This is a two-part series as I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Jankel. Nick shares his deep insights and wisdom that he wrote about in his book, "Spiritual Atheist." For me, when I first saw his book, I was very curious to know what it was all about due to the title. It is a great book and a great interview.
Who is Nick Jankel?
Nick Jankel has lectured at Yale & Oxford, advised the Prime Minister at No.10 Downing Street, been invited to Science FOO Camp run by Google and Nature Journal, contributed to The Economist and The Guardian, the BBC World Service (on the subject of Artificial Intelligence) and presented at The Science Of Consciousness conference. He can inspire your listeners with his fresh ideas on science and engage them with his playful and warm manner as he shares profound thoughts in purposefully accessible ways. We are currently launching his new book Spiritual Atheist, which has been the #1 New Release for 5 weeks on Amazon!
A Cambridge-educated scientist and historian of science (receiving a Triple 1st), Nick was unable to find lasting happiness with either religion or reason (nor through pills, therapy, partying, wealth, success, or entrepreneurship either). Even though he was, and still is, a militant atheist, he finally discovered the life-changing benefits of ‘spiritual’ enlightenment. But allergic to ‘woo-woo’ weirdness he has spent years meticulously joining the dots between the scientific traditions and the wisdom traditions to form a rigorous life philosophy for the 25% of the USA and UK who say they are ‘spiritual but not religious’.
In his new book, Spiritual Atheist, Nick risks his reputation as a top advisor to leaders in companies like HSBC and to the UK and US government, by laying out this new life philosophy. He explains the genius of the scientific method for creating firm knowledge about our material world while suggesting that it was never designed to create firm and predictable knowledge about our inner world - our consciousness.
Nick believes that the modern scientific project will fail until it fully accounts for our conscious experiences - the “secondary properties” that scientists from Galileo to Daniel Dennett have discounted as not really real. He goes further to suggest that science - especially the science of human beings - has reached a dead end and must have a quantum-style paradigm shift at its heart to account for an increasing number of ‘uncanny’ phenomenon that it cannot explain: from the placebo effect to embodied cognition to near-death experiences, all empirically verified.
Nick’s ideas follows in the footsteps of titans of philosophy like Plato, Nietzsche, William James, and Alfred North Whitehead. He draws on the ideas of modern thought leaders like Pierre Hadot, Charles Taylor, Thomas Kuhn, Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, Galen Strawson; and is inspired by the work of cutting-edge scientists like Rex Jung, Robin Carhart-Harris, Christoph Koch, and David Bohm.