Reasonable Magic and Magical Reason (6)


Part VI: Coda

Bob Monroe, bless his heart, thought we could. But we must decide. The clock is ticking; time is short. 

We may soon be forced to confront the prospect of humans no longer being the dominant species on this planet. Whether this would be a good or a bad development is, perhaps, debatable. What is not arguable, I think, is that all the old Answerist philosophies are passé. Neither scientism nor religionism will help us one iota with the challenges we must face. We need fresh perspectives, new ideas, and novel approaches. And, above all, open minds and hearts.

The future is open, but closing fast. The question is, do we have the nerve to trust our reason and the verve to practice our magic? As Bob might have said, “Well, you do the best you can.” Let’s make it so.



(1)         John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks: Being a Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (New York: Washington Square Press, 1972), p. 1.

(2)         Fraser Boa, The Way of the Dream: Conversations on Jungian Dream Interpretation with Marie-Louise von Franz (Boston: Shambhala, 1994), p.1.

(3)         R.G. Collingwood, Religion and Philosophy (London: Macmillan and Co., 1916), p. 103.

(4)         Robert A. Monroe, Far Journeys (New York: Doubleday, 1985), p. 20.

(5)         Robert Bly in conversation with Michael Toms, “Male naiveté and giving the gold away: A New Dimensions radio interview with Robert Bly,” Program #2052 (1990).

(6)         See E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1951); and Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom (Inverness, CA: The Golden Sufi Center, 1999).

(7)         Pagels’s key works are: The Gnostic Gospels (New York: Vintage, 1981), Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988), and The Origin of Satan (New York: Random House, 1995).

(8)         For a discussion of Descartes’s dreams and visions and the role they played in the formation of his philosophy, see Willis Harman and Howard Rheingold, Higher Creativity: Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights (New York: Tarcher/Perigee, 1984), pp. 75-78. On the church forbidding dream interpretation, see C.G. Jung, Visions: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1930-1934 by C.G. Jung, Ed. by Claire Douglas, Vol. 2, Bollingen Series XCIX (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 693-694.

(9)         Julien Offray de la Mettrie, Man: a Machine (LaSalle, Illinois: Open Court, 1912). Original work published in 1748.

(10)    Joseph M. Felser, The Way Back to Paradise: Restoring the Balance between Magic and Reason (Charlottesville, Virginia: Hampton Roads, 2005), p. 72.

(11)    Sam Keen, Hymns to an Unknown God: Awakening the Spirit in Everyday Life (New York: Bantam, 1994), pp. 76-77.

(12)    Cherie Sutherland, Within the Light (New York: Bantam, 1995), pp. 179-185.

(13)    Cited in Daniel Engber, “Monk-y Brains: The Dalai Lama phones it in,” accessed at

(14)    David Bohm, Thought as a System (New York: Routledge, 1992).

(15)    T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970).

(16)    Robert A. Monroe, Ultimate Journey (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 86.

(17)    In his Introduction to I Become Part of It: Sacred Dimensions in Native American Life, Ed. by D.M. Dooling and Paul Jordan-Smith (New York: Parabola Books, 1989), p. 6.

(18)    Doug O’Hara, “Arctic ice meltdown continues rapid pace,” Anchorage Daily News (September 29, 2005), accessed at

(19)    Jonathan Amos, “Study highlights global decline,” BBC News, accessed at

(20)    Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Climate of Man-III: Why is the Bush Administration ignoring the dangers of global warming?” The New Yorker (May 9, 2005), p. 63.

(21)    “2005 Was the Warmest Year in a Century,” NASA web site, accessed at

(22)    James Lovelock, “The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years,” The Independent Online Edition (Published January 16, 2006), accessed at

(23)    Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Trans. with commentary by Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1974), p. 254.

(24)    R.G. Collingwood, An Autobiography (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1939), p. 50.

(25)    R.G. Collingwood, “Ruskin’s Philosophy,” in Essays in the Philosophy of Art by R.G. Collingwood, Ed. by Alan Donagan (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1964), p.10. Original work published in 1922.

(26)    The American heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3d ed. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996).

(27)    Robert A. Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body (Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1973), p. 20.

(28)    Robert A. Monroe, Ultimate Journey (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 109.

(29)    Monroe, Far Journeys, p. 6.

(30)    R.G. Collingwood, Speculum Mentis, or The Map of Knowledge (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1924), p. 37.

(31)    David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980).

(32)    The classic statement of Pribram’s holographic model of brain-processing may be found in his Languages of the Brain (1971). For my understanding of the holographic model, I am indebted to Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe (New York: HarperCollins, 1991) and also to the discussions in Ken Wilber, ed., The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes: Exploring the Leading Edge of Science (Boston: Shambhala, 1985).

(33)    Collingwood, Religion and Philosophy, p. 111.

(34)    Monroe, Ultimate Journey, p. 86.

(35)    Monroe, Ultimate Journey, p. 88.

(36)    Monroe, Ultimate Journey, p. 84.

(37)    On the differences between the “old” and “new” forms of mysticism, see Renée Weber, “The Physicist and the Mystic-Is a Dialogue between Them Possible? A Conversation with David Bohm,” in Wilber, ed., pp 187-214; also Renée Weber, “The Energies of Love: In Honor of David Bohm,” The Quest (Autumn 1993), pp. 8-9; and also Steven M. Rosen, Science, Paradox, and the Moebius Principle: The Evolution of a “Transcultural” Approach to Wholeness (Albany, New York: SUNY Press, 1994).

(38)    Ronald Russell, ed., Using the Whole Brain: Integrating the Right and Left Brain with Hemi-Sync Sound Patterns (Norfolk, Virginia: Hampton Roads, 1993), and Ronald Russell, ed. Focusing the Whole Brain: Transforming Your Life with Hemispheric Synchronization (Charlottesville, Virginia: Hampton Roads, 2004).

(39)    The (undated) essay is cited in Bayard Stockton, Catapult: The Biography of Robert A. Monroe (Norfolk, Virginia: The Donning Company, 1989), p. 29.

(40)    Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, ed. by Robert E. Egner and Lester E. Denonn (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961), p. 67. Original work published in 1903.

(41)    Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, Trans. by Philip Mairet (Brooklyn: Haskell House Publishers Ltd., 1977), pp. 23-56. Original work published in 1946.

(42)    Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body, p. 193.

(43)    Monroe, Ultimate Journey, p. 229.

(44)    David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Ed. by L.A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: the Clarendon Press, 1975), p. 268. Original work published in 1739.

(45)    William James, “A Suggestion About Mysticism,” in William James: Writings 1902-1910, Ed. by Bruce Kuklick (New York: The Library of America, 1987), pp. 1272-1280. Original work published in 1910.

(46)    Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, Ed. by Carl Niemeyer (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1966), p. 54. Original work published in 1841.

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