When the pilot Kenneth Arnold reported a UFO sighting in Washington state in 1947, it sat off the modern UFO craze. (Before then, we had foo fighters, weird airships, and so on, so it was far from the first sighting.)
This is also where we got the expression flying saucer from.
According to Arnold, he reported that the UFOs skipped like a saucer on water. He referred to the movement of the object, not its shape. A reporter misquoted him which suggested that the object was saucer-shaped.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF A MISLEADING NEWS STORY
That’s the story I have heard a few times, and if it’s accurate, there is something fascinating here.
If Arnold reported on the movement of the object, why did people in the months and years following Arnold’s sighting report seeing saucer-shaped objects?
Why did their reports conform to a misleading news story?
I can think of four different explanations.
The reports were imaginations and hoaxes influenced by the flying saucer description in the reporting. That’s why they correspond to the reporting and not what Arnold saw.
The phenomenon is responsive and mirrors, to some extent, our culture and what we expect. (It can seem that way, especially when we look at how the reports change over time.)
It’s an amazing coincidence.
Or what Arnold saw (or, at least reported) was something that both moved like a saucer skipping on water and had the shapeof a saucer.
As so often, the story is more complicated. Arnold may have later said he was misquoted. But in several interviews from 1947, he is quoted as describing the objects as saucer shaped. In a preserved radio interviews from June that year, Arnold refers to the objects as shaped like a pie plate (with a triangular part).
Unsatsifactory stories often have lessons in them.
One is to follow and explore the implications. IF the simple story was correct, the implications would be important. And yet, when I have heard people tell the simple story, they haven’t taken it further.
Another is to do a little reading before retelling a story. Don’t say that Arnold was misquoted and leave out that he is quoted in a similar way in other interviews from the time, and that he provably called it pie-plate shaped in a radio interview shortly after the sighting.
Image: Something I extracted from Midjourney v4 some weeks ago.
THis documentary is about an event that happened at Ariel School in Zimbabwe in 1994, where dozens of children encountered a mysterious craft and one or two alien beings.
Some of the children described receiving a kind of telepathic message from the beings about the ecological crisis we are in. And the experience greatly impacted and transformed the lives of many or most of these children, who are now adults.
This documentary has clips from the 90s intermixed with current interviews with the witnesses.
Many consider it one of the most convincing mass sightings of an encounter with alien beings. (Whatever they may be, alien just means they are alien to us and doesn’t pin anything down about what they are.)
I have read about this event and listened to several interviews (including with witnesses) over the years, so there wasn’t too much new information or new angles in the documentary. But it does give a very good introduction to the story.
With all the material available, and all the angles to explore, this event deserves a series and not just a relatively short documentary. At the very least, I hope the unused material collected for this documentary will be made available online or in book form.
Mainly, the documentary refueled my curiosity about several aspects of this event.
How has this transformed the lives of the witnesses? How did it impact each of them? Were the ones closest to the beings the ones who had the most profound transformation?
The local tradition has stories of similar encounters, and it seemed – from some comments in the documentary – that these encounters are ongoing. Is this part of the shamanic tradition? How do the indigenous see this? What role does it play in their lives? Do these encounters transform their lives in a similar manner? Who experiences these encounters? Shamans? Or anyone?
Exactly what did the witnesses experience? They describe black men, lights, sounds, and so on. What was the timeline? In what way were the beings black? (Skin color, clothing?) Did they have other sensory experiences? How does it look when we map out the different experiences of the different children, depending on where they were when they saw the craft and the beings? (This has probably been mapped out by the director of this documentary and/or others, and it was not possible to include it in a short documentary.)
I would love to do something on this but I have a feeling life is taking me in another direction. Although, who knows?
Part of the documentary is about John Mack and the reactions he received from his colleagues. He was a Harvard psychiatry professor who interviewed the children and took their experience seriously and wrote excellent books on these topics.
Personally, I find it small-minded to dismiss these types of experiences, especially when it was shared by so many. Whatever happened, it’s clearly something interesting to explore and study.
Also, we know how little we know. We know that our current collective worldview is provisional and will be seen as outdated in the future. We know that our collective worldview undergoes periodical revolutions. So why dismiss something just because it doesn’t fit our current worldview?
As one of the interviewed points out, it doesn’t make sense to dismiss something just because we don’t understand it or see it as not matching our current worldview. Also, there is no logic in accepting certain weird possibilities just because it’s part of our culture (e.g. Christianity) while dismissing other things (visits of alien beings) just because they are not part of our mainstream culture or mainstream academic culture. Why are angels OK and not aliens? Why is a belief in God OK but not a curiosity about beings from other places in the universe?
At the very least, we need to take a consistent stance on all of it. Either dismissing all, accepting all, or taking a more curious and grounded approach to exploring it all. And faced with the two first possibilities, the third is really the only one that makes sense. It’s the intellectually honest and consistent approach.
So why do some dismiss this event and these types of phenomena outright? One reason is that we all develop and attach to certain identities and worldviews in order to feel more solid and safe. We may dismiss it because we see it as threatening to their familiar identity and worldview. And this always comes with drawbacks. The drawback here is that we dismiss whatever doesn’t fit our identity and worldview.
Of course, some “UFO-believers” do the same in reverse. That too limits our exploration and prevents a more grounded and receptive approach.
I prefer to explore this in a more open way and remember how little we know and understand.
This is the question I ask myself when I am faced with a piece of information.
Would it hold up in a court of law?
If yes, I assign it a little more weight in a practical sense. It’s a bit more likely to be somewhat accurate.
If not, I put it on the “likely nonsense” shelf. Or, if I feel generous, the “maybe” shelf.
CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND UFO STORIES
Nearly all conspiracy theories fall short of this test. They are typically founded on bad logic and bad data, and would not hold up in any court of law.
The same goes for most UFO stories and similar. A few are supported by multiple sources of apparently solid data. (For instance, the Ariel school phenomenon and the US Navy UFO sightings in recent years.) And most would not hold up in a court of law.
WHAT ABOUT AWAKENING?
So what about awakening? Would it hold up in a court of law?
Maybe. And, in reality, no. And that’s not a bad thing.
Maybe, because it’s been reported by many people across times and cultures. If described logically and without relying on too much jargon, it makes sense to a receptive mind. And it’s something we all can check out for ourselves with some guidance. (Sometimes even relatively quickly, for instance using the Big Mind process or Headless experiments.)
And likely not. It’s not something that can be “proven” outside of logic and our own immediate noticing. It’s not something widely accepted in our culture, which also plays a role. And it hasn’t been thoroughly explored and described by science yet, although that can and maybe will happen in time.
In many ways, it’s a blessing that it likely wouldn’t hold up in court. It means we have to rely on our own explorations and check it out for ourselves. We cannot take anyone’s word for it.
I am spending some time with Jaque Vallée and we are going for a walk while talking.
At some point, we get to the question of what motivates our desire to find or know about alien life.
I say that since my background is in psychology, I am biased. So for me, the question is not: “Are we alone”. The question is: “am I alone”.
For this, finding aliens is not the solution. The solutions is something we can only do for ourselves. By being with ourselves, by befriending the different part of ourselves, and especially the lonely and alien-ated parts of ourselves.
Of the different people talking about these things, Jaques Vallée is one of my favorites, not the least because of his interests in patterns and archetypes, and in looking at similarities between UFO stories and fairy tales, and so on.
The conversation is initially about the phenomena in general, and then switches to why we are interested in the topic. What are some of the motivations? A part is obviously a general curiosity and wanting to know about the world.
And for me, with a background in psychology, I am also interested in another motivation: The wish to not be alone. A wish for connection. If that’s a drive for us, it points to that we feel alone. And apart from the conventional solutions to this (making friends etc.), a root solution is to get to know and befriend the exiled, alienated, and alone parts of ourselves.
Finding aliens is not the solution to feeling alone. Befriending ourselves is. And it’s far easier and closer at hand than finding aliens.
Another side to this dream is that in waking life, I would likely not have this conversation with Jaques Vallée. I wouldn’t feel confident enough. I am much more free in my conversations in my dreams than I am in waking life.
Image: From Close Encounter of the Third Kind where the main scientist is modeled on Jaques Vallée.
UFOs or AUPs are in the mainstream news these days. This is mainly from the released video footage from the US military, and partly because a congressional (preliminary) report is due shortly.
From what we know today, it’s likely that some UFOs are real and unexplainable, as suggested by the US military footage and similar data. And it’s clear that it deserves serious and grounded investigation and research.
FASCINATION & SPECULATION
At the same time, it’s understandable that some get fascinated with what UFOs may be. Some go into speculation, get caught up in the speculation, and have trouble differentiation what we know (very little) and what is speculation.
This is partly because of our natural curiosity and wanting to know more about the world.
And it’s partly because the UFO phenomenon is a relatively blank slate and a perfect projection object. We can project our hopes and fears onto it without reality interfering and ruining our fantasies.
REMEDIES FOR GETTING CAUGHT UP IN PROJECTIONS
When we get caught up in projections, we perceive, think, feel, and act as if our fantasies are real.
So what is the remedy? How can we find a more sober and grounded approach?
One remedy is to be very honest with ourselves and differentiate what we know and what we project onto it. In the case of UFOs, what we know is mostly that someone said something (witnesses) and that someone has video footage and radar data. Anything else is speculation if we relate to it in a sober way, or projections if we get caught up in it.
Another remedy is to have some perspective on our current blank slate.
These phenomena are natural phenomena. What seems mysterious to us now has a natural explanation. It may be an explanation we still don’t know, but it is knowable, and we may know what it is at some point in the future.
Also, IF some non-human beings are behind it, and that’s a big if, they are aliens only to us. To them, they are not aliens. They know themselves as we know ourselves. And if or when we get to know them, they too will eventually become ordinary to us. They will become part of our life, culture, and history.
If these are non-human beings, they are not a blank slate to themselves. And if or when we get to know them, they will no longer be a blank slate to us.
Seeing it in this way helps to make UFOs a slightly less good projection object. It helps us see that much of the fascination comes from the blank slate quality of the phenomena, and this can help sober us up.
And there is a more thorough remedy, which is to work on projections more directly, through whatever approach works for us. This helps us relate to the phenomenon in a more grounded and sober way, and also to find a more conscious wholeness as a human being. We find in ourselves what we imagine out there.
This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well.Click “read more” to see all the entries.
AN ALIEN INTELLIGENCE WILL BE ALIEN TO US
I saw someone commenting that he doesn’t like the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey much because he doesn’t understand the alien aspect of the story. For me, that’s one of the brilliant things about the movie. The story is shrouded in mystery.
An alien intelligence will be alien to us. It will be mysterious. We won’t be able to make sense of it based on our own experiences, and our own experiences is all we have. It’s easy to imagine an initial alien encounter that’s a complete mystery and completely baffling to us. And even if we gather more information and think we understand more, we may discover we don’t understand it as well as we thought.
In most sci-fi, the aliens are us in another form. They have human drives and motivations, and they represent sides of us and are mirrors for us. Since that’s the explicit intention of most sci-fi, that’s completely appropriate.
If we want more realistic sci-fi stories, then we have movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Arrival. The alien intelligence here is alien to us. It’s mysterious, baffling, and confusing. It doesn’t quite make sense to us.
This is also one of the problems I have with some of the traditional alien-encounter stories. The aliens are too often just us in another disguise. They are scientists traveling through space to probe and examine us and tell us we need to take better care of Earth. In other stories, and especially the more shamanic or fairy-tale like ones, the encounters are truly mysterious and inexplicable, as I imagine is closer to how it may be in reality.
Click READ MORE to see more posts on these topics.
My interest is more: what happens to these witnesses? How can we help them? The witnesses, when they grow up, will integrate their experience within their life, as Juan has done. That process is very interesting, and these people have something to teach us.
– Jacques Valleé in Witness of Another World, 59:04 – 59:24
I enjoyed Witness of Another World very much and also listening to some interviews with the director Alan Stivelman (Podcast UFO, Open Minds, Richard Dolan). It’s a deeply moving story of a young boy experiencing something inexplicable, being traumatized by some of the consequences (people not believing him, precognitive dreams), and finding some healing through the process of participating in this documentary and meeting shamans from his ancestral tribe.
I share Jacques Valleés interest in the witnesses and how the experience – close encounters with something or someone alien – transforms them. It’s similar to the transformations people often go through following space travel (overview effect), shamanic journeys, using some psychoactive drugs, near-death experiences, spiritual openings or awakenings, and so on. I would love to see a more systematic study done on this, and the similarities and differences between people and between the categories of experiences.
A oneness view on UFOs, synchronicities, and psychic sensing
One thing I notice is how puzzling these connection are to many people. Of course, there is something inherently puzzling and baffling in many of these stories. They definitely elude conventional explanations. They make sense more the way mythology and dreams make sense. And we don’t know much about what UFOs and the reports of alien encounters actually are about.
And yet, from a oneness view, these stories do make sense in a certain way.
Synchronicities are movements within oneness and within the seamless system of the universe that we are inherent parts of. The different parts of the synchronicities only appear to be separate because thoughts can make it look that way to us.
It’s the same with psychic sensing. We are part of the oneness of all of existence so, naturally, we’ll sometimes pick up information outside of our physical senses. I suspect we all do it, now and then, and some of us may be more tuned into it than others for whatever reason.
From a conventional science view, it’s very unlikely that this planet is the only living one in our galaxy or the universe. More likely, the universe has developed itself into life many place, including what we see as intelligent life. And if so, some of these civilizations will likely be far more advanced than ours and possibly able to travel across or even between galaxies. (Using an understanding of physics and technology that is beyond what we can currently imagine.)
And from a oneness view, these civilizations and galaxies happen within and as the same oneness as we do. They too are expressions of the same oneness. They too are expressions of Spirit. They too are Spirit exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself in always new and different ways.
If some humans encounter some of these aliens, and if or when we officially and collective encounter an alien civilization, that too will happen within and as this oneness. And that too will be Spirit exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself in that particular way.
Note: In his two books on owls, UFOs, and synchronicities, Mike Clelland wonders about the connection between synchronicities and aliens. Perhaps the aliens somehow create the synchronicities? This is, in some ways, a natural question if we live within a mostly materialistic worldview.
But when we begin to notice that all is Spirit, or the divine, or consciousness, and that it’s all One, then it looks a bit different. Then synchronicities becomes a natural expression and consequence of oneness.
It’s a bit like watching seaweed moving with the waves along the shore. If we are unaware of the water, we may wonder what makes the seaweed move in synchrony. It may seem very puzzling and we cannot find a reasonable mechanism. When we notice the water it’s all moving within, it makes more sense to us.
I thought I would share my own experience with a couple of UFOs and a crop circle.
December 12, 2015
My first UFO sighting? (Tic-tac UFOs)
An approximation of what we saw. I guess that each one could be covered by the tip of the little finger. They moved fast towards west, and seemed quite high up in the sky. They had the perfect oval shape shown in the drawing above.
Driving west on Fred Waring in Palm Desert, I saw two oval-shaped objects in the clear sky. They were headed relatively fast almost directly west in the direction of the coast, seemed to be quite high up in the air, and I couldn’t hear any sound. (I was in a car in traffic.) The two objects were close to each other and kept the same distance and configuration. They were both identical in appearance: Oval, dark in color, somewhat metallic looking. I assume they were round in three dimensions but saw them as oval. They eventually disappeared over the mountains in the west.
I and the driver of the car were equally baffled by them. They didn’t look like anything we had seen before, and we couldn’t think of anything known they could be. They went much too fast for being balloons. They were definitely not birds. It was daylight so they were obviously not planets or meteors. They were not civilian drones since they went fast and continued over the mountains. They did not have the shape of any airplane I have seen. They were not helicopters since they were large enough for us to have seen the shape and protrusions typical of helicopters.
It is theoretically possible that they were military drones with flawless surfaces, flying in perfect formation, and with no visible or audible form of propulsion. Although I don’t know if military drones come in such a perfect oval shape and with a perfectly smooth surface.
I filed a report with the UFO Reporting Center a couple of days later.
An additional note: I know it’s common for people who see UFOs to not take a picture of it, even if they have the opportunity. I knew that long before this experience and had told myself to take a picture if I would ever see something unusual. In this situation, I had my phone (w. a good camera for a smartphone) in my lap, I thought I should take a picture of it, and I didn’t…! At the time, I had the thought “they are featureless ovals, so why take a picture”, which in hindsight doesn’t make much sense. I could very easily have taken a photo, but I didn’t.
In 2017, the existence of Pentagon’s formerly secret UFO investigation program was made public. They also made a few short video segments public, including from the USS Nimitz UFO incident. Some call it a tic-tac UFO, and the reason I am mentioning it here is that what I saw fits the pilots’ description of this object.
Both Fravor and Slaight later described the object as a large bright white Tic Tac 30 to 46 feet (10 to 14 meters) long, with no windshield nor porthole, no wing nor empennage, and no visible engine nor exhaust plume
The shape and smooth surface is exactly what I saw. The size fits what I would guess, although it’s famously difficult to estimate the size of objects in the sky. They describe it as bright white, and I saw it more as grey, although it’s possible that seeing it from above – as they did – it would have appeared white, and for me – seeing it from below on a bright sunny morning – it appeared more grey.
It could have been the same type of object. Or it may just be very similar.
I want to mention again that the most inexplicable part of my experience was not what I saw, but that I didn’t take a photo. Whenever I remember back to this experience, I cannot believe I didn’t take one. I had my phone in my hand. I had time. I even thought “I should take a photo”. But I didn’t. It seems completely bizarre. In the past, when I heard people reporting seeing UFOs and not taking photos, I secretly judged them but now I have to count myself among them.
Update June 14, 2019
I just listened to a podcast about the tic-tac UFOs, and they mentioned that Santa Catalina Island outside of California was (is?) a hotspot for these UFOs. I thought that for fun, I’d look at the map and see if the UFOs I saw were headed in that direction. And yes, they were! It’s perhaps one of those perfect coincidences, or what I saw was one of the tic-tac objects reported by the US military. (The podcast was UNKNOWN: Raining UFOs, and the episode addressed episode two of History Channel’s Unidentified series.)
A Crop Circle Synchronicity
I’ll add a crop circle synchronicity from the summer of 2014. I lived for a while with a friend in Devon, and read and listened to some interviews about crop circles. (I have an open mind about them since it does seem – if some of the witness reports are accurate – that some of them are not made by humans, at least not with board and rope.)
One of the things I kept hearing is that the crop circle phenomenon seems responsive to our wishes and intentions. For instance, some who intentionally wish to see a crop circle in their neighborhood actually do within a short time.
So I did a little experiment. I wished for a crop circle in the area where I was staying, in a location where I or someone I knew would easily see it just by going about our daily business. (I knew this was far fetched since this area of Devon don’t get many crop circles. I hadn’t heard about a single one there.)
I left to go back to Norway one or two weeks later, and after a couple of days heard from the friend I had stayed with. She said that a crop circle had appeared in a field next to her parent’s house.
It’s one of the many (?) crop circle synchronicities that people seem to experience. Why or how it happened, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter so much for me, either. I see synchronicities mostly as a reminder that the world is one. Whatever is happening happens within one system, whether we call it life, Universe, outer world, inner world, matter, or mind. It’s all facets of one seamless whole.
I am of course curious about what’s going on. Are they all human made? (It is possible. Many of them are probably human-made, including the slightly absurd ones that explicitly seem to suggest they are made by aliens.) Are they all made by board and rope? (Seems unlikely.) Are they made by humans in another way, for instance with a certain form of technology? (Military testing of new technology, as some suggest. Although if that’s the case, why do it in such a public way?) Are they made by some form of natural phenomena? (Also seems unlikely, at least for the more geometric and intricate ones.) Even some alien intelligence? (Seems odd. Again, why? It doesn’t seem a very effective way of communicating if that’s the intention.) Or is there a mix of two or more of these possibilities? Or something different?
The easiest answer would be that they are all made by pranksters or artists. Although for that to the true, you would have to dismiss a lot of witness testimonials and also reports from a few scientists. (It is possible that the witness reports that suggest they cannot be human made, partly because they were made within minutes or seconds, are all false. And it’s also possible that the scientists studying crop circles, and who have made odd findings, either find what they want to find, or misinterpret the data or intentionally mislead people.)
Still, after looking into this a bit, it does seem that keeping an open and curious mind about this makes the most sense. An open, curious, and sober way of looking at it.
See previous posts on this topic. I have backdated this post so it will show up alongside the others.
September 29, 2017
How we approach it. As with anything else, how we approach the UFO topic makes a big difference. It’s the difference between seeking truth or emotional satisfaction. It’s the difference between being taken seriously or not. It’s the difference between creating a field that scientists will want to approach or not.
If we latch onto beliefs and take them as true even if we cannot really know, it will be obvious – to ourselves and others – what we are doing. We are acting out of reactivity and an emotional need. We allow emotional reactivity override rationality. Many do exactly that in this field, and that’s why it’s often viewed with suspicion or even ridicule by others. (When I say it’s obvious to ourselves, I mean that a part of us knows what’s going on, and we are still doing it. We are also aware of others doing the same but may chose to not say anything.)
If we approach it with honesty, groundedness, and sanity, it’s quite different. Then, it’s just an investigation into something mysterious. We are open about what we may find. We are more invested in finding and reporting on what’s really going on than supporting a particular view or theory. We hold off on drawing conclusions. We practice generating and exploring a wide range of possible solutions including the ones that would be disappointing to us. (We may even practice favoring the most boring solutions.)
In the first case, we are more interested in a short-lived emotional satisfaction than truth. And in the second case we are more interested in truth than in satisfying wishes, fears, or identities.
Of course, for most of us, there is a mix of the two in how we relate to most areas of life.
And it’s helpful to be honest with ourselves when we do one or the other. We can look for the signs.
Do I feel invested in a particular answer or interpretation? Do I feel or act defensive? Do I feel or act reactively? Are there particular interpretations I particularly want to dismiss? Do I feel an emotional charge around the topic? Do I feel a charge around wanting to back up my view and get others over on my side? Do I use word such as “I know….” even if I cannot know for certain? If so, I am most likely caught in emotional neediness and may favor satisfying that over a more rational approach.
The more rational approach also have some signs. Do I practice generating a wide range of possible solutions, including the ones I don’t personally like? Do I keep an open mind? Do I acknowledge that I don’t know? Do I acknowledge that any interpretation is an interpretation, and that there are other ones out there – including many none of us may be currently aware of – that would fit the data equally well or better?
I am aware of only a few in the UFO field that takes such a dispassionate view. Jaques Vallee is one, and Clas Svahn is another (although their approaches are quite different from each other). Most are somewhere further along the spectrum towards being emotionally invested in a particular answer, whether it’s pro- or -anti-alien. (Whatever they understand as alien, whether it’s beings from another part of the universe or something more “supernatural.)
I personally have an interest in the field for two reasons. One is that it helps me see the difference between rational and emotional approaches more easily, and I get to see and examine my own approach in that light. The other is that the different UFO phenomena likely have different types of solutions and each of them are quite interesting – whether it says something about human psychology and sociology, about unexplored natural phenomena (Hessdalen), or something else that falls outside of our current modern and scientific worldview.
See part one of this post for more. (I decided to split it since the first post became longer than expected.) This second part is started on May 18, 2016, although I back-dated it so it would show up next to the initial post.
Magic wand. If I could wave a magic wand, how would I like the UFO topic to be approached? Not so different from what most would like to see, I think. Taken seriously by scientists, media, and politicians. Approached in a sober way using scientific methods. Open minded. Open to a wide range of possible answers and findings, and actively practicing generating and exploring multiple possibilities. Being comfortable with knowing we don’t know. (Until we do know more.) Studying the phenomenon from multiple angles and within and across multiple disciplines.
As it is now, the topic is taboo in mainstream science, media, and politics in many countries, perhaps especially the US. That leaves a vacuum that’s filled by amateurs (which is OK since most professionals currently won’t touch it) and by people with a less than sober and scientific approach (which understandably tends to further scare off the mainstream).
It does seem odd that we (a) know something is out there we don’t understand (from a few seemingly good cases), and (b) the answers are possibly very important and may change our worldview dramatically. And at the same time, the field is shunned by most professionals. It’s a strange situation we find ourselves in.
Aliens that look like us. I was very interested in astronomy as a kid and also the possibility of alien life. I read a good deal of books on the topic (mostly by Carl Sagan) and watched sci-fi movies as I still like to do. Even early on, it didn’t make sense to me that aliens were depicted as very similar to us. Why would they be? Of course, in fiction it makes sense. As someone said, central casting is short on actual aliens so in older movies humans in costume had to do. We find it easier to relate to stories about humanoids not too different from us. And even alien infections, which requires them to be similar to us to be plausible, do make for good fiction stories (Andromeda Strain).
But outside of fiction, why would anyone think that aliens would be anything similar to us? It seems extremely improbable that they would be similar to us in real life. They developed in an environment that’s likely to be different from ours in significant ways. They developed among other creatures likely to be very different from the creates we co-developed with. The innumerable accidents of evolution, and their particular path of evolution, must have been quite different from ours. So why would they end up so similar? It really doesn’t make sense. And the possibility of being infected by their infections seems close to zero. Our biology would have to be extremely similar to that to be within the realm of the possible. (Even among closely related mammals, only some germs infect across species.)
Only a few answers make some sense to me. (a) The aliens visiting, if they exist, are created specifically to visit our planet and us. They are bio-engineered for that purpose. (b) There are so many different ones out there that some of them happen to look like us, and these are the only ones visiting us. (Seems very implausible.) (c) There is some galactic panspermia going on where the seeds of life are spread among planets in different solar systems. (Seems unlikely, and evolution is still likely to be very divergent.) Or (d) they are all created for us in some other way, which includes through human imagination.
To me, this is one of the big questions in ufology and one that’s not addressed nearly often or seriously enough. Among those who do address it is Richard Dolan who suggests the bio-engineering possibility, and Jaques Vallee who talks about it as possibly a display or performance created for us for an unknown reason. Of course, the easiest answer is that it’s all created by human imagination, but that doesn’t account for the stories that do seem to have some basis in reality.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been interested in UFOs off and on since my childhood. It’s part of my general curiosity about the world, and I like to take a mostly scientific approach to it. Here are some brief thoughts on the topic:
(a) There seems to be something going on that we cannot explain from our current mainstream worldview. Leslie Kean and others have documented several cases with multiple apparently reliable witnesses and multiple sources of data. It seems that some of these cannot very easily be explained away as something known, imaginations, hoaxes, or disinformation. (Although some of the apparently reliable cases very well may be.)
(b) Mainstream media and science tend to dismiss the topic without taking a closer look first. Especially in the US, and partly in Europe and perhaps other places too. This is a very unjournalistic and unscientific approach. Why does this happen?
(i) It may be due to an existing culture of dismissing and ridiculing this topic. Many journalists and scientists may buy into and accept this culture, without questioning it.
(ii) It may come from a fear of being associated with something that doesn’t fit into our current mainstream worldview. As we know, there is sometimes a cost to go outside of and question the mainstream views. It may lead to opposition and criticism, and possibly being seen or treated as an outcast. For scientists, it may reduce their funding opportunities.
That’s how it is, sometimes, even if we know the mainstream views are provisional. They will be replaced by other views. And any view is ultimately wrong. If there is one thing history – and common sense – tells us, it’s that our current worldview will be replaced with another, and will in the future be seen as limited and even misguided. We don’t know exactly how, but we know it will.
We also know that humanity – and our civilization and science – is still in its very early infancy. And what we don’t know is always and inevitably infinitely more than what we do know, and what we “know” is always and inevitably up for revision.
(iii) How was this culture of dismissing the topic created in the first place? Some say it was an intentional policy by the US government. Initially, in the 40s and partly the 50s, they – and the media – did take the topic seriously. Then, there was a shift towards dismissing and ridiculing it .This may have created a culture which has been continued and is partly self-perpetuating.
In any case, it’s often strange to see scientists taking the decidedly unscientific approach of dismissing the topic without first seriously looking into it.
I have had a brief period where I again have read and listened to podcasts about UFOs, and came across the starseed idea. The description certainly fits me, and although the idea may seem outlandish and airy-fairy new-agey, is it really so impossible or unlikely?
What’s most amazing is that something is at all, and that consciousness is. Anything else pales in comparison. (That doesn’t mean that we should embrace any weird idea as true!) Also, is it stranger if we have several lives than one? And if we do have several lives, why wouldn’t the incarnations be at different locations – including different planets? After all, it’s very likely that the universe is teeming with life, including some that we would consider intelligent. If reincarnation happens, it’s likely to be many opportunities for incarnation throughout the universe.
I also see that there is no solid support for the starseed idea. It’s mainly speculative and supported by anecdotal data which can easily and reasonably be interpreted in other ways. My sense that it fits is just that – a sense, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect what may be real in a conventional sense.
I also see that the starseed idea is a projection. It says something about me. It’s a mirror. As anything else.
For some, it’s a comforting idea. A way to find safety. Just like any other belief. That’s good to notice. (It’s perhaps also a way to feel valuable, that we are OK.)
In the future, this may be a topic for research and science. Who knows. I would like to see reincarnation and other possibilities researched more seriously.
For the record, what Pitts endorses is the “unidentified” aspect of an unidentified flying object. “I have never seen a UFO myself,” he says, “and I am not saying that UFOs are ET spacecraft. I am saying [that] here, there is some mystery, and we should be able to address it scientifically, without all the stigma involved.” – Astronomer Derrick Pitts quoted in ET, Phone Derrick Pitts
As most boys, I was quite interested in UFOs and was even a member of the UFO organization in Norway. In my teens, the interest shifted into exploring UFOs as projection objects (especially after I found Jung’s book on the topic), and later on, I have occasionally read up on what’s happening in the field.
UFOs are interesting to me for a few different reasons:
Some appear to be natural phenomena not very well understood by science, or entirely unknown to science. The Hessdalen lights in Norway may be one example.
They are excellent projection objects – unknown, rare, ephemeral, mysterious. They are great for putting our fears and hopes on and create beliefs around. (They will save us, they will eat us, I will dismiss it and don’t take it seriously.) This in itself is a very interesting phenomenon, and well worth exploring.
Some – a few – may be crafts of nonterresital origin. The universe may be populated by many different civilizations, and although the chances of any one actually visiting us may be miniscule considering the huge distances and enormous space, it could happen. After all, our modern scientific exploration of physics is very young, what we don’t know will always be infinitely more than what we do know, and what we have discovered so far, through for instance quantum physics, shows us that reality seems much stranger than what we could have imagined. It’s worth keeping an open mind, take the possibility of visits seriously, and do some serious investigation.
And then there is the military and national security reasons. Independent of origin, some may be crafts. This is one reason most or all governments take UFOs seriously, whether or not they admit to it.
The rational approach is to take and investigate the more well documented reports seriously.
UFOs clearly exist. People see unidentified flying objects all the time. The question is, what is it in each case? The answers may range from the mundane to little known natural phenomena, and may also include possible ET visits. I don’t think I would be surprised either way. If we are visited, the implications are significant. And if there eventually is contact – in the open and at a large scale – then it’s the beginning of a new phase of human civilization.
Here is a good interview of author Leslie Kean by Michio Kaku.
Not because of what they may or may not be, although that can be interesting enough, but because of what they say about us.
The world is our mirror. Whatever we see out there is something we recognize from in here.
And in the absence of real data about UFOs, they become a blank slate for us to fill in with our imagination. UFOs become the perfect all-purpose projection object. A nice ready-made rorschach test. Just as it is with other things we may not know much about, like crop circles, ghosts, reincarnation, awakening, other cultures, or whatever it may be.
We get to fill it in with what is alive here now, but doesn’t quite fit our self image, so we put it out on UFOs – or something else – instead. They will save us. They will eat us alive. They represent a galactic brotherhood.
Can I find each of those qualities in myself? Yes, very much so. And if I get really familiar with it here, UFOs are suddenly not so interesting anymore, at least not as saviors or man-hunters or an evolved brotherhood or whatever else it may be.
We also get to see how we relate to unknowns. Are we OK with it? Fine with acknowledging that we don’t know, and that there are many possible explanations for it? (Without closing the door on any of them.)
Or do we right away cling to a story about it, telling ourselves and others that this story – somehow, magically – is true? Do we tell ourselves they really are aliens? Angels? Beings from another dimension?
Or do we tell ourselves it is all bogus, delusions, fantasies, daydreams, wishful thinking?
In each case, we cling to a story as if it was true, even in the absence of real data. In both cases, we find something to believe in just because we want to, because it is – somehow – more comforting that way.
And finally, how do we deal with it in the real world?
It is a world-wide phenomenon, so why doesn’t it yield more serious research?
Why do scientists shun the subject? Are they are afraid of being associated with crackpots? Do they let fear get in their way of research that would reap insights into psychology and sociology, and possibly other areas?