Dr. Jeffrey Kripal Explores the Erotic in the Mystical & Religious |369|

#1
Dr. Jeffrey Kripal Explores the Erotic in the Mystical & Religious |369|
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Dr. Jeff Kripal’s new book connects his interests in the paranormal and erotic elements of mystical religion.

photo by: Skeptiko
(Indian music plays on bus as tour operator speaks) Alright, so welcome to Tantra Tour: The Heart of India.

That’s tantra guru, Laurie Handlers from the film, Tantric Tourists. She’s telling her brave band of loyal tourists how her tips for a better sex life can lead to spiritual enlightenment.

(Laurie Handlers) In tantra we use our sexual energy to fuel our bodies with our vital life force…

Well, at least if we can get the guys to go along…

From then, they’re usually shooting it out and when they shoot it out it robs them of their vital life force. So in tantra, men learn to experience their sexual energy internally, like women already naturally do.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to throw Laurie under the tour bus. As you’ll hear from today’s guest, the very excellent Dr. Jeffrey Kripal, the link between the esoteric and the erotic goes a lot deeper than we think.

In this interview, Jeff and I not only talk about his new book, Secret Body, but also the role that academics are playing in this struggle we have over religion and spirituality. We talk about UFOs since Jeff has done some incredible work in this area. But the main focus of this interview is the connection between the esoteric and the erotic, the moral and the stuff that we maybe, sometimes, too quickly discard as being immoral.

Alex Tsakiris: Is there a hierarchal nature to consciousness, because there sure as hell seems to be? I mean, that’s what all the near-death experience research says, research says. That’s what the past lives research says. That’s what the medium research says. It says there’s a hierarchical structure to consciousness.

Dr. Jeffrey Kripal: Sometimes people have profound life-changing religious experiences in situations, which are dangerous or deadly or traumatic, and sometimes, deeply charismatic spiritual teachers, who can change people instantly with a touch or a look, can also engage in abusive, sexual abusive or physical abusive behaviors.

What I’ve seen over the years is people who want to say that it’s all either pure light and happiness and love or it’s all nonsense, it’s not real. What I’m trying to plead for is, actually it’s messier than that and sometimes we can have profound religious experiences in amoral or even immoral situations.

Stay with me, my interview with Dr. Jeffrey Kripal is up next on Skeptiko.
 
#2
@Alex If I right click the download button (to download the actual mp3 file) I get the previous show no 368 instead of 369.

If however I click the play button, I get the correct show.

David
 
#3
@Alex If I right click the download button (to download the actual mp3 file) I get the previous show no 368 instead of 369.

If however I click the play button, I get the correct show.

David
hey David... I think I messed up the numbering a bit... but I think all the links work. I don't find any links to antti in this episode, right?
 
#4
Right - you are right, but for anyone who downloads and keeps the podcasts, it would be nice to sort out the numbers.

Unfortunately, I think JK has become mesmerised by his idea that absolutely everything is a story. I thought your brief political rant hit the mark. I mean, at a time when many educational institutions seem to have come down hard on one side of the argument convulsing America - even to the extent of letting thugs 'no-platform' speakers they don't like, his words on that subject seemed pretty weak.

I have thought for a long time that sex must have some deep connection with consciousness. I mean superficially the things that go on in the bedroom can be seen as irrelevant to anything, and yet they affect people in such deep ways. Unfortunately, at least in the podcast, JK didn't say anything much about that.

I feel JK is in danger of speaking in such a roundabout way, that he says very little - plain speaking has real value.

David
 
#5
I'm not sure how or why he can claim to know that good spiritual encounters and bad spiritual encounters are of the same hand. But to be honest, Im not sure exactly what he means when he says that. I agree when he says that negative experiences are real and valid. There are some people who dismiss distressing NDE's somewhat like this: "Well these people are just in a bad frame of mind and are seeing and experiencing the state of their mind and they are just purging the negative of their life etc and thats all it is." They aren't comfortable with the reality of dNDE's , so they write them off as less real. I don't buy that. I think there are negative forces and good forces in play and distressing NDE's data and demonic encounters bear witness to this. Just as good NDE's and good spiritual experiences bear witness to the good. What seems plain to me is that there is good and bad in the world, and there is good and bad in the spiritual realm.

But why would they be the same thing? He stated that there are religious figures who can change and affect somebody in a profound and great way just by touching them or speaking to them, but that the next day he might be off molesting a little boy. He seemed to use that example to suggest that good and bad spiritual experiences are the same. It seems rather to me that this is evidence that "good" people can do "bad' things. It doesnt even begin to suggest that good and bad spiritual experiences are the same thing. The very example he used outright suggested the existence of a dichotomy in the first place. I'm not sure exactly what he means by this as he didn't go into great depths concerning that idea, but on the surface I don't see how that adds up to good and bad spiritual experiences being, "sides of the same coin." In a sense (and maybe this is what he actually meant), he's totally right as they are both part of the spiritual realm. But it seems evident that they oppose each other. This is ESPECIALLY borne out through the data of demonic encounters where people are tormented and Priests or white witches or a Shaman (those who claim to be of good or representing good) come in to drive the demonic forces out. That is a subject I used to study quite obsessively (see my thread on it) and I can tell you guys that those types of things do happen and they happen more than we might think, and the testimony of these events are just as strong as the NDE testimonial evidence. In a similar way, a great percentage of dNDE's end with "rescue" from the torment by benevolent and loving forces. It seems that the "good" side is overwhelmingly stronger and more common "at least in spiritual experience" than the "bad" side is. But they both seem apparently real and at odds with each other.
 
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#7
Right - you are right, but for anyone who downloads and keeps the podcasts, it would be nice to sort out the numbers.

Unfortunately, I think JK has become mesmerised by his idea that absolutely everything is a story. I thought your brief political rant hit the mark. I mean, at a time when many educational institutions seem to have come down hard on one side of the argument convulsing America - even to the extent of letting thugs 'no-platform' speakers they don't like, his words on that subject seemed pretty weak.

I have thought for a long time that sex must have some deep connection with consciousness. I mean superficially the things that go on in the bedroom can be seen as irrelevant to anything, and yet they affect people in such deep ways. Unfortunately, at least in the podcast, JK didn't say anything much about that.

I feel JK is in danger of speaking in such a roundabout way, that he says very little - plain speaking has real value.

David
I agree... there is a real lack of grounding to some of his points. It's funny how many within academia have convinced themselves that what they believe is "self-evident."
 
#8
Unfortunately, I think JK has become mesmerised by his idea that absolutely everything is a story. I thought your brief political rant hit the mark. I mean, at a time when many educational institutions seem to have come down hard on one side of the argument convulsing America - even to the extent of letting thugs 'no-platform' speakers they don't like, his words on that subject seemed pretty weak.
I think Jeff was going for the idea that most academic institutions try, in principal at least, to be more tolerant of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, etc than organized religions have to be. Religions get a free pass on discrimination, and that seems wrong to me, but they do and it's kind of entrenched in society that they can get away with such things. Maybe they don't burn witches anymore, but religion is still quite nasty at times.

That being said, I've had far more personal experience of misogyny from dealings with academics and academic institutions than I have from dealings with religious people or religious institutions. And I would also have to say that even my experiences dealing with sexual harassment from serving in the military pale in comparison with what I had to deal with as a university student. Women tend to be treated rather badly in academia, particularly in science. Academics don't want to know if the professor down the hall is a rapist. The universities definitely don't want anything bad coming to light about one of their esteemed faculty members. There is a tendency towards willful blindness and outright hostility if anyone challenges the status quo at a major university.
 
#9
I think Jeff was going for the idea that most academic institutions try, in principal at least, to be more tolerant of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, etc than organized religions have to be. Religions get a free pass on discrimination, and that seems wrong to me, but they do and it's kind of entrenched in society that they can get away with such things. Maybe they don't burn witches anymore, but religion is still quite nasty at times.

That being said, I've had far more personal experience of misogyny from dealings with academics and academic institutions than I have from dealings with religious people or religious institutions. And I would also have to say that even my experiences dealing with sexual harassment from serving in the military pale in comparison with what I had to deal with as a university student. Women tend to be treated rather badly in academia, particularly in science. Academics don't want to know if the professor down the hall is a rapist. The universities definitely don't want anything bad coming to light about one of their esteemed faculty members. There is a tendency towards willful blindness and outright hostility if anyone challenges the status quo at a major university.
That’s sadly a part of all the America in almost every field. Part of the reason women are afraid to come forward and how “victim shaming” is born. It’s changing though, slowly.
 
#11
From the transcript:
I think what you’ve just articulated is frankly part of the problem, it’s a false equivalency. You can always find examples on any side that are extreme and easy to make fun of, but I think it’s a false equivalency to point to the kind of, far right-wing propaganda that really controls so much of our public conversation today, and higher education, which is really about having conversations. Yes, there are excessive moments in higher education, but it’s really not the same thing at all.


"Heterodox Academy was founded in September 2015 to call attention to this trend [lack of conservatives in academia] and the problems it is causing for scholarship, particularly in the social sciences and related fields (such as law and public policy)."

https://heterodoxacademy.org/problems/
American universities have leaned left for a long time. That is not a serious problem; as long as there are some people with a different political perspective in every field and every department, we can assume that eventually, someone will challenge claims that reflect ideology more than evidence.

But things began changing in the 1990s as the Greatest Generation (which had a fair number of Republicans) retired and were replaced by the Baby Boom generation (which did not). As the graph below shows, in the 15 years between 1995 and 2010 the academy went from leaning left to being almost entirely on the left. (The 12% in the red line for 2014 is mostly made up of professors in schools of engineering and other professional schools; the percent conservative for the major humanities and social science departments is closer to 5%. For more data on these trends and the rising imbalance, seeGross & Simmons, 2007;Inbar & Lammers, 2012; see latest study,Langbert et al. 2016, here; see many older links here).


Data from Higher Education Research Institute, based on a survey of college faculty conducted every other year since 1989. Plotted by Sam Abrams.

Heterodox Academy was founded in September 2015 to call attention to this trend and the problems it is causing for scholarship, particularly in the social sciences and related fields (such as law and public policy). The word heterodoxmeans “not conforming with accepted or orthodox standards of beliefs.” We chose that word to contrast with “orthodoxy,” which refers to conforming with accepted norms and beliefs. Orthodoxy has religious connotations, but it can be applied to any view that becomes dogma or dogmatic, such as “orthodox Marxism,” “social constructionist orthodoxy,” or “free market orthodoxy.”
Jonathan Haidt: Universities Are Digging Their Own Graves


In his book The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, Mark Lilla, professor of humanities at Columbia University, a liberal, explains how progressive students have been intellectually damaged by identity politics:
(Excerpt by Ed Driscoll)
https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2017/09/15/lilla-after-identity-politics-review/)
As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.

Adam MacLeod wrote in Undoing the Dis-Education of Millennials
http://newbostonpost.com/2017/11/09/undoing-the-dis-education-of-millennials/
I teach in a law school. For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors.

According to Camilla Turner writing in telegraph.co.uk:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...ive-taught-schools-fuels-anxiety-young-women/
"Dr Joanna Williams, a lecturer in higher education at Kent University ...
... said that if girls are instilled with a mindset of victimhood at a young age, it can set them back later in life. “When women go out into the world of work and experience obstacles, rather than persevering they think ‘oh these are the insurmountable barriers I was told about'."

...

Dr Williams said that the narrative continues at university where students are told that there is a "rape culture" or some kind of "epidemic" of sexual assault on campus.
...

“It is very difficult for women to present themselves as powerful, strong and capable if they think they need to be wary and anxious," she said.

4:25
Camille Paglia: “It’s really started at the level of public school education. I’ve been teaching now for 46 years as a classroom teacher, and I have felt the slow devolution of the quality of public school education in the classroom.”

...

“What has happened is these young people now getting to college have no sense of history – of any kind! No sense of history. No world geography. No sense of the violence and the barbarities of history. So, they think that the whole world has always been like this, a kind of nice, comfortable world where you can go to the store and get orange juice and milk, and you can turn on the water and the hot water comes out. They have no sense whatever of the destruction, of the great civilizations that rose and fell, and so on – and how arrogant people get when they’re in a comfortable civilization. They now have been taught to look around them to see defects in America – which is the freest country in the history of the world – and to feel that somehow America is the source of all evil in the universe, and it’s because they’ve never been exposed to the actual evil of the history of humanity. They know nothing!”

~2:04
Camille Paglia: My generation of the 1960's, when I arrived in college in 1964 there were parietal rules in place so that the women in my dorm had to sign in at 11:00 at night. The men could run free. It was my generation that rose up and said that we wanted to be treated equally and we want freedom. And the colleges said the world is a dangerous place. You could be attacked you could be raped. We said, "Give us the freedom to risk rape. Freedom is much more important than protection and safety. And that's what young people have given up today.

~5:59
Christina Hoff Sommers: And right now the fashion is the identity politics, intersectionality, this is all the rage, and its the premise of this theory it's the idea that all the oppressions intersect with one another and form this matrix of oppression. And so young people in a typical gender studies class now learn that they inhabit a society that is this matrix of oppression and depending on your identity you might be advantaged so you have unearned privilege or you might be burdened because of your race or maybe your disability or your gender or preference and on and on. But underneath it all is this assumption that the United States is a white supremacist imperialist capitalist patriarchal oppressive society. And in order to liberate ourselves we have to, I don't even know what they want to do - because it's all - maybe blame one another and form - have little feuds, on social media and on campus.
 
#12
"Can we talk about something like morality when it comes to the spiritual or is that another dimension that we can't touch and shouldn't try and apply our very human perception on what's going on there?"

From the transcript
Dr. Jeffrey Kripal: Here’s what we have. Here’s what we have. We have people’s experiences. We have lots of experiences, and that’s what I do, as a scholar of religion, I study people’s experiences. So, when I talk about the UFO phenomena, I don’t talk about recovered craft, because I don’t know anything about it. I talk about people’s experiences of abduction or sightings or encounters, because those do, in fact, look just like the religious encounters in the past, and I can say something about that, because that’s my area. I actually can speak to that.
I think you have to be careful to avoid mixing up different categories: spiritual, myth, and alien. You have to consider morality separately for each category. And different people will have different opinions on what is myth. So if you are going to say something on spirituality and morality, you have to be very specific about how you define spiritual.

My belief, based on the reports of NDErs and evidential mediums, is that the afterlife consists of different regions with different characteristics. People go to regions where they will be among like minded people. This is more a law of nature than a judgement. Death does not automatically turn you into a saint. But anytime someone wants to work their way up to the higher levels, they will receive the assistance they need to do so.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-and-links-arranged-by-subject.html#articles_by_subject_like
 
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#13
I think Jeff was going for the idea that most academic institutions try, in principal at least, to be more tolerant of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, etc than organized religions have to be. Religions get a free pass on discrimination, and that seems wrong to me, but they do and it's kind of entrenched in society that they can get away with such things. Maybe they don't burn witches anymore, but religion is still quite nasty at times.

That being said, I've had far more personal experience of misogyny from dealings with academics and academic institutions than I have from dealings with religious people or religious institutions. And I would also have to say that even my experiences dealing with sexual harassment from serving in the military pale in comparison with what I had to deal with as a university student. Women tend to be treated rather badly in academia, particularly in science. Academics don't want to know if the professor down the hall is a rapist. The universities definitely don't want anything bad coming to light about one of their esteemed faculty members. There is a tendency towards willful blindness and outright hostility if anyone challenges the status quo at a major university.
You can find bad apples in any group, but Spiritualism and Buddhism (and others) are tolerant of all beliefs including atheism. Lumping all religions together is unfair.

And when it comes to sexual harassment, women get the free pass ( they are shielded from criticism ):
https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/?s=teach+women+not+to+rape
https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/?s=teach+women+not+to+lie+about+rape
 
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#15
You are so full of crap.
I don't know what Jim was referring to, but here in the UK, we have had a case where a young man was accused of rape, and spent two years awaiting trial, with all the opprobrium from his peers that you might expect. Fortunately the truth cam out just before the trial, and he was acquitted completely of any offence. The complainant (who is still anonymous) liked to engage in some sort of pretend rape play. She messaged her friends to explain how much she was into this guy because he was willing to perform in these pretend rape scenarios. The police had acquired her phone, and one particular officer had read these particular texts, and decided that they weren't relevant to the rape charge.

It would seem that her accusation was either revenge because he had discontinued their relationship, or - who knows - that she wanted to actually feel her (pretend) victim-hood.

Yes, I know, this case must be one of a tiny minority of cases, but it does illustrate that if you start with the assumption that the man is always guilty as accused, you will generate some horrible injustices.

I guess the other lesson from this case, is that men should run a mile from women with this sort of interest!

Far more men then women are bad, but nevertheless there are exceptions.

David
 
#16
Dr. Jeffrey Kripal: Here’s what we have. Here’s what we have. We have people’s experiences. We have lots of experiences, and that’s what I do, as a scholar of religion, I study people’s experiences. So, when I talk about the UFO phenomena, I don’t talk about recovered craft, because I don’t know anything about it. I talk about people’s experiences of abduction or sightings or encounters, because those do, in fact, look just like the religious encounters in the past, and I can say something about that, because that’s my area. I actually can speak to that.
I feel that is a cop-out. Surely if someone researches UFO's, they must come to some idea about whether there is physical evidence for these phenomena? Indeed, I seem to remember that in his book with Whitney Strieber, he actually discusses various artefacts implanted in people's bodies!

David
 
#17
Yes, I know, this case must be one of a tiny minority of cases
This is exactly the point, David. This is why I liked K9's post calling Jim full of it - because he (and now you) choose to focus on the tiny minority of cases in which men are falsely accused of rape by women, instead of the vast majority of cases where women's claims of being raped by men are true, with many of those cases either going unreported to police or failing to result in justice. You must know that you're doing this, because you admit as much in that which I quoted, and if you reflected just a little, you would realise that you are simply revealing a shocking bias.
 
#18
Jonathan Haidt: Universities Are Digging Their Own Graves
I liked this video, but I think he was (hopefully) wrong about President Trump. He pitched his inaugural address to the masses of Americans who have had such a rotten deal in recent times - he wasn't delivering a scholarly exposition of his views!

Haidt's views seemed too narrow, partly perhaps because of ignorance. For example, he didn't seem to realise the incredible corruption in the US, which has led to the US actually funding and supplying terrorist groups in the Middle East. I assume this terrible scandal is still not fully in the open.

More generally, perhaps another reason why the colleges have gone so far 'left', is as a reaction to G.W. BUSH. I mean, here was a man who started a war on false pretences, and then lost it (roughly speaking). US conservatives also often hold hateful views about homosexuality, and sex in general. However Trump doesn't seem to be that type of person, even if he has been forced to make a few nods in that direction to retain effective power.

David
 
#19
This is exactly the point, David. This is why I liked K9's post calling Jim full of it - because he (and now you) choose to focus on the tiny minority of cases in which men are falsely accused of rape by women, instead of the vast majority of cases where women's claims of being raped by men are true, with many of those cases either going unreported to police or failing to result in justice. You must know that you're doing this, because you admit as much in that which I quoted, and if you reflected just a little, you would realise that you are simply revealing a shocking bias.
I chose to focus on the fact that any sane police officer must have known that this wasn't rape, and dealt with the matter accordingly. Suppose someone made a false rape allegation against you. Would you really be happy if the police assumed you were guilty, and ignored evidence to the contrary?

Allowing terrible injustices of this sort to happen, will not help any of the women who are raped and who want redress.

David
 
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