Return to the main index

"Science of Not Knowing" by John E. Mack, M.D.

Despite official skepticism and even cynicism in media, government, and
scientific circles, it must be evident to many Americans that something
extraordinary-at least from the standpoint of the Western worldview-is going on.
No conventional explanation for the thousands of reported cases of encounters
with alien beings has been sufficient, and this remains true in spite of the
fact that the experiencers themselves would, with rare exceptions, welcome any
explanation other than that they are being visited without their permission by
humanoid creatures from another place.

Yet the debate that is devoted to the UFO abduction phenomenon remains focused
largely on the question of whether or not it is real in the strictly physical
sense. Some skeptics even claim or imply that, insofar as the physical evidence
for the reality of the phenomenon does not meet standards of scientific proof,
we can presume for practical purposes that it does not exist at all.

But what if the phenomenon were subtle in the sense that it may manifest in the
physical world, but derive from a source which by its very nature could not
provide the kind of hard evidence that would satisfy skeptics for whom reality
is limited to the material? If so, might we not be losing an opportunity to
learn and grow as a species by remaining so wedded to an epistemology of
physical proof?

What if, instead, we were to acknowledge that the abduction phenomenon is
intrinsically mysterious and, ultimately, beyond our present framework of
knowledge? What if we were to admit our puzzlement before this mystery?

Might not such an attitude of humility become, paradoxically, a way to enlarge
upon what could then be learned? Is it possible that adopting an open attitude
could result in greater knowledge not only about the physical aspects of the
phenomenon, but about numinous dimensions as well?

And might not this opening of consciousness enable us to learn of unseen
realities now obscured by our too limited epistemology, allowing us to
rediscover the sacred and the divinity in nature and in ourselves?

Return to the main index