One from the archives. I am reposting what I’d written not because I feel like discussing it, but rather simply because it is no longer on the free web, having been sealed away behind a pay wall some time ago.
Because my comments promoted an essay reply from Budd Hopkins (“John Mack, UFO Abductions and Transformative Experiences” by Budd Hopkins, Feb 2006), I thought it would make sense to keep my statements available.
Some background: My comments were part of a discussion about Harvard-based skeptic Susan Clancy (whom I’d met while working for Dr. John Mack in Cambridge MA) and were promoted in particular by Budd Hopkins’ editorial about her, titled “The Faith-Based Science Of Susan Clancy” (Budd Hopkins, Oct 2005). You will note that the subject heading of the discussion is that of Hopkins’ editorial, and that quotes from his editorial are indicated by vertical bars — “|”.
From: Will Bueche
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 13:31:25 -0800 (PST)
Fwd Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 19:47:01 -0500
Subject: Re: The Faith-Based Science Of Susan Clancy
| From: UFO UpDates – Toronto
| To: – UFO UpDates Subscribers –
| Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 10:43:06 -0500
| Subject: The Faith-Based Science Of Susan Clancy
| Source: The Intruders Foundation – New York, NY, USA
| October, 2005
| The Faith-Based Science Of Susan Clancy
| By Budd Hopkins
| The ideology [Susan Clancy and Richard J. McNally] shared assumed
| that such experiences were, ipso facto, false memories, a theory
| the two seem to believe as fervently as the Pope believes in the
| virgin birth.
Bravo to Budd Hopkins for writing about Clancy and McNally’s
ideological collusion. I hope such discussion by laymen will
someday lead to a careful review of their work by their peers,
and their preordained conclusions and misrepresentations will be
exposed in professional publications.
Nonetheless, despite my appreciation of Hopkins’ effort, I must
make one critique of his essay; the part in which he again tries
to discount the spiritual import (for lack of a better term) of
the alien encounter experience.
Much could be said about where Susan Clancy gets it wrong. But
Clancy gets it right when she affirms what many alien
researchers have observed. “All of the subjects reported that
the most traumatic experiences in their lives were abduction
related,” Clancy writes. “But some of them,” she continues,
“also reported that their most positive life experiences were
abduction related as well…all of the subjects, without
exception, said that they felt changed because of their
experiences… Being abducted by aliens,” Clancy concludes, “is
a transformative event.”
In the following passage, Hopkins hits back at Clancy’s
criticism that he is “deaf” to this element of the experience by
discounting the element as a panacea the mind invents to cope:
| …one occasionally comes across an abductee who is
| fully aware of the emotional trauma he has suffered, but who is
| nevertheless willing to regard these experiences as being, in
| some way, spiritually uplifting. For such people, this positive
| view of traumatic events is probably a coping strategy, similar
| to that of certain battered wives who will not complain to the
| police, but instead insist that their abusive husbands really do
| love them.
On reading this, I showed the essay to a friend and asked her
opinion about why Budd tends to misread the spiritual component
of alien encounters.
She noted that Budd used the term “spiritually uplifting”. But
“spiritually informative” would be a more accurate term, she suggested.
People who describe themselves as having grown spiritually from
their experiences (and I include myself among them), or who have
developed insights into reality that might be thought of today
as spiritual models, are responding to the presence of new
information – their experiences. Unlike being beaten by one’s
husband, alien encounters present people with new information
that is then incorporated into every aspect of the self –
mental, spiritual, physical.
This inner process may indeed be “uplifting” even if the alien
encounter experiences themselves are simply “informative” (and
scary). Perhaps this distinction will allow for Hopkins to
listen to these elements of the experiences without having a
judgement of aliens dictate which of the experiencers’
perceptions he will trust and which he will dismiss.