Non-human Intelligence and the Universal Other
In a recent conversation with Greg Bishop, he and I spoke about his current hypothesis regarding the UFO phenomenon known as the “Co-Creation Hypothesis.” Much philosophical banter ensued, but it left me with a puzzling question in the back of my mind. If a non-human intelligence is interacting with humanity, how can we tell it apart from the omnipotent machinations of a God?
Let me begin by saying that this is an exercise in exophilosophy. I do not make claims to personally have faith in or support this particular belief system. Theory and philosophy is often about considering many vantage points, being critical, and exploring the mechanisms and constructs that generate our ideologies, values, and thoughts. That being said, I think Bishop brings to the table an interesting addition to UFO discourse.
Greg Bishop’s Co-Creation Hypothesis exists within the strange middle ground between the nuts and bolts physical Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) and the Jungian mythological Psycho-Social Hypothesis (PSH). These opposing theories stand at odds. The ETH posits that the UFO phenomenon is the work of (typically) physical beings from another planet who have advanced technology. The PSH posits that since there is no evidence for intelligent alien life, the whole UFO phenomenon is a modern myth; a social and cultural construct of our collective conscious. ET, the flying saucer, black triangles, and the rest are the new archetypes of 20th and 21st century life.
The Co-Creation Hypothesis attempts to fit into the middle of this argument. Bishop writes,
“When the human mind and nervous system detects something unfamiliar in the environment, it will use everything at its disposal in an effort to identify and react to that input. This may cause us to have an inaccurate picture of the paranormal stimulus, since unusual events are not in our normal range of experience."
To elaborate a little more on this hypothesis, humans are potentially dealing with a Non-Human Intelligence (NHI). It interacts with humanity in some unclear and mysterious way. When a person or persons engage with this NHI, the human mind is unable to properly process the reality of the actual encounter. In simple terms, the contact event is so totally alien that the human brain cannot comprehend the event in an objective way. What occurs instead is a sort of experiential analogue; the human brain refers to social and cultural reference points to generate a working, albeit false, reality to understand the NHI encounter event. Strange lights in the sky, flying saucers, orange orbs, Greys, Reptilians, abductions with needles, hybrid babies, and the other aspects of the UFO narrative are generated by the brain in an attempt to compartmentalize an experience with a completely alien and incomprehensible Other.
A human who experiences this NHI falls victim to a false machination within their own mind, a reality that comes not from an authentic human experience, but curious proverbial compartments of the brain that are forced to filter data to allow at least some small understanding. This begs the question, is one able to tell the “false reality” from a real one? The answer is essentially a “No.” It is not that the experience or reality is fabricated, rather, the false reality becomes the only reality.
To muddy the water, Carl Scharf, an astrophysicist from Columbia University published a journal article that posited a very unique theory. What if there existed a non-human intelligence so advanced that our simple species could not tell it apart from the laws of physics? The universe has a mathematics problem, and we currently use the theory of dark matter to fill in some of those cosmic loopholes. The issue with dark matter is that it is theoretical, and no evidence, apart from math, supports its existence.
The question raised by Scharf’s paper is simple; what if there is no dark matter? What if the invisible fabric of the universe is an intelligence, a living thing, that creates the ebb and flow of space and time? Scharf concludes his paper by stating,
"Perhaps hyper-advanced life…is already all around…embedded in what we perceive to be physics itself, from the root behaviour of particles and fields to the phenomena of complexity and emergence. In other words, life might not just be in the equations. It might be the equations."
Scharf, along with Bishop, raise a similar point. The reality you and I perceive could very well be co-created by a separate intelligence. It is not that reality is some simulation or hologram as some suggest, rather, our reality is filtered by our brains to establish order because it is forced, or has been forced since the dawn of our species, to cope with a fundamentally alien and incomprehensible Other. Humanity does not live in a false Matrix style reality, instead, the reality is as objective as it can be, yet always being mitigated by our mind to generate stable human realities instead of chaotic and unknowable alien ones. In other words, the forgery is authentic.
Let us assume, for the sake of an exophilosophical argument, that Bishop is correct. There exists a NHI that is so totally and fundamentally alien that the human mind cannot perceive it in an objective sense; instead, the mind generates a system of experiences from social and cultural constructs to “make sense” of what it is experiencing. How then are we to know that our entire reality isn’t being perpetually remodelled? The philosophical question regarding the “objectivity” of reality is as old as Plato; however, no philosopher has ever posited a theory that an NHI is interacting with humanity, and that interaction is continuously reshaping reality itself (at least for the human viewer).
The only place we see a similar question in philosophy typically deals with the existence of a God; an eternal being that generates the whole of reality a priori. That being said, is it possible to delineate a NHI from God? God is, in simple terms, a non-human intelligence. What, if anything, allows us to cut the two apart? To separate them? Furthermore, if the NHI (be it God or some other being) alters our perception due to its stark Otherness, what does that say about reality itself?
Scharf points out that a NHI may form the equations of the universe. Using Bishop’s hypothesis, does that mean that all reality everywhere is altered by their presence to human perception? More importantly, if God is the ever present all encompassing NHI, then is all experience and reality, everywhere in the universe, filtered and adjusted to suit the limited human mind, and the mind of any other possible intelligences outside of humanity? Does Co-creation apply to the NHI? Surely if contact with the NHI forces the human mind to adopt a tweaked reality, so to must reality shift for the NHI by living within the universe generated by God. If this is the case, humanity is literally getting ‘metaphysical sloppy seconds’.
Assuming Bishop is correct, we enter a sort of slippery slope of relativistic reality. If humanity is the most base intelligence in the universe, and there exists a NHI that interacts with it, what is there to say that there isn’t a NHI that is superior or alien to the first? And then an even more alien NHI to the latter? And on we go...instead of it being turtles all the way down, it’s turtles all the way up. The problem is that we will never be able to know this. Every encounter we humans have with the NHI is a forged reality. If this is the case, dealing with the even more superior forms of intelligence would never occur as they would simply force a new reality with every interaction. We might as well be dealing with God himself. Perhaps we already are.
Bishop and Scharf both create serious problems for the traditional UFO narrative and debate. First of all, if these hypotheses are true; science is unable to answer the UFO question. Secondly, all the stories, cases, incidents, and testimony regarding the UFO question exist in a dual state; the events occurred, but in a fabricated reality that is unmeasurable objectively. Lastly, there exists no way in which to establish a fundamental difference between the NHI and God; both, in essence, become one in the same to the human observer.
We can simplify this whole exercise down to one essential concept; a totally universal Other. Whether that Other interacts with humans on a pedestrian level, or it makes up the subatomic particles and fabric of the universe, our minds continuously adapt to generate new realities that allow us to make sense of the cosmos, and our personal experiences. The next time you watch a video of a purported UFO, receive a sighting report, or even see strange lights in the sky; you may need to ask yourself if your entire reality just shifted a little to the left.