Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn't (Anglais) Broché – 5 juin 2012
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Revue de presse
Présentation de l'éditeur
Takea strange and unsettling trip into the heart of the paranormal universe asjournalist Steve Volk tries to answer some of the most fundamental questions atthe heart of human existence. Fringe-ology will appeal to anyone curiousbut cautious about reports of paranormal experiences, psychic phenomena, andother unexplainable events—anyone who has ever wondered about the existence anafterlife, intelligent life on other planets, or the limits of extrasensoryperception. For fans of Fringe, Mythbusters,Medium, Heroes, Nova, and Lost, Volk’sscintillating journey into mystery illuminates the furthest boundaries ofpossibility and wonder.
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I usually take my time reading books that I enjoy, because I like to savor them like a fine wine, not wanting them to end, yet like a romantic dinner, I can't help anticipating its direction.
Fringe-ology was hard to put down for long, so I found myself re-reading several of my favorite chapters to stretch out the experience. The introduction alone would have been worth the price of the book. It's that good.
Then there's the greater issue of the "Paranormal Taint", and the chapter on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, or the effect that space travel has on Astronauts, lucid dreaming, the placebo effect and... I don't want to give too much away. Hint: there's more to the Paranormal Taint than you may think.
Fringe-ology has the feel and integrity of Debra Blum's Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death, except that Steve Volk covers a wider variety of phenomena and he approaches his subjects with a more personal touch.
He has caught a little bit of flak because at certain points the reader starts to think that Steve is about to 'give in' and pronounce his belief in a supernatural cause underlying the topics he covers, only to have him continue on and give the skeptics their legitimate day in court. At one point I started to write out a list of insights that I found worth making note of, but I abandoned that because I was enjoying the book too much to turn it into a job assignment. This is an informative mind-candy joy of a read, not a textbook.
The best metaphor that I can think of to describe Fringe-ology is that it's like reading a book length New York Times article / op-ed about the paranormal, with the honest information you would expect from a professional journalist, but with the personal engagement that you want from a novel. No axes to grind, no agenda's to fill, just pure intellectual inspiration.
I have quite a library of wide-ranging books relating to the paranormal, spirituality, science, myths and religion. If I were to start loaning them out one by one to someone unfamiliar with these topics, I would begin with Fringe-ology. It's a level headed yet exciting place to start.
Hands down, five stars. No question about it.
I was made aware of this book by listening to interviews of Volk throughout several podcasts. On these, a chapter in the book about Lucid Dreaming was mentioned. This intrigued since I thought Lucid Dreaming was not fringe any more. In addition, I realized that I had listened to Volk previously as an interviewer in Skeptiko, and thought highly of him. So I gave the book a try.
This book is organized as follows:
Introduction: What We Talk About When We Talk About the Paranormal
1. On Death and Not Dying
2. Do You See What I See?
3. Out of Our Heads? Off with Their Heads!
4. Blazing Saddles
5. Was There a Ghost in My House?
6. To Infinity and Beyond
7. The Open Mind
8. The Impossible Dream
9. After-Death Communication?
10. You Can't Go Home Again
11. Our Time in Hell
I got Fringe-ology and went straight to Chapter 8. Volk's writing style struck me as enjoyable, and although Lucid Dreaming was not new to me, this chapter presented LaBerge and his research in this field in a new light. Suffice to say I devoured this chapter, and then I started reading this book the right way, from page one.
There is a lot of "paranormal" to consider in this book: Near-Death-Experience Research (Chapter I), Remote Viewing and Telepathy Research (Chapter 2), Consciousness Research (Chapter 3), UFO (Chapter 4), Thing that go BOOM in the night (Chapter 5), Meditation (Chapter 7), Lucid Dreaming (Chapter 8), and Induced After-Death Communication Therapy (Chapter 9).
In addition, this book humanizes the people that somehow had been touched by the paranormal. I get learn a bit about Kubler-Ross, Edgar Mitchell, Andrew Newberg, Stephen LaBerge, and Allan Botkin among others.
After reading this book, I realized that Volk's was voicing my own concerns with the paranormal. With Fringe-ology, I found that I was not so wrong of thinking that there are some gray areas, besides the black and white we a forced to adhere in society.
I am absolutely conviced that his introduction chapter, which lays the groudwork for the future study of the "paranormal", is the best I ever read. It is truly a classic. The rest of his book follows in step, and desribes his own quest to make some personal (reporter) sense out of this rather broad and confusing world that exists on the edge, or at the fringe of science. He opens a new world for all people who are not already completly stuck in terms of what they believe is true or possible. I would also like to think that his book would even shake the conceptual foundations of people who are stuck.
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