The Flip (Book Review)

The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge

by Jeffrey Kripal | Review by Jacob Kyle

Jeffrey J. Kripal’s 2019 book, The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, is an important contribution to a growing literature that invites us to pierce through the illusions of scientific materialism. Among other things, this materialism, which is indeed the foundational ideology of modern industrial culture, operates according to a politics of knowledge that will not permit the veracity of what Kripal calls “the flip”, which he refers to as a “reversal of perspective” from the “outside of things to the inside of things”. Examples of the flip include near death experiences, precognitive dreams, trauma-induced experiences, and various kinds of mystical events.

According to the pervasive materialist ideology, the flip is nothing but a hallucination, a flight of fantasy, a delusory event that can easily be explained away as some less-than-rigorous thinker’s mistaken perception. In almost exactly 200 pages, Kripal skillfully deconstructs this ideology by rejecting the assumption that matter is primary. He also offers an alternative theory of the function of the brain and problematizes the notion that paranormal experiences are for cranks by offering examples from scientists, philosophers and serious professionals throughout history who have experienced “the flip”.

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