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Studying Intrusions from the Subtle Realm: How Can We Deepen Our Knowledge
By John E. Mack, MD
John E Mack Institute

Developed from a talk given at the International Association for New Science Conference, Fort Collins, Colorado, September 16, 1995

I want to talk with you about what I have been finding over the past now nearly six years in studying the alien abduction phenomenon. In the context of this meeting I wish to talk particularly about the ways that we know, how we actually know anything. What is the appropriate epistemology for a particular subject? It seems to me that all science, all knowledge really, is about the discovery of patterns, and that includes patterns of meaning. But how we know, the approach that we use, depends on what the matter at hand happens to be. For the sake of clarity, I would divide the realms that we are considering here between what has been called the gross material world on the one hand and the subtle realms on the other, or, in [psychiatrist] Stanislav Grof’s language, the hylotropic versus the holotropic world, or in [physicist] David Bohm’s terms, the explicate or manifest order or the implicate, or hidden, order, by which he means the structures, deeper reality and meaning in the universe.

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By and large science, as it is traditionally spoken of, has addressed, and its methodology has been appropriate to, the gross material, the physical or manifest world, and the approach to this world has been largely dualistic: an observer studies something from outside of or separate from that person or phenomenon. We know that some of the best scientists do not think of their work in that way, but, nevertheless, that is the standard that we often think we mean, or are told we mean, by the “scientific method.” I might add that in the focus on the material realm to the exclusion of the subtle realms, we have virtually rid the cosmos of nature, rid nature of spirit and, in a sense, denied the existence of all life other than that which is physically observable here on earth.

What do I mean by the subtle realm? As I began to think about it more deeply, I realized this is not so easy to pin down. It has to do with phenomena that seem to come from another dimension: information obtained by telepathically; clairvoyance and the whole psi realm; out-of-body experiences; near-death experiences; telekinesis and the alien abduction phenomenon itself — i.e., phenomena that may manifest in the physical world, but seem to originate in another dimension, to come from a place unseen. We are speaking of matters which are not readily observable under ordinary separatist, dualistic scientific or methodological conditions, but make their presence known more subtly through an opening of consciousness or more receptive perception.

One of the fundamental tenets of the mechanistic or dualistic approach is that consciousness is seen as an epiphenomenon of the human brain. This is one of the basic assumptions we have to challenge if we are going to be able to study the subtle realms, which not only involve consciousness itself but the relationship of consciousness to the material world. We have to consider the possibility that consciousness-spirit, self, soul-all have a life, an existence, separate from the physical body. That, for me, was once a very great leap, and I had to do my own self-exploration through work with Stanislav Grof, and a great deal of challenging of my own materialist scientific and clinical upbringing, to come to appreciate the fundamental patting of the ways required between the materialist scientific approach and one which can begin to allow us to study more profoundly these subtle realms.

The Western world view, what Tulane philosopher Michael Zimmerman calls anthropomorphic humanism, has reduced reality largely to the manifest or physical world and puts the human mind or the human being at the top of the cosmic intellectual hierarchy, eliminating not only God but virtually all spirit from the cosmos. The phenomena that really shake up that world view are those that seem to cross over from the unseen world and manifest in the physical world. That is why someone like Uri Geller may be hounded from pillar to post. That is why people like Brian O’Leary, who studies free energy, or people who study phenomena that seem to challenge the great divide we have created between the unseen realm and the physical world, are given such a hard time in this society. By the 17th century theologians and other “spiritual people,” perhaps even psychologists, were given a mandate over the subtle or unseen realm and scientists were given jurisdiction over the physical or material world. There was not a great problem as long as phenomena seemed to array themselves neatly on one side of the divide. But if a phenomenon appears to cross over, if it will not stay on one side or the other, this raises a big problem in our culture.

The matter that I am studying is just such a phenomenon. There are others — the near-death experience, materializations, telekinesis. But this is the one that I have been studying, and I think it is one that by its very nature seems to “grab” us where we live just because it crosses over and manifests in the form or language that we do understand in this culture — spaceships, abductions, implants, instruments, surgery, hybrids, babies, reproduction, etc. All that seems very physical and ought to be reducible, or at least possible to study, by the dualistic methods of traditional science. But the alien abduction phenomenon does not seem to yield its secrets to that approach. The phenomenon challenges vigorously that sacred barrier we have created between the unseen and the material world. It undermines the fundamental world view of the Western mind.

I believe we need to consider another frontier, which I am only going to be able to touch up-on briefly here, namely what makes us so attached to a particular world view. Why do we cling so tightly to a world view in general and the materialist paradigm in particular? What makes our world view so fundamental to our existence? I do not believe it is just the huge economic investments — which there are, of course — that derive from the materialist view. Indeed the whole materialist marketplace mentality of technology and science as we know it is threatened by a world view that tells us of vast realms unavailable to our direct observation. In fact a result of the world view in which we are embedded is, ultimately, the destruction of the material playground, the earth itself as a living organism.

But there is more to it. A world view organizes our sense of self. It can give us the illusion that we have some control of ourselves and of nature, that we are in charge, that we are safe. Never mind that we all must die, and perhaps die more lonely deaths, for in this particular world view we have rid the cosmos of all consciousness, of spirit, of God him or herself, and thus can hardly come to grips with the notion of death except as a bleak end to everything. There is, therefore, a terrible loneliness in this world view.

Nevertheless, the materialist world view, like any paradigm, organizes our sense of self and constructs reality. When this or any world view is challenged and shattered, it creates terror. I think that some of the resistance that I have encountered, and which, naively, I rather underestimated, derives from this threat. People have said to me “Well, didn’t you know if you started saying that little green men or spirits or funny beings were taking men, women and children away and doing things to them, didn’t you realize that you would run into trouble?” But, like the frog who dies in gradually heating water, I think it kind of snuck up on me. I had been doing this work for several years and had not said anything publicly until I was pretty clear about what I was doing. Perhaps you have to be a little naive to wander off into these insecure realms of knowledge or you will not go there at all. For if you know in advance the opposition you are going to encounter, you might not choose to take on the adventure of such exploration at all. If what Bertrand Russell said about resistance being proportional to the square of the importance of what you are studying is true, I must be studying something very important indeed.

Finally, in one sense I appreciate the criticism, even the attacks I have encountered, for it is, I believe, useful for all of us to know more deeply about what resistance our work is stirring up. For then if we can embrace the questions and polarities that the critiques represent, perhaps we can go to a deeper level of understanding instead of finding ourselves, as we tend to, in opposition to the people that will not take in what we are trying to communicate.

I would like to say one more word about the challenge to our world view that crossover phenomena like the alien abduction story represents. Consider the blows to the collective egocentrism of humanity starting with Copernicus and Galileo and going on to Darwin and then Freud we have had to face. Little by little we have come to know that not only were we not at the center in terms of the geography of the universe, we were not the only God-given ones among the earth’s creatures, but, with Freud, we learned we were not even in charge of our own psyches. Now, finally, we are learning from the abduction phenomenon that we may not after all, be the smartest guys in the universe. In fact, we may not be in control of ourselves, even in the most basic sense. Other beings-funny looking ones at that-little creatures with big black eyes can come and do what they will with us and render us helpless. That is truly a fourth blow after what Copernicus, Darwin and Freud had already done to our collective arrogance. I must admit to being a bit perverse, actually, for, as a psychiatrist, I believe that anything that can be a big blow to the human ego can only be a good thing in terms of our collective development. Such shocks can perhaps help us to grow as a species.

Before speaking of my specific work, I want to say another word about how a world view is maintained in a given culture. For this consideration, I have suggested the idea of the “politics of ontology,” which has to do with how a society organizes itself, particularly through a certain elite group, to determine for the rest of that society what is real. The politics of ontology is a kind of governance of ideas. In this culture, there may be a very small group of scientific, governmental, religious, and corporate elite that determine the prevailing boundaries of reality. The forces that surround the determination of reality is an area of politics that we have not really thought about that much. We think about the politics of economics, of the governing of communities and the creation of a social order, but not much about how we are governed with respect to what we are supposed to think is real.

An interesting thing is happening, however, in this culture, as Michael Zimmerman has pointed out. With so much information available through the media, computer networks, and extensive public education, everybody is getting kind of smart. People know their own experiences and when what they have undergone does not fit the prevailing mechanistic world view. Whatever polling methods you may use it is apparent that large percentages of people seem to know there is an unseen world or hidden dimensions of reality. They may not call it that, but they know that the subtle realms exist. They know their own experiences and trust them. They are not fooled by NBC or the New York Times or Time or other official arbiters of the truth and reality. We have a kind of samizdat going on here, an underground of popular knowledge about the world and the universe. But this universe is not the one we are being officially told about. It is really going to be interesting to see when the official mainstream, the small percentage of elites that determine what we are supposed to think is real, wake up to the fact that the consensus view of reality is gone. We are, I think, getting near that moment.

In 1974 Margaret Mead wrote in Redbook magazine, “People still ask each other, ‘Do you believe in UFOs?’ I think this is a silly question, born of confusion. Belief has to do with matters of faith. It has nothing to do with the kind of knowledge that is based on scientific inquiry… When we want to understand something strange, something previously unknown, we have to begin with an entirely different set of questions. What is it? How does it work? Are there recurrent regularities?” (Mead, 1974). I resonate with that, because I am always being accused of being a “believer,” some-body who has come and gone over the edge from rationality to belief. My work has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with what I do as a clinician.

I began to see people in 1990 who seemed of sound mind but were describing experiences which simply did not fit into any kind of psychiatric category of which I could conceive. Child abuse, psychosis, neurosis, organic brain disease, fantasy-prone personality, you know the litany here. No diagnostic category came close to explaining what I was seeing. I often say this to audiences; there is not a single abduction case which does not fulfill my rather simple criteria for an authentic case, i.e., the person reports, with or without hypnosis or a simple relaxation exercise, observing some sort of humanoid beings, being taken against their wills into some kind of enclosure, and subjected to traumatic and sometimes enlightening procedures. There are now thousands of cases described in the literature that fulfill these criteria. These patterns are clear, down to quite specific details. Not one case has been shown to have a cause other than what the person says happened. No case, for example, has revealed that behind the reported experience is some kind of strange depression, or child abuse, or something else. Clinicians have made intense efforts to find this “something else,” because the motivation is very strong to shoot this phenomenon down, to find another cause, what I call the “anything but syndrome”— anything but that we are being visited by some unusual intelligence that is entering our world.

The methodological issues are important. On what basis do I ask that these experiences be taken seriously? In some ways, it is easier for a psychological clinician, like a psychiatrist, to use these methods because, in a sense, that is the way we always work. We are not basically people who get anywheres by standing back from other people and observing them as specimens. The way we need always to work, to be helpful to our patients, is by entering into their worlds through a kind of intuitive use of our total self-intellect, inspiration, and intuition. We use the total psyche, our total consciousness. In effect, trained consciousness has been our instrument of knowing from the beginning of the discipline when we were doing it right and not trying to act like physicists or pharmacologists. Our true roots as psychological professionals come from the use of consciousness, including non-ordinary states. We learn by methods that are participatory and non-dualistic. This is a “relational” way of knowing.

It is easy for people who use a dualistic approach to say, “You’re contaminating the field. You’re influencing, you’re leading,” when, in fact, you are joining the other person in bringing forth experiences. But you cannot get away from the fact that in any exploration of human experience two consciousnesses, two energy fields, are interacting or connecting and that what emerges is out of that participation, out of the relationship. Then, after that, you look at what you have found and apply rational judgment in analyzing the material. You ask, was this person trying to please? Was this authentic? What was the emotional intensity that came with the communications? Was this emotion appropriate to what the person was talking about? These are the yardsticks that psychological clinicians apply in assessing what a patient or client is reporting. It has nothing to do with belief. In my abduction cases, with few exceptions, I have felt people were describing as best they could what had occurred. In fact, they doubt as much as I do what they have undergone. They tend to come to me saying, “Can you make this go away?” or will report waking experiences as dreams if they occurred at night. They want the experiences to be found to be a product of their psyches, not to be “real.” In case after case I have seen the lips quiver or tears come down the cheeks when the person realizes that he was not asleep and that what occurred was not a dream. I might then say, “Yes, I’m sorry, but I know many people who have had experiences like yours.” One woman who came to me a few days ago, and was eager to believe her experiences were dreams, said to me sobbing “But if it’s real, then it can happen again. And I can’t stop it and you can’t stop it.” These individuals prefer that this be a clinical phenomenon that will go away, or that I might cure it by giving them a pill, or talking them out of it or interpreting it in some dynamic sense, which of course is what many of my colleagues want to do as well.

So the method used here is to employ consciousness, my total self, my whole background or being, to be with a person, to create a safe environment in which the individual can share and bring forth that which is the most sensitive, most troubling, most confusing, most extraordinary kind of experiences that are imaginable, at least in the world view of this culture. I have worked intensively now with over a hundred people and done a modified hypnosis or relaxation exercise in which the person closes their eyes and just “goes inside” in about seventy cases. Contrary to what is said about hypnosis bringing distortions of memory in such cases, I often trust what comes out in the relaxation sessions more than in face-to-face interviews because the feelings are so intense and less acceptable. The person is able to bring forth more ignoble, more humiliating experiences, than in conscious, more social, kinds of interaction. When the individuals tell what they have consciously recalled, they tend to organize their thoughts in a way that is more palatable and appropriate to their positive self regard and world views.

The basic phenomena associated with abductions seem to be consistent worldwide. At the same time, paradoxes abound, and it is difficult to make statements that apply in all cases. For example, I do not believe that in every abduction case the physical body is taken. Yet there are cases in which the person is witnessed to be not there. A child, for example, may go into the mother’s room at night and the mother is gone, and the mother reports an abduction experience that occurred at that time. But there are also cases where the person reports experiencing an abduction and other people have observed seeing the person still in place. But the basic phenomena: seeing a beam of light; the intrusion of humanoid beings into the person’s life; the experience of being paralyzed and taken through walls into some kind of enclosure and subjected to a variety of procedures with the creation of a “hybrid” species; the conveying of powerful information about threats to the planet such as nuclear war and vast ecological change; the evidences of an expansion of consciousness that occurs for the people that undergo these experiences, for people that work with them and for those who will attend to what this appears to be about—these all seem to be quite consistent findings. Furthermore, the experiences seem also to be consistent worldwide. My colleague, Dominique Callimanopulos, and I have traveled to South Africa, to Brazil, and a number of countries in Europe. We are also getting reports from all over the world and learning that the basic phenomenon appears to have a consistent core. I have worked with a South African medicine man, Credo Mutwa, a Zulu leader now 74, who had a classic abduction experience when he was 38. This occurred during his training as a shaman. Mr. Mutwa was in the bush when suddenly he found himself in an enclosure surrounded by humanoid beings with large black eyes. He was terrified, and underwent the range of traumatic, educational and transformational experiences described above. He believes the “mandindas,” as his people call these beings, are trying to teach us about the threat to the earth that our mindless destructive actions are causing.

I would like to turn now to what appears to be the basic pattern and meaning of the abduction phenomenon. First, abductees are being told over and over that this phenomenon is occurring in the context of the threat to the earth as a living system, a response to the ecological devastation that our particular species has undertaken. Credo Mutwa told us that, according to African mythology, the earth is one of what his people call “mother planets.” There are twenty-five mother planets in the cosmos, he said, and we may be destroying life on one of them. As one of the abductees I have worked with put it, the phenomenon is an effort to bring about “a cosmic correction”. For the earth, evidently, has a place in the larger fabric of meaning and significance in the cosmos, and this one species cannot be allowed to destroy it for its own exploitative purposes.

Second, this other intelligence appears to function as a kind of intermediary between the Source of creation and us, emissaries perhaps, of that correction. This does not mean that every kind of alien being is involved in that mission. But the beings are often perceived in this way.

Third, a message is coming through to us – I will shortly provide some clinical material related to this – that we have lost connection with what some aliens, humans who have had these experiences, call Source, or Home, the divine core of creativity, the light-different traditions have varying ways of talking about this realm. We are being told that we have grown too far from that Source and have lost our connection with it.

Fourth, these encounters are changing the consciousness of the people that are undergoing them, and, I believe, influencing consciousness on the planet as the power and implications of the abduction phenomenon are becoming more widely recognized. The phenomenon seems to hold the potential of reconnecting us with our divine Source.

Fifth, the hybrid “program,” which can be deeply traumatic for mothers and fathers (particularly when they are brought back to see and hold these odd children especially as they cannot know when they will be able to see these creatures again), seems to be a kind of awkward insurance policy for the next step of evolution. We do not, of course, know in what reality these hybrids exist. It could be an intermediate realm between the material world and the unseen world. A number of abductees have been told that the hybrids represent a step in evolution that is being created for the time when we have destroyed ourselves so that some aspect of our genetic structure or nature can be preserved.

Finally, the human-alien relationship, which is not simply good or bad, is, nevertheless, reciprocal. We do not know from what dimension or Source the whole connection is being orchestrated. Perhaps it serves them and us. It may emanate from another dimension, inviting us to explore its mysteries.

Now I will tell you about the case of [name] who wishes to be called Ifyani. She is a 34-year-old mother of three children. Her oldest son was killed in an automobile accident several months ago, and her abduction encounters have been important in enabling her to integrate that terrible loss and to put it in a larger cosmic perspective. Ifyani has had a wide range of abduction experience, from being “used” for the breeding project to having a dual identity, seeming to serve the aliens, identify with them and do their work while at the same time experiencing the trauma of her encounters. She has a complex religious background. She is a native of a Central American country, where she experienced both African-derived religious influences and while also being raised as a Christian. We have been working toward enabling her to overcome the victimization aspect of her abduction experiences. Ifyani has undergone profound personal growth in the context of her encounters.

The session from which I will quote occurred on July 31, 1995. Ifyani had been having ongoing encounters with the beings during the days before that and was struggling to change these encounters into more reciprocal exchanges. She sensed that the beings were struggling to connect with her at a soul level, even to take her soul, or to connect with her, body and soul. She found that by emanating love towards them, the demonic or dark dimension of their being was affected. They seemed to pull back from the love she sent them, and, at the same time, to thrive from it. Thus, a kind of loving connection seemed to grow out of that struggle. This was not a regression but a regular interview.

Ifyani, referring to love, says,

    I think it’s a real power. I think it’s the most powerful thing in the whole universe and every other universe that we know. I think it’s what everything is made of. I think it’s what started everything, and I think everything has that love in it.

She does not seem to be speaking of what she had learned through reading or formal education. Ifyani continued,

    I look at love as like an umbilical cord that connects my soul to the main major Source where all this love comes from. That’s how I look at love. It’s my cord. It’s my umbilical cord. It’s my extension cord.

Speaking of the aliens, she says,

    They seem very frail. I think they’re after our love and our experience, and I think they envy us, and I think they’re jealous of us. I think that maybe if they try to create these half-and-half babies or whatever, I think maybe that’s so they can use those bodies for themselves, trying to somehow, if they get enough human qualities in that body, they can use that body for themselves and then try to get nurturing from the mothers or from someone else.

I hear this in a number of cases, i.e. that the alien beings envy our dense, physical embodiment and seem to treasure our sexuality, our nurturance, our intense physicality. This is something that they want from us, while they, in turn, crack our barriers, breaking down the egoism that distances us from our Source.

In Ifyani’s words,

    They’re like starving children who are trying to sneak in with the other kids, the other babies who are being breast fed. I think that they remember what this felt like. They know what it feels like, and I think they want to go back to that, but for some reason, I don’t know why, they can’t connect to the Source the way we can, and I think they have to go through us to connect to the Source.

This is paradoxical, because in another sense they seem to function like emissaries from Source. But what I think she means here is that the beings do not have the kind of deep, rich physical, emotional and spiritual experience of connection with Source for which we long. She continues,

    They have to actually be in me and for me to give up my body or whatever, my soul willingly, and have them come in. I think that that’s the only way that they can even try to connect with the Source. To me, it’s like they’re trying to use tricks and, I don’t know, I don’t know why. I’ll tell you one thing. I don’t consider them evil in the way that, you know, we look at evil. I don’t say that they’re bad or anything like that. I think that they’re just, that that’s the way they are. I do believe we all came from the same place. I believe if we look back on religion and myths and legends, I think all the answers are there. But we’ve gotten to the point here where we consider ourselves so technologically advanced and so educated and just, you know, just up there, that we, we don’t even think it’s necessary to remember where we came from. We’ve been educated fools. I think that religion has been made into a tool that keeps us blind or that keeps us from remembering where we came from. I think Source’s purpose for letting that happen [that is, the beings coming and doing this, encountering us this way], and this is just totally weird, but I think Source’s purpose was to let us remember things, to bring back memory to us of Source to empower ourselves. I mean, the power has always been in there. It’s always been there. It’s not like Source is giving you this power now. It’s always been there. It’s self-realization. It’s to open up your consciousness more. I think it’s almost like a baby going from crawling to walking and realizing that I am. That’s what I think Source’s reason for, was for this. I am…

    I think there’s so much more to this body. I think even our DNA, we don’t even know a lot about our DNA. I think we can restructure our DNA. I think we can become what the Bible said, that in the last days people will have new bodies, indestructible bodies. They will be new beings, and I think it’s all inside of us. It’s all here, this package, and I think the mind is the key. I think our minds will expand and open, and I think that whole percentage of the brain that we don’t even use, we’re gonna remember how to use it, and I think we will free ourselves because I don’t think humans are free…

    We look at everything as good and bad and ‘Oh, how can God let this happen?’ We look at things and think, ‘Oh, my God, how horrible, how terrible,’ but that’s because we’re looking at it through these eyes. We’re not looking at the whole picture. I don’t think there’s ever an end to anything or a real beginning to anything. I think everything just is… I think every action you look at, even sending a little kid to school for the first time, just everything we do just mimics the way Source does things. If you look at patterns in life, patterns are repeated always, over and over and over in our actions, in the way we raise our children and the way government treats us. Just everything mimics over and over and over. Where is that pattern coming from? You know, we come here with those patterns. I think that’s from the main source. I guess in a way we’re like a small replica of what goes on everywhere else. And I think we come here like a baby Source and we come here and we mature…

    We’re getting ready to graduate… A lot of us are starting to wake up and remember and realize, and I think graduation time is coming up… The earth has gone through a lot. It’s gone through having to support a whole kindergarten of kids mauling it and spray painting it, crayoning it. I think this class is gonna graduate and I think the earth will have to go through a whole cleansing process, a whole cleansing period, and I think a whole new set of little Sources will come through, and I think this has happened before. I think it’s gonna continue happening. I think it’s basically what this is all about…

    Poison in the water. Poison in the water. I keep having all these visions and dreams about the water being poisoned, the air being poisoned, plus people poison it just by being here. The way in our mentality, the way it is now. We give off almost like negative energy, and we’re poisoning the planet just with that energy because I think our Mother Earth, to me it’s like a living organism. It’s a living organism and we’re giving off these repelling energies, and it’s killing it. It’s killing it. It affects the animals. It affects the insects. It affects everything. Everything-all of it, the trees and everything. If we’re giving off this, this negative energy all the time, after a while the earth looks at us as something like a harmful bacteria and it will repel us. It will fight back. I think Mother Earth is actually fighting back. These blue baldies [that's what she calls the alien beings]-I won’t say they own this earth. This is their home. I think this is where they belonged first. They’re the keepers, the true keepers of this earth… Whether they mean to or not, they’re here to help us with this growth period, to help us to mature.

This, I would remind you, is a person who has been highly traumatized by her experiences, but with the trauma, or perhaps as an outgrowth of it, she has demonstrated personal growth and knowledge.

    I would say we’re getting to a point where we’re all, you know, waking up, but I think these blue baldies-Mother Earth belongs to them and I think they were put in charge of Mother Earth and I think they’re the ones that are going to clean it up. It seems to me, it seems that now that I’m becoming more conscious of things, it seems like there’s an actual chemical reaction that’s happening in the back of my brain, like something that’s actually changing.

In conclusion, I would begin by paraphrasing what the American Catholic bishops said at the time in the early 1980s when they took a policy stand against nuclear deterrence: We could destroy God’s work. Also, the Dalai Lama, when a group of researchers met with him around the alien abduction phenomenon in 1992, suggested that, “These beings, these creatures, they are very upset. We are destroying their physical and spiritual homes.” They have no choice, he added, but to become physical and come back and try to stop us.

Next, the alien abduction phenomenon appears to be a kind of spiritual outreach program from the cosmos for the spiritually impaired.

Third, we and the beings, evidently, come from a common Source and that love is at the core of the cosmos as its essential creative power.

Fourth, to know in the domain of our relationship to the subtle realm requires, paradoxically (and this phenomenon is filled with paradox), an attitude of not knowing, what the Buddhists call empty mind. Knowledge here seems to come like the creation of the universe itself. As the universe emerged from nothing, so knowledge in matters such as this seems to emerge from radical not knowing. The new paradigm we have heard so much about has to do, I believe, with a different notion of our relationship to reality, one that is co-creative and evolutionary, as if we were co-creating with nature and with God.

Fifth, and finally, our job at this time, for all of us, appears to be to overcome the dualism, the separateness, that has characterized not only our world view but our scientific approaches to all the realms that have been studied up to this point. The task now is to integrate the polarities at every level. At the intrapsychic level this means the darkness within us, as well as our loving spiritual selves. At the interpersonal level we have to overcome the polarized individual and collective human relationships that find expression, for example, in “ethnic cleansing,” an instance of extreme polarization within the human community, what Erik Erikson called “pseudo-speciation,” feeling and behaving as if we were not even a single species.

Finally, we need to transcend the separateness that disconnects us from nature If we could transcend this division, we might then explore, enjoy, and travel ecstatically, lovingly, materially and non-materially, among the unique particularities of our own being, our own natures within the cosmos, experiencing at the same time an essential unity and sacredness of creation. That possibility is, I think, what this extraordinary phenomenon has to teach us.

Mead, Margaret (1974) “UFOs-Visitors from Outer Space?” Redbook, September 1974

John E. Mack, M.D. was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
© 1996 John E. Mack, M.D.
Developed from a talk given at the International Association for New Science Conference, Fort Collins, Colorado, September 16, 1995; Dr. Mack adapted this presentation into its current form on or about October 23, 1995.

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