Dr. Rupert Sheldrake Brings Science to Spiritual Practices |376| Share Tweet SHARES0 Dr. Rupert Sheldrake finds scientific support for benefits of spiritual practices. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today I’m so happy to welcome back Dr. Rupert Sheldrake to Skeptiko. Dr. Sheldrake who has, not only appeared on Skeptiko several times over the years, but through his encouragement and guidance was really instrumental in the creation of this show, is truly one of my favorite guests to have on. So Rupert, welcome back. So good to talk to you again. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Glad to be with you again Alex. Alex Tsakiris: The reason for this visit today is this new book you’ve written, Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative Experiences and Their Effects on Our Bodies, Brains and Health. Quite a new book, and I was saying, when we were chatting about it just a minute ago, it is great to see you back out there, just really hitting the trail with this book, doing a lot of appearances. It looks like you’re doing workshops and also lectures. So, how is all of that going for you? Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Well, it’s going very well. So far, this book is only out in Britain, it’s not coming out in the US until Autumn of 2018, but most of this activity is in Britain at the moment, so I don’t have to travel very far, but there’s a huge amount of interest in this and I’m really excited about all of the themes in this book. Alex Tsakiris: There is a lot of interest. I started watching your interview with Russell Brand and I thought that was fascinating on a number of levels, how did that go? Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Well, Russell Brand is an extremely intelligent person. Here in Britain he’s very, very well-known as a comedian and as a, sort of, public intellectual. He wouldn’t like to be called that probably, but he’s very curious. He’s on a, kind of, spiritual quest himself after years of drug addiction, heroin addiction and alcohol addiction, sex addiction etc. He did a 12-step program which changed his life. He’s got a new book out himself called, Recovery, which is about recovering from addictions and he’s on a, kind of, spiritual mission at the moment. He was curious and interested about this new book of mine and we get on extremely well. We had a really good conversation. He reaches a huge audience. Alex Tsakiris: He does reach a huge audience and the other thing that I thought was interesting about the pairing and the conversation, we’ll try and link to it so everyone can see it, because it’s really a great conversation, but I think he’s this transitional, transformational kind of figure, in a lot of ways, in that pairing him with you, he’s calling bullshit on all the old atheistic, materialistic nonsense that you’ve called bullshit on for so long, but he’s doing it in a different way, coming at it from a different angle, and he’s pulling in a lot of different people. So, I think there’s an interesting synergy with that message, even though you’re coming at it from a lot of different ways. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Yes, I think so. He’s become very disillusioned with the, kind of, consumerist society, and his message about addiction is not, are you an addict or not, but where are you on the addiction spectrum? Is it just compulsive Facebook messaging etc? He sees consumerism, all these as forms of addiction. So, I’d mostly been interested in a critique of materialism as a belief system, as a world view, he’s more coming to it from materialism as a life style, a consumerist lifestyle. But, he’s extremely smart and he does get the point about the bigger intellectual picture. In fact, one reason that we did this conversation, was that a few months ago he asked if he could come and talk to me, and this was just a private meeting, just the two of us, to discuss the kind of issues I was discussing in my book, Science Set Free, The Science Delusion, because he wanted to get up to speed on some of these issues in science, and he hasn’t got a scientific background. But, I must say, in our private conversation it became very clear to me, what an incredibly quick mind he has and how quickly he assimilates things and is able to summarize them. Alex Tsakiris: That’s great, and as you eluded to, what I find is that everyone’s trying to just find a way to get to the other side, because clearly, the side, the science-as-we-know-it, the dopey materialism, has never really worked for people, but they’ve just, kind of, had to carry on because that’s been the thing. I feel like Russell Brand has just jumped over the other side and said, “Oh well, of course, some sort of spiritual deeper awareness of who we are is the only thing that makes sense,” and I think that’s a position that you’ve fought long and hard for and have, kind of, built the case for scientifically. So, it’s just an interesting way of seeing those two things come together, because I think the Russell Brand’s approach is probably where most people find themselves. I mean, most people aren’t willing to do the work, but it’s nice that when they do say, “Okay, is there anything to really support this new belief I’m growing into?” they can turn to books like yours and say, “Oh wow, there really is a basis for this new understanding I have, or an old understanding I have,” because I think it’s deep within us. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: I think so too, yes.