Ep 26: An Interview with Jeffrey Kripal: The Flip & How To Think Impossibly
Welcome back to The UFO Rabbit Hole Podcast. I’m your host, Kelly Chase.
Today, we have a very special guest on the show, Dr. Jeffrey Kripal. Dr. Kripal is an esteemed scholar and author in the study of religion, focusing particularly on the esoteric, mystical, and paranormal dimensions of human experience. He serves as the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is the author of several phenomenal books including The Superhumanities, Mutants & Mystics, Super Natural (which he co-authored with Whitley Strieber), and The Flip. I’ll have links to all of these and more in the episode brief if you want to check them out. [Links below.]
As you’ll recall, we talked about Dr. Kirpal’s book, The Flip, in part 3 of the Waking Up Inside The Cave series. The Flip is of particular significance to me because it was as the result of my own flip that I embarked upon the project that would become this podcast. Discovering Jeff’s work soon after that experience gave me the reassurance that my radical shift in perspective wasn’t some kind of a mental break—something that I, frankly, feared at the time—but rather a somewhat common occurrence among people who have dealt (intentionally or otherwise) with the anomalous.
Beyond simple reassurance that I’m not crazy—or, at the very least, that if I’m crazy I’m in good company—Jeff’s work has also given me essential frameworks for venturing into the more challenging aspects of the phenomenon. Much of his work deals with what we generally refer to as “the impossible”—or the places where human experience both exceeds and obliterates our traditional models. I was lucky enough to read a few chapters of his new book coming out this spring on exactly this topic entitled, How to Think Impossibly: About Souls, UFOs, Time, Belief, and Everything Else.
Also of note, Dr. Kripal recently led the creation of The Archives of the Impossible at Rice University to house the writings and artifacts of such impossible events. Within this incredible archive you’ll find such treasures as the Anne and Whitley Strieber Collection, containing thousands of letters and correspondents sent to them after the publishing of Communion; the John E. Mack Archives, containing the notes and records from the famed Harvard psychiatrist in his work with abductees; interviews, notes, papers, and correspondence belonging to famed ufologist Jacques Vallée and much, much more.
The Archives of the Impossible has also given birth to a conference series of the same name, the second of which I was lucky enough to attend this last spring. This conference brings together top thinkers in the humanities to discuss impossible events and phenomena of all kinds. It was honestly a magical experience. I met so many amazing people there, and when it was over I didn’t want to leave.
Jeff’s work has created a sort of center of gravity in the world of the impossible and anomalous, which draws to it all kinds of top-tier mutants and weirdos from across disciplines who are invested in exploring the outer reaches of human experience and potential. So perhaps it’s not surprising that many refer to him as the real-life Professor X.
I really think that you guys are going to enjoy this one, so let’s just dive into it. Here’s my interview with Dr. Jeffrey Kripal