The Society for Psychical Research was formed in 1880’s London, in the fresh wake of Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species. At the time, science was conquering all, and it did not look good for the believer. While some embraced reason's science and rejected completely the now defunct and unbelievable claims of faith, others embraced the claims of faith and chose to reject science, or at least those parts of it that could not be reconciled with their particular belief system. For the elite group of intellectuals at the London Society for Psychical Research, their rigorous investigations into the anomalous, the uncanny, and the strange represented a tertium quid, a "third thing" between science and faith. They refused to be dogmatic about either their religion or their science. Embracing science as a method that could throw new light on old religious questions, they attempted to work through the polarities of reason and faith, engaging in a fully rational and fundamentally comparative exercise of collecting, organizing, and analyzing experiential data that could not be fully explained by either the theological categories of the churches or the reductive methods of the sciences. It was through this crucial act of comparison that patterns began emerging, patterns that pointed to theories of consciousness that were, well, impossible.
Today, the debate between the dogmas of science and religion rages on with ever increasing intensity. Authors of the Impossible, based on Jeffrey J. Kripal’s forthcoming book of the same name, deftly draws upon ancient and recent scholarship from both the sciences and the humanities to explore the paranormal and its astonishing implications. In tracing the history of psychical phenomena through the last two centuries of Western thought, Jeffrey Kripal profiles and compares the work of four extraordinary thinkers: the British psychical researcher, Frederic Myers, a key founder of the London Society for Psychical Research; the American anomalist writer and humorist, Charles Fort; the astronomer, computer scientist, and ufologist Jacques Vallee; and the French philosopher Bertrand Méheust. What is found there, this third thing among the strange, the unthinkable, the impossible, is truly extraordinary.
Authors of the Impossible is the first in a series of feature-length documentary films we’ve named Plato’s Theater. This unique and sophisticated slate of films on the paranormal and the powers of the human form is designed to create a new genre we’re calling ‘mystical realism,’ by which we mean a new genre of filmmaking that portrays supernormal powers and paranormal events both accurately and, above all, as real. These films – smart, subtle and entertaining treatments of psychical and paranormal powers, are themselves a fantastic expression of our own evolving nature. Answering the call from audiences demanding intelligent, challenging content, Plato’s Theater will explore questions of deep concern to us all – What, exactly, does the paranormal mean? What is the true nature of consciousness? Can we take an active role in our own evolution? Is there life after death? And, where do we go from here?