The Spectrum of Science, Mysticism, and Exophilosophy
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.
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.
For Part 1, please click here.
In Part 1, I hoped to establish the basic question that needs to be answered; are the ideologies that surround the general sciences more valuable than the ideologies that surround Ufology?
The "Catch 22" and Ideological Hubris
In order to arrive at an answer, we need to establish what “Ideology” is.
Ideology is separate from objective “base reality”. Mother nature, the universe, base reality, whatever you wish to call it, does not function upon ideologies. Humans form ideologies to make mother nature, the universe, and base reality livable, to make it understandable to our limited minds.
We must be clear here; we do not purposefully and willfully create ideologies- they simply happen without our control. Similar to the heart, one do not consciously force it to beat, it simply does so as a condition of its existence within the human body. Similar to the formation of human social ideologies, we do not force them to occur, they simply do as a condition of our consciousness and existence. Ideologies shift, develop, and change based upon human choices and experience.
Humans are social creatures, so arbitrary rules and constructs have settled into our social world to ensure life isn’t chaotic. This is generally a good thing; humans need these mechanisms in order to survive in groups, otherwise, we tend to murder each other. It stands to reason then that when we try to expand our knowledge, our understanding, and to progress forward, we do so ideologically. Science moves along with society and society moves along with science. Ufology moves along with society and, one could argue that, society does move along with Ufology.
In this three part series, I hope to establish a justification for Ufology to be accepted by the mechanisms that govern the general sciences, and the scientists who work under that mechanism.
This needs to be approached with an open mind, but I hope the logic and rationality of my arguments stand up to potential critique. If you do wish to engage in a discussion concerning this three part series, please comment below or send me an e-mail.
Part 1 - The Ideological Construct that Governs Human Endeavours.
Ufology, like every other field of study, including the general sciences, is significantly governed by social ideological constructs. All human endeavour, whether it be historical, artistic, or scientific exists within the frame of human experience and society. No field of study operates in a vacuum, separate of our current cultural zeitgeist; nothing humans do is independant of our social world, as we are trapped in it. There is no place in which one can stand “outside” of the given social, cultural and experiential reality we dwell in. Therefore, the sciences are governed by the same ideologies as Ufology.
Canadian UFO Crashes, The Public Hearing on ET Disclosure, and Why We Need To Be “Canadian” About This.
The Alien Cosmic Expo, Canada’s largest UFO convention, is fast approaching. At the end of June, we have an “expert” panel prepared to discuss the reality of ET visitation to Earth citing Canadian government documents and cases which allegedly “prove” UFO activity. It is being touted as Canada’s first public hearing on UFOs.
Not to generalize, but Canadians are a little more reasonable in their perceptions regarding the UFO phenomenon. To paraphrase and adapt what Dr. David Clarke said about British Ufology in his recent book, How UFOs Conquered the World, Canadians are very similar to their English cousins- we are generally a little more level headed about this sort of thing. I am excited to see that Canada is finally getting some modern and much deserved attention in the UFO field. We don’t shy away from this sort of thing, but we don’t necessarily draw attention to it either.
The Expo’s Public Hearing on ET Disclosure will be interesting. As I discussed in my last post, I did have a few concerns and questions for the panel and the organizers. Unfortunetly, no one from that group responded to my call for clarity.
That being said, I am still hoping that this expert panel provides some compelling evidence, and that the panel of skeptics are able to “hold their own” in a harsh slanted climate. I hope the discourse is intelligent and the debate is fair.
Chris Rutkowski, Canada’s foremost expert on the UFO phenomena, recently released an excellent article on his blog, Ufology Research. Interestingly, to the more advanced reader, it includes some of the government documents and cases cited on one of the hearing’s organizers website as evidence to be heard during the hearing. It also presents a lot of additional information that potentially explains what these events may have been, as well as a few “Unknowns” which, after solid research, still baffle him, other Ufologists, and yours truly. The article’s focus is on the best documented cases of UFO crashes in Canada, and can be found by clicking here. It is a solid well researched read, and I would implore you to check it out, especially if you plan on heading to this Hearing on ET Disclosure. It may provide a solid base of data and background knowledge before you enter the inner sanctum of the Disclosure movement.
An article in the Mirror today announced that American president Barack Obama will disclose to the public the truth behind UFOs. Stephen Bassett, who was quoted in the article, stated that he believes 2016 will be the year of Disclosure, adding that he also thinks that President Obama will be the “disclosure president.”
I agree with Mr. Bassett that if the American government did release actual evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, the collective mind of planet Earth would be blown. It would single- handedly be the most important discovery and finding made by our species on this piece of rock we call Earth.
I appreciate the UFO community’s zeal for official Disclosure. I truly do. That being said, I would also ask Mr. Bassett to take pause, and inform his community of “Disclosurists” to gird their loins for the very real possibility that there is no evidence, bodies, space ships, or artifacts to disclose.
On June 25th, The Alien Cosmic Expo in Brantford Ontario will play host to the first ever international panel on the existence of UFOs and Extraterrestrials using primarily Canadian government documents; suggesting that Canada, along with many other nations, have and are studying the UFO phenomenon. This massive collection of government files, according to the Research and Development team behind this panel, allegedly claims Canada is well aware of the UFO issue and that some of the evidence suggests that these UFOs rely upon intelligent operation.
Ok, I may have a few concerns here...
It was 9 years ago, almost to the day, that on April 23rd, 2007, Ray Bowyer and his passengers aboard flight A-Line 544 departed Southampton, England. It was a routine 45-minute flight in good weather and visibility- and as they neared their destination, they witnessed two large unidentified objects hovering over the English Channel for several minutes. This simple flight, flown hundreds and hundreds of times previously, threw Boywer and his passengers into the world of ufology, and their experience has been dubbed the 2007 Alderney UFO Sighting.
Chris Rutkowski and the team at Ufology Research have provided another excellent report concerning the UFO situation in Canada. For all of you who have never heard of the Canadian UFO Survey, it is a collection of hard data that establishes the numbers of sightings and the details surrounding them. It posits no explanation for the sightings, but is rather a massive number crunch designed to provide an overall view into what people are seeing and how often.
I had the honour to write the "Forward" for the document, and I've re-posted it for you below. I've also included the link so you can access the survey for yourself.
The Disclosure Movement is large, and like a yard sale, it is a big mess of various leaders, organizations and groups, all believing in different things but touting one end goal: that the governments, or “shadow governments”, of the world disclose to the public all of their information and knowledge concerning extraterrestrials. The general consensus for the followers of Disclosure, is that all information and knowledge is tantamount to solid evidence of ETI, whether it be downed flying saucers, alien bodies, technology, and/or open and direct communication with alien beings. Disclosure is not about seeking the truth or the facts, rather, it is about belief, fervent dogmatic belief, that authorities are hiding something big and anything less is disinformation, a cover up, or a conspiracy to hide the truth from the public.
As many fathers do around this planet, I read bed time books to my baby daughter. Being that she is a new addition to our family, she enjoys tactile reads over solid plot development and rich characters...infants, what can you do?
One of her favorites is the book pictured above. It's a new addition to her library and little did I know that the secret government project to slowly and quietly disclose the truth about aliens has violated her peaceful and blissfully ignorant existence.