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July 29, 2022

This interview is an episode from The Well, the new publication about ideas that inspire a life well-lived, created with the John Templeton Foundation.

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If you're a critic of religion or if you're someone who champions yourself as a strong believer in the power of rationality, you probably think 'supernatural thinking' is bad.

But according to existential psychologist Clay Routledge, supernatural thinking is actually an important part of being a complete human being. From a scientific point of view, all we know is what we have in this life- but if we're open to supernatural possibilities that allows to at least explore or have hope that there's something about the existence, something about the human spirit, that transcends the material.

When we are dealing with anxieties about mortality, questions about purpose, and trying to understand the place in a large Universe, the minds naturally drift towards at least curiosities about the supernatural if not outright belief.

Read the video transcript ► bigthink.com/the-well/why-empathy-is-bad/


About Clay Routledge:
Dr. Clay Routledge is a leading expert in existential psychology. His work examines how the human need for meaning in life influences and is influenced by different cognitive processes, self-regulation, momentous life experiences, personal and professional goals, creativity, social connections, spirituality and religiosity, entrepreneurship, and prosocial behavior.

Dr. Routledge has published over 100 scholarly papers, co-edited three books on existential psychology, and authored the books Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource and Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World.

His work has been featured by many media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, ABC News, BBC News, CBC News, CNN, NBC Today, MSNBC, Men’s Health, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. As a social commentator, Dr. Routledge has authored articles for a number of outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, Scientific American, National Review, Entrepreneur, and Harvard Business Review. He was the lead writer for the TED-Ed animated lesson Why Do We Feel Nostalgia?

Dr. Clay Routledge is the Vice President of Research and the Director of the Human Flourishing Lab at the Archbridge Institute. He is also an editor at Profectus, a periodic web-based magazine focused on civilizational progress and human flourishing.


Read more from The Well:
I put a camera on a monkey. Here’s how it shook the understanding of humanity
► bigthink.com/the-well/awe-ani...
Atheism is not as rare or as rational as you think
► bigthink.com/the-well/atheism...
System 1 vs. System 2 thinking: Why it isn’t strategic to always be rational
► bigthink.com/the-well/system-...


About The Well
Do we inhabit a multiverse? Do we have free will? What is love? Is evolution directional? There are no simple answers to life’s biggest questions, and that’s why they’re the questions occupying the world’s brightest minds.

So what do they think?

How is the power of science advancing understanding? How are philosophers and theologians tackling these fascinating questions?

Let’s dive into The Well.


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