The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained

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9781101982327: The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained
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Two of today's maverick authors on anomalous experience present a perception-altering and intellectually thrilling analysis of why the paranormal is real, but radically different from what is conventionally
understood.

Whitley Strieber (Communion) and Jeffrey J. Kripal (J. Newton Rayzor professor of religion at Rice University) team up on this unprecedented and intellectually vibrant new framing of inexplicable events and experiences.

Rather than merely document the anomalous, these authors--one the man who popularized alien abduction and the other a renowned scholar and "renegade advocate for including the paranormal in religious studies" (The New York Times)--deliver a fast-paced and exhilarating study of why the supernatural is neither fantasy nor fiction but a vital and authentic aspect of life.

Their suggestion? That all kinds of "impossible" things, from extra-dimensional beings to bilocation to bumps in the night, are not impossible at all: rather,  they are a part of our natural world. But this natural world is immeasurably more weird, more wonderful, and probably more populated than we have so far imagined with our current categories and cultures, which are what really make these things seem "impossible."

The Super Natural considers that the natural world is actually a "super natural world"--and all we have to do to see this is to change the lenses through which we are looking at it and the languages through which we are presently limiting it. In short: The extraordinary exists if we know how to look at and think about it.

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About the Author:

WHITLEY STRIEBER is one of today's most influential and bestselling authors of both science fiction and extraordinary fact. He is best known for his groundbreaking memoir Communion, which popularized the alien-abduction thesis, as well as his many bestselling novels, such as The Wolfen and The Hunger. These and other of Strieber's books have formed the basis for many popular movies, including The Day After Tomorrow.

JEFFREY J. KRIPAL is the J. Newton Rayzor professor of religion at Rice University. He is the author of six books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred, and Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal.

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 The Already World
 
They took a little hair off my head and cut my nails. I asked questions in my mind, but before I could verbalize them, they answered back very softly but directly, "We are making a new you." I asked him, "Are you like angels?" and he replied, “Not as you have been taught.”
An Anonymous Letter Writer in The Communion Letters
 
I am afraid of this book. There is something about it, something explosive and new. It is not a neutral book. It is an apocalypse of thought waiting for you, the reader, to actualize.
 
The world will not really end as you turn these pages, of course. Not the real one anyway. Much might well be lost—we hope. You should know that. But more, much more—really everything—might well be gained. In a few words, this is a book about a new world, the next world that has already arrived, that has always been here, whether we have recognized its presence or not.
 
In the pages that follow, Whitley and I explore the proposal that we are all embedded in a much larger, fiercely alive and richly conscious reality that is only, at best, indirectly addressed by everything that the human species has ever thought or believed. The religions, for example, have been attempts to look at and engage this conscious reality as if it were primarily concerned with us, but we don’t really know that, and in fact we cannot know that. Not at least yet.
 
Our proposal? To venture outside the present houses of faith without forgetting those family homes or leaving the spirit behind. To embrace science in a new way, by promoting a more generous vision of the full human experience of reality that can embrace and ponder “more stuff,” especially the wild, fantastic stuff that shouts, glows, and zaps in these pages. And, above all, to understand, to really understand that we are already and always have been living in a super natural world, that we ourselves are highly evolved prisms or mediums of this super nature coming into consciousness, and that many of the things that we are constantly told are impossible are in fact not only possible but also the whispered secrets of what we are, where we are, and why we are here. This is a book about that Already World.
 
To my knowledge, nothing like it has ever been attempted. Here, one of the most widely read figures in UFO and abduction literature and a seasoned (take that either way) professor of comparative religion sit down to encounter each other’s thought—seriously and respectfully. As the author of the twentieth century’s most influential and intimate description of an abduction event, Communion (1987), Whitley sets on our shared table his visions of alien spectral figures that seemed at once physical and not physical, at once a thing and a thought, at once sexual and spiritual, at once traumatic and ecstatic. I bring the practices of the professional study of religion to the table in order to explain what historians of religion have written about these paradoxical things (it turns out, a lot) and how we might make sense of them without surrendering our critical faculties and understandable skepticism. We work in tandem. We read each other. We rewrite our chapters in the light of what the other has written. In the process, we rewrite ourselves.
01
The text is at once intimate and professional, both in content and form. Whitley, far from being what he has been portrayed in the media—that is, an advocate for belief in alien abduction—reveals himself in his chapters as a questioning and self-critical nonreligious but spiritual man, telling his story as he has lived it, as a journey through unexplained but extremely powerful perceptions. I take the role of the trained comparativist, framing my responses to Whitley’s narrative through the tools of my trade. I introduce technical terms. I use footnotes. I talk history. I play the professor. I demonstrate how the modern experience of the alien coming down from the sky can be compared to the ancient experience of the god descending from the heavens, but not in the ways that are commonly accepted today: “Not as you have been taught,” as the letter writer (and now you, as the reader of that letter) is telepathically told in our opening epigraph.
 
Most of all, I engage Whitley’s thought as an intuitive set of comparative and interpretive practices. I demonstrate how Whitley has, all along, been offering us a most radical theory of religion and the human spirit. I make explicit the principles that are implicit in his writing and give these the names and nuances that have been developed in the study of religion over the last two hundred years. Whitley in turn challenges me and, by extension, my field with experienced realities that few intellectuals are prepared to admit exist, much less are willing to study and try to understand: things like the imagination’s ability to materialize its content in the physical environment, a home invasion and an implant, the human soul as a real form of energy that is not dependent on the body-brain for its existence, and an emergent mythology that is not entirely imaginary.
 
As my initial invocation of an apocalypse of thought makes clear, neither of us takes this conversation lightly. Both of us have known professional rejection, religious hate campaigns, censorship, and outright character slander for what we have sincerely thought out loud in the public square. We know perfectly well that what we think cannot be slotted into the present order of scientific knowledge and religious belief. We will not pretend otherwise.
 
Nevertheless, we want to speak clearly and respectfully to both the open-minded skeptic and the open-minded believer, as we think both have something important to bring to the table. And are we not all believers and skeptics at different moments? The final hope and intended result of this book is not yet another set of pat answers or clear conclusions about strange things. We have no such easy or settled answers. Our intentions for this book are more humble. We want to model a different sort of conversation about the importance of experienced anomalies, one that is more evenhanded, more careful, more intellectually generous, and so more useful.
 
We want to shift the conversation.

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Book Description Tarcher/Putnam,US, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Two of today's maverick authors on anomalous experience present a perception-altering and intellectually thrilling analysis of why the paranormal is real, but radically different from what is conventionally understood. Whitley Strieber (Communion) and Jeffrey J. Kripal (J. Newton Rayzor professor of religion at Rice University) team up on this unprecedented and intellectually vibrant new framing of inexplicable events and experiences. Rather than merely document the anomalous, these authors--one the man who popularized alien abduction and the other a renowned scholar and "renegade advocate for including the paranormal in religious studies" (The New York Times)--deliver a fast-paced and exhilarating study of why the supernatural is neither fantasy nor fiction but a vital and authentic aspect of life. Their suggestion? That all kinds of "impossible" things, from extra-dimensional beings to bilocation to bumps in the night, are not impossible at all: rather, they are a part of our natural world. But this natural world is immeasurably more weird, more wonderful, and probably more populated than we have so far imagined with our current categories and cultures, which are what really make these things seem "impossible." The Super Natural considers that the natural world is actually a "super natural world"--and all we have to do to see this is to change the lenses through which we are looking at it and the languages through which we are presently limiting it. In short: The extraordinary exists if we know how to look at and think about it. Seller Inventory # ADB9781101982327

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