Here are the participants of the Esalen symposium I attended. The official title was "On the Supernormal and the Superpower" and talks were scheduled as to progress from the study of supernatural and super-normal phenomena in real life to their echoes in pop culture, in this case, superhero comics and movies. There were a number of different topics covered, and I must say I found every single presentation absolutely fascinating. What's more, every speaker's presentation fed directly into my own presentation, which was rescheduled for the end of the symposium in a distinctly synchronistic fashion.
All of the people were dedicated professionals, and also warm and friendly human beings. Many of them are professionals who struggle against the deadening power of the corporate academy, and use their collective revulsion towards reductionist materialism as fuel to plunge deeper into their respective pursuits. As I said, I believe you'll all be able to read summaries of the various presentations on the Esalen website, but in the meantime you can check out some of the work the participants are involved in.
Though Grant Morrison was scheduled to speak, he was unable to attend because of a family emergency.
First row (l to r): Psi researcher Dean Radin, MUFON investigator Brenda Denzler, Parapsychologist Bertrand Meheust.
Second row (l to r): U of C Divinity professor Wendy Doniger, writing professor and Lovecraft scholar Victoria Nelson, comics artist and Gnostic scholar Ramona Fradon, Marvel Comics legend Roy Thomas and Esalen trustee Dulce Murphy.
Third row (l to r): Esalen founder Michael Murphy, comics scholar Arlen Schumer, coordinator Walter Tanner, CIIS professor Jorge Ferrer, comics writer Dann Thomas, BU religion professor Donna Freitas
Fourth row (l to r): Psi legend Russell Targ, yours truly (having a bad hair day), Penn State professor emeritus David Hufford, living legend Jacques Vallee, and master of ceremonies, Rice religion chair Jeff Kripal.
As I've said, these heavy-hitters were all very receptive to the Synchromystic idea. I hit them with Kirby's precognition of the Face on Mars, the Gulf Wars and 9/11, delved into his unconscious psychedelia and fascination with ancient astronaut theory and Mesoamerican mythology, and the eerie parallels between his later art and the visionary art of the Ayahuasca shamans.
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