This talk by Professor Christopher White of Vassar College examines the higher-dimensional time theories of the British aviator and writer John Dunne, whose widely-read An Experiment with Time (1927) offered anecdotal evidence that dreams and other visionary experiences allowed people to perceive events from the future. Dunne had several dramatic precognitive dreams and these dreams, together with ideas cobbled together from Einstein and other scientists, enabled Dunne to develop a theory of time in which human consciousness contained multiple “observers” that perceived reality from different dimensions. Dunne’s view that human beings transcended time and space in dreams reverberated throughout popular culture in Europe and America, inspiring writers seeking ways of transcending the terrors of the world wars or triumphing over suffering and death, including H. G. Wells, the British broadcaster and novelist J. B. Priestley, and Christian writers such as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Developing these notions in sermons, articles and fictional works, these thinkers used dreams and higher-dimensional theories to argue that human consciousness was more powerful and free than most people suspected.
Christopher White received his PhD in Religious Studies from Harvard University, where he studied religion and culture in modern Europe and America. He is particularly interested in religion and science, spirituality and “unchurched” religion, new religious movements, electronic media, and popular culture. White is the author of Other Worlds: Spirituality and the Search for Invisible Dimensions.
Sponsored by the religion department. Free and open to the public.
Thursday, March 22 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm
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