217. Jeffrey Kripal, with Dana Sawyer

Jeffrey J. Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, where he chaired the Department of Religious Studies for nine years and helped create the GEM Program, a doctoral concentration in the study of Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism that is the largest program of its kind in the world. Jeff is the author of seven books, including

He specializes in the comparative study and analysis of extreme religious states from the ancient world to today. His full body of work can be seen at http://kripal.rice.edu/.

Dana Sawyer is a professor of religion and philosophy at the Maine College of Art and a lecturer on world religions for the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine.  His expertise is in Hindu and Buddhist systems of philosophy, and he has a professional interest in exploring the appeal of Asian religions on the Western mind.  In that regard, he has written a critically acclaimed biography of Aldous Huxley and has just finished writing the authorized biography of Huston Smith, the renowned scholar of world religions.



Transcript of this interview

Other BatGap interviews with Dana:

Interview recorded 2/9/2014

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Jeffrey J. Kripal and his work
  • 00:03:14 – Background and Interest in Religious Belief and Behavior
  • 00:06:17 – Jeffrey’s Openness to Metaphysical Ideas in Academia
  • 00:09:39 – Revisiting the Paranormal and Psychic Abilities
  • 00:12:52 – The Dominance of Materialism in Western Science
  • 00:16:23 – The Incompleteness of the Materialistic Worldview
  • 00:19:32 – Psychic Experiences and Spiritual Practice
  • 00:23:04 – The Noetic Potential and Deep Philosophical Implications of Psychic Functioning
  • 00:26:04 – The Power of Fiction and Imagination in Paranormal Experiences
  • 00:29:20 – Living in a Sliver of Reality
  • 00:31:50 – Authorization as a Paranormal Ability
  • 00:35:04 – The Importance of Personal Experience in Religious Understandings
  • 00:37:39 – Coming to Terms with Religious Pluralism
  • 00:40:46 – Mystics and cultural influence
  • 00:44:31 – The Controversy of Near-Death Experiences
  • 00:47:41 – The Unmappability of Our Gnostic Potential
  • 00:51:06 – The Celebration of the Physical and Metaphysical
  • 00:54:26 – Double Messages in Religious Symbolism
  • 00:57:56 – The Power of the Imagination
  • 01:01:16 – The Power of the Imagination
  • 01:04:03 – The Power of Imagery and Archetypes
  • 01:06:57 – Art as a Channel for Deeper Intelligence
  • 01:09:52 – Whitley Strieber’s Perspective on Abduction Events
  • 01:13:13 – Science fiction as a machine version of spirituality
  • 01:16:16 – Prophetic Synchronicities and Divine Play
  • 01:19:15 – The Intelligence of Machines and Consciousness
  • 01:21:51 – Heresy and Mysticism
  • 01:24:33 – Finding Meaning in Our Work
  • 01:27:31 – The Importance of Diverse Perspectives and Making Up Your Own Mind
  • 01:30:42 – Envisioning the Future and Societal Phase Transitions
  • 01:32:53 – Music