I went to an astronomy presentation some weeks back. At the end, an audience member asked “what will be the big news in astronomy”. The presenter talked about a few things (dark matter/energy etc), and ended with mentioning the Phoenix Lights.
I have explored this some previously, and quickly read through a book on the Phoenix Lights yesterday.
It brought up some fairly obvious things for me… (Which is why I enjoy inquiry these days. When I just talk or write from my existing views and knowledge, it is very predictable and boring. But inquiry at least has the potential of bringing me beyond what I am already consciously familiar with.)
First, the quite beautiful tapestry of skepticism, open-mindedness and naiveté.
Then, the irrational in both blindly accept and blindly reject something. Both come from blindness.
And then some thoughts specifically about UFOs and similar phenomena.
Skepticism, open mindedness and naiveté
We all have skepticism, open mindedness and naiveté available to us, and we tend to either be fluid among them or more identified with (stuck in) one or another. This may also vary between areas.
Maybe I am naive in terms of science (trusting whatever scientists say) but skeptical about UFOs. Trusting of any theory that makes me feel good, and skeptical to anything that threathens my comfortable worldview and identity. Trusing of the government and skeptical to any criticism of the government. Or skeptical to the government, and trusting of any who is critical of the government.
Collectively, we also split ourselves into three general categories on any particular issue: scepticism, open minded and naive.
And each of these brings a valuable contribution to the whole.
Skepticism (or its relations such as cynicism, conservatism, thick-headedness etc) provides discernment and solidity. It wants solid confirmation before anything is accepted. It is generally closed, and only opens in the face of strong data or acceptance by large number of other people. This allows for stability and solidity, but can also exclude something that it would be valuable and helpful to include. It also encourages others to explore their views further and make them more differentiated and aligned with reality as we perceive it.
Open-mindedness provide receptivity to what is. It brings curiosity, a rational approach, reliance on available information, open-ended inquiry.
And naiveté (trust, gullibility) provides a wide open view of the world, or accepting almost anything as a possibility. This allows for exploration of a range of possibilities and their consequences in our lives. Of course, it can be too open and accepting, and use ideas as guidelines that are not very well aligned with reality.
So all three seem neccesary, at our individual and collective levels.
In terms of the Phoenix Lights, or UFOs in general, we can see how this plays itself out:
Those who accept the lights easily as UFOs explore the possible implications of this, and also push for further explorations of the light and similar phenomena. Those open-minded provide a middle ground and sobriety, accepting the possibility of just about anything but also requiring support by data. And the cynical provide a certain amount of stability and encourages the two other groups to provide more data.
If we only had skepticism, we would stagnate and not be open to new information and views. If we only had naiveté, we would loose stability and accept views not grounded in reality. And if we only had open-mindedness, it would overall be far less rich and dynamic.
Blindly accepting or rejecting
One element of skepticism and naiveté is a tendency to blindly reject of blindly accept something, based on how it fits in with our existing worldview. Both are of course blindness, and not so helpful in how we relate to the world.
In terms of UFOs, and a range of other areas, we see both play themselves out. Some blindly reject and others blindly accept, in both cases without looking at the avilable data. And both do so because it is more comfortable, it fits in with their existing worldview.
And of course, I do that as well, continiously throughout the day. The question is, am I open to see that? And when I see it, can I find receptivity enough to be willing to take new information into account and change my identity, my identification with certain views?
UFOs and similar areas are also fertile ground for projections. Wherever there is a gap in our sense of understanding the world – any white areas of the map – it becomes a good projection object for us.
So some of us project our shadow. We see UFOs and ETs as threathening. And some of us project other sides of ourselves, and see them as our benefactos and saviours or maybe just as friends in a galacitic/cosmic community – providing a sense of connection and belonging.
In both cases, it says something about sides of ourselves we are not yet familiar with. Sides that we could benefit from familiarizing ourselves with.
In the case of the shadow, it provides fertile ground for compassion and energy. In the case of the reverse shadow, it provides fertile ground for deepening our connection with ourselves and the Earth, or for seeing ourselves as our own saviors – for seeing what we can contribute to the world. In both cases, it expands our repertoire.
In my early teens, I was relatively interested in UFOs. As so many, I enjoyed the mystery of it and the possibilities it openened up for.
Then, in my mid- and late-teens, the facination with UFOs was replaced with an amazement – utter astonishment – that anything exists at all. This is a mystery that goes far beyond any particulars happening within the world of phenomena.
And at the same time, I realized and deepened into the realization of being an intrinsic part of this Earth and Universe. I am a temporary expression of the seamless process of the Universe. I am a swirl of stardust having temporarily having reorganized itself into this particular form. I am the Universe exploring and bringing itself into awareness. This too is a mystery that goes far beyond any other particulars, and it opens for a deepening and rich sense of connection and belonging to the Universe that makes any psychological need for UFOs and ETs not needed.
That aside, it is odd that there is not more serious research into UFOs. It is obviously an important phenomenon, indepentend on what is going on. It is a fertile area for learning more about ourselves (psychology, projections, social dynamics) and possibly the rest of the universe as well. One of the many irrational elements of the whole UFO situation is the reluctance of academia to touch it. They are of course afraid to be ridiculed, and often allow that to get in the way for serious and productive research.