Eric is the son of Tao (1915-1963), a Cook Islander, and Einar (1904-1964), a Danish-American. He is the brother of Chris (1943-1972) and Beulah (1925-1985). He holds a B.A. from Middlebury College, and an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Eric lives in a singlewide mobile home in La Bolsa, a rural intentional community in northern New Mexico.