copyright 2012 by Randy B.
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The last few times I saw Jud were just were after the breakup of the commune - and shortly before he died. I was amazed at how well he was getting around and how independently he seemed to be living at the end. He seemed pretty motivated - but a lot of what he seemed focused on towards the end struck me more as pure fantasies rather than anything as concrete as the commune. He also had come to see polyfidelity as too constraining. He sure enjoyed California's legalized medical marijuana - and seemed to know a bunch of folks around that.
I've known other guys that were just as much hard core libertines as Jud - the thing I see as different is Jud actually did make an attempt to do something memorable with the role he found himself in. Guys as charismatic and as attractive as Jud in an animal sense are fairly rare. I think they are rare enough, they aren't really well studied by psychologists. In my personal experience, a lot of them don't have as happy an ending as Jud did. He was still pretty quick and articulate at the end - but it seemed to me his emotions were a bit burned out.
Some folks have noticed some real similarities between Jud and Fritz Perl - one of the heavy early influences on Esalen. In small doses, I think Jud had some pretty remarkable and positive influences on the lives of many of the people who came to the Kerista Growth Coops only few times. That said, it could be hard to be Jud's friend - and I say that as one of the people that kept in touch with him longer than many. I never lived with Jud - not even a short time, but I think that is part of what preserved our friendship. Still, I think I have a bit of understanding about the burnout that folks that lived with Jud had.
What will be Jud's real legacy? Well, 500 years from now when scholars try to figure out what happened in the Haight Ashbury in the 70's and 80's, a big chunk of what they'll find will be literature generated by Kerista commune. Jud didn't write much of it - but he sure played a big role in organizing and motivating the folks that did. Kerista also had one of the earliest functioning systematic STD testing programs. Medical doctors are still debating the efficacy of that approach. I tend to think in the long run, something similar Kerista's approach will be scientifically validated - and will be replicated on a mass scale. Kerista may be to STD testing what Oneida was to modern birth control.