At 84, Dr. Stanley Krippner, a beloved and prolific teacher, facilitator, and researcher in humanist psychology and its many facets, shows no signs of slowing down. Going into his 85th year on this planet, he’s still keeping pace. And for this, we are thankful. Even if you don’t currently know about parapsychology, altered states, dream telepathy, and the like, your gratitude will be happy delayed reaction. A small bio does him no justice. His vitae are mind-blowingly extensive. Going into his 85th year on this planet, he’s still keeping pace.
Krippner is currently the senior professor in the CSS Humanist and Clinical Department at Saybrook University, in Oakland, CA., where he teaches the much-needed future humanistic psychologists in his areas of expertise, namely, dream studies, personal mythology, and PTSD and LGBTQ issues. He launched into his studies of the mind and the empyreal after earning both his Masters and his PhD. in 1961 from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He has since become a fellow in five American Psychological Association (APA) divisions (as in, areas of discipline), and has been president of two. Before finding his way to Saybrook, he was director of the Kent State University Child Study Center in Ohio. This led to a director position at the Maimonides Medical Center Dream Research Laboratory in Brooklyn, NY.
Though the disciplines of parapsychology and humanistic psychology struggle to hit the mainstream, Krippner and his colleagues strive to legitimize the field in the public’s eyes. They’ve won over some of the science community’s skeptics who challenged his research with their own. There was evidence to validate much of it — enough to pique the interest of the US government, who tried to use “remote viewing”, another dream phenomenon, to locate the likes of Saddam Hussein, and weapons caches, and bomb locations in other earlier wars. The CIA also took interest.
Krippner has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 42 books, including the popular Dream Telepathy: Extraordinary Dreams; How To Work With Them, The Mythic Path: Discovering the Guiding Stories Of Your Past, and Haunted By Combat: Understanding PTSD In Veterans & How To Work With Them. He’s conducted numerous documented experiments. He’s appeared in televised documentaries and youtube interviews. He still gives seminars in various US cities. And he continues to facilitate entheogenic retreats at the Wasiwaska Research Centre for the Study of Psycho-Integrator Plants, Visionary Art, and Consciousness in South Brazil. In fact, Krippner has gained a lot of respect from his peers. Half a century’s meticulous work has paid off.
Krippner was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award twice — once in 2006 from the International Association for the Study of Dreams; and a second in 2014 from the International Network on Personal Meaning. He was also given awards for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Humanistic Psychology — and scores of others — from the APA.
Dream A Little Dream
Krippner began his dream telepathy research in 1967. His interest was piqued by his long history of anomalous experiences in his own childhood. The tests involved an awake person concentrating on a picture or object and sending the image telepathically to a sleeping test subject in another room, or location. After 10 years of experiments with hundreds of test subjects — including 6 hours with the Grateful Dead! — he and his team found the results were positive, dispelling old scientific wives’ tales saying things like, if you have vivid dreams, or dream in color, chances are you are schizophrenic or have some other major mental illness.
Krippner expanded on his dream telepathy research, measuring whether environmental factors, like, electrical storms, and sun spots, affected the accuracy of the telepathic transmissions. He found that, indeed they do. Environmental “noise” jams our transmission. It spoke to the fact that we are stardust, and we are golden. We are part of the whole of the universe, a key belief in humanism.
While Krippner sought to validate his field of study, he was also driven by another motive, a political one — “a social change movement.”
“If these are valid, it’s going to change the way we look at people. It’s going to change how we look at the world,” he said in a 2015 interview about dream telepathy. “I’ve been very conscious of the fact that our findings do have an impact that goes beyond psychology, goes beyond science, and goes into the culture. … And now we’re finally catching up with Freud and Jung.”
Am I Dreaming?
Krippner’s work goes beyond dreams. He’s studied and lectured on altered states of consciousness, hypnosis, dissociation and shamanism. He’s worked directly with prominent shaman Rolling Thunder. He’s gone into the jungles of Latin America and the tropics of the Hawaiian Islands to study the effect of entheogenic plants and altered states. He’s sat with the likes of Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, and the Grateful Dead, whom he calls, “an exceptional group of people, otherwise you wouldn’t have an archive devoted to their creativity at a state university!” he said in a 2016 interview on psychedelics.
Krippner saw the correlation between psychedelics and creativity among the artists and musicians who honestly sought inspiration while “tripping”. But he witnessed a sort of awakening through his own hallucinogenic experiments. Every time he used hallucinogens he’s learned something profound and new, he said. But not all artists and seekers do, nor are they doing it for that reason.
“There’s no assurance the psychedelics will give you a mystical experience, but, more important is what they do with the experience, and if they integrate it into their life. Then the vision becomes incarnated.
“So, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting of it,” Krippner continued. “It’s walking your talk. And I think that’s the ultimate way you can evaluate a mystical experience, whether through psychedelics, prayer, yoga, meditation, walks in nature, whatever! What you do with that experience — that’s what makes you a better person and the world a better place.”
And Krippner believe the world needs to wise up and come together right now. In a November 3, 2016, article entitled, Election 2016: Politics In the Age of Polarization, he wrote a powerful, poignant and prophetic piece.
” … It is evident to me as both a citizen and a psychologist that our candidates, as with our country, are in deep emotional trouble. Without the right treatment or intervention, this will only intensify their polarization, and hence, the likelihood of destructiveness.
“This country, and much of the world, needs an army of deeply attuned psychological facilitators of dialogue — as much, if not more than its present army of military combatants.
“To the extent we ignore that imperative, we edge ever closer to self and world extinction. It’s that serious.”
Jim Morrison: A Failed Shaman? by Stanley Krippner, PhD
Online library of papers on consciousness
Russell Targ, 2013 banned TEDTalk on psychic abilities. Targ spent several decades working in a US government program exploring “remote viewing” — an apparent anomalous extended characteristic of the mind. Targ is convinced the effect is real.