By Professor Rod Janzen
Chuck Dederich--a former Alcoholics nameless member who coined the word "Today is the 1st day of the remainder of your life"--established Synanon as an leading edge drug rehabilitation heart close to the Santa Monica seashore in 1958. Synanon advanced fast into an experimental commune and "religion" that attracted hundreds of thousands of nonaddict participants and was once strongly dedicated to social justice and revolutionary schooling. Over 25,000 humans have been participants of Synanon at a number of occasions, together with jazz musicians Charlie Haden and Stan Kenton; supporters of the crowd integrated Senator Thomas Dodd, comic Steve Allen, and psychologist Abraham Maslow. In its later years, even though, the gang grew to become interested by hugely publicized violent actions--including placing a rattlesnake within the mailbox of a Los Angeles-area attorney--making the group's identify synonymous with paranoid cults.Based on large basic resources and interviews with former individuals, the increase and Fall of Synanon explores how the establishment advanced within the context of yank social, political, and fiscal traits. Historian Rod Janzen argues that the group's downfall resulted from participants giving an excessive amount of strength to Synanon's charismatic founder and a small workforce of top-level affiliates. Media realization fascinated by the group's cultlike actions, neglecting the community's major successes in drug rehabilitation and social integration. Janzen's in-depth research of Synanon serves as a desirable case learn of ways substitute societies can swap through the years and the way the overall public's reactions to such societies can shift from tolerance to stances of worry and energetic competition.
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This was a very different population than the community’s original membership of hardened, older, primarily male heroin addicts. 14 Others had experimented with LSD and amphetamines but were not long-time users. This was a much younger group with different life experiences whose parents often desired intimate involvement in the rehabilitation process. ”15 In that private space he let his mind move in whatever direction it chose to take. He then tested the ideas that emerged with other residents.
53 The ﬁlm Synanon, released in 1965, employed a number of residents as extras and paid the commune its ﬁrst movie royalties. Many Hollywood stars visited Synanon, and a few played the game. Steve Allen jammed on the piano with a group of Synanon jazz musicians. ” An old-timer remembered Wilt Chamberlain playing volleyball with residents at the Santa Monica house. 55 Dodd was so impressed after visiting the commune that he arranged for members to testify before his Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.
Then we come into the Game . . ”27 Game players were enjoined to break contracts even with spouses and friends to get to the truth. There was an intimate connection, therefore, between what happened in the game and what transpired on the ﬂoor. Contract-breaking verbal combat in the game helped improve the quality of all contractual relations outside the game; it kept the community strong and functioning properly. According to Dederich, “The fewer gaming contracts you have, the more working . .