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The Trickster and the Paranormal [Anglais] [Broché]

George P Hansen

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Biographie de l'auteur

George P. Hansen was employed in parapsychology laboratories for eight years-three at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, and five at Psychophysical Research Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. His research included remote viewing, psychokinesis on electronic random number generators, séance phenomena, and ghosts. His papers in professional journals also cover mathematical statistics, deception, skepticism, conjurors in parapsychology, and methodological criticisms. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5  14 commentaires
83 internautes sur 88 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Difficult, but worth the effort 19 septembre 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur
Anyone who has studied paranormal phenomena knows how maddening they can be. Whether you're talking about apparitions, UFOs or anything in between, the phenomena have an elusive, always-just-out-of-reach quality. Jacques Vallee and others have suggested that paranormal phenomena may be part of a "control system" - intentionally inexplicable carrots dangled in front of us by Someone or Something to instill a sense of wonder and keep us thinking and evolving. This "trickster" quality of the phenomena themselves is what I had assumed this book would be about, but it's actually much broader in scope.
Be forewarned: This isn't light reading. It's a dense, scholarly 500-page work that will have you confused and ready to give up at various points. It reminds me of "Hamlet's Mill" -- another dense, scholarly work whose meaning and depth aren't fully revealed until you've read it several times. The author states at one point that readers of early drafts complained that the book seemed unfocused and rambling, and I suspect that even the final version will strike most readers as somewhat abstruse. However, even though I've only read it once at this point, I do believe that what the author has to say is extremely important and well worth the effort it will take you to mine his nuggets.
I was vaguely aware of Native American "trickster" lore, but I wasn't aware that there was an entire body of scholarly work surrounding the trickster archetype. The author seems to have not only a solid foundation in parapsychology but also an amazing knowledge and grasp of all of the disciplines relevant to the trickster - anthropology, sociology, psychology, literary criticism or whatever. In a nutshell, he explains how paranormal phenomena fit the trickster model and how approaching the phenomena from this perspective can inform and enrich one's understanding not only of the phenomena themselves but also of society's reactions to them.
For example, with UFOs I might have expected him to discuss how even the best cases don't present any consistent picture of what UFOs "are." They're sort of like nuts-and-bolts spaceships ... but also sort of like holograms ... and ultimately so incomprehensible that you just throw up your hands (or latch onto one particular theory and ignore the vast body of evidence that doesn't fit it). Instead, he explains how the entire UFO phenomenon, from the worst hoaxes to the best cases, fits the trickster model and how the phenomenon's effect on various segments of society (from "true believers" in aliens with magical powers to nuts-and-bolts ufologists to CSICOP debunkers) likewise fits the model.
I hesitate to say more, because I don't feel that after one reading I have a sufficient grasp of everything the author is trying to say. Suffice it to say that I do think this book will repay the effort you put into it. It's not all dry, either - the author's background in parapsychology provides the fodder for quite a bit of interesting information about personalities and events. Just be forewarned that much of the discussion about the trickster and related concepts makes for difficult, jargon-laden reading and will require considerable effort on your part.
53 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Facing the Difficult Realites about the Paranormal 18 novembre 2002
Par Charles T. T a r t - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Despite more than a hundred years of the highest quality scientific research which, to any genuinely rational mind, demonstrates the existence of several kinds of paranormal phenomena (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis being the major ones), parapsychology research remains marginalized, rejected and actively persecuted. As a psychologist that tells me there are powerful, irrational forces involved. Hansen's excellent book surveys many of these and is must reading for anyone who really wants to understand this area.
Personally the data in the book depressed me in many ways, for I am one of those who attempts to make scientific sense of this area (even though I know there's much more to the world than that) and it's not cheering to be reminded of these difficulties. But we don't solve problems by pretending they are not there, so I am grateful to Hansen for this authoritative reminder.
63 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Meeting the trickster 15 novembre 2001
Par Arthur D. Hlavaty - Publié sur
The academic world is desperately trying to solve the
problem of self-reference, from Godel's arguments in
mathematics to postmodernism in literary criticism. The
field of parapsychology is filled with frauds and self-
promoters to the point where one is tempted to throw it all
out and concede to the materialists and behaviorists.
George P. Hansen, in _The Trickster and the
Paranormal_, suggests that these problems can be considered
in the light of the trickster figure, that archetype
appearing in cultures all over the world at the
edges of society, resisting definition, and representing
"deceit, disruption, reduced sexual inhibition, magical
practices, boundary crossing, destabilizing structures,
transition, [and] marginality."
He gives us a view of how the trickster has appeared
everywhere from primitive cultures to the contemporary
battle over psi (both sides), with copious, wittily
described examples, and he invites us to find the trickster
archetype elsewhere. (I had not considered the extent to
which Robert Heinlein was a trickster.)
He does not answer the great questions he discusses
(one would be suspicious if he did), but he gives us new
tools to ponder them with. The broad spectrum of areas he
covers makes this the sort of generalist book that can be
nibbled to death by specialist ducks. (For instance, he
uses the nonword "deconstructionism.") Still, this is a
thought-provoking, mind-opening book, one that I recommend
to all.
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Scholarly and mind-boggling 30 mars 2008
Par Minsma - Publié sur
This is a comprehensive overview of parapsychology and the paranormal. Scholarly and dense--definitely not light reading--it is nonetheless well thought out and approachable. Hansen's exhaustive research of the field shows clear but strange patterns. The paranormal, or psi, is more than the "hoax or delusion" argument with which skeptics often dismiss it, but not quite as true believers portray it, either. Like light particles in the world of quantum physics, the paranormal seems to change its nature based on who is doing the observing. It is most comfortable working in the world of the outsider, the marginalized and liminal, artists, mischief makers, magicians, the social pariahs and anti-establishment types--and in this, shares many of the characteristics of trickster deities throughout the world.

Because tricksters are so often comfortable in the culture of the shunned, it is almost a given that academia will run from psi as a priest from that which is unclean. Serious and impartial study becomes difficult because to engage in it, academics must overcome rigid social taboos and embrace unconventional thought paradigms. Academia is no more immune from societal pressures and conventional thinking than any other human institution. As Hansen himself states, "The widespread, subtly negative attitude toward fantasy, imagery, and the imagination indirectly acknowledges its power and the need to keep it constrained." There is also the very real danger of becoming so drawn into the subject one loses one's ability to tell fantasy from reality. Loss of objectivity comes in many forms.

I don't think any summary I achieve here could do justice to the amount of researcher Mr. Hansen has laid out in this book, encompassing a multiplicity of disciplines from physics to anthropology, psychology to deconstructionism, lab parapsychology to professional magic. For a meticulous and original view of the field--its history, current trends, and deeper philosophical meaning--The Trickster and the Paranormal cannot be beat.
23 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Greater Key to the Paranormal 29 décembre 2007
Par Lance M. Foster - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Like other reviewers here, if I could, I would give this book SIX stars. I am both a Native American, familiar with our Trickster stories, and an anthropologist, familiar with Levi-Strauss, Victor Turner, and structural anthropology. The synthesis of anthropology and folklore achieved in this book by Mr. Hansen is amazing and wonderful!

The chapter topics include:
-An Overview of Tricksters from Mythology, Folklore, and Elsewhere
-Ernest Hartmann's Mental Boundaries
-Victor Turner's Concept of Anti-structure
-Mysticism, Holy Madness, and Fools for God
-Shamanism and its Sham
-Michael Winkelman on Magico-religious Practitioners
-Max Weber, Charisma, and the Disenchantment of the World
-Cultural Change and the Paranormal
-Prominent "Psychics"
-Conjurors and the Paranormal
-CSICOP and the Debunkers
-Small Groups and the Paranormal
-Alternative Religions and Psi
-Institutions and the Paranormal
-Anti-structure and the History of Psychical Research
-Unbounded Conditions
-Government Disinformation
-Hoaxes and the Paranormal
-Reflexivity and the Trickster
-Laboratory Research on Psi
-Totemism and the Primitive Mind
-Literary Criticism, Meaning, and the Trickster
-The Imagination

By its very nature, the paranormal is the area "betwixt-and-between", the grey places, the "neither fish nor fowl" the essence of antistructure, it is the place of dreams and frauds, and as soon as you name it, it defines boundaries of the acceptable by being unacceptable, of the known by remaining unknown...and try to trap it, it slithers away through the door you forgot to close. If you want to know more about this wonderful book, visit the website for it at [...] ...or better yet BUY IT! Your world will never be the same ;-))
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