[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[05-30-94] Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens

In the world of professional wrestling, fans fall into two
categories, known as the Smarts and the Marks. 
The Marks believe that they are watching spontaneous 
contests of strength and skill. The Smarts know that 
they are watching a fascinating, highly plotted, roughly 
scripted form of dramatic entertainment--a sort of sweaty
soap opera. The Smarts and the Marks have a lot to talk 
about, though their conversation sometimes seems at cross-
purposes. They have both developed an enthusiastic 
appreciation for the phenomenon, but on different levels. 
In the world of unidentified flying objects, John E. Mack 
(or, as his book jacket labels him, "John E. Mack, M.D., the 
Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard psychiatrist") is a Mark 
masquerading as a Smart.

Mack believes that little gray aliens have been abducting 
Americans in large numbers and subjecting them to various 
forms of unwilling sex. (Yes, that again.) Mack also believes 
that, for a bunch of cosmic rapists, these aliens are a 
pretty benign bunch. They're trying to bring us in touch with 
our spiritual sides, or trying to remind us how important it 
is to care about the planet, or otherwise trying to help our 
consciousness evolve. But you already know this--unless you've 
missed him these past few weeks on "Oprah," in The New York 
Times Magazine, on "48 Hours" and in supermarket tabloids, 
talk shows and news programs across the country.

Alien-abduction mythology has been one of this country's 
tawdry belief manias since the 1960s. It is a leading case 
of the anti-rational, anti-science cults that are flourishing 
with dismaying vigor in the United States, and with dismayingly 
little counterbalance from people who ought to know better. UFOs 
in general, paranormals who bend spoons, parapsychologists who 
sense spiritual auras, crystal healers, believers in
reincarnation, psychic crime-solvers--all of these natural
descendants of tarot-
readers and crystal ball-gazers get uncritical television time 
and newsprint. It's a dangerous trend. The blurring of
distinctions between real knowledge and phony knowledge leaves
all of us more vulnerable to faith-healers and Holocaust-deniers
of all sorts.

The new wave of marketing the abduction myth has been grotesquely
effective. The New York Times Book Review chose to give Mack's
new book a major illustrated review written by another
psychiatrist who has spent time interviewing supposed abductees.
This reviewer, James S. Gordon, criticizes some of Mack's
methods, but hails him for giving "visibility to a phenomenon
that is ordinarily derided," and concludes that Mack "has
performed a valuable and brave service, enlarging the domain and

[457 lines left ... full text available at <url:http://www.reference.com/cgi-bin/pn/go?choice=message&table=05_1997&mid=3145057&hilit=HYPNOSIS> ]

Article-ID: 05_1997&3132703
Score: 84
Subject: Air is the currency of life.