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Disclosure statement?

May 29, 1997 07:12 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Having found that readers sometimes make wild assumptions about
where an author is coming from (e.g. TMR a vicious attack on
HPB, TMR a sappy idealization of HPB) I thought with the Cayce
book to put something up front explaining my approach.  Perhaps
to forestall the more extreme misreadings.

Have seen another author get raked over the coals for not
disclosing his own background relative to the material he was
discussing.  But what I wrote so far for the Cayce book
(3-4pp.) has been found wanting or irrelevant by a couple of

I decided to condense it to a single para, and then decide if
it was worthwhile including same.  So I'm asking theos-l
readers to evaluate it.  But more generally:

1. Do you want or need some explanation from an author of his
own affiliations or biases?
2. Does an author owe this to readers, or is it none of their

Here's the para:

The overall intention of this book is to provide a sympathetic
but objective introduction to the readings.  In practice, this
means to attempt first to understand them in their own terms,
rather than through the lens of an antagonistic or indifferent
approach.  My own sympathy was derived from years of positive
impressions growing up in Tidewater Virginia in a family
favorable inclined to Cayce and the A.R.E.  As an adult I have
been strongly influenced by the readings' guidelines on health
and meditation, and have participated in Search for God groups
on several occasions.  But balancing sympathy with objectivity
entails a refusal to allow one's perceptions of facts to be
clouded by the value one perceives (or denies) in the person or
movement under consideration.  I have tried to evaluate the
accuracy of the readings and their similarity to other sources
without allowing my liking for Cayce to distort the process.


Still sounds goofy, and maybe should be left out completely.
No matter what I say, true believers will say I'm attacking
Cayce and arch-skeptics will say I'm a credulous fool.  Like the
experiment of putting one hand in cold water and the other in
hot, then taking both and putting them in lukewarm water.  The
hot hand perceives the lukewarm water as cold, the cold hand as
hot.  And I have the curse or blessing of being lukewarm
compared to most people, about the "paranormal" as well as
about specific figures.  Recently someone in the New York Times Book
Review said that ambivalence is a sure sign of truth.  Maybe so; at
least it's a sign of openness to both sides of an issue.


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