Thursday, February 15, 7 p.m. CT
In this lecture, Mitch explores the late-ancient sources of occult and esoteric philosophy, systems that intersect but differ. Mitch considers the nature of and distinctions between occultism and esotericism and how these extra-physical outlooks, in which the individual is seen as possessed of a multidimensional existence, reemerged during the Renaissance. Mitch identifies the ancient, foundational elements of occult and esoteric thought and what these thought schools express in today's world, including areas of convergence with and departure from other modernist perspectives. In particular, Mitch explores the convergence of occultism and esoterica with present queries into psychical research, perceptual studies, quantum theory, and the UFO thesis.
Mitch Horowitz is a historian of alternative spirituality and one of today’s most literate voices of esoterica, mysticism, and the occult. Mitch is the PEN Award-winning author of books including Occult America, One Simple Idea, The Miracle Club, Daydream Believer, Uncertain Places, Modern Occultism, and the forthcoming Happy Warriors. The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” Filmmaker Magazine calls him “a genius at distilling down esoteric concepts.” A former vice president at Penguin Random House, Mitch has written on alternative spirituality for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, Politico, and a wide range of zines and scholarly journals. Mitch’s writing has called attention to the worldwide problem of violence against accused witches, helping draw notice to the human rights element of the issue. Mitch’s books have been translated into French, Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese. His work is censored in China.