The most recent Inform Seminar took place on Saturday 1 February 2020 at Bush House, Aldwych.
Immortality: Beliefs and Practices
The lure of immortality has been an inspiration for many people in both religious and secular contexts. But what does immortality mean? This seminar will explore some of the range of beliefs and practices which are closely associated with immortality in comparative context. We will investigate the idea of immortality by looking more closely at how it is directly applied in people’s lives. What happens when immortality is understood as a possibility – or even a reality? We will be considering beliefs and practices relating to immortality in the context of AI, near-death experiences, Christianity, Buddhism, Freezone Scientology, spiritualist mediums and contemporary yoga movements.
This project is partially funded through the ERC Horizon 2020 Project AYURYOG Grant No. 639363 which is exploring the entanglements of yoga, ayurveda and rasaśastra (alchemical and longevity practices) in South Asia.
It is held in association with the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College, London.
10.10-10.35 Suzanne Newcombe, Honorary Director of Inform, Post-doctoral Research Fellow on AYURUOG, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University – Immortality as Aspiration, Belief or Practice?
10.35-11.00 Mark Singleton, Senior Research Fellow on the Haṭha Yoga Project, SOAS, University of London - Yoga, Immortality, Technology
11.00-11.25 Megan Long, National President of The Greater World – Immortality: The Gateway of Life
11.55-12.20 Mikel Burley, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Leeds - Competing conceptions of immortality and nirvāṇa among interpreters of Buddhism
12.20-12.45 Tobi Olujinmi, founder of the W TALK Network - Created in the image of the infinite
12.45-13.10 Peter Fenwick, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist Emeritus, Maudsley Hospital, and Emeritus Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London and Southampton University – What do near death experiences show us about the actual process of dying?
14.10-14.35 Lindsley Cash and Tracey Hood, co-owners of Clearly Destiny – Immortality, Beliefs and Practices
14.35-15.00 Aled Thomas, Visiting Fellow at the Open University - “I Know I’m Immortal … I Don’t Fear Death”: Approaching Notions of Immortality in Free Zone Scientologist Spheres
15.30-15.55 Susannah Crockford, Post-doctoral researcher on the NARMESH project, Ghent University, Belgium - How the 1% Plan to Survive Climate Change and Live Forever: Immortality as the Teleological Outcome of Hyperinequality
15.55-16.45 Panel Discussion