Hearing Voices

An Interview Series with Polly Young-Eisendrath and Charles Eisenstein

Session One:

How God Becomes Real

An Interview With Tanya Luhrmann

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Author : Alana Calhoun

In this Session:

Tanya Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist known for her studies of modern-day witches, charismatic Christians, and studies of how culture shapes psychotic, dissociative, and related experiences. She has also studied culture and morality, and the training of psychiatrists. Her work opens up a whole new way of thinking about God, faith and religion, as well as about how to distinguish and discern the meanings of the voices we hear. Everyone hears voices. How do you know if the one you hear is from God and what do you have to do to cultivate that relationship?

About Hearing Voices:

What we think we know is in transition in Western societies. What’s considered to be real is changing. Experiences once relegated to the category of delusion or mere fiction show up in a new light. Sources of knowledge once deemed illegitimate become a normal part of public consciousness. Healing modalities once rejected as unscientific penetrate into the mainstream. Sightings of UFOs, once derided as crackpot obsessions, are now reported in New York Times as authentic. What’s going on here?

In this ongoing series, Polly and Charles, themselves both cutting-edge thinkers, will engage in a once a month open-ended pre-recorded 90 minute conversations with some leading thinkers in psychology, philosophy, religion, and other fields to explore the edges of what they know about human experience. The old paradigms are breaking down; this is where the new ones may come from.

Polly Young-Eisendrath and Charles Eisenstein

Polly Young-Eisendrath and Charles Eisenstein

Polly Young-Eisendrath is a Jungian psychoanalyst, a psychologist, and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont. She has been a practicing Buddhist since 1971. The latest of her newest 16 books is Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path.

Charles Eisenstein, a speaker and writer focusing on themes of human culture and identity, has a degree in mathematics and philosophy from Yale, lived a decade in Taiwan as a translator, and has been a college instructor, yoga teacher, and construction worker. He is an author, most recently of Climate — A New Story, as well as of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible; The Ascent of HumanitySacred Economics; and The Yoga of Eating.

Tanya Luhrmann

Tanya Luhrmann

Tanya is Watkins University Professor in the Anthropology Department at Stanford University. Her recent books are When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, and How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others. She uses a combination of ethnographic and experimental methods to understand the phenomenology of unusual sensory experiences, the way they are shaped by ideas about minds and persons, and what we can learn from this social shaping that can help us to help those whose voices are distressing. She has published over thirty OpEds in The New York Times, and her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Science News, and many other publications.