The Challenge of the Paranormal, with Jeffrey J. Kripal

Episode 39 · January 30th, 2019 · 1 hr 2 mins

About this Episode

"The world is not simply composed of physical causes strung together in strictly materialistic and mechanical fashion," writes Prof. Jeffrey J. Kripal in his seminal book, Authors of the Impossible. "The world is also a series of meaningful signs requiring a hermeneutics for their decipherment." This, in a nutshell, is Kripal's position vis à vis the fact of paranormal experience, a fact that he has explored in numerous works of scholarship over the last 25 years. For Kripal, whether we see supernatural entities as beings from other worlds or creatures of the human imagination is secondary to the question of whether they merit serious philosophical thought and consideration. On that point, he says, "it's not an option to be neutral." JF and Phil had the honor of sitting down with Jeffrey Kripal to discuss the super-natural, the sacred, and the reasons why these categories remain as vital now as they ever have been.

Header image: "Artist's Impression of the Mothman," by Tim Bertelink, Wikimedia Commons.


Jeffrey J. Kripal, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred, The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion, Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal, The Super Natural: Why the Unexplained is Real (with Whitley Strieber), and Changed in a Flash: One Woman's Near-Death Experience and Why a Scholar Thinks it Empowers Us All (with Elizabeth G. Krohn)

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
Wouter Hanegraaff, historian of hermetic philosophy
John Keel, The Mothman Prophecies
Graham Harman and Eugene Thacker, philosophers
J. F. Martel, Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice
E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande
The X-Men (Marvel Comics)