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The Flip: Recalibrating the humanities and the sciences around extraordinary experiences

The Flip: Recalibrating the humanities and the sciences around extraordinary experiences

Seeing | Philosophy

There are extraordinary experiences that, although commonplace, contradict the current materialist metaphysics. This is what Prof. Jeffrey J. Kripal argues in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference. 

Jeffrey J. Kripal is the Associate Dean of the Faculty and Graduate Programs in the School of the Humanities and 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 and the Chair of the Board at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Jeff is the author of eight books, including, most recently, The Flip: Who You Really Are and Why It Matters (Penguin, 2020), where he envisions the future centrality and urgency of the humanities in conversation with the history of science, the philosophy of mind, and our shared ethical, political, and ecological challenges. He is presently working on a three-volume study of paranormal currents in the sciences, modern esoteric literature, and the hidden history of science fiction for the University of Chicago Press collectively entitled The Super Story: Science (Fiction) and Some Emergent Mythologies. There he intuits and writes out a new emerging spectrum of superhumanities (in both senses of that expression). His full body of work can be seen at http://jeffreyjkripal.com. Prof. Kripal is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

Conscious realism

Conscious realism

Seeing | Neuroscience

Is matter merely a ‘graphical user interface’ to a deeper, conscious reality? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, neuroscientist Prof. Donald Hoffman argues compellingly that this is indeed the case.

Donald Hoffman is a Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He is an author of over 120 scientific papers and three books, including The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes. He received a Distinguished Scientific Award of the American Psychological Association for early career research, the Rustum Roy Award of the Chopra Foundation, and the Troland Research Award of the US National Academy of Sciences. His writing has appeared in Scientific American, New Scientist, LA Review of Books, and Edge, and his work has been featured in Wired, Quanta, The Atlantic, Ars Technica, National Public Radio, Discover Magazine, and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. He has a TED Talk titled ‘Do we see reality as it is?’ Prof. Hoffman is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

Making space and time for matter and mind

Making space and time for matter and mind

Seeing | Cosmology

A new understanding of space and time is a prerequisite for making sense of the mind-body problem, argues Prof. Bernard Carr in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

Prof. Carr is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. His professional area of research is cosmology and astrophysics and includes such topics as the early universe, dark matter, black holes and the anthropic principle. For his PhD he studied the first second of the Universe, working under the supervision of Stephen Hawking at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology. He then held Fellowships at Trinity College and the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge before moving to Queen Mary College. He is the author of nearly three hundred scientific papers and the books Universe or Multiverse and Quantum Black Holes. He is especially interested in the role of consciousness in physics, regarding this as a fundamental rather than incidental feature of the Universe. Prof. Carr is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

The mind-body problem: An anti-solution

The mind-body problem: An anti-solution

Seeing | Philosophy

John Horgan | 2021-01-11

If the mind-body problem is at all solvable, should it ever be solved? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, renowned author and science journalist John Horgan maintains that, for moral reasons, it shouldn’t.

John Horgan is a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology. He writes an online column for Scientific American and produces the ‘Mind-Body Problems’ podcast for Meaningoflife.tv. His books include The End of Science, a bestseller, and Pay Attention: Sex, Death, and Science, a fictionalized, stream-of-consciousness memoir released in December of 2020.

Consciousness unbound

Consciousness unbound

Seeing | Psychology

Has rigorous empirical research ever contradicted materialism? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, Prof. Edward F. Kelly discusses decades of solid scientific work that does precisely that.

Edward F. Kelly is currently a Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), a research unit housed administratively within the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in psycholinguistics and cognitive science from Harvard in 1971, and spent the next 15-plus years working mainly in parapsychology, initially at J. B. Rhine’s Institute for Parapsychology, then for ten years through the Department of Electrical Engineering at Duke, and finally through a private research institute in Chapel Hill. Between 1988 and 2002 he worked with a large neuroscience group at UNC-Chapel Hill, mainly carrying out EEG and fMRI studies of human somatosensory cortical adaptation to natural tactile stimuli. He returned full-time to psychical research in 2002, serving as lead author of Irreducible Mind (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), Beyond Physicalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and Consciousness Unbound (Rowman & Littlefield, in press). He is now returning to his central long-term research interest – application of modern functional neuroimaging methods to intensive psychophysiological studies of paranormal or ‘psi’ processes and psi-conducive altered states of consciousness in exceptional subjects. Prof. Kelly is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

Kabbalistic panpsychism: The enigma of consciousness in Jewish mystical thought

Kabbalistic panpsychism: The enigma of consciousness in Jewish mystical thought

Seeing | Philosophy

There are uncanny correspondences between Jewish mysticism and cutting-edge theories of reality such as idealist cosmopsychism, as discussed by neurologist Prof. Hyman M. Schipper in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

Dr. Schipper is a professor of neurology and medicine (Geriatrics) at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a clinical neurologist at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and the director of a neuroscience laboratory in the hospital’s affiliated Lady Davis Institute for biomedical research. His research focuses on degenerative diseases affecting the brain and mind and he is the author of over 200 peer-reviewed papers on these and related topics. Prof. Schipper has long been interested in the interface between contemporary science and the Jewish mystical tradition (Kabbalah). His work in this area was initially published in Yeshiva University’s Torah u-Madda Journal (2012-13) and more recently in Unified Field Mechanics II (RL Amoroso et al. eds., World Scientific 2018) and Bar-Ilan University’s DAAT: Journal of Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah (2019). Dr. Schipper is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

The role of mind in neuroscience

The role of mind in neuroscience

Seeing | Neuroscience

After failing to find anatomical or functional correlates of a variety of psychiatric conditions, Prof. dr. Sarah Durston has moved away from metaphysical materialism. This is what she discusses in her presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

Sarah Durston is a neuroscientist and Professor of Developmental Disorders of the Brain at the Department of Psychiatry at the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. She is also the chair of the Sentience and Science Foundation. She has always been fascinated by the relationship between body and mind, and in 2016/2017 she investigated this more closely during a sabbatical at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), where she wrote the book The Universe, Life and Everything… Dialogues on changing understanding of reality. Prof. Durston is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

The role of mind in nature

The role of mind in nature

Seeing | Philosophy

Prof. Mikhail Ilyin, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, discusses foundational issues around the mind-body problem, as historically explored in Western philosophy and beyond. Watch his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

Prof. Ilyin teaches comparative politics at the National Research University’s Higher School of Economics, Russia, and is a part-time teacher at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and Sevastopol State University. He is also head of the Center for Advanced Methods in Social Sciences and Humanities at the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and editor of the yearbook METHOD. He has been co-founder of the major Russian political science journal Polis and president of the Russian Political Science Association from 1997 to 2001. Prof. Ilyin has a PhD in the history of English literature (1976) and another PhD in political sciences (1997). He is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

Is what you see, what you get?