'The Super Natural' and highly recommend this book as a great read that every thinking person living in this modern age of mythical media should find very thought provoking, because it forces you to question everything, including your own "truths" to try and see the truth.
Basically the conclusion I arrived at after reading this book is that every story is a myth and that the truth is out there in it somewhere, but just how much truth is there in the stories we tell and listen to is the question.
I think Jeff Kripal is one of the most important authors to hit the bookshelves/internet downloads in a long while and think there are many more good books to look forward to from this author.
But, you don't have to believe Whitley's stories and recollections at all to see the basic truth behind this book...and that is that EVERY story we tell ourselves is a mixture of myth and truth, especially autobiographies, news-stories and our own memories and stories we tell ourselves and others, no matter how true we try to be to ourselves and others.
It is impossible to write a story that is 100% truth, and it is probably just as hard to write a story that doesn't contain some truth, which is why we all like myths to some extent, because we can usually find basic core truths in the best of them.
I have no idea what to make out of Whitley's "true" novels like 'Communion' , although I do believe he doesn't think he is lying to us when he tells us of his experiences with the "visitors".
What I did find amusing though was the other night when I was watching the movie, "Wolfen", based on Whitley Strieber's novel, "The Wolfen", I recognized the star of "Wolfen" was Albert Finney who was the star of the movie "Big Fish", where a son is trying to sort through the fantastic stories of his father's (Albert plays the father) past to try and uncover the truth.
|Truth is a fine line to walk within myths.|
Myth holds up a mirror to basic truths of the human experience, which is why we all like a good story whether we believe it to be real, or not, hence the popularity of comic books, movies, TV soaps, gossip columns, Facebook feeds, etc.
But we don't like to be taken hook, line and sinker by a story we thought was true, but turns out to be nothing but lies...with a little tiny bit of truth thrown in there somewhere of course ;-)
And this is probably where Whitley runs into trouble with John Q Public, because while a lot of people wanted to believe Strieber's "alien/visitor" encounters in 'Communion', being a horror novelist before writing his "true" account of the contact experience, no one could be really sure that Whitley wasn't just making up another horror story like, 'The Hunger' and placing himself in the centre of it and throwing the "based on a true story" tag on the front to sell more books.
It didn't help Whitley with the public that he seemed to keep changing his story of what the "visitors" were when most readers wanted them to be real aliens from other planets.
I've never believed one way, or the other with whether aliens were real, or not, as I've never seen one, or even seen a UFO in the sky, although I know people who tell me they have seen aliens/and, or UFOs and I believe that they believe that they have.
I mean who am I to doubt other's stories when I tell of my weird contact from the other-side stories that are real to me and my belief in life after death?
Whether Whitley is telling the truth, or not, or just thinks he is telling the truth, I find him a fascinating Pop Cultural figure, because his myths (and remember every story told is a myth to some degree) have played a big part in shaping Pop Culture from the 80s to now and beyond, so I can see why Jeff Kripal is so fascinated by Whitley.
|Gee...I hope they never discover the truth.|
Why does billionaire Bruce Wayne hide the truth from the people of Gotham City and Spiderman work for such a myth-making editor like Jonah Jameson by bringing him photos of Spiderman while lying his ass off about who Spiderman is?
And sometimes the people who tell you the myths are people you trust and have no reason to doubt, like your own parents.
For example, in my own life, I can remember watching a TV show called 'Combat' when I was a young boy and cheering for the Americans while they were shooting German soldiers.
My father was sitting in the living-room and I turned to him and said, "I hate the Germans" and he asked me why.
I told him because they were bad guys and he asked me how I didn't know that I wasn't German.
I said because I'm not, and he then told me that his dad was a German, so that makes me a bad guy then.
From then on I thought I was part German and it was probably a good thing my Nana had remarried when dad's father "ran off" and given my dad his step-father's Irish surname.
Because in the late 60s in Australia there was still a lot of anti-German feeling after the war and kids would give you a hard time in school if you had a German name, so I kept that part of my family history quiet from other school kids when growing up.
The thing was though, with my dad never knowing his real father and family history he assumed the German sounding name meant his father was German, but I later found out it was a Jewish/German name and that meant his father was a German Jew, not just from Germany, which put another different spin on who I thought I was and made me laugh, as my mother's mother didn't really like my dad's side of the family because she thought they were Germans (mum's side were Danish/Jews) and my Grandmother would from time to time tell me how rotten she thought the Germans were
(hint, hint...your dad's side), especially if she took me to see a war movie.
So it was funny to me when I found out that my dad's father's side were German Jews, but Grandma went to the grave thinking they were "bad" Germans.
And my Grandma and my mother would always tell me that her side was from Denmark, which was true to a certain degree I later found out, but that was mainly my Grandmother's father's line, her mother's line I only found out recently snakes back to England and ironically seems to end, as far as traceable people go to a lady recorded as just "Alice".
So much for that family rabbit hole I guess?-)
And sometimes they just outright tell us lies that they know not to be true as controlling mechanisms to keep as in line.
Which I did to my kids too, as I thought it was a good idea and would eventually show them that even your parents will lie to you, so what do you think society is doing to you?
'The Super Natural' basically tells us that every myth contains some truth, but also that every truth contains some myth...how much though is up to each of us to find out for ourselves, because if we don't, who will?
Now I'm off to read Pete Townsend's auto-mythology of who he thinks he is, and hopefully there will be a lot of truth in the mix. ;-)