UFOs, Power Systems, and Modern Capitalism
The Collective Unconscious and Engaging A Non-Human Intelligence
Non-human Intelligence and the Universal Other
An Exophilsophical Exploration of Alien Existence
The Spectrum of Science, Mysticism, and Exophilosophy
Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon.
Ufology, the Future, and Why Science Won't Save It.
Let me begin by saying that I love science, but when it comes to the UFO question, it alone cannot save Ufology, nor can it lead some sort of revolution in the field. The call of many in the UFO discourse is that mainstream science is essential to understand the phenomenon. While the sciences may be able to provide insight, the current economic and social realities of the West will not allow this happen. Gone are the days of “science for the sake of science”- rather, all science is strictly controlled, monitored, and governed. Science is very much a Capitalist endeavour; the race towards new products, patents, and the development of new technologies makes or breaks corporations, economies, and shifts world markets. Even in academia, collegial bodies and universities, which mostly function within Capitalist mechanisms, control who gets research grants. While Ufologists may be hoping for some scientific revolution for the UFO phenomenon, UFOs do not fit into the construct of major production or consumption. Even scientists themselves are limited by their ability to explore the UFO question; many are blackballed for even entertaining the topic.
If the general sciences are unable to participate openly in the debate, this leaves few avenues for solid legitimate research, rigour and criticism. UFO believers and truthers will continue to fall back upon their theological faith in an intelligent Other; this religious fervour unfortunately leaves no room for actual debate and discourse. The political Disclosurists will continue to petition the systems of power, which they openly distrust, to release UFO information; information that, by its very nature, is untrustworthy. Historians will continue to explore old government, military and personal documents, painstakingly categorizing old cases with hopes of finding the smoking gun. The journalists and writers will record, detail, and expound upon sightings new and old. What about the philosophers and theorists?
The alien abduction narrative has been a part of popular culture for many years, and the UFO discourse has countless allegations by experiencers of abduction and contact. Initiated by some intelligent other, those meetings flow along a spectrum from kind and benevolent visitations to abusive and violent kidnappings. In dealing with the phenomenon, two prevalent camps arise in the abduction enigma; the benevolent spiritual meeting, generally, but not wholly, accepted as “contact,” and the cruel malevolent snatching of a person, typically known as “abduction.” There is significant discourse concerning these events, and even more debate. Contact and abduction has become a significant aspect of the broader UFO question, but little has been done to explore the ethical dilemma these two events create. For many, it may be clear that abductions are a violation of ethics, but what about the countless people who have had alleged visitations from benevolent beings who have come to impart some kind of divine knowledge? Is contact, on the part of the intelligent other, ethical?
On November 11th, Denis Villeneuve’s The Arrival (2016) hits theatres. The film clearly touches upon many facets of the UFO discourse, and delves deep into the fundamental principle that the UFO phenomenon is more of an exploration of the self, than that of physical or metaphysical objects occupying our skies. The UFO question is not about an objective other, such as flying saucers, ET or “light beings”, rather, it is subjective - the real phenomenon is within ourselves.
It must be noted that I am not suggesting that there is no physical UFO phenomenon. There is enough evidence, at least in my own opinion, to suggest something strange is occurring in our skies. What that strangeness is, I can only speculate. Even though there may be a physical UFO phenomenon, we can only truly begin to understand how it affects us, the subjective self, as the actual objective cause of the phenomenon may be forever out of reach.
So why is The Arrival, potentially, an important film? It calls into question one fundamental principle of Ufology; how much does our subjective interpretation shape the objective UFO?
The last few days has seen the explosion of an internet meme where participants post three pictures of fictional characters that they believe describe them best. Ufologists, UFO investigators, researchers, and many others involved in UFO discourse who have a life on social media have also played along, and you probably guessed it, Fox Mulder from The X-Files was a popular choice. There seems to be a recurring theme in the UFO subculture, a discursive element, that links those who explore the UFO phenomenon to television's most famous paranormal investigator. As an active field investigator with MUFON, researcher, writer, and blogger- I am not, nor ever will be, Fox Mulder. Nor will you. It is interesting, however, that many in the UFO discourse think they kind of are…
The agents of UFO discourse, the men and women who make up the various ranks, cliques, and groups, tasked with debating and examining the UFO question carry a sort of mystique, a mythological sense of self that heals some of the wounds caused by the discourse itself.
Disclosure, Aliens and The Catholic Church; Or, how the "Disclosurists" are opening their mouths without thinking (yet again).
Over the last month or so, I’ve seen several articles and social media posts concerning the Disclosure movement and the Roman Catholic Church. Due to a few comments made by Pope Francis and the former Director of the Vatican Observatory, Father Jose Funes, several years ago, there seems to have been a recent resurgence of the idea that the Vatican’s inner circle is aware of an extraterrestrial presence on Earth.
As with most things uttered in the name of Disclosure, this claim is ridiculous and has no evidence to support it. To be clear, I support the disclosure of information to the public, not just about the UFO phenomenon, but about all things. The democratisation of knowledge, which in turn becomes power (to borrow from Foucault), is essential to fair governance.
However, many “Disclosurists” are not interested in furthering equality of power. They use the guise of open governance to line their own pockets. Here's a nice a gem for your reading enjoyment that supports my claim.
Being born and raised a Catholic, I feel that I have to clear the air here. Is the Vatican, or any authoritative body for that matter, participating in a conspiratorial Disclosure campaign? I highly doubt it. Does the Vatican believe in extraterrestrial life? Well...for an institution that has been around for nearly two millennia and has a perceived image of being conservative, the Roman Catholic Church is very forward thinking on the matter.
Part 2 of 2 for this series. For Part 1, click here.
We must begin by examining how we culturally "understand" the UFO phenomenon, as objective reality is fundamentally unreachable.
The Cultural UFO
When we examine the existence of an object, a physical UFO, and a subject, an intelligent other piloting said UFO, we slam into a wave of ideological constructs. We, as creatures of the social world, are entrenched in cultural messages, experiences, values and ideas. There is no way for us to see or experience an objective base reality. Similar to Pokémon Go, we view the world through a screen that presents us with an augmented reality. The difference is that we cannot shut the game off. In simple terms, there is no place one can stand to see actual unfiltered, uncultured, unsocial, un-ideological truth. Science, like all other human endeavours, is also trapped in this ideological prison. We perceive the Wendt and Duvall object/subject dualism of the UFO then in purely cultural terms, void of any actual objective truth.
UFOs are undecidable, much like the in-game Pokémon, as they both exist and do not exist. In “official” popular culture, the mainstream, UFOs, as Hynek repeatedly reminds us, “do not exist because they cannot.” To the general public, UFOs are not real because they are told they are not real. The ideologically constructed state of UFOs, fashioned by governments and the human need/desire for anthropocentrism, is that they do not exist. However, people have reported seeing UFOs from far away and up close, being aboard them, etc. An entire subculture has been born out of the UFO phenomenon. To a certain minority, UFOs do exist. Scientists have yet to prove that UFOs do not exist, and UFO believers have not been able to prove that they do; we are left in a quagmire of ideology. Scientists, stuck in their own potent ideological dogmatism, typically fall back upon the social construction known as “common sense” in regards to the UFO question, but possess no actual evidence to disprove their existence. While the onus may be on the UFO believer to prove the existence of UFOs, for a scientist to state that UFOs (or an intelligent other for that matter) do not exist is a scientific error. What occurs instead is a curious pseudo-theological debate over which ideology is believed to be more true.
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
-Theseus, A Midsummer Nights Dream
An Augmented Existence
The recent explosion of Pokémon Go into popular culture brings with it a wave of interesting cultural and social ideas (I’m sure you’ve seen the countless memes). The object of the game, for the uninitiated, is to catch little creatures using a device called a Poké Ball, which is a sort of technological “non-cage” cage. Anyway, the entire game operates using your smartphone and its camera. As you look at your screen, you see the world around you, except it is filled with various Pokémon creatures and objects. It is known as augmented reality; the game places virtual “things” into your everyday, regular, boring, non-Pokémon world.
If we draw a comparison between the augmented reality of the game to our own ideological and social reality, we are greeted by a strange dualism in that the Pokémon both exist and do not exist simultaneously. In a general sense, one who is actively playing the game can “see” the Pokémon all around the augmented reality. When a player is not actively playing, the Pokémon are “non-things” with no presence, but they still exist within the augmented reality all around them. With the game switched off, the augmented reality created by Nintendo is still present within the infrastructure of the internet and the connections between millions of players who are roaming around actively playing the game.
To put it simply, the Pokémon in Pokémon Go dwell in two simultaneous states; they exist and they do not exist.
So how is this related to UFOs and Ufology? Surprisingly, the similarities are significant, and those similarities shape how UFOs are perceived by “official” popular culture and the UFO subculture.
The above thirteen minute interview with Richard Dolan has been circling the Ufological world. Published by Earth Mystery News on July 6th, Dolan presents his interpretation of the day after Disclosure, its effects, as well as some interesting political rhetoric concerning American foreign policy. One very interesting point in the interview occurs when Mr. Dolan posits that any disclosure would have to be forced out by, or at least, fully controlled by the public. His concern is that the current political powers will package the disclosed information, and feed it to the public however they saw fit.
Dolan refers to a shadowy elite group who desire and work to keep the public in check. The people are controlled by, to quote Adam Smith, the “masters of mankind,” the elite who maintain all for themselves and none for the rest. If there does exist a cabal of controllers, how then can we have “honest disclosure?”
Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
The final post in regards to this topic. I hope you have enjoyed it and I hope it was successful in answering the big question; are the general sciences truly more valid than Ufology?
Feel free to leave comments or shoot me a message.
The Lunatic Fringe and Why It Matters...
We need to question the ideological motivations that push science to dismiss the UFO/UAP phenomenon as a whole. Good ufologists worth their salt do not “cry aliens” when a well documented/credible UFO sighting occurs. Rather, they cry “what the hell was that, we probably should look into it…”
It is interesting that the same cry was the basis for the birth of the general sciences. People witness an event and say something to the effect of, “what the hell was that, we probably should look into it…”. We learned that lightning wasn’t an angry god, but rather a natural electrostatic discharge. We learned that the stars weren’t angels, but massive balls of burning hydrogen held together by gravity. We see something, and we want to figure out what it is.