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The Trickster and the Paranormal Paperback – August 20, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
Be forewarned: This isn't light reading. It's a dense, scholarly 500-page work that will have you confused and ready to give up at various points. It reminds me of "Hamlet's Mill" -- another dense, scholarly work whose meaning and depth aren't fully revealed until you've read it several times. The author states at one point that readers of early drafts complained that the book seemed unfocused and rambling, and I suspect that even the final version will strike most readers as somewhat abstruse. However, even though I've only read it once at this point, I do believe that what the author has to say is extremely important and well worth the effort it will take you to mine his nuggets.
I was vaguely aware of Native American "trickster" lore, but I wasn't aware that there was an entire body of scholarly work surrounding the trickster archetype. The author seems to have not only a solid foundation in parapsychology but also an amazing knowledge and grasp of all of the disciplines relevant to the trickster - anthropology, sociology, psychology, literary criticism or whatever.Read more ›
Personally the data in the book depressed me in many ways, for I am one of those who attempts to make scientific sense of this area (even though I know there's much more to the world than that) and it's not cheering to be reminded of these difficulties. But we don't solve problems by pretending they are not there, so I am grateful to Hansen for this authoritative reminder.
problem of self-reference, from Godel's arguments in
mathematics to postmodernism in literary criticism. The
field of parapsychology is filled with frauds and self-
promoters to the point where one is tempted to throw it all
out and concede to the materialists and behaviorists.
George P. Hansen, in _The Trickster and the
Paranormal_, suggests that these problems can be considered
in the light of the trickster figure, that archetype
appearing in cultures all over the world at the
edges of society, resisting definition, and representing
"deceit, disruption, reduced sexual inhibition, magical
practices, boundary crossing, destabilizing structures,
transition, [and] marginality."
He gives us a view of how the trickster has appeared
everywhere from primitive cultures to the contemporary
battle over psi (both sides), with copious, wittily
described examples, and he invites us to find the trickster
archetype elsewhere. (I had not considered the extent to
which Robert Heinlein was a trickster.)
He does not answer the great questions he discusses
(one would be suspicious if he did), but he gives us new
tools to ponder them with. The broad spectrum of areas he
covers makes this the sort of generalist book that can be
nibbled to death by specialist ducks. (For instance, he
uses the nonword "deconstructionism.") Still, this is a
thought-provoking, mind-opening book, one that I recommend
Because tricksters are so often comfortable in the culture of the shunned, it is almost a given that academia will run from psi as a priest from that which is unclean. Serious and impartial study becomes difficult because to engage in it, academics must overcome rigid social taboos and embrace unconventional thought paradigms. Academia is no more immune from societal pressures and conventional thinking than any other human institution. As Hansen himself states, "The widespread, subtly negative attitude toward fantasy, imagery, and the imagination indirectly acknowledges its power and the need to keep it constrained." There is also the very real danger of becoming so drawn into the subject one loses one's ability to tell fantasy from reality. Loss of objectivity comes in many forms.
I don't think any summary I achieve here could do justice to the amount of researcher Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a deep, dense, and scholarly work, and I truly enjoyed reading it. It took me many weeks to finish, but I was as compelled by the thoughtful writing and big ideas... Read morePublished 9 months ago by P. Lio
Paranormal occurrences, flying saucers, ghosts, psi, messages from beyond or the presence of spirit guides, have never been conclusively demonstrated. Read morePublished 9 months ago by THUMBTOM
This is an excellently written book; informative, insightful and a useful reference when exploring a number of phenomena. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Niggle
Even though I gave this book three stars, I did enjoy it. Why I gave it three stars is it does meander along, jumping from topic to topic through each chapter. Read morePublished 23 months ago by G. Ridgeway
Unique area of study explains why psi research organizations and publications remain on a marginal cultural level. Read morePublished on July 14, 2014 by t'mara
Educational with scholarly documentation yet not overly difficult to read. It is very thought-provoking work for those looking deeper into the mysteries of the paranormal. Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by Richard D.
I came across this book after reading Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters by Robert McLuhan. Read morePublished on April 10, 2012 by Avery
A very ambitious, well researched book. It introduces quite a few concepts from alot of different disciplines and shows their relation to the paranormal. Read morePublished on March 6, 2012 by William Schneider
This is an intellectual feast. If you're intelligent, open-minded and curious, then it is a must read. If not, then read it anyways because maybe it will do you some good. Read morePublished on August 4, 2009 by Benjamin D. Steele