My Day in Manchester

by John E. Mack, M.D.

September 17, 2004

We would like to provide a picture of what John Mack was doing a week before his passing. On September 17th, six weeks before the American Presidential election, he was in Manchester New Hampshire.

He shared this email (composed originally as a letter to his sons) with several of his close friends, so we would like to present it here so that it may in some way make John’s passion for a better future more real to people:

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Resisting the Politics of Fear

by John E. Mack, M.D.

September 13, 2004

Senator John Edwards and many other Americans believe that Vice President Cheney “crossed the line” when he said that if we chose John Kerry instead of George Bush “we’ll be hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.” But I believe that line was crossed many months ago when President Bush and his administration chose to manipulate the minds of our people by relentlessly threatening us with the danger of terrorist attacks. Because the terrorist danger is real, it is especially important that our capacity to assess the risk we face not be distorted for political gain.

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The Responsible Warrior

by John E. Mack, M.D.

MANY NATIONAL leaders understand that it is not difficult to rally the populace and stifle criticism while a war is going on. A leader has only to emphasize a threat to national security and the need to “support the troops.” Even doubt and searching analysis may be called unpatriotic while the conflict rages.

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Deeper Causes: Exploring the Role of Consciousness in Terrorism

by John E. Mack, M.D.

ABSTRACT – “Without understanding what breeds these acts and drives the terrorists to do what they do … we have little chance of preventing further such actions, let alone of ‘eradicating terrorism.’” Harvard psychiatrist John Mack identifies three levels of causes: immediate, proximate, and deeper. Focusing on deeper causes, he shows how they are rooted in the nature of our minds, of consciousness itself.

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Clinical and Political Witnessing: A Meeting with a Palestinian Psychiatrist

John E. Mack, M.D.

Some years ago as I began my clinical work with people who have experienced what many describe as “alien encounters,” I did not imagine that a central part of what I would learn would be how cultures lose opportunities to develop when the testimony of those whose experiences lie outside of what is generally endorsed is dismissed. In my thirteen years of study, I have seen personally both the loss for the culture and the emotional and spiritual damage done to the witnesses themselves when their observations and insights are not valued or are altogether denied.

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Trickster’s Time

by John E. Mack, M.D.

The New York Times | Op-Ed
November 30, 2000

In his remarkable new book, Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde shows us that many cultures know — by different names — a rebellious, god-like figure that brings about fundamental change. He is called Hermes in ancient Greece, Coyote among the Indians of the American plains and Monkey in the Buddhist world.

Trickster is providence’s representative — a kind of savior sent when a society is in crisis and no longer serving the needs of its people.

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Reflections on Two Kinds of Power

by John E. Mack, M.D.

In his December 7th, 1988 address to the United Nations General Assembly, Mikhail Gorbachev projected a vision of power different from the military and political expressions we have become accustomed to hearing from world leaders. “All of us,” he said, “and primarily the stronger of us, must exercise self-restraint and totally rule out any outward-oriented use of force.” Nuclear weapons, Gorbachev said, have symbolized “absolute military power,” but at the same time have “revealed the absolute limits of that power.”

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T. E. Lawrence’s Vision for the Middle East: How Does It Look Now?

by John E. Mack, M.D.

When we consider the fame of T. E. Lawrence and what has drawn people, including myself, to the man and his legend, we look to his achievements as a military strategist during the Arab Revolt in World War I and his influence in shaping the boundaries of the Middle East in the post-war period. But it is his vision of possibilities for the region’s future which has, above all, accounted for Lawrence’s enduring interest for many people. In this talk I will look at this vision and relate it to the present circumstances in the Near East. I will also offer suggestions about what might be done to bring the reality closer to the possibilities that Lawrence foresaw.

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Corporate Leadership with a Global Perspective

John E. Mack, M.D.

It is commonly acknowledged that individuals tend to behave differently in a private or family setting than they do as members of institutions. This split, or fragmentation of self, may be so great that people seem, at times, to live double lives. If, in our inescapable identification with the institutions in which we work, and the inevitable pressures we experience within them, we live in violation of privately held values and ideals, the result may be vague but profound discontent whose source may not be readily identifiable. It is only through overcoming these divisions in the self – through an aligning of our private and collective selves – that genuine satisfaction and well-being may be possible. Much of the interest displayed by contemporary Americans in psychotherapeutic techniques and spiritual paths which stress healing, integration, and wholeness grows out of the distress caused by the fragmentation of the self.

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Taking Action: The Higher Law of the Nuclear Age

by John E. Mack, M.D.

During the past several years I have tried to reconcile my activist imperatives with the academic and psychiatric life I also lead. Henry David Thoreau, in his 1849 essay on resistance to civil government, said, “There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war (he was referring to the war with Mexico), who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them.” The nuclear arms race calls for us to do something about it. In my case, however, as a psychiatrist in academic life, there are problems with activity. Some actions create tensions and conflicts, perhaps even incompatibilities and contradictions. Action, I suspect, may be a bigger problem for psychoanalysts than for others because we are trained from the beginning not to be active, not to do too much.

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Putting It On The Line In Nevada

Test site arrests reach new high

By Cathy Cevoli

John Mack, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Harvard psychiatrist, was the first member of his family to hear of the Nevada Test Site demonstration. After consulting with his wife, Sally, the couple called their three sons – Ken, Dan and Tony, all in their 20s – and following discussions that lasted “every night for two weeks,” decided to head west from Massachusetts together. “We thought it was important to take a stand as a family,” explained Sally, a social worker. They also knew their joint appearance would make good media copy.

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A Way to Halt the Arms Race

by John E. Mack, M.D.

A New York Times op/ed by Dr. John Mack recounting his family’s protest at a nuclear test site in Nevada during the height of the nuclear arms race.

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