Jeff Kripal – Meaning vs. Mechanism

Dr. Jeffrey J. Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is also the Associate Director of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute. He has authored nine books on religion, popular culture and the paranormal, Including Kali’s Child, Authors of the Impossible, Mutants and Mystics, The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained (with Whitley Strieber), and most recently, The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge.

Kripal is currently at the forefront of a revolution in the conversation between the sciences and the humanities. These two modalities of human knowledge are in need of reconciliation, since, as Kripal says in this interview, “a phenomena that can’t be studied without the scientific method does not mean it can’t be studied.” Dr. Kripal also described his personal crucible which set him on a path to understanding and eventually to the study of religion. An early spiritual crisis and revelations about his Catholic background and fellow students at a seminary launched him into a search for meaning.

For too long, Kripal believes, the mechanism of the paranormal (i.e. causes, theories, and hard data collection) have taken center stage in our quest for answers. He sees the experience of the witness as a key to finding the bridge between science and spirit. We discussed the need for a study of the meaning of these narratives and how they change the witness or experiencer.

This was a very enjoyable interview and a great way to return from the Radio Misterioso hiatus. Enjoy!


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