An interview with Jesse Turri at Home Brewed Christianity on Science, Religion, Imagination, and more…

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HERE is the interview. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I remember a wide-ranging conversation on everything from my own intellectual and spiritual development, to the relationship between science and religion, to the role of imagination and psychedelics in the philosophy of nature.

HERE is Jesse Turri’s personal website.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Bayley says:

    Nice introduction/overview of what you’re about – things I had not gathered from your Youtube vids. Hangs together really well. I have to say I don’t wholly agree with you and Jung that westerners are wired for Western spirituality. I resonate with eastern iconoclasts like Ramana and Nisargadatta, and much appreciate their focus on immediacy and clarity over sleepy ritual. Perhaps it’s their daring to be fully christ-like that does it for me (it just wouldn’t do for a christian, would it?!) And maybe christianity primes you for that kind of individual unravelling.

    1. To each his own. I do think that the East/West dichotomy is quickly unraveling as humanity continues to planetize. I’m only speaking from my personal experience of having the Christ archetype sneak up on me unexpectedly from out of the unconscious, despite the fact that consciously I’d been totally identified with Zen Buddhism and stood in opposition to so much of Christianity’s influence on modern culture.

      1. Tom Bayley says:

        If christ/buddha is something recognizable that you’re moving toward, then it’s either going to be unsatisfactory or unreachable or both… but if it is your timeless measureless root then every movement is away from it, you have it by capitulating to it. Isn’t the aim of Zen to bring you to that realisation, that the search has to be called off? Perhaps it worked for you 🙂

      2. Michael Nieman says:

        I have listened to this interview three times now, with mounting excitement and interest. I am not a trained philosopher, or even someone who went to college. I am a 59 year old man, a father, husband, grandfather, poet, car salesman, banjo player, meditator, but I have been extremely interested, in a vague unformed way, in the collapsing of philosophical dualisms, the renewal and deepening rather than abandonment of traditions and the validity of the subjective for most of my life. In the past I have found myself saying things like, “The word “nature” is already a problem because it already implies a separation” “The question of whether God exists is a nonsense question. The category “existence” in that sense doesn’t apply to God.” and “I am a Christian but don’t believe Christianity to be uniquely “true””, and that I believe the next step in human evolution involves learning how to “use” the self in the face of the understanding that the self is a useful fiction, without really knowing in any systematic way what I mean by these things. My problem, and what I am in essence seeking your advice about, although you are about a third my age, is that my reading is all over the place, I have no structure within which to write to deepen my understanding of these matters and no one really to discuss them with. There is literally no one in my life who understands the fact that philosophy, far from being some kind of extra thing that we can take or leave, is the very atmosphere in which we live and breathe and have our being, and examining it, critiquing it is maybe the most important thing we have to do. As you indicate in your dissertation, which I am trying to read, our conception of these things literally determines everything about how we live on earth. Anyway I just wanted to reach out and let you know I appreciate your work, and to see if I could get any of this down (somewhat) coherently. At my age I ofetn have the sensation that my cognitive powers are declining. It’s a bad feeling.
        Cheers.

  2. dmfant says:

    Reblogged this on synthetic_zero and commented:
    as an instrumentalist (who understands human-being as always already manipulating whatever we can grasp) I’m interested in the various attempts/trends in trans-humanism, sadly most of them fail badly on the empirical/experimental front, they just don’t work to produce the promised results and by and large this doesn’t lead their
    than being dropped as failures or at least being significantly retooled. Hopeful we will get some more maker/hacker type influences rising up thru the ranks to get to making things/modes that work.

  3. dmfant says:

    hey Matt, ‘science’ doesn’t ignore the role (necessity even) of imagination/intuition they just feel the need to test it. I think at some point you might want to study some physics (some good online classes now out there) to refine a bit your sense of what say ‘fields’ and all are and are not and how they differ significantly from past eras speculations (part of of even Einstein’s own struggles to keep up) Keep working it, dirk

    1. dmf, I was a bit fast and loose in this interview when talking about ether. Some of what I had to say was edited out, perhaps because it seemed to be technical details. I go into more depth in my dissertation proposal, which I don’t know if you’ve seen.

      As for imagination in science, the need to test mathematical speculations doesn’t seem as important in contemporary physics, wouldn’t you agree? I was speaking less about practicing scientists, theoretical physicists, etc., who obviously engage in imaginative thought exercises all the time, and more about many (especially analytic) philosophers of science, who historically (beginning with Descartes) have tended to dismiss, marginalize, or severely restrain the role of imagination. Popper and Kuhn are obvious exceptions.

  4. loved the interview.
    looking forward to Whitehead 2015
    my only problem is that Jesse got to talk to you and I didn’t.
    emerge on

    1. Thanks, Tripp! I look forward to meeting you this summer. Thanks for your work on HBC.

  5. Jayson says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview on Homebrewed Christianity! As a Youth Pastor at a Christian Church, I spend a lot of time helping adolescents and family systems struggle through the destructive uses of drugs including entheogens. In my experience, most drug use is a form of escapism and instead of bringing pleasure, healing or stress relief it leads to addiction, denial and other poor decision making habits. However, I am convinced there is an appropriate, healthy and spiritual role for entheogens. Do you have any suggestions for retreat centers or communities that help people learn and use entheogens for spiritual purposes? Since I am a Christian the Archetype of Christ is very important to me and I would assume that I would meet Christ in any entheoginic induced experience. And does one, need to leave the USA to have these experiences since entheogens are a schedule 1 substance. Thanks for reading!

    1. Hi Jayson,

      This is very tricky. For an entirely ideologically rather than scientifically driven reason, entheogens like psilocybin, LSD, DMT, cannabis, and mescaline are categorized as Schedule 1 substances and their illegality is enforced by the DEA. Schedule 1 substances including the above as well as cocaine and heroin, are classified with the understanding that they have no recognized medical use and are especially likely to be abused, to cause addiction, and/or death. Cocaine and heroin are way more dangerous than any of the entheogens, but even with them, I think addiction should be treated as a medical issue and not as a criminal issue. But it is absolutely outrageous in light of all the scientific work done on entheogens that they remain classified under schedule 1. All of them have recognized medical value, and none of them have anywhere near the toxicity and addictive potential of heroin and cocaine (or the legal substances alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine for that matter!). In my experience, when used in the proper way (with guides/sitters in a safe ritual context), the potential for abuse of entheogens is very low. This is because one generally returns from the experience with the need to integrate what just happened, rather than feeling like they want to jump into another experience. These experiences are usually not “pleasurable” in the shallow sense–they are intense confrontations with psychological material that we normally repress. While I’ve heard of some rare cases where young people begin taking these things too much, that is not the norm, especially if they are done in the proper context. Now the question is, how to provide that context, especially considering that as far as the law is concerned, users of these substances are criminals who need to be punished… On this front, all I can say is that society is undergoing a major change right now, and hopefully in a few years these substances will be decriminalized and made available in treatment centers with trained guides to facilitate.

      A good place to start ot understand the experience, and to get up to speed with how societal and medical opinions are shifting in regard to entheogens, would be this recent article by Michael Pollan: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/09/trip-treatment

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