Michael Murphy, the cofounder of Esalen Institute and a forerunner in the contemporary research and philosophy of human potential, wrote a book in 1991 titled The Future of the Body. It draws from ancient and modern records in medical science, sports, the arts, anthropology, psychic research, and comparative religious studies, all pointing to what Murphy terms metanormal behaviors and experiences: extraordinary abilities and events brought about through means that generally evade logical analysis, such as the man who can control and actually stop his blood flow even when his skin is deeply punctured.
Murphy had been inspired in his student years at Stanford with the writings of the Indian revolutionary, yogi, and mystic Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), whose philosophy argued that a new stage was emerging in human evolution; one in which exceptional capacities of body and mind would be observable and even commonplace. And Murphy's ongoing questions have reflected Aurobindo's direction. Are we facing a new evolutionary frontier? he asks. And if so, how then would we live? Murphy's efforts today amount to the creation of programs that challenge and train individuals to bring about greater integration of mind, body, and spirit. He and many others like him are convinced that we can increase the likelihood for breakthroughs in all areas of human life. Such pioneers urge us to change our view of reality and to watch as reality itself changes accordingly.