Richard Tarnas was born in 1950 in Geneva, Switzerland, of American parents. He grew up in Michigan, where he studied Greek, Latin, and the classics under the Jesuits. In 1968 he entered Harvard, where he studied Western intellectual and cultural history and depth psychology, graduating with an A.B. cum laude in 1972. For ten years he lived and worked at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, studying with Joseph Campbell, Gregory Bateson, Huston Smith, James Hillman, and Stanislav Grof, and later served as director of programs and education. He received his Ph.D. from Saybrook Institute in 1976. From 1980 to 1990, he wrote The Passion of the Western Mind, a narrative history of Western thought which became a best seller and continues to be a widely used text in universities throughout the world. He is the founding director of the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he currently teaches. He gives many public lectures and workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
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