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The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future…

The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge

by Jeffrey J. Kripal

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299602,551 (4.1)None
"One of the most provocative new books of the year, and, for me, mindblowing." --Michael Pollan, author ofThe Omnivore's Dilemma andHow to Change Your Mind "Kripal makes many sympathetic points about the present spiritual state of America. . . . [He] continues to believe that spirituality and science should not contradict each other." --New York Times Book Review "Kripal prompts us to reflect on our personal assumptions, as well as the shared assumptions that create and maintain our institutions. . . . [His] work will likely become more and more relevant to more and more areas of inquiry as the century unfolds. It may even open up a new space for Americans to reevaluate the personal and cultural narratives they have inherited, and to imagine alternative futures." --Los Angeles Review of Books A "flip," writes Jeffrey J. Kripal, is "a reversal of perspective," "a new real," often born of an extreme, life-changing experience.The Flip is Kripal's ambitious, visionary program for unifying the sciences and the humanities to expand our minds, open our hearts, and negotiate a peaceful resolution to the culture wars. Combining accounts of rationalists' spiritual awakenings and consciousness explorations by philosophers, neuroscientists, and mystics within a framework of the history of science and religion, Kripal compellingly signals a path to mending our fractured world. Jeffrey J. Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University and is the associate director of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He has previously taught at Harvard Divinity School and Westminster College and is the author of eight books, includingThe Flip. He lives in Houston, Texas.… (more)



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It is sometimes taboo in intelligent circles to admit you believe in ESP or other extra normal phenomena. In Flip, the author shows again and again that educated and celebrated scientists and authors have had these experiences also. They too are often reluctant to admit them, but while rare, these experiences are often life changing. Having had a handful of such experiences in my own lifetime, I am happy that J. Krippal has done the research to bring these stories to light. He debunks many of the common critiques re the untestability of ESP and brings out the human side of these encounters. An enjoyable and educational read.
  DBerger00 | Mar 4, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have read books like this, but have to say that this is the best I have read on the subject. I think the title fits the first part of the book. I can see with the wonderful stories the author, Jeffrey J. Kripal, is helping the reader gain insight on life experiences that can’t be explained by modern science that has “Flipped” those with “Abnormal” experiences to look at what seems beyond normal. Those things that science seems to fail to explain and have been written off. I think the rest of the book is a good argument for the duality of science or matter and consciousness. Instead of flipping, it was more helping people like me understand principles that are needed to argue his point that we need to look at what science can’t explain yet and may never explain based on its current focus.
I was a little disappointed with Kripal’s neutrality between the secular and religious. I understand why he kept a neutral position when it came to discussing the abnormal. He wished to engage all possible options to conciseness. He did not side with religion and he used many respected philosophers who fathered the field of science. People who did not embrace religion yet did experience something that brought their attention to something more. Again, I understand this is because the author wants to keep this experience of something more open to any possibility not ruling out something as to avoid what science is currently doing, which is rule out anything it can’t explain.
I only wished it would have a least shown more of the parallels in religion as the author is an expert in the field of religion. If only to say that some of the observers of consciences of religious nature at the very least have observed and recorded in religion these paranormal experiences and in turn has captured things such as a “God” who may be omnipresent. A concept which quantum physics has proven possible through entanglement. I am not saying he should commit to religion, but at least recognize or give credit to the observers outside the scientific window.
This book has helped me understand more about quantum physics and the implications of these discoveries that I could have thought possible. He clearly has a great understanding of the material. I think he has a great understanding of the future of exploration of matter and consciences. I think he has taken the theories of the past great minds and have updated there thinking through the most current studies and observations of science. He has shown the benefits of science as well as the short comings of science and makes a great argument of how we need to move forward with our observation and not ignore what hasn’t been explained by current means of exploration.
I am not sure this review gives justice to the amount of information that the author has condensed into a reasonable read. Kripal has proven to be extremely intelligent and well researched. He seems to have a great understanding of where we are and where we are going. If science can heed the words of this book, the future of exploration can get very exciting. ( )
  Randy_Landes | Mar 4, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Aside from its flippant title, Jeffrey Kripal's book The Flip ; Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, essays a new world view now forming around the idea of consciousness as a dimension of the natural world or cosmos, wherein "the cosmos is not just human [but] the human is also cosmic."

Professor Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Chair of Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, Houston, Texas, and an Associate at the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California, argues for a new outlook, pre-and post- scientific, that is in a long tradition of enlightened skepticism going back to the pre-Socratics and perhaps most recently articulated by the thought of Thomas S. Kuhn in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and its discussion of paradigm shifts in thought that include social and political background as well as development of "pure" scientific hypotheses.

Following the Prologue: The Human Cosmos

Chapter 1, Visions of the Impossible

Chapter 2, Flipped Scientists

Chapter 3, Consciousness and Cosmos

Chapter 4, Symbols in between

Chapter 5, The Future (Politics) of Knowledge

Epilogue: The Cosmic Human

= = =
. ( )
  chuck_ralston | Feb 28, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The first three-fourths of Kripal's text is taken up largely by accounts of individuals' experiences which are inconsistent with a materialist understanding of reality. Examples of precognition, telepathy, and other paranormal events are offered up as evidence that materialism as a philosophy has failed and that consciousness pervades the universe. Kripal is particularly impressed by the fact that some of these accounts are from respected scientists. Many of the stories will be familiar to readers who have explored the literature on the paranormal and those that are new add little to one's general sense that, indeed, strange and inexplicable things happen in the world. Kripal seeks to link such events, at least by analogy, to quantum physics which is, to many people, similarly strange and inexplicable but this connection is never spelled out and was, to this reader, unconvincing.

Kripal also seeks to use the topic as a platform for the importance of the humanities, arguing that the humanities have always offered a way of knowing that is not limited to empirical, sense-experience.

In the final chapter, "The future (politics) of knowledge," Kripal offers the clearest statement of his position on "consciousness and the cosmos." Here he provides insights that were new to this reader and that justified the time invested in the book.
  Doswald53 | Feb 28, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When reviewing a book like this which is outside my comfort zone, I keep reminding myself that it should not come across as a peer review. I am not a peer of Kripal and have no standing to criticize his theses or challenge his conclusions. I can, however, give my takeaways from reading the book, as painful as it was.

The book can be divided into three parts although the chapters are not grouped that way. The first part consists of a collection of anecdotes (a word the author resents) of para-normal experiences by both lay persons and scientist, mostly neuroscientists. The concept of ‘flipping’ is introduced although the crispness of Kripal’s definition is not there and continues to be eroded throughout the rest of the book. Flipping is either (a) the flash of consciousness that comes when an event is experienced or recollected that cannot be explained other than as the work of an unknown force or intelligence—the ‘pre-membrance’ of an event that had not yet happened, for example or (b) the realization that such experiences are valid expressions of an alternate reality. The flip occurs when it is suddenly realized that consciousness is not confined ‘in here’ but is ‘out there’ as well. Building a construct on these anecdotes is akin to a statistician ignoring good data and concentrating on the outliers. There is nothing intrinsically wrong—outliers may be indicative of something else going on, but by doing so an added burden is placed on the proponent to make sense of it.

The second part takes on a different tenor; Kripal introduces the concept of cosmic consciousness. The idea of a cosmic consciousness is not new. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit paleontologist, wrote of it around 1925. Kripal puts a quantum gloss on Teilhard’s noosphere and bends it more toward the humanities and away from the confines of science. Another difference is that Teilhard contends that we are evolving toward cosmic consciousness and Kripal says that we, or some people, are already tapped into it. My problem with Kripal and Teilhard’s discussions of cosmic consciousness is that consciousness is never satisfactorily defined. I expected to hear Kripal’s definition but it never came. I finally realized that his definition was entwined in his text. When a word like ‘consciousness’ is defined, a border is built around it. Kripal’s concept of consciousness is unbounded—especially by science; appending ‘cosmic’ removes boundaries.

In this section, he also discusses the roles of the two hemisphere of the brain in expressions of consciousness. That topic was the subject of “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” by Julian Jaynes published in 1976.

The third ‘theme’ of the book is an attempt by Kripal to apply the concepts developed in the earlier parts to the present day political world. He would have been better off to have omitted this part. (I caught a typo when rereading that last sentence—I typed a ‘v’ in front of ‘omitted’.) He insinuates that ‘conservatives’ are the world’s great “unflipped”. The massive leap from his earlier arguments caught me off-guard. ‘Fuzzy’ (his word) liberal ideas detract from the intellectual tenor of the work.

My impression is that the three parts of the book were derived independently and the author attempted to stitch them together using ‘flipped’ as a common thread. It did not work; it is still disjointed.

An undercurrent flowing throughout the book that periodically rose to the surface is a rift between the schools of humanities and of the science and technologies in today’s universities mainly over the competition for resources. Real or unreal, airing the issue in a work of this nature is unbecoming. It detracts from its main thrust and places it in the context of academia. Is Kripal’s intent to present a meaningful discourse on consciousness or to present his case in a debate between two ivory towers? Cloaking his argument with terms like ‘quantum’ and ‘cosmic’ may seem erudite but is not persuasive. Lincoln once remarked that calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t mean it has five legs. Calling a tail a leg does not make it so.

Putting negativity aside, I believe Kripal has contributed to a fuller understanding of consciousness and who we are in a cosmic sense. I am unqualified to judge the effectiveness of his presentation. ( )
2 vote WCHagen | Feb 26, 2019 |
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