Feb 19, 2022
Within the halls of academia, the exploration of paranormal activity is for the most part off-limits to serious scientific inquiry. There are a variety of reasons for this, says religious scholar Jeffrey J. Kripal: the rise of behaviorism; the belief that the brain is in essence a biological computer; and the concurrent belief in physicalism - that there is nothing over and above the physical dimension of life.
Kripal here explains why he’s devoted his professional life to taking this phenomenon seriously. He’s one of a small, but increasing number of scholars who believe it’s as important to look at reality from the inside out as it is to examine it from the outside in.
Kripal, the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, is the author of eight books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.
Here he explains his latest project, Archives of the Impossible, which is both an actual archive of paranormal materials and a March 2022 Rice University conference.
He also details the evolution of his own interest in the paranormal; his view on the importance of the humanities; and what-he-calls “the flipped” experiences of materialists who changed their perspective to embrace the view or that mind or consciousness is primary and the material world is secondary.
The plenary speakers at the March 2022 Archives of the Impossible conference include Jacques F. Vallée, PhD, the founder of Documatica Research; Leslie Keen, author of the best-selling Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife and UFOs; Whitley Strieber, author of Communion and many other books; Diana Pasulka, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; John Phillip Santos, Rhodes Scholar, writer, journalist, and documentarian; Edwin C. May, president and founder of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research, Palo Alto, California. and Sebastiano De Filippi, Italian-Argentinian musician, author and scholar.