Chris Knowles of Secret Sun on the Met Gala Psyop |381|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 29, 2018.

  1. morvern_c

    morvern_c New

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    Personally I'm a big fan of Chris's blog. You have to approach it with the idea that he's analysing culture and symbols and mythology.....it's bound to be messy and confusing and not in neat lines.

    Also, if you read it with a materialist mindset, where coincidences are just coincidences and everything that happens happens accidentally. ...well it's not going to make a jot of sense to you.

    Oh and if you've never heard of The Cocteau Twins that would also be a large stumbling block.
     
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  2. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Our understanding of Light and Darkness is antagonisitc to each other, Charlie: what you perceive as Light (Tradition and Authority), I perceive as Darkness that an Awakened (Wo)man(kind) should overcome to manifest his / her / its own Spiritual Light. And what I perceive as Light (Innovation and Rebellion), your perceive as Darkness, as something Luciferian.

    Reminds me of the one of my very favourite thinkers and experiencers, Russian philosopher-mystic Nikolai Berdyaev. He was a Chrisitan, but a highly unusual one, since in his mystical philosophy / philosophical mystique the traditional roles of the God and the Devil were inverted. For Berdyaev, it is the Devil who is the Cosmic Tyrant of Darkness, while the God was in the beginning born from this very Darkness, yet rebelled against it and the Devilish Dictatorship which ruled over it, by willfully igniting within himself Divine Light of rebellious and innovative Freedom. The God then provided this Light as a gift to the Man, so the Man would also feel the same drive of the insurrectionary Freedom, break the chains of the Devil's Law that keeps him in his place and join with the God in the willful rebellion against the Tradition and Authority, which are manifestations not of the God (as they deceptively claim), but of the Devil.

    It should be noted that Berdyaev, who lived during the decline of the old Russian Empire, also was a Libertarian Socialist; among his circle of friends were a lot of revolutionaries, including armed ones, who fought against the Russian Empire by the acts of force (and ultimately triumphed over it); while the Russian Orthodox Church, that was the integral part of the Traditional Authority of the Empire, perceived him as a dangerous heretic and denounced him. He also was the part of the throughtly Westernised Russian imperial aristocracy, which massively turned against the Empire being inspired by the multitude of philosophical and / or spiritual, rebellious groups and causes. It was such aristocratic spiritual and / or philosophical revolutionaries who were the leaders of the two subsequent Russian Revolutions in the 1917 (as well as the failed "zeroth" Revolution of 1905 - 1907, when a massive armed insurrection, largely inspired and lead by aristocratic philosophers and mystics, was crushed by the Empire).

    Each one of us should make a fundamental choice of one's Path by answering a question: what is the true Light? Is it Innovation and Rebellion, or Tradition and Authority? I chose the former; my Light burns on the Path of Progress. You, Charlie, chose the latter; your Light glows on the Path of Reaction. So, our Lights are not just different, but directly opposite to each other, and each of us perceive his Light as the true one.
     
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  3. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    I had a chance to listen to the Jack Hunter interview at Rune Soup, as Alex mentioned in this episode, to try and get more of a handle on the idea of bracketed reality. They talked about how an influential anthropologist observed a ritual with a particular tribe in Africa early in her career, and was holding herself back from fully participating. She was trying to be an objective observer, and so she experienced it more from her Western anthropologist bracket. Then, many years later, she returned. And this time, she participated in the ritual, and let go of some her Western anthropologist bracket, and participated physically, emotionally, etc. Instead of just observing, she joined in dancing, singing, clapping, crying, etc. And lo and behold, she had a powerful experience where she saw a spirit leaving the person who was being healed, and later, they discovered that the spirit had turned into a tooth in the jar where it had been captured.

    So on the Rune Soup interview, Gordon talks about removing brackets, (or removing dams) and flooding the self with broader mystical/spiritual experience. The idea seems to be that there's aspects of the Western mind, the structure of an individual personality and cognitive apparatus, that holds mystical/spiritual experience at bay. And if we can figure out how to be less specifically bracketed, then we can be in touch with a greater reality. So that's my interpretation, for what it's worth. ;)

    I think this can be a powerful model to use to consider the questions that are tossed around on the show and in the forum. I think it's a good idea to observe our brackets or perspectives, our worldviews, our favorite ideas, our models, and to gain some facility in turning the volume up or down on the different perspectives and ideas and even behaviors that influence our experience.

    One thing about removing brackets and flooding the self with spiritual experience, is that the brackets that are removed may be the same brackets that connect a person deeply to some core aspect of materialist scientist culture.

    Jeffrey Kripal explores the concept of brackets in The Super Natural, the book he did with Strieber. He calls it phenomonology, and, if I recall correctly, it's about letting experience happen without drowning it out with certain flavors of materialist analysis. He refers to it as "making the cut." I believe it's a technique for reflecting on experience with a more intentional use of perspectives or brackets that are available to the person.

    Raymond Moody's "logic of nonsense" material is related to these ideas of brackets, too. I think he would agree that putting all one's energy into dropping brackets so that one can flood oneself with spiritual experience is all well and good, and would be personally meaning for individual people. But that approach alone won't be effective for ultimately changing the core materialism that has been so resistant to paradigm shift. For thousands of years, mystics have been sharing stories of unbracketed mystical experiences, but some core materialism still remains. I think Moody would suggest that more intentional work within that powerful materialist bracket has to happen from the inside out, and you can't do that work if you've just dropped the bracket entirely.
     
  4. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    Resulting in decades of poverty, gulags, and the murder of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

    Sit down sometime and perform this simple calculation. Tabulate the negative effects of rebelling against Reason and the Order of the Universe. Sum all the famine, disease, war, genocide, immorality, depravity, unhappiness, and human suffering that has resulted from it.

    Now weigh that against the benefits of abiding Logos and Order: peace, families, prosperity, good health, and happiness.

    No sensible, reasonable person can argue the former is better.
     
  5. Alex

    Alex New

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    nice. and pretty darn close to what I had in mind :)
     
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  6. Alex

    Alex New

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    nice stuff. you've anticipated/pre-cog-ed a bunch of stuff my interview with Jack. You even got the Moody connection :)
     
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  7. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Does that include annoying materialist metaphysicians?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Alex

    Alex New

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    one could argue that atheists deserve an extra dose of ridicule because they're not even in the game re consciousness.
     
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  9. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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    In their defense Alex, they have no free will. Just a bunch of rebounding pool balls. Forgive them for they know not what they do.
     
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  10. malf

    malf Member

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    Sure. I guess it comes under the 2nd sub-definition below.

     
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  11. malf

    malf Member

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    Jeepers. It really never ends.

    http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180604-has-rome-declared-an-artichoke-war

     
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  12. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I had a look at the Met Gala that Chris was so exercised over. The connection with the Catholic Imagination seemed to hark back 500 years or so, unless you believe the stuff about the lifestyles of the current inhabitants of the Vatican. While some of the artistry and execution of the garments was impressive I thought the whole show seemed like a lurid fantasy that the rich and fatuous can afford to play - and self-indulgent and finally tasteless. That it was all on public display was more a measure of the gulf between 'normal folk' and the privileged few who imagine anybody actually gives a damn about their prancing around in silly costumes. I see nothing in this self-indulgent, crass and insensitive display that cannot be accounted for by the mundane and secular observation that there was nothing remarkable about any of it - sadly.

    The plundering of Catholic images to pander to the rich and fatuous is no more sinister than a sign that any collaborating bishop or cardinal has surrendered any pretence at being 'Christian' - and in many that would be no more than shrugging off the last vestiges of an already tattered and shredded credibility. It certainly was not a PR stunt to recapture the shattered faith of your average 'Catholic in the street'.

    Whatever they were thinking it was neither sensitive to, nor respectful of, the heart of the Christian faith. But the show was about the Catholic Imagination, not the Christian - and that can be a pretty dark and twisted place.

    So, Chris, no cigar on this one. Just rich vulgar people showing how little they care what we think of them - and how little they understand what we think of them.
     
  13. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    That's an awful dictionary definition of religion. It actually isn't what religion is about - but what it has become under the misguiding hands of mostly organisations who have reduced it to a level of vacuity they can manage and profit from.
     
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  14. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Was listening to my favorite podcasts on the flight to NYC last week and this new Skeptiko interview with Knowles came on. As soon as I got to the City, the friend I was first meeting told me she had tickets to the Met to see the exhibit at issue: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination -- so I got to see it all up close and personal both at the Met and the Cloisters on the same day I heard the podcast. Random coincidence or meaningful sync? :) (and no, I didn't see any 12 foot demon on the roof).

    A few thoughts after listening to the podcast/seeing the exhibit:

    1. Knowles has some interesting ideas and makes some interesting connections, but his blog Secret Sun literally gives me a headache trying to follow his line of thought. It is clearly written for a small audience with whom he is engaged in an ongoing conversation and who are apparently able to follow his stream of consciousness work. I wish he would try to write more coherent posts for a larger audience and not assume we've all been following him since the first post on the Cocteau Twins. Also, as far as I can tell, he has no way to search topics, so when Alex mentioned Johnny Depp and another post of Knowles, I could not find it. Alex, perhaps you can provide a direct link to that particular post, along with an explanation of why it was meaningful to you?

    2. There's no doubt that the entertainment/sports industries are currently rife with satanic/luciferian symbology/imagery, but the idea that this stuff is new or "blasphemous" to the Catholic Church is puzzling to me. Catholic iconography has long exposed its penchant for using hermetic/esoteric symbolism in its art, architecture, and fashion -- at least since the days of the "rediscovery" of the Corpus Hermeticum. Medieval art is drenched in astrological and alchemical themes and symbols -- along with serpents, demons, and gruesome depictions of slaughter, rape, and animal and human sacrifice. It's been in plain sight all along -- it's just that the masses are not given an education about it. As someone raised Catholic (always "felt" a darkness to it), I can assure you that the astrological, alchemical, and deeper estoteric teachings of the biblical texts were never incorporated into any mass that I had to attend. Clearly, the esoteric/mystical experience is meant only for those invited/initiated -- or for those outsiders willing to do the research and force their way towards understanding.

    3. Alex and Chris speak of "bracketed realities" -- but what does this really mean? My current thought would be that this is a similar concept to the Robert Anton Wilson/Timothy Leary "reality tunnels" concept? So that various people see the same event through their own personal lens/education/experience. So with the Met gala/exhibit, most people (the "GMA crowd") experienced this Met Gala as just another fun/decadent display of obscene wealth and frivolity by those who have $30,000 to pay for a ticket and dress like the pope or a fallen angel, while others (more intellectual atheistic materialists) saw the event and the exhibit as an interesting extension of the connection between religion/art/culture, while still others claim or intuit that there's a deeper/intentional message being conveyed through these ritualistic events so saturated with esoteric/hermetic/luciferian symbolism. Knowles suggests that the message of the Gala was to reassert the elite's dominance over the rest of us -- a clear assertion that we, the masses, are watching an elite ritual, a "convocation of the gods" -- and that we are not part of the club. This does seem to be the case -- but the question for me is: do these elite really have any better understanding of the Causarum Cognito (knowledge of the ultimate causes of reality)? Or is this all bluster and the modern way of maintaining the illusion of greater inside knowledge and thus the Divine Right to Rule?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  15. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    I think it's both.

    If you study magic you learn that there's something to it, but nobody really knows how it works.

    First Benefit: From what I can tell, practitioners can only influence event probabilities, at best - like the best you ever get, at maybe 2 - 3% in either direction. That benefit is hardly worth the large investment of time, bother, and risk IMO.

    Second Benefit: The illusion of greater insider knowledge. Most people are natural followers. They give more respect and higher social credit to Leaders they believe have special insight, special knowledge, or an inside track. That is very valuable to anyone who wants to lead.

    Think about the reverence we award experts in martial arts, medical arts, and the sciences. Good to have.
     
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  16. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I appreciated these comments as an effort to understand what Chris is about, rather than follow the eminently tempting path to just dump on him. Think Alex sees something, and he is probably puzzled why we don't see the same thing. I don't go back on my earlier comment about Chris being an artist, rather than a thinker.

    Chris responds to 'pop culture' - something I have come to find repellently facile and relentlessly targeted at the vapidly impressionable young as a cynical source of revenue. Maybe this is a function of mature age. My tender years were from the mid 60s to the mid 70s essentially, and back then occult allusions were a genuine revelation. So for me the full scale plundering of occult ideas and symbols now is very different - exploitative and derivative. And this is a narrow slice of our culture too. I guess if you dwell within the aura of that aspect of contemporary culture it can seem like all there is.

    I found Chris's assertion that he was 'psychoanalysing' contemporary culture to be frankly risible. He exhibits understanding of neither sociology not psychology, so while that claim may carry weight among his fans who understand neither it is simply ridiculous beyond. Hence while Chris may be a denizen of popular culture he is not an inhabitant of the wider cultural and social environment. The deluge of occult themes within pop culture stops at the boundaries. What is beyond is a very different world.

    So is there an occult elite driving some nefarious agenda within our culture? I do not think there is. Is there a marginally occult-literate 'elite' influencing pop culture in this manner? Probably - but for the kind of influence and exploitation that has been part of pop culture for decades.

    Is that 'evil'? Evil is a hard theme to speak to without exciting distracting objections about what the word means. Commercial influences have been exploiting and debasing youth culture for decades - and it seems to be that the evolution of media platforms has just led it to be more graphic, debased and moronic - and, yes, it will suck in the teeny boppers like a dyson. It is nastier but is it bigger?

    What Chris does not do is place his observations in the wider context. He alluded to academic publications backing his stance - but neglected to be specific. That's maybe because any such perceived support is at best a generous assessment. There is a wider context for Chris' observations covered by academia. The recent Spiritual But Not Religious conference hosted by the Harvard Divinity School is an instance. Prominent at the conference was Jeff Kripal - a 'regular' on Skeptiko. You can view part of the conference via .

    I am trying very hard not to sound like an elitist, but I have to say frankly that there is something to be said for doing an academic research degree. You learn to do proper research, craft arguments and back them up. I did my research degree after I had turned 50, so I have an appreciation of the enthusiastic 'amateur' in contrast to the enthusiastic professional. Chris is very much in the amateur class here. There may be wisdom in his art, but he hasn't developed the discipline and skills needed to turn that art into argument.

    Chris is also a neo-Gnostic, and as such he is operating to a set of assumptions that are not examined and tested, and yet which are central to the logic of his analysis. In the most generous manner this is a metaphysical theory that supposes certain moral presumptions about the nature of human reality are true. Listening to Chris is essentially no different to listening to a 'born again Christian' who assumes that the foundation of his argument is unassailable, and hence beyond argument. But in reality, if you don't know the code you can't get the message. This was the problem Alex implicitly understood. Chris had to decode his message. But the reality seems to be that he lacks the intellectual discipline and the knowledge to do so.

    I have a fundamental problem with some conspiracy theorists who assume they are blessed with a singular insight that allows them to discern truths that 'secular' or 'establishment' subject matter experts miss because they are sucked into the fog manifested by the bullshit machine of the elites. So on the one hand they want to exhibit their prowess and influence in public and on the other they obstruct the most erudite and educated - revealing their dastardly plots to a cohort of weirdly gifted outsiders.

    Now I am not saying that it is not often outsiders who 'blow the whistle' on BS the rest of us have fallen for. But that romantic role really has to be left to Hollywood. It is a nice fantasy to imagine that you are a truth hero. Einstein was a patent clerk - that kind of thing. It happens, but not so often. Chris isn't an outsider in this sense. He wrote a well-received book whose subject matter sat squarely in his native domain. That's a good thing to have done. Its more than I have done (so far). He comments on pop culture within a community that plainly respects his contribution. He should stay in that community, I think, because he lacks what it takes to thrive beyond it. He is a believer and, a such, should stay close to his community of believers. To the extent that he has an insight of use beyond that community he lacks the goods to go that far.

    I think Alex used the show as an experiment to see if he could entice Chris beyond his boundaries - beyond his art into argument. He couldn't. None of us are any good beyond our natural proclivities. Here's a lesson for us all.
     
  17. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    Hey Charlie, canny observations as usual.

    There is a fundamental paradox about probability. if you don't do your bit to make a probable event happen does that influence the chance of it happening? It is logical to say 'of course'. But some things happen regardless, or don't. So on one level magic inconsequential -m an don another necessary. Does magic work better than chance? Consider the way the Catholic Church decides on saints - 3 miracles might actually represent way less than 1% of the total number of prayers for intervention, so at what point does a 'miracle' become detached from any religious connection - given the number of atheists and sinners who also experience 'miraculous' events.

    There is a possibility that attributing an outcome to magic is the same thing. Except some kinds of magic work very differently - the intent is precise, the method exact and the outcome as anticipated. But mostly we are not that adept. For me the question is best resolved by whether you think magic is a mechanical process or a spirit one. If a spirit's cooperation is required at what level of spiritual authority is assent for success actually given?

    In a materialist model we live in a reality ordered by impersonal laws that we think obey an objective reality of intentional neutrality - because god/spirit is absent and unable to have influence. But in an animistic reality that's a different story. If you need spirits and not mechanisms you need assent and not obedience. And the idea of assent here flows into a vast complex notion of natural law and justice. Its a problem the Egyptians wrestled with millennia ago via the notion of Maat.

    The problem of free will versus predestination has not been resolved - just shoved aside as too much of a headache. You can't understand or explain magic until you sort that issue out.

    Personally I have no bloody idea what is going on. But what I do know is that what seem to be deeply improbable things can be made to happen through the application of what we generally understand as magic. And this, finally, raises the question of the nature of probability. Do we live in a reality that is fundamentally filled with delicately balanced probabilities such that nudging the odds through a magical act is all it takes? And what is sufficient to make that magical act effective? The alignment of mechanical processes or the assent of spirit?

    The apparent difficulty in making things happen in the physical world is attributed to the inherent difficulty of making the world change to meet our needs, and not to our lack of magical competence. Maybe the balance is finer than we think?

    In my view we are not within cooee of having the foggiest idea what is going on.
     
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  18. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    I think in some cases yes, but in most cases no.

    I speculate that Event Probabilities are a complex and variable amalgamation of physical factors, spiritual influence, Free Will choices, and God's Will.

    Discerning or estimating the contribution effect of each is not really possible.

    Example: A hurricane missed New Orleans, Louisiana because... Millions of people praying? a random change in a cold front in Arkansas? God feels the Big Easy needs a reminder of its mortality? Malevolent entities enjoy the fear?

    That Cannot be known. The job of humans is to simply do our best to both physically and psychically to produce the moral outcomes we desire. That's all we can do.
     
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  19. First Last

    First Last Member

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    I won't try to dispute the signifance of "syncs" or existance of an elite that wishes to control the population in part through the manipulation of popular culture but...

    Chris seems to be missing that essential gut check - where we reevaluate what we've swallowed thus far to see if we've fallen down the rabbit hole too far, too fast. I was initially intrigued (and confused) by his assertions and upon further digging, this is where I landed with Chris.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
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  20. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    Thanks for posting the video, Michael, and for your remarks about academia.

    I wonder if this flank of academia will become more influential among communities of interested folks like the community here on the Skeptiko forum?

    Alex mentioned an upcoming interview with the academic anthropologist Jack Hunter (who runs Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal) and of course, as you mention, there are the multiple interviews with Kripal. I recently listened to Gordon White's interview with George Hansen, author the Trickster and the Paranormal, over at Rune Soup. Hansen is really into certain "academic" approaches to investigating mystical or psi experiences. He talks a lot about anthropologists and philosophers like Levi Strauss, Durkheim, Derrida, Max Weber, Saussure, Foucault, and many others. And Hansen remarked that he thinks the best thinking around parapsychology is now happening in gender studies. (I was rather annoyed that Gordon did not push into the actual meat of what Hansen was talking about there.)

    I had a brush with a few of the thinkers Hansen mentions as an undergraduate years ago. Foucault in particular has some fascinating things to say about power.

    The unfortunate thing is that most of those heavy hitters in semiotics, etc, are basically unreadable, or, at the very least, very difficult to get into. I think the humanities have a lot of fascinating things to contribute to the kinds of discussions that happen here, for instance, digging into the nature of knowledge or the nature of meaning. The problem is that the humanities can also slide into tediousness and incomprehensible complexity.

    I was trying to look up more academic parapsychologists and I came across an interview with Dr. Christopher Laursen at Mysterious Universe:
    http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2018/...hds-an-interview-with-dr-christopher-laursen/

    From the interview, Christopher Laursen:
    "A recent interview I did with the anthropologist Jack Hunter reveals ways forward. Both Jack and I feel that the examining the super natural or super consciousness will benefit how we can understand ecology and non-humans as a whole. This is a crucial goal. In order to do that, we need to stop excluding data that does not fit a specific, accepted framework. To show how we live amidst the complexities of consciousness and nature, things that we may never fully understand. Might a more effective stewardship of nature and consciousness that acknowledges its great complexity emerge from these studies? My next step is to include the poltergeist as a way to reveal how humans, more broadly, marginalize aspects of nature and consciousness, much to our own detriment, in ways that limit human potential."

    I think it's an interesting perspective that Laursen is exploring. And his use of "marginalize" makes me wonder about power struggles and changing alliances within academia and in the non-academic world.

    EDIT: I got the list of philosophers George Hansen is interested in from his website, not the Rune Soup interview. I think I failed to make it clear that the Rune Soup interview didn't really get into the theories as much as it could have.

    Hansen's website:
    www.tricksterbook.com
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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