Unseen and Not Heard

D. Scott Rogo. Beyond Reality: The Role Unseen Dimensions Play in Our Lives. Aquarian Press, 1990.

An impressive title at first glance, but what does it mean? I think it should be considered for the Most Meaningless Book Title Award, together with one published some years ago (not by Scott Rogo) entitled The Unknown, is it Nearer?

The first chapter is devoted to the problem of those personal or household objects which suddenly dematerialise just when you need them. Scott Rogo suffered the problem of disappearing sheets, among other things. I can easily believe him. Some time ago I threw away a large bagful of socks, because they were all odd ones. What happened to the other ones I have no idea. Perhaps I could write an article for Magonia about it. [No! - Ed.l

A section of the book is devoted to discussion of alleged religious miracles, in particular the apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported from Medjugorje in Yugoslavia. The religious approach to such events is to regard them as potential sources of spiritual benefits; the actual mechanisms - physical or psychological - involved in the production of the phenomena are not considered to be relevant. The scientific approach does not concern itself with the validity Of' otherwise of the theological or moral doctrines involved, but seeks to study the phenomena in their social and political context. The purely scientific approach is not suitable for a popular book on the paranormal; the phenomena must be made to seem mysterious, but not mysterious in the religious sense of the word. Thus one of Rogo's comments on Medjugorje is: "The community's constant religious preoccupations probably produce some sort of interface between our world and this spiritual realm, the result being 'projections' into our world from this parallel dimension. While real in the sense that they physically exist to a limited degree, these projections, such as Marian figures, might best be pictured as cosmic puppets-puppets with strings pulled by the human race."

The main confusion here seems to be between physical reality and social reality. Rogo gives a good summary of the social background and how the events at Medjugorje fit into it. However, there is the problem that only the privileged few can actually see and hear the Virgin. This is presumably what he means by "... they physically exist to a limited degree." It is, so far as I am aware, a concept unknown to science and philosophy, probably because it doesn't actually mean anything. Note that Rogo also describes the "spiritual realm" as a "parallel dimension". He attempts to discuss this at the end of the book by reference to 'many worlds' interpretations of quantum theory. However, none of these interpretations allow one world to interfere with another, and the others would be no more or less spiritual than this one. -- John Harney, from Magonia 37, October 1990.

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