Robert E.L. Masters, Ph.D.
Robert E.L. Masters Jr., Ph.D., born on Jan. 4, 1927, in St. Joseph, Mo., to Robert Masters and Katharine Leeper Masters, passed away of natural causes, at his home in Ashland, Ore., in the early hours of Sunday morning, July 27, 2008.
He was 81.
Robert Masters was the beloved husband of Jean Houston, Ph.D., with whom he co-founded and directed The Foundation for Mind Research. The couple's shared passion for charting, understanding, developing and teaching of Human and Extended Human Capacities fueled their lifelong adventure toward improving the quality of life for peoples of all ages, cultures and geographic locations. Together, they were among the principal founders of the human potential movement.
Masters served in the Navy in WWII, mainly in the Pacific arena. He then joined his father, Colonel Masters, in duties regarding ordinance in the occupation of France and Germany. There he continued his student activities studying informally with Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In Germany, he attended the University of Marburg and was one of the first to translate Heidegger's Sein und Zeit into English. Completing his degree at the University of Missouri, he taught philosophy for several years before becoming a newspaper editor, writing editorials for the Houston Post and then the Shreveport Times. In Louisiana he became a good friend of Elvis Presley. He came to New York in 1962, where he became the editor of the Library of Sex Research for Julian Press and published eight books in the field of sexology and natural history which became classics in their field. It was in New York that he met Jean Houston and they were married in 1965.
Masters authored or co-authored more than 30 books and 100 papers and articles describing his researches into the varieties of human behavior and potentials. John Lennon wrote a song about one of the books he wrote with Jean Houston, Mind Games.
His works have been translated into many languages and he has taught and done research in Europe, Africa and Asia as well as the Americas.
Masters is recognized as a leading pioneer in consciousness research and the human potentials field. He has also published poetry, fiction, essays, literary and art criticism, book reviews, anthology contributions, and forewords and introductions to books by authors in many different fields.
Robert Masters conducted on-site investigations of states of consciousness in many different cultures and countries. He pioneered applications of altered states in education and psychotherapy, as well as in neural, sensory, and kinesthetic reeducation aimed at overcoming many different problems but especially at making possible a larger and more productive access to human potentials.
Robert Masters was the founder and was President Emeritus of the Association for the Masters Psychophysical Method, a group of hundreds of teachers trained and certified by him for the work he created in the field of psychophysical reeducation.
Along with Association members, Dr. Masters endeavored to establish centers for this work in cities across the U.S., where the intended focus addressed "older people."
Prior to his passing, he was involved in related research and other work to delay the onset of "symptoms of aging" and improve the quality of life of older people.
In addition to ongoing work in psychophysical reeducation, altered states of consciousness and other areas long worked with in the context of human potentials (research, educational and other applications), Masters initiated experimental approaches to esoteric psychologies and spiritual disciplines and was particularly knowledgeable about ancient Egyptian psychospiritual practices.
Robert Masters is survived by his wife, Jean Houston. He will be missed not only by those close to him, but by his peers and the many students who benefited from his mentoring and who called him Papa Bob.
Dr. Marti Glenn and her husband, Ken Bruer, are establishing as a tribute the Robert Masters Scholarship Fund for students in somatic psychology at their Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, and will match any donations up to $15,000. Checks can be made out to SBGICCSR [Santa Barbara Graduate Institute/Center for Clinical Studies and Research]. Or a credit card can be used by calling the Institute offices at 805-963-6896 with your information. The mailing address is: 525 East Micheltorena Street, Santa Barbara, Calif., 93103. Donations are tax deductible.
A private service and cremation will be held on July 31, 2008, in Ashland, Ore.
Robert E.L. Masters Jr. Ph.D.
Robert E.L. Masters, Ph.D.