The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge

Jeffrey Kripal, Department of Religion, Rice University, Houston


This lecture is an optimistic and hopeful observation about a tipping point, about the future — be it near or far — of a new worldview or public culture that is presently forming around the epiphany of mind as a fundamental feature of physical reality. And I do mean epiphany. I mean to point toward a scattered but consistent set of stories about extreme, life-changing "impossible" experiences that intellectuals, scientists and medical professionals have been reporting for centuries now but have written about with increasing visibility and effect only over the last couple decades. This tipping point is also a flipping point. As these stories so dramatically demonstrate, a radically new world can appear with the simplest of "flips" or reversals of perspective (from "the outside" of things to "the inside" of things, from "the object" to "the subject"), and this without surrendering a iota of our remarkable scientific, technological and medical advances. Materialism is not wrong. It is simply half-right. We know that mind is mattered. What these stories suggest is that matter is also minded. This is what I call "the flip".