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Passport to the Cosmos Hardcover – January 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Here is a fascinating foray into an exotic world. From Harvard psychiatry professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Mack comes a second book (after Abduction) based on accounts by people who claim to have been abducted by aliens. While he fudges the question of whether the aliens are "real in a strictly material sense," he insist that the experience is "real" for the abductees, in the way that shamans' spiritual journeys are real to them; indeed, a couple of his interviewees are shamans. He focuses on the newly emerging spiritual importance of the alleged abductees' message. Their reports, Mack believes, reveal much about human culture and the future of the human race. In extensive interviews with Mack, those who claim to have been abducted, report that the aliens are especially motivated by questions of ecological destruction, and that they may even be survivors of a destroyed civilization seeking to breed hybrid children with humans to ensure the survival of both the human race and their own. Overwhelmingly, the abductees state that the aliens visit Earth to warn us that our cavalier tree-cutting, water-polluting, trash-dumping habits will have dire consequences if we do not change our ways. Abductees are left with not only a profound caring for the environment, but with a sense that they have encountered creatures sent by whatever power rules the universe. They particularly find that their experiences resonate with Native American religions. This discussion leads into what is possibly the most intriguing section of the book, the examination of sex between humans and aliensAgreat sex, by numerous accounts. But as a serious investigation into a mystifying experience, Mack's account poses questions begging for answers. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Mack, a Harvard University psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of T.E. Lawrence, created an academic stir with the publication of Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (1994), in which he argued that tales of alien abduction were true. As a result, Harvard warned him to adhere to its standards of conduct for clinical research. In this follow-up, Mack, still undaunted, argues that our knowledge of reality needs to change and that scientific rationalism alone cannot explain the alien abduction syndrome. He examines traditional views of reality, the implications for humanity in light of the abduction phenomenon, and the traumatic effects on "experiencers" or abductees. Mack's work with indigenous peopleAshamans and medicine men and womenAsuggests that the phenomenon is not simply a product of Western imagination. This veritable handbook of New Age philosophy will find a readership in most public libraries.
-AGary D. Barber, formerly with SUNY Coll. at Fredonia
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: White Crow Books; Commemorative ed edition (January 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907661832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907661839
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,159,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Esteemed professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Pulitzer Prize-winning author John E. Mack M.D. (October 4, 1929 - Sep 27, 2004) spent his career examining how a sense of connection develops across cultures and between individuals, and how these connections alter people's worldviews.

His best known book on this theme, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977, is A Prince of Our Disorder, a biography of British officer T. E. Lawrence (who became known as ''Lawrence of Arabia''). He also interviewed political leaders and citizens of the Soviet Union and Israel/Palestine in the study of ethno-national conflict and the Cold War.

His interest in different worldviews was not limited to the terrestrial; for more than ten years he studied people who reported a connection existed between themselves and ''aliens''. Two books detailed how these ''alien encounters'' had affected the way people regarded the world - including heightening their sense of spirituality and their environmental concern. These were widely reported in the media as a simple endorsement of the reality of alien encounters, and he endured an inquiry by Harvard to determine whether this research met the standards of a Harvard professor. (The medical school ultimately ''reaffirmed Dr. Mack's academic freedom to study what he wishes and to state his opinions without impediment.'')

Mack's interest in the transformational aspects of extraordinary experiences corresponded to his own belief that the Western world requires a shift away from a primarily materialist worldview. This worldview, he suggested in his many writings, was the root cause of the Cold War, regional conflict, and the global ecological crisis. He advocated a shift towards a transpersonal worldview that embraced some elements of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions which emphasized a sense of ''connection''; Mack believed such a shift could alter the path of the world towards a more sustainable future.

Mack passed away at the age of 74 in London, England.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Mac Tonnies on January 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In "Passport to the Cosmos," John Mack succeeds in creating one of the most astute, rational narratives ever written about the "alien abduction" phenomenon. Not since Whitley Strieber's seminal best-selling "Communion" have I read a book that addresses the issue of nonhuman intelligence with such humility and restraint (traits lacking in recent books on the subject, such as David Jacobs' insipidly literal "The Threat"). Mack argues that alien encounters, while subjectively real to experiencers, probably reflect a much more sophisticated model of reality than Western empiricism currently allows. In other words, abduction experiences are likely not "real" in the traditional sense of flesh-and-blood extraterrestrial visitors conducting unsolicited health check-ups (an interpretation exploited by skeptics eager to downplay the reality of alleged alien encounters).
Mack takes time to address the issue from an indigenous perspective, drawing on testimony from experiencers in Africa and South America. The parallels, he reveals, are as startling as they are productive. In them, Mack concludes that we are indeed coming into contact with a largely (though not entirely) unrecognized intelligence that appears to antedate space-time as we know it.
Mack is to be applauded for his skepticism and determination in helping our understanding of what is perhaps the most misunderstood phenomenon in the world today. "Passport to the Cosmos" is a landmark book in a field with too few reasoned perspectives and way too many unbounded imaginations.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Passport to the Cosmos explores a spiritual terrain that I would not have expected to find in a book that on the surface appears to be about something "alien." What is discovered is a profound reconnection with the sacred, provoked by something as yet unknown.
Dr. John Mack compares the reactions of people in the West who have faced these experiences to a trio of experiencers from indigenous cultures - Native American, Brazillian, and African. The reactions and interpretations are compared and contrasted, and the value of some indigenous perspectives is considered.
In view of his years of clinical work with over 200 people reporting these experiences, Dr. Mack feels that the West suffers deeply when faced with something drastically unknown. But he suggests that if the terror of these experiences is fully faced, even embraced, an expansion of consciousness may take place.
"When these phenomena show up in our world in a way that we cannot deny, this powerfully shatters our worldview, and when you shatter a worldview, then new possibilities for human identity and experience emerge. One of the elements that occur when that worldview is shattered is then the earth and everything in the earth and every human relation becomes sacred. And that kind of consciousness, that return of the sacred, of the reverent sense of connection that emerges from this experience transforms our whole relationship to one another and to the planet itself. And it seems to me that's a good thing."
How the terror of being provoked by these experiences can transform into something truly grand is the journey of the book, told in the words of Dr. Mack and several particularly articulate experiencers (from the over 200 interviewed), so I leave that journey for the reader to discover. It is a journey worth taking.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ken Korczak on November 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Harvard educated psychiatrist John E. Mack was at the peak of a distinguished career as a doctor, Harvard professor, writer and researcher. He even won the Pulitzer Prize for literature and enjoyed universal respect. Then in 1994 he astonished everyone by daring to publish a UFO book.

It was as if every accomplishment of his entire life was now called into question. A Harvard "kangaroo committee" began to investigate him. High-level academic peers condemned him. Public ridicule followed.

Ironically, Mack's 1994 book "Abduction" was a bestseller and probably made him a ton of money - opening him up to that old skeptic's attack over anything to do with UFOs - 'he did it to cash in.' I remember other quotes in the media from egg-head academics that went something like this: "John Mack is a really brilliant guy, but for some reason, he just lost it."

But Mack was only going where the science was leading him. As a therapist, he was intrigued that he was getting an increasing number of patients who claimed to have been abducted by UFO aliens. They were distressed over their experiences, but Mack was perplexed that, outside their bizarre tales of abductions, these people seemed altogether normal and mentally healthy in all other respects. They wanted to stay anonymous; in fact, they were desperate to keep their experiences a secret. It was clear they were not just a bunch of nutty attention seekers, or deeply neurotic or psychotic lunatics. They were ordinary people who needed to deal with a traumatic event.

And so what really got Mack into hot water, especially among the academic and scientific community, is that he had the audacity to suggest that maybe these people REALLY HAD BEEN abducted by aliens!
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