Jeff Kripal is doing yeoman's work in getting the mystical geek gospel out to the mainstream. Hot on the heels of Authors of the Impossible (which we discussed here and here), Jeff has a new book out called Mutants and Mystics in which he explores the superhero meme and its spiderweb of mystical and magical reverberations.
What's more he's working on two films with producer Scott Hulan Jones; one is a documentary on Authors of the Impossible and the other is a doc called Supernature, on Esalen and the human potential movement.
Scott's looking to raise funds for Supernature on Kickstarter, since it's impossible to get financing these days for anything that doesn't bolster corporate hegemony in all its various forms, both overt and covert.
SUPERNATURE: ESALEN AND THE HUMAN POTENTIAL is a documentary film about the influential Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and The Human Potential Movement it spawned. At a time of unprecedented political, social and ideological conflict, we believe the world would benefit from a broad, beautiful, and sophisticated exposure to the ideas and practices fostered by Esalen, particularly those that move us beyond the present schizophrenic split between religion and science.
We believe that the world is crying out for positive, even ecstatic models and ideas that can embrace the best of our religious pasts without being bound to those pasts; that can celebrate the discoveries of science without equating these discoveries with a materialism of despair and meaninglessness; and that can finally envision the human being as a conscious embodiment of the evolving cosmos. With SUPERNATURE, we hope to bring exactly this vision to a much wider audience and so play our part in the transformation and future of American culture.
We also have previously recorded interviews with Astronomer, Computer Scientist and UFO Expert Jacques Vallee, Writers Erik Davis, Mitch Horowitz, Victoria Nelson, Doug Moench, Lawrence Sutin and Christopher Knowles, Parapsychologist Dean Radin, Physicist Ed May, Professor of Religious Studies Christopher Partridge, and Medium Paul Selig.
These interviews were all filmed at the Superpowers conference at Esalen in 2009, which I wrote about in detail here. Scott and the crew are looking to do more filming in the new year, so if you want to contribute to what is sure to be a very interesting and worthwhile project definitely check out the Kickstarter page.
You can hear more of Scott's work on his podcast-- click here.
Jeff is everywhere promoting his new book, but regular readers will want to check out the Hidden Experience podcast for a more informed dialogue on how synchronicity and UFOlogy tie into the superhuman and mutant memes. Take it away, Mike C!:
The book MUTANTS AND MYSTICS explores the how comic books and science fiction are somehow intertwined with profound mystical experiences, including the UFO contact lore. This is the kinda stuff that gets my attention!
Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors, this book explores how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives.I'll be talking with Jeff sometime around Christmas as part of the Re-Enchantment Dialogues series. My goal for the blog for the foreseeable future is to explore artists and writers who incorporate magic, synchronicity and the esoteric arts into their work. I've done a whole lot of blabbing this year, writing some pretty huge posts.
Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi and the incredible powers of the comic book super hero. From gnostic revelation to alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and an awareness of the imaginal.
Now I want to leave the hermitage- virtually, at least-- and talk to people exploring the same unknown territory we've been. For the next few months, this blog will be about community-building and dialogue. And boy, do I have a corker of a dialogue coming up in the next couple of days.
Watch this space.