Book Review: The Flip: Who You Really Are and Why it Matters by Jeffrey Kripal

Book Review: The Flip: Who You Really Are and Why it Matters by Jeffrey Kripal

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology, Parapsychology, Spirituality, Science, Epistemiology

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Prepare to have your mind blown a few times in a delightful way by this book. It’s really refreshing to read something science-y that is not afraid to delve into the ‘Twilight Zone’ so to speak.

It’s difficult to put this book into the category of science and non-fiction as it’s so much more. Kripal delves into mystical questions about the nature of reality and consciousness and it could easily be thought of as a spiritual book too.

Kripal is a brave scientist in that he questions the scientific method of knowledge discovery itself. He categorically does not believe everything can be explained by science and materialist views of the world alone. Instead he argues that the the world is a profoundly strange place with a lot of unanswerable questions.

We are all in a way caught, immediately in a fundamental paradox that will never be resolved by studying more objects. I see no way around it. At some point we will have to ‘turn around’ and look back into the mirror itself. More radical still, we will have to become the mirror, mirroring us.

Dr Jeffrey Kripal, The Flip

Some things are just coincidences and others are far more significant

This is an argument for the paranormal and the fringes ( that are so often ridiculed) of mainstream science. Kripal brings together examples of well-known and respected scientists from history who explain their paranormal experiences.

Mirrored sky landscapes by Japanese photographer Shota
“When we study or try and understand consciousness, what is essentially happening is that consciousness is attempting to become conscious of consciousness. The mirror is trying to mirror, become aware of itself” ~ Jeffrey Kripal. Credit: Mirrored sky landscapes by Japanese photographer Shota

One could write a very big book or even a small library of books, on all of the scientists, engineers and medical professionals who have either reported robust anomalous phenomena or found them to be of extraordinary scientific significance.

Jeffrey Kripal: The Flip

Kripal also argues that the humanities are as equally important to life as the sciences which is really something that made me happy. It’s something I always felt to be true in my heart that the humanities is simply the other side of the same coin as science.

Why is it that we in the modern West seem to know so much about the Cosmos but very little about consciousness? I think the answer is simple. The material cosmos is studied as a collection of observed objects “out there.” These objects in space are measured, and their behaviour can often be controlled and predicted with mathematical models. Not so with consciousness. When we study or try and understand consciousness, what is essentially happening is that consciousness is attempting to become conscious of consciousness. The mirror is trying to mirror, become aware of itself.

Significantly, the mirror is a classical trope of comparative mystical literature in both the West and Asia.

Jeffrey Kripal: The Flip
An electrifying sky in Tokyo before a typhoon
A 3D visualisation of all the space junk and satellites out there in the stratosphere


Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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