Monday, August 11, 2014

Carl Sagan The Demon-Haunted World

The book I decided to read and do my book report on is Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World". I find readings like this fascinating, just another way to open up your mind to a new realm of thought. I particularly find intriguing the topics of demons and UFOs. I believe that with each topic that Sagan brings up he is trying to get the reader to open up their mind and think about all of the claims that people make, and look at it logically. The example of UFO abduction and lack of sleep is a perfect example. I have been there myself, you lose yourself in a way when you are sleep deprived, I read a post earlier and the author stated while in Afghanistan he lost himself for a second or two and snapped back after three days of no sleep. I've gone through that myself and it is amazing how powerful your brain can be at times. Chapter 6, when Sagan describes his views on hallucinations was also my favorite part of the book, it is truly sensational how your mind can alter your reality.
I also like how Sagan uses his scientific expertise to logically explain and rule out bizarre claims. His essays really open your eyes and beg you to question peoples outrageous claims. When Sagan went into describing how an animal must feel when being captured by a human, it really helps put things into perspective. It is so simple to write off someone who has claimed to be abducted by aliens, listening to their story of how they got taken to a ship and had experiments conducted on them, but like I said when Sagan put it in perspective using the "Human catching an animal" analogy, it really makes you think about these people's claims, it almost makes you believe. Pseudoscience is also another fascinating topic to me, because growing up and even today I still believe in the paranormal. But Sagan makes you wonder if all claims of paranormal activity could be the conscious mind playing tricks, and allowing your imagination to run wild. Certainly todays media doesn't help, with the horror genre exploding with movies like, "The Conjuring", "Insidious", "Paranormal Activity",  and "The Fourth Kind". The entertainment business just adds to the illusion of all of this paranormal activity and when people see the films they think they can relate to it when its really just their imagination. I remember when a couple friends and I saw " The Fourth Kind" which was supposedly based on true accounts of a woman in Alaska whose children had been abducted by aliens, and her small town had been plagued by visitors that came at night. We were terrified after the film because it was so compelling, later that year Warner Bros. had received so much feedback of people's eyewitness accounts, that it released a statement saying that the movie was all false and they added it was "based on true accounts" to add to the level of horror. The movie relies on the tag line "What do you believe?".  Thats a perfect example of Pseudoscience and how if you let it your imagination can run wild.



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