Alien Thinking

by Angela Hind, Pier Productions

BBC News, June 8, 2005

Not many scientists are prepared to take tales of alien abduction seriously, but John Mack, a Harvard professor who was killed in a road accident in north London last year, did. Ten years on from a row which nearly lost him his job, hundreds of people who claim they were abducted still revere him.

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The Aliens are Always with Us

by Bryan Appleyard

A Harvard professor killed in London last week had been vilified for his belief in the ‘third realm’. His theories may not be as mad as some think says Bryan Appleyard

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John Mack’s Transpersonal Journey Continues

by Bill Chalker

Like all of us I found the news of John Mack’s untimely passing very saddening.

While some of us might not have agreed with some of the directions John was taking the subject in, I think the field has been enriched by his involvement. When he was in Australia I supported his research into indigenous aboriginal abduction & UFO experiences — an area we both had a strong interest in, particularly its shamanic dimensions. On the hurdles he often encountered, particularly from mainstream academia, he once told me what he felt. Maybe his response was coloured by spending too much time in Australia, but clearly he enjoyed his time down down under. His response: “Fuck ‘em”. I smiled and wished him well. He was always a courageous and wonderful researcher. Full speed John on the rest of your transpersonal journey.

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Dr. Mack Responds to Psychology Today Article

by John E. Mack, M.D.

Dear Friends/List,

I cannot comment directly on what was said in the Psychology Today article, for, like many people in this and related fields, the distortions of positions and outright misquoting is so rampant in most mainstream articles on these subjects that it is impossible to “set the record straight.” It may be unwise to give interviews at all, but there is always the hope that something useful may get across — the reporters always assure you of their openness (they may be sometimes; editors and executives is another matter). There is also the damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don’t problem: if you give an interview you’re likely to get distorted or boxed by a twisting context; if you don’t they sometimes get downright nasty.

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Dismissing Extraordinary Experiences

A rebuttal to a commentary by skeptic Joe Nickell

by John E. Mack, M.D.
with Will Bueché

Nickell’s critique dismisses extraordinary experiences a priori. Having codified experiences that transcend our material reality (from “psychic abilities” to “religious visions”) as examples of fantasy, it is thereafter a simple matter of defining anyone who has such experiences as “fantasy prone.” This is circular reasoning.

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Witnessing: Abductees as Sacred Truth-Tellers

by John E. Mack, M.D.

ABSTRACT — The scientific method has been highly successful in giving us reliable ways of knowing about the material world as we know it. But we have yet to develop methodologies that are as reliable with respect to matters that are not clearly in the objective or the subjective realms but seem to partake of both. In this paper I will consider the elements of an expanded epistemology which might help to legitimize experiences that are giving us vital information about the cosmos but which cannot be substantiated by the ways of knowing now considered reliable in Western culture.

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The Environmental Message of the Aliens

by Robert J. Begiebing

Are we ready to admit this lesson of the Rio+5 and Kyoto environmental meetings: that we must finally give up hoping for environmental wisdom and political will from political leaders and their conferences? Perhaps we need to look elsewhere, to reconsider those visionary, religious traditions that would transform us. Certainly, by now there is a growing scientific consensus to help us along: if we value life on Earth, we must change our lives.

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On Human Identity

by John E. Mack, M.D.

The most important change that is needed by humanity now is to move beyond the boundaries of a limited group identity to a larger sense of being human.

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Dr. John Mack at the Seven Stars Bookstore

Harvard psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer John E. Mack, M.D., spoke at the Seven Stars book store in his hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, earlier this spring (March 2000). Dr. Mack talked about his new book, Passport to the Cosmos, and shared where his journey has taken him in his understanding of the relationship between alien encounters and human transformation.

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Aliens: A Positive Experience

by Deborah Warren

What do people really want when they think about UFOs?

According to John Mack’s newest book Passport to the Cosmos, the first thing they want is for their experiences to stop. Only after they realize they have no power to stop the experience do they begin to accept a process that is informative and transformative — a process that propels them out of their narcissistic concerns and towards active involvement with environmental values, the survival of humanity and an exploration of spiritually-based consciousness. The Harvard psychiatrist also includes three other perspectives of contact with the “Star People.” These perspectives include those of a Native-American healer, a South African shaman, and an indiginous anthropologist from South America. The same themes continue to resonate through all perspectives.

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Contact Experience and Ancient Traditions

by Veronica Goodchild, Ph.D.

One of the difficulties of the alien encounter experience is trying to convey to others the kind of “place” or “landscape” of these anomalous visitations. Because in the West we are so used to restricting our experience within an empirical scientific worldview, things either happen in a world outside, or we have thoughts or feelings in an interior world.

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Remembering the Eternal: Plato’s View of Education in Anomalous Experiences

by Michael E. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

People describing the alien encounter experience often say that they receive information of some sort, as if they were being educated about complex topics that may seem crystal clear during the experience, but that may become cloudy or may even seem trivial afterward. The topics are frequently momentous, such as impending environmental calamity, whether brought about by human behavior or by some other cause, perhaps unknown.

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Integrating Extraordinary Experiences

by Roberta L. Colasanti, LICSW

At a mutidisciplinary meeting of academicians convened by the Center’s Program for Extraordinary Experience Research (PEER) in April 1999 at the Harvard Divinity School, PEER’s former clinical director Roberta Colasanti, LICSW, spoke about the people who seek clinical assistance in dealing with life-long alien encounter experiences. This transcript is excerpted from her presentation.

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Science is Humbled

by Reverend Jeffrey L. Brown and Janis A. Pryor

The Reverend Jeffrey Brown is pastor of the Union Baptist Church, Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Janis A. Pryor is an author who lives in Cambridge.

Perhaps the most significant consequence of John Mack’s work with abductees (those who believe they have had an encounter or encounters with alien beings) is forcing the scientific community to grudgingly accept that there may be a reality that cannot be measured in the material world; a reality that transcends the scientific process. Mack says that “the [west believes] that the only intelligence that exists in the universe comes out of the human brain, not God.” [But] this phenomenon, according to Mack, “opens us to a different sense of ourselves,” and “gets the western mind right where it lives.”

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Faces of the Visitors: Stranger Than Fiction

by Michael Lindemann

Given the incredible diversity of reported human experiences with alleged [alien] visitors, is it possible to say who or what we are dealing with? Perhaps the closest we can get to the truth is an idea that confounds and infuriates literalists everywhere: the nature of the visitors is in the eye of the beholder. They are real, but their perceived character is dependent upon the quality of individual perception.

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The Moral Truth is Out There

by Theodore Roszak

By definition, folklore is that which cannot be destroyed by mere facts. So it is unlikely that the Air Force’s latest effort to convince UFO enthusiasts that aliens did not crash at Roswell, NM, in 1947 will have any effect beyond feeding the voracious paranoia that now surrounds the story. As the public is leaning from The X-Files, the truth may be “out there,” but the main purpose of the United States government is to cover it up.

I began regarding the UFO fascination as something between a hoax and a fad the first time I was told the “truth” about Roswell by members of my own family in the late 1940s. I continued to view the matter with perfect skepticism until about four years ago, when I developed a rather different perspective.

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The Alien Abduction Phenomenon: Trauma or Transformation?

by John E. Mack, M.D.

The majority of “abductees” report some degree of trauma in connection with their experiences. The intrusive events themselves may be terrifying. Experiencers feel afraid to talk about what they have undergone lest they be ridiculed and further isolated. The experiences shock their ideas of reality. Finally, they feel helpless to predict or control when the experiences will occur again or befall their children and other loved ones whom they cannot protect.

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