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An interesting conference was held at Esalen last week, devoted to “The Supernormal and the Superpower”, featuring a number of excellent speakers and a few good friend of TDG to boot: Jacques Vallee, Dean Radin, Ed May, Mitch Horowitz, Erik Davis and Chris Knowles to name a few:

What is the relationship between traditional mystical literature and popular American mythology, that is, how might one go about explaining the obvious similarities between mystical, psychical, and occult events in the history of religion and the common fantasy of a superpower in the American comic book? Most poignantly, what are we to do with the rather astonishing fact that there is very solid empirical evidence to suggest that the superpowers are common features of real-life human experience, that is, that they may be, well, real?

…“The Supernormal and the Superpower” is an invitational symposium designed to explore such (im)possible things with major figures from four professional areas: (1) historians of religion who work on the subjects of mythology or mystical literature; (2) scholars, professional collectors, and historians who have written on comic book culture and its social history; (3) artists, writers, and leaders from the New York comic book industry and Hollywood, that is, those who have imagined the superpower in text and image and on screen; and (4) major figures from the human potential movement who have written on the related subjects of evolutionary metaphysics, the mysticism of science, and psychical research, that is, those who have explored the supernormal as a real and realizable human potential. We are particularly interested in the question of how to portray supernormal phenomena and the altered states of consciousness and energy that so often accompany them on film, in art, and in public scholarship.

Chris Knowles has a detailed write-up of his personal experience of the event available on his ‘Secret Sun’ blog. As Chris mentions, hopefully the transcripts (or even better, audio or video) turn up sometime for the rest of us poor sods trapped in our geographical cages.