A lecture by Jeffrey Kripal that will focus on three texts: Philip K. Dick's VALIS (1981), Whitley Strieber's COMMUNION (1987), and Barbara Ehrenreich's LIVING WITH A WILD GOD (2014). In each case, we will see how the author describes a deeply personal, life-changing encounter with what any earlier culture would have recognized as a deity or demon. Kripal offers a new set of evolutionary panpsychisms, erotic vitalisms, and biological polytheisms that pose a challenge to the reigning materialisms and projection theories of conventional science and the humanities.
Jeffrey Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is the author of several books including, Comparing Religions (2014), Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction and Super Hero Comics and the Paranormal (2011), and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (2010).