Cover of the May 2012 issue of Common Ground magazine featuring the Golden Gate Bridge with a view looking up at its towering red steel structure.

May 2012

The Bay Pride Issue

Truly, every issue is a Bay Pride issue. We’re just so tickled to be here and report some of this area’s amazing-ness. In this case, it’s easy to look back at some of the great gifts we’ve been given. Beyond the sheer beauty of the geography, we’re the inheritors of the ingenuity of some remarkably bold men and women.

For starters, we honor the determination of a dogged engineer named Joseph Strauss. His idea for building the Golden Gate Bridge was mocked as “the bridge that couldn’t be built.” Now, the storied gatekeeper to the Golden Gate turns 75. When asked how long the bridge would last, Strauss responded, “Forever.” Right on!

To commemorate the Institute of Noetic Sciences, whose 40th anniversary quickly approaches, we wanted to talk with founder Edgar Mitchell. Mitchell is an American hero, whose success as a scientist and naval pilot earned him a spot on the Apollo 14 mission and the distinction of be coming the sixth human to walk on the moon. But traveling to the moon was just part of his incredible life journey.

As the ship was returning to Earth, with the bulk of his lunar module
responsibilities behind him, Mitchell had time to gaze out the window
of the capsule. The beautiful sight of planet Earth from 240,000 miles away triggered an ecstatic experience and a life-changing epiphany. Neither he nor his scientific colleagues had any precedent for explaining Mitchell’s altered state. Upon further research, he would learn that his experience was one of Samadhi, which is carefully described in ancient Sanskrit texts. With four doctorates to his name, Mitchell has been on a long quest to scientifically understand the nature of consciousness and to define the quantum web of existence. The vicarious thrill I got learning about Mitchell’s moonwalk and subsequent research is palpable.

In a twilight zone coincidence, Mitchell was raised in Roswell, New Mexico. He was in high school there in 1947 during the famous Roswell UFO incident. Read more in the interview.

To complement the issue, we tap into some of the Bay Area’s finest ’60s counterculture with a story about the secret wooded enclave called Druid Heights. We put Krista Van Kessel Blaney on the case. Some of us became concerned that, like Alice in Wonderland, Krista has never come back the same.

After wiping our tears over the news that most of the Northern California Café Gratitude restaurants were shutting down, we decided it was time to take a closer look at the story. For those who don’t know, back in 2004 Café Gratitude started one of the most innovative raw vegan restaurants around. Last fall two ex-employees filed separate lawsuits against the owners. That ended the party, as the owners could not afford to defend the lawsuits. A settlement was reached, but five of the seven NorCal restaurants need to close. Caroline Casper delves into the Bay Area phenomenon and tries to find a parable. The bottom line: sometimes, good intentions can backfire. Our point of view: we admire those who try.

Thank you for being part of the Common Ground collective; it makes us proud to know you’re reading. Thanks too for supporting our advertisers—the best. June is our Music issue. See you then.

Strike up the band,


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