Saturday, 27 April 2019

American Cosmic by Diana Pasula

I was very disappointed in this book. I wanted it to be an in-depth exploration of unexplained phenomenon, perhaps in the footsteps of Jacques Vallee's excellent work. (Vallee's name appears often in this book, but it contains none of Vallee's subtle, in-depth examination of this enigmatic subject.) Unfortunately, Pasula's book is in many ways indistinguishable from reactionary Catholic hagiography, such as that of Jacobus da Varagine's reification of the saints in his writing in the late middle ages. Pasula's "saint" here is a twenty-first century rich entrepreneur and inventor named "Tyler," an homage to Fight Club. (I wish I were kidding)...

Much of the book's conclusion concerns itself with the conversion of said "Tyler" from his Baptist faith to Pasula's own faith, Catholicism. In fact by the end of the book I began to wonder if Pasula, who investigates claims of sainthood for the Vatican, would be nominating "Tyler" for sainthood. The book has a lot of references to "Tyler" preforming miracles, complete with his unearthing an artifact at the beginning of the book, which Pasula dutifully compares to the holy relics of Catholicism. (Again, I'm not kidding. Wish I were.)

At the end of the book Pasula includes a quote from Martin Heidegger "Only a God Can Save Us" (German: Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten) from interview he gave to Rudolf Augstein and Georg Wolff for Der Spiegel which was published after his death in 1976. That quote sums up the subtext of her whole biased diatribe. 

The truth is this seems to be a pro-Catholic screed masquerading as a book on unexplained phenomenon. If you want something to discuss casually before your next cataclysm class, read it. But if you want to know about the book's purported subject I'd advise you to skip it and read Jacques Vallee's classics Masters of Deception or Invisible College, Patrick Harpur's Dainomonic Reality, or Jeffrey Kripal's latest book Flip instead.

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