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on September 3, 2003
I give this book a lower rating because of the poor writing it contains. I do reccomend the book because it will give most people a very different perspective on a lot of things in our world. I am glad that I read it.
This book tells a very sad tale about a primitive culture that is close to being lost from this planet with very little to record its existence. They feel that modern society has caused their downfall (which it may have in many ways) and that there is no longer a place for them in this world. While this society is very primitive when compared to our standards, I believe that there is a lot that we could learn from their way of life.
I think that this book brings up very important issues dealing with society today. While I am not a "hippy" or much of an environmentalist, I do believe that people have very screwy perception of what life is all about and what will bring them happiness. I feel that society has fallen away from spirituality and from concern for nature that we possessed in the past. I think that the Abos belief in life and in living in nature actually makes good sense. I believe that people would be much happier living among nature, and allowing nature to provide for us than we would competing among ourselves and restricting our lives to cities and highways.
I am not sure how realistic it is for me to hope for a change in society that would transform it so drastically from what it currently is. However, I do think that people REALLY need to seriously consider the consequences that our actions may have on the environment and life in the future.
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on August 14, 2003
When I picked this book in a bookstore in Alice Springs, I was not aware that the author was going to be unclear about whether this was fact or fiction. The cover describes the book as "A Woman's Journey into Dreamtime Australia." I was ready for another account of a journey in the Australian outback and insights into various aboriginal groups. Being halfway through "Tracks" - a factual account of an Australian woman's journey across the outback (which I have also reviewed)- I was hoping this book purporting to present a somewhat similar experience by an American woman would be equally enjoyable.
In her introduction, the author allows the reader to judge whether the book is fact or fiction, suggesting it can be enjoyed both ways. Certainly, if you are willing to suspend disbelief, and read it as pure fiction, it is a good read, even though it falls short of the quality of similar books by Carlos Castenda relating to native Americans.
But, on finishing the book, I was left with an uncomfortable sense that the author's ambivalence over fact and fiction might actually be manipulative. What bothered me even more was that she might also be manipulating the very people she purports to promote in the book.
You should be aware that this book is very controversial, and even among many Australian aborigines who feel that they have been exploited by it.I would strongly suggest you first consult some articles about how it has been received by Australians - aboriginal and non-aboriginal.
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on May 31, 2003
I enjoyed this book while reading it. It even gave me a feeling of inspiration. But I never would have read it in the first place if I had known about the magical thinking it contained. When I came to the part about dowsing, I said to myself, "Some people believe in that stuff." When I came to the part about telepathy I said to myself, "I know what my wife is thinking before she says it; these 20 or so people were with each other 24/7 so they know each other that well." Then I came to part about the compound fracture of the leg (it could have been the fibula) healing enough in one day so the person could walk on it without a cast or other support, I said to myself, "No way, Jose!" Then a reference to flying saucers! Yet I guess I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to really enjoy this piece of poetry. Finally, I don't for one minute believe that the author wrote this just to make a buck - I feel that this is an inspired piece of fiction which contains some truly meaningful messages. If you don't let yourself be put off by the hoakum, this can be a very enjoyable read.
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on December 23, 2002
I read this book and it made me feel amazed and a bit depressed at the same time. The message conveyed reaffirmed beliefs that I had, but also made me realize that I must work harder to live a life that is meaningful to me. I think that the point of this book is not to say that you must have the same experiences that Marlo Morgan had, or to rid yourself of all material possessions, but rather to live life as honestly as you can. It doesn't have to be grand, it can mean small decisions, small attentions, and respect for even the littlest things. People may be shocked by this book because the way of life depicted seems so far-fetched or far-off from what most people are living today, but maybe that is something people should think about. For me, at least, life is full of tiny lies and a lot of seeming obligations, but this book made me ask myself why do I feel obligated to tell lies and do things I don't want to do? The book made me examine my life and try to think about what is worth looking out for and what kind of life I want to live. It's an ongoing process and it is sometimes hard because it means being truly honest to yourself.
It seems that many people are worked up over whether this account was fictional or true, but I think that is irrelevant because it is the message that is true, and arguing about the validity of the circumstances is just nit-picking. Would the message be any more true if we had concrete evidence about what happened? It's up to the reader to see how much knowing for a fact gets in the way of really listening to what is said.
I wish I could convey how much this book made me remember truths I had forgotten. It is so easy to let things wear on you until you become indifferent, but once in awhile something comes along to make you care again. That's what this book did for me.
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on October 3, 2002
I am deeply appreciative of the other reviewers who have taken issue with the enormous ethnographic inaccuries of this work. The book attempts to enshroud itself in the enigma of "is it truth or is it fiction?" As with the work of Carlos Casteneda, the state of agnosis regarding historical veracity requires the reader to take a leap of faith. Are the "Real People" she walks with across Australia, in fact, real?
Many readers would like to insist that they are, simply because some of the concepts presented in the book are wonderfully inspiring. The Real People can heal a broken bone in a day, find food and water in the most desolate outback desert, and -- most astoundingly -- communicate via telepathy. These aboriginal people see themselves as the only ones who have not become "mutants," the rest of us humans, who have lost touch with their fundamental powers and tried to rely on logic and technology, letting the left brain lead us to the brink of devastation.
I am inspired by the ideas of rapid, energetic healing, by telepathy, longevity, and by the ability to live comfortably outdoors as a hunter/gatherer. In fact, I would love to believe that ancestral peoples had that ability and that somewhere in our future we all might develop such abilities. My own "leap of faith" even asserts that as the powers of the mind continue to be discovered and explored, some or all of these experiences may be within reach of the human condition. For that reason, I appreciate this book. It reminds me of ideals and values that are somewhat foreign to my daily experience, yet ones which resonate deeply with my innermost being.
What truly disappoints me about this work, however, is that it is false ethnography that is being circulated around the globe in many languages, communicating misinformation about an ancient people who deserve to be represented truthfully. It also disturbs me that, after reading this book, the misinformation that now misguides my curiosity about the Aborigenes will probably get in the way of my appetite to explore the less glamorous realities of their way of life. Alas.
The bottom line for this book: It is ethnographic hogwash that, nonetheless, conveys a deep source of existential inspiration. Even though the stories are historically false, they do point to possibilities for a better way for each and all of us. Like the Book of Mormon, you could base a whole religion on this book, simply because the spiritual content speaks directly to the heart. The weight of the existential truth convinces people that it must also be factual truth -- an easy conflation made by millions of people every day.
To the author I offer a hearty "thanks" and also a big "shame on you."
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on September 2, 2002
Perhaps my least favourite thing about this shoddy attempt to cash in on a culture that has suffered immensely for the past two centuries is the author's assertion that these allegedly "pure" Aborigines are choosing not to reproduce. European and North American readers may not be aware that Australian Aborigines were subjected to an official government policy of destroying family groups, removing children and attempting to breed out Aboriginal blood. Very many Aboriginal people today view this as genocide, so to suggest that a group of "pure" Aborigines, whether fictional or factual, are choosing to let their race die is quite possibly the single most offensive thing a white woman from Kansas could invent.
I'm sorry the author decided that Aborigines were sufficiently exotic and far away to dispense with even the most glancing attempts at research. I'm even sorrier that this offensive cocktail of codswallop continues to be printed, to the deep distress of many Aboriginal people. I doubt Harper Collins would have reprinted it if the author had chosen Jews or American Negroes as a vehicle for her cultural appropriation.
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on August 23, 2002
Mutant Message Down Under, by Marlo Morgan is a book of non-entertaining fiction. First of all, it is not a factual book, and probably not even based on some factual events, because then it would have been classified as non-fiction, or realistic fiction. If you observe the rear cover you will notice the genre the book is given is "fiction." Meaning that this book is neither factual nor derived from factual events. As reader628 stated earlier, there is no human way that a group such as this could communicate telepathically. Marlo Morgan notes that the reason she was told of(that they could communicate this way) was because they "had nothing to hide." This is a sorry excuse for a sorry piece of writing. Also, If Ms. Morgan was really walking around the hot, waterless Australian outback, without any form of protection from the sun, She would have skin cancer. This so-called "book" is a horrendous excuse of writing that should not be read by any type of realistic reader. Thank You, You've been great, Enjoy!!!
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on July 9, 2002
I am not fully aware of the controversy surrouning this book, but if anyone says that this account is true, those people are simply wrong. The ideas that this goup of Aborigines could communicate telepathically, or sense when a vegetable in the ground was ripe by some sixth sense, are simply impossible. And this says nothing of the endless cleches about how terrible people in advanced civilization are, and the fact that this book has a poor writing style, with errors spinkled throughout. If we decide to follow what Marlo Morgan says, we should all strip down, get rid of anything we own that may or may not be helpful, and go walking in a boiling hot desert. The talk of these Aborigines understanding all of life's problems and having "oneness" is bascally garbage,because it seems that their lifestyle is not exactly as great as Ms. Morgan tells us. It is apparently very stylish to downgrade western civilization in comparison to basically ANYTHING, and Marlo Morgan sinks to a new low in this category. Avoid this book at all costs, unless you'd like a good laugh from a very fictional tale.
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on July 2, 2002
Wow, people either love it or hate if the books message is about love and acceptance then thoes that dislike it and are so critical and petty must be haters and the ones who like it must be lovers......When I read the book some of the things could have been made up but how could she have made up the things like the telepathy head to head talk with animals and people? I found more REAL spiritual lessons in this book than all the sunday school ive ever had to sit through...... As I type this some fake looking actress making the WORST forced grin is staring at me from the cover of a people magazine...... anyways this is what im talking about.......of couse people didnt like this book....because alot of it tells us to be REAL and who the hell is real in the mutant world? ive met VERY few....from bosses to girlfriends to friends and aquainences in general.
Most of what I read everday that is said to be REAL reads like fiction to me while Marlo's fiction sounds alot more like fact......this WOULD happen if you were abducted by Aborigineese......And I like what the aboriginese say , things like animals were not originally used as food by humans coincides with some eastern religions ive researched (Taoisim). And we ARE destroying our planet if you havent they didnt have polluted skies 200-300 yrs well as everyone haveing a valuble place in the tribe weather you were a tool maker or a tribal chieftan. I really liked the PART ABOUT OUR BUSINESS ETHICS, it was soooo right on what the Ooota fellow said about it. ANd to answer some idiot a few reviews back ,who cares if Oota is spelled with upper or lower case letters , its probably niether since his name is a sound or thought that cant be properly expressed in our language,lower that nose a little you may be scareing the sun seems that EVERYONE was needed for survival and included even the extremely old.....and growing old was not seen as negative in the tribal culture......and is it really? to live a long time seems in our culture to be punished rather than celebrated......look at that poor old man/lady or "oh hes just a little kid whats he good for" mentality...... well the human race is gonna pay and pay BIG very soon, hell, America already has gotten its karmic debit repaid (september 11th) mark my words ladies and germs.....for what it does to itself and everything else it comes in contact with........we are not alone in this universe..... even that can be almost proven....its only a matter of time when someone spills the beans on the truth behind "aliens" too....
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on June 8, 2002
On first reading I thought Morgan's book was inspirational and contained a very positive message. As an Australian I was however concerned over some of the details of the book, that didn't quite add up to my knowledge of Aboriginal culture (allbeit limited). On further investigation I discovered the huge controversy that has surrounded this book, and Ms Morgans admission that it was a hoax. Does it matter if the details are incorrect. Yes it does. Because it is portraying an erroneous image of a nations indigenous people. The cross between Native American Indians and aboriginal mythology is obvious, and the disregard for the importance of secret men and womens business is against all aboriginal law. Legal campaigns have been mounted, and if one good thing has come out of this, it has galvanised the aboriginal community into action.
A wall of shame has been established and this book is but yet another of many entries. Meanwhile Ms Morgan travels the world, giving lectures and pretending to be an authority on a culture that she has no knowledge of.
Marlo May you hang your head in shame.
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