Yet the fact that Mack started with what seemed like a fairly recent ‘Western’ psychiatric-cultural phenomenon only to end up with Tibetan Buddhism and non-dual Eastern philosophies concealed an irony.For according to one theory, the alien visitation narrative may have actually begun with Westerners’ co-optations and re-interpretations of Tibetan Buddhism, and the first grey alien may have actually been a Tibetan Buddhist lama.
It also beams a light on the politics of other-ness, both as they relate to issues of cultural appropriation and personal spiritual transformation. Mack (1929-2004) had a conversation with the Dalai Lama about aliens.
In struggling to steer a middle path between equally dissatisfying ‘psychosocial/cultural’ and ‘literalist, there-really-must-be-flesh-and-blood-aliens-out-there’ explanations for his research subjects’ claims of contact with diminutive, big-headed ‘grey’ ETs, Mack had found his way to to cross-cultural psychiatry and the Dalai Lama.
The alien abduction phenomena, he realized, called for a “widening of the ontological undertsanding of what is possible in the universe.” He thus followed in the footsteps of many other researchers of alien abduction, who had “turned to alternative notions of the nature of the cosmos, more familiar to Eastern religions and philosophy, that depict the universe and all its realities as a vast play of consciousness with physical manifestations”.
The Dalai Lama, apparently, knew a thing or two about aliens as well.
He explained to Mack and a small group that aliens too were sentient beings in the universe.