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4.2 out of 5 stars
Passport to the Cosmos
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 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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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
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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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
A good overview of the alien abduction phenomenon. Mack's main conclusions are that the experience of abductees are not purely imagination, hysteria or hallucination. The abductees are normally perfectly sane and come from every walk of life and they are not generally attention seekers who are jumping on a bandwagon. The only physical evidence Mack has found are scars from alleged medical procedures during abductions and he notes that other investigators have found implants, although they are not found to be made of 'alien' material.
Mack doesn't use the label 'abductee' he prefers to use the term 'experiencer', because it is a more neutral term. He notes the similarity between the phenomenon and shamanic initiation. In that the abductees who are most able to deal with the experience are those who face the terror of the powerlessness and pain involved in alleged medical procedures and transcend the fear. Mack seems to think the 'aliens' (although he doesn't use that term either) are less extraterrestrial than interdimensional. Mack is probably the most intelligent investigator of the abduction phenomenon, he is a phd, pulitzer prize winner and is not afraid to investigate taboo areas, despite the flack he recieves from the scientific mainstream for doing so.

Most people assume the alien abduction phenomenon is not real, because any 'aliens' would not be able to change dimensions, break the light speed barrier or even travel close enough to light speed in order to get here or that we are alone in the universe. There is also the assumption by many people that 'aliens' if they were here would land on the Whitehouse lawn and announce themselves. The equivalent of this could of already happened of course, any cover up could have been undertaken in the interests of 'national security', but this is just speculation. The main problem with the abduction phenomenon is the lack of physical evidence. Although if 'aliens' wanted and were able to leave no physical evidence, that would not be any more unbelievable than the phenomenon happening in the first place. It has been said that any great advancement in science is indistinguishable from magic and the ability of the 'aliens' could be described as magical.

...P> A very common theme that the abductees recount is the 'aliens' communicating to them that the earth is becoming increasingly unstable due to environmental damage caused by humans. This is as good a reason as any for 'aliens' to interact with us. When Mack asks the abductees why 'aliens' don't act directly to solve our environmental problems? He is told that the 'aliens' don't wish to incringe on our freedom of choice and also that they did attempt to give free energy technology to the government, but it was covered up as it eroded US hegemony of energy technology. These two statements are contradictory, but Mack doesn't comment on this. There is a lot of scepticism surrounding the subject of alien abduction and that is understandable. A lot of people tend to think that because we are top of the food chain and allegedly the most intelligent species on earth although we don't act like it a lot of the time; that it's not possible for other intelligent entities to be far in advance of us in intelligence, duration of their science and psychic development compared to our relatively young science and lack of interest in studying psychic development. A lack of vision of what is possible is a sign of complacency, the same complacency that allows us to destroy our environment.
( review by Melchizedeck )
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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! That maybe they were telling the truth! It was blasphemy!

In my view, Mack, who died in 2004, was treated in much the same way the Catholic Church treated Galileo when he dared support the idea that the sun did not revolve around the earth. In the end, Mack faced no disciplinary action from Harvard, and he didn't lose his license to practice psychiatry, but he endured a scathing wind of condemnation from the "established elite" and sacrificed his standing in the medical and academic community.

Just as I found Mack's "Abductions" a riveting read, I give stellar marks to this book, "Passport to the Cosmos." It's an amazing book in many ways - it's not even really so much a book about alien abduction as it is about spiritual transformation. "Passport to the Cosmos" bears greater relationship to such spiritual classics as "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda than to other books about UFO-related phenomenon - although there is plenty of "alien and UFO" discussion underpinning all of the content.

In addition to the experiences or ordinary Americans, Mack also highlights the UFO-like experiences of three modern day shamans - Sequoyah Trueblood, Bernardo Peixoto and Credo Mutwa. This is significant because Mack rather brilliantly shows us the UFO phenomenon through the eyes of a different culture - perspectives that are not as entangled in the highly rational, secular, materialistic, scientific mindset of Western society. It gives us another way to look at and consider just what might be going on with this whole UFO thing. It forces us to look at it in a new light.

For many readers who have read Mack's "Abductions," this book may seem like "more of the same" but my view is that Mack's thoughts and ideas about what is going on with abduction patients ("experiencers") and the UFO phenomenon have advanced and solidified, and are stated more firmly around a more coherent theory in this book.

This is an important book. I wish millions of people would read it, and give it serious thought.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I feel Dr. Mack's book "Passport to the Cosmos" is the cutting edge information on what these abductions really are. Dr. Mack has turned to the Native Peoples of the world for their slant on what is happening. He interviews Shamen and Medicine Men from three different continents to relay their stories. The experiences that these men have had are strikingly simular to each other but, unique in their own way also. He also traveled to a small African village where a group of school students witnessed a landing of a craft and were told some things by "Alien beings". He interviews some of the children and really found out some interesting information. If your interested in understanding what is really going on... this book is a must. It is well written and covers alot of ground. He finally was able to start putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together. The ultimate goal is still not realized, however we are getting closer to the final understanding to what is happening to our world. This book is one of a few books that truly is on the right track and all that is needed is an open mind to see that there is alot more to our world than what we have been led to believe.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Mack is brilliant in this book! He is most interested in how a person's life changes as a result of their anomolous experiences, mainly encounters with other worldly beings. These "experiencers" seem to have a jump start on the rest of us mortals, in terms of understanding the vastness of which we come from, and which we will return. An excellent book for anyone seeking to get closer to the TRUTH.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Does much to capture the mystery and ambiguity of the close encounter (CE4) phenomenon. It shows that the phenomenon is a true challenge to our concept of reality, while at the same time showing that we must take the phenomenon seriously. To his credit, Dr. Mack does not take sides in the current debates on the CE4 phenomenon, but does a good job of portraying the controversies involved. My overall opinion is that this is Dr. Mack's best book yet. It is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in the UFO/CE4 phenomenon.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
These many reviews are interesting. It seems that the negative reviewers are offended at the idea - the very idea! - that aliens might actually be helping humanity. No, such reviewers seem more comfortable with the idea that aliens are out to destroy humanity, no doubt about it.

To me, these reviews offer a window into the psychology of each reviewer: Those who feel that the unknown MUST be our enemy, and those who feel that the unknown MIGHT be our friend.

For those of the former, THE THREAT is obviously the book for you. For those of the latter, PASSPORT will offer elucidation and comfort.

It's been suggested that we each make our own reality...
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 1999
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is a significant departure from Mack's prior work in the field but commensurate with our discussions over the past few years. It goes a long way in course correcting early trust placed in abductees relating their experiences as physical truth. In Cosmos Mack has attempted to address some of the most complex problems facing humans who have a scientific worldview that limits the "reality" of events to physical senses. He balances the issues of the "reality-or lack thereof" of abductions while still acknowledging the importance they have to both experiencers and other interested in the field.
This is an important book that may not be well received by the abduction community or those steeped in conspiracy theory. Both are looking for someone else to blame. As Mack points out, these events may be imaginal (not imaginary)and our society is not well equipped to deal with such complexity. It is that vein that the cross-cultural topics add much value to the book.
Anyone interested in the field of alien abductions should read this book-and carefully.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Everyone interested in this exceptional phenomenon should read John Mack's insightful analysis of the so called alien abduction. A very brave and in depth look of the respected academic into the mystery that can no longer be ignored.
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