which looked at the evolution of the planet, its lifeforms, and the recent arrival (in geological time) of the human species, designed again to get people to think more deeply about who we are and our relationship with the Universe, the planet, all the other lifeforms.

My life has been greatly enriched by their existence; they were a real gift to Palo Alto and the country.

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Posted by John
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm


I should have mentioned those susceptible souls, sleeplessly seeking solace, sadly searching shallow, shady streams, shrinking and shirking and shouting, seeing shreads of subterfuge.

WT7 Truthers, anyone?

A cult, by any other name, is still a cult.

2 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I realize that I'm a bit late to the discussion, but wanted to input anyway. My parents were involved with the Creative Initiative Foundation in the 70's, and for our family, it was one of the most enriching, positive, life affirming things they could have done for us. I feel fortunate to have been a part of it growing up and it has affected my own growth as a human being teaching me compassion and care for our planet and the people on it. I am sad it is gone and it WILL be missed.

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Posted by Gene F Day
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 7, 2015 at 10:35 pm

My ex-wife and I were deeply involved in this cult from 1967 to 1976. We actually led several,week-long events at Sequoia Seminar along with hundreds of meetings and other events. The thing that is missing from this thread is the central role of Emelia Rathbun, who was the motive force behind absolutely everything. She was the most powerful leader that I have ever known, absolutely remarkable. By the grace of God she had very little personal ego involved and, as a result, more positive things happened than negative ones. The anti-nuclear stance finally motivate me to quit. I am a scientist at heart and reason finally prevailed, but it was a close call.
I am glad that it is finally over. I am glad for my participation; I am a better person for it but it was becoming a negative thing for society as a whole.
Thirty-eight years later am in a good place. I will be eighty next year and I am grateful for my experience with this cult but i am surely glad that it is over.

4 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm

I'm actually from Colorado, where we had a fledgling organization of Creative Initiative. I think it was wonderful in the things we were taught, learned, and taught to others. It changed my life, promoted my religious beliefs, made my marriage strong, helped me to be a better parent and to develop the potential in my children. Beyond that, I could not go because I was unwilling to spend large amounts of time away from my growing family. I know the leaders were disappointed in me and had expectations that I didn't fulfill. However, there were hidden agendas, revealed slowly, that made me feel manipulated. Leadership here got on a power trip that was most confusing. So we had to leave, but I will always be very grateful for this experience.

2 people like this
Posted by Ted Miller
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Interesting that discussion still pops up after years and years. My late wife and I were very involved with CI for a number of years, attended Sequoia Seminars, participated in the Manna Mart and generally grew from the experience. My background being brought up in a dogmatic religious group left me gun-shy and I remember vividly a personal discussion with Harry Rathbun, who was the intellectual leader of the group, where I voiced my concerns. His response was "search for your personal truth and when you find it, embrace it... we'll never impose a belief system on you". Not long after as Beyond War troops reintegrated the organization with their energy and self righteousness, they introduced the "Book of Life" with the dictum "either sign the declaration (effectively a dogmatic statement of belief for the organization) or leave the organization". I left... sad but wiser.

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