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Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred Paperback – May 30, 2010
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About the Author
Jeffrey J. Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is the author of several books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and The Serpent’s Gift:Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion.
Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Jeff has written a book about a variety of unexplained phenomena (e.g., paranormal and psi) from a 21st-century perspective. This means that he has moved beyond dualistic either/or thinking and beyond the taboo of subjectivity (see B. Alan Wallace's great book with the same name). Indeed, at his best Dr. Jeff has demonstrated cases of a nondual confluence of subject-object (for Schroedinger fans, it can be expressed metaphorically but not literally as the collapse of the wave function) as he delves into what has heretofore been "forbidden knowledge." It has been forbidden because any inquiry with any degree of openness into these realms reveals the (appalling IMO) explanatory poverty of science or religious studies paradigms. This book, in a very polite, erudite, entertaining, and direct way shows just how "the King has no clothes."
What does this mean? A lot.Read more ›
Jeff Kripal provides an historical summary of phenenomal events. He chronicles the work of four remarkable authors dating from the time of Mark Twain to the present who undertook research on the paranormal and were unafraid to publish their findings.
"Authors" is about a group of courageous pioneers. Kripal is clearly the present day leader.
The book is riveting. It goes beyond the mental filter of orthodoxy into the realm of the impossible.
While I've always been a skeptic about UFO sightings, the historic connection to religious visions was particularly interesting and made sense. Plus, who am I to say we are the only sentient beings in this big wide Universe, where the time / space continuum also affords interesting possibilities for paranormal encounters. Speaking of encounters, I had no idea that the French scientist in Spielberg’s movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” was based on Jacques Vallée, one of the “authors of the impossible” that Kripal studies.
I see how many people either loved or loathed Authors of the Impossible. Personally, I found Kripal’s style to be as engaging, even friendly and often funny, as it was scholarly and thoughtful. I was so enthralled that I read through the whole thing in a week.
And four word paragraphs.
And f$#%&ing bad language.
I had to force myself to get through the first 50 or so pages. His flashy hippy-geek-mystic persona mellows out toward the end, however. (Or maybe I just got used to it.) But then his persona is part of the point, and I generally sympathize with that point. Kripal is selling us an alternative narrative of modern experience, a narrative that has been marginalized by the dogmatic tendency of organized religion and, more importantly, institutional science. Kripal is busting out, and he sounds like it. He has a refreshingly confident way of telling us that the world is weird. Very weird. Paranormally weird. (And that is just how he would say it.) Most useful to me, he gives us a way of talking about the undoubtedly "subjective" character of paranormal events--he focuses on UFOs, but the same applies to NDEs, spirit communication, etc.--while affirming their empirical reality. The key insight of the whole book is what he calls the "dialectic of consciousness and culture," which is basically postmodernism regrounded in a metaphysics of consciousness. Consciousness is a real thing that is really pushing the world somewhere, but the only way we ever know pure consciousness is through a kaleidoscope of stories that write themselves through ourselves, through language, and--impossibly--the natural world.
Kripal does not quite allay my concern with the diffuse character and absence of clear moral direction in the"New Age.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr. Kripal has certainly set my mind on fire. After reading his "Super Natural" I had to continue that train of thought. Awesome research. I highly respect your works.Published 3 months ago by Kathlena F. Mailloux
The author demonstrates that the boundary between inexplicable-seeming magical actions and explicable physical phenomena is fuzzy. Read morePublished 7 months ago by MichaelODonnell
What damages an otherwise interesting, even compelling, read is the imposition of post-structural specialized terminology and unnecessary complex sentence structures that obfuscate... Read morePublished 16 months ago by David S. Wellhauser
Amazing stories of events that are obscured from the mainstream.Published 18 months ago by Grokk-Pallas
Thoughtful,stimulating,and beautifully written, I have never taken more notes than with this book! There is tremendous density of thought and some really creative ideas in here. Read morePublished 18 months ago by P. Lio
Boring! No real plot, or believable characters. Didn't even finish it. One of the problems with the route of self publishing through Amazon is that stories are only published... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Eames
Recommended to me by someone smarter than I am. High level reading.Published 22 months ago by marge21774
Very much a book that serves as food for thought in terms of looking at the paranormal through a variety of lenses by comparing one point of view to another in this series of... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Lamarkable