Dr. Jeff Kripal Offers a Fresh Perspective on the Nature of Consciousness
Comparative Religions scholar and author of, Authors of the Impossible explores the link between consciousness and culture.
San Diego, CA (PRUnderground) October 5th, 2010
Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for and interview with Rice University Religious Studies professor and author of, Authors of the Impossible, Dr. Jeff Kripal. During the interview Dr. Kripal discusses how a broad view of comparative religions might inform scientific debate on the nature of consciousness, “I have developed this model of consciousness and culture… I’m sure some people will read that it’s always just culture. Other people will read it as saying I believe in some kind of absolute consciousness beyond our culture… but actually it’s both. I’m trying to maintain this both/and thinking and not keep falling into this either/or.”
Dr. Kripal also discusses how this model might change our view of near-death experience science, “I’m not suggesting that near-death experiences are simply culture or nothing but local context. Not at all. I think consciousness is self-existent and does survive bodily death, but I also think it always, always, always expresses itself… through language and culture and context. So you’re never outside of that. But you may be outside of it when you die. I mean, I don’t know. If I’ve died before I don’t remember it.”
Dr. Kripal also share his thoughts on how a new model of consciousness might impact religion, “I’m thinking more of creating a new religious worldview. Not me, personally, mind you, but as a culture. That’s where the historian can speak here, too. When religious systems start out, nobody knows where they’re going. They never, ever, ever come out of nowhere. They’re always syntheses or fusions of the scientific knowledge of the time and the different cultures that are interacting. So where I place my hope isn’t on Church A or Synagogue B or Scientist X. It’s the future generations who can put this stuff together in a completely new way, which I think is almost inevitable.”
The Skeptiko interview (audio and transcript) is available at: http://www.skeptiko.com/115-jeff-kripal-nature-of-consciousness/