Thursday, February 16, 2012

Close Encounters of the First Kind: Do we really care? Part Three.

Part Three, eh? Time to depart from the semi-sane ground of actual UFO data and spew forth shameless speculation about what might be going on. Well, folks: Crap Detectors at Full Power!! Shields to Maximum!! Ready or not.......

The first speculation that I heard about the "endless variety" phenomenon for close encounter craft design was the equally "endless variety" of extraterrestrial civilizations. That theory said: there are a lot of different folks out there, and it seems like a lot of them are visiting Earth. The concept is that a very large number of worlds all have their Henry Ford Model ZZZZZZZ UFO makers, and the changed craft designs identify those different worlds.

I don't like it. Maybe you do, but not me. Hundreds of thousands of different civilizations seem a bit much to me. And just one guy per civilization? I would think that we'd have rather large clusters of cases with identical craft, but I, at least, find no support for that in the case pile. Fell free to disagree of course. Not for me.

The second "explanation" for the design differences in all these cases [that I can remember anyway] is the "the craft are designed differently with different tasks in mind." Well, OK, sort of. Steamshovels should look different than Limousines than Tanks than Race-cars. But this just won't cut it. I'm even more sure of that than about hypothesis #1.

The reason is that I've done simple analyses of things like Car-Stop incidents, and the cars get stopped regardless of the shape, details, color, beam, or anything at all of the craft. The form of the craft seems to have nothing to do with it. The form in fact seems like an outer shell of misdirection surrounding what is actually going on. So, no good for me.

If not #1 or #2 then what? The lightbulb is only slightly above dim here, but we can at least stumble "Out Proctor". The following commentary will definitely be Out Proctor [i.e. so crazy as to be only marginally conceivable], but not "All-The-Way-Fool" [i.e. that I'm convinced of any part of it]. We're Out Proctor quite a bit on this blog, but All-The-Way-Fool is rarer, like when I could not avoid the apparent Fact of a Real Nessie, BUT a non-physical/biological one, and therefore was stuck with a folkloric paranormal spirit type theory.

So, what's Out Proctor on this topic??

The slightly agreed-upon hypothesis of at least a handful of UFOlogists is that the constant meddling with design is a ploy to break down our human search for patterns in the data. We have seen over and over again how difficult finding such patterns is. The intention of the altered designs would be therefore to maintain a general covertness in the phenomenon, while allowing all the "in-your-individual-face" overtness that any ET agenda might want. I believe that this hypothesis, though not able to be tested scientifically, could be seen as sufficiently dealing with the variation-of-structure enigma to be a "keeper", as far as a reasonable thought is concerned.

That theory might also be seen as amenable to any hypothesis of what the alien agenda might be, as long as some overall covertness is deemed important. So whether you want to be relatively non-interfering explorers, or relatively non-interfering meddler societies, or relatively non-interfering social, psychological, political game players of some kind, the craft variation to break patterns is an idea that can serve.

But is there another way of looking at it? Doubtless hundreds. But one way intrigues me until I get some real negatives about it.

I asked a friend about this element of UFOs the other day. He looked at the panels and said: What it reminds me of is Art. What he meant was an outbreak of INDIVIDUALITY in the production of the specific piece of technology that was that individual's personal device. Ernest Callenbach's ECOTOPIA had the idea that a person's private automobile would be craft-customed to the desires of the owner, by the owner. That concept leads, whether based on a real concept of ET civilization or not, to some interesting lines-of-thought.

We've tended to think about UFOs as the products of great systemic agendas of space powers, who have come great distances with some iron-willed purpose. Almost an Industrial-Military vision of those home worlds. But "Art?". THAT's Freedom. What if? Just what if? Could some "individuals" just simply be here?

The idea of an advanced civilization which honors the individuality of its citizens by granting and maintaining a liberal amount of freedom shouldn't be automatically rejected as unthinkable. Almost all Americans hope [sometimes against all data] that the USA and our tired old Earth will end up that way. So maybe. If so, what "flavors" of a free society might there be?

For discussion sake, let's take the pragmatics of money and technology out of the discussion as useless misdirections. Our imagined societies will have the means to travel --- maybe expensive but not prohibitive. What sort of civilizations might they be coming from?

One can imagine a society so liberal that it permits radical freedom. Such a world would be pouring forth all manner of "behaviors" into the Galaxy and upon our world. UFOs do a lot of things, but I don't see that. There are very strange incidents occupying the Whacked-Out dump baskets of our files which could be interpreted that way, but very few credible ones. That would be a UFOlogy like Ford Prefect's remark in The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy when he mentioned ET teenagers putting on weird hats and "strutting around in front of people making Beep-Beep noises". That is not the UFOlogy that we have.

But we could have visitors coming from freedom-oriented societies, whose actions were restricted by either technological limitations or by policy limitations.

Some would attribute the preponderance of designs based upon radial symmetry as an indication of a technological limitation or at least a technological advantage. That in fact seems a perfectly good idea to me. If one adds to that a policy limitation: one only gets a permit to come if one can indicate a useful role in whatever the over-all exploratory agenda is, or at least a range of proposed activities which does not contradict that over-all agenda, THEN the variations of behavior shrink quite nicely into what [I believe] the case experiences have to show us. This sort of vision would be VERY upbeat. The civilization would be a benign one towards its own citizens, honoring freedom. The persons coming would be serious and "mature" persons, possibly involved with research, and the home civilization would have a well-thought-out and mainly non-interfering program of interest.

I asked two UFO-savvy friends what they saw in the UFO data mountain which violated the general idea. Chupracabras was the first word out. OK, but I don't believe that that concept is real, and don't buy the alleged UFO connection anyway. So, right or wrong, that "problem" doesn't bother me.

Mass Abductions and the mistreatment of Abductees was the second word out. Well, there's a bunch of assumptions there able to be debated [see John Mack], but [and I'm not going to go into it] I do not find the MASS part of mass abductions at all convincing either. Betty and Barney, fine. Buff Ledge, Stanford,KY, fine. The gigantic avalanche, no.

Deliberate harming of humans by craft? Well, we did a whole series of CE2ps here, and there was VERY little evidence for that. Even the one deliberate action [paralysis] does not result in long-term effects. Neither wild freedom individuals harming humans nor individuals systematically harming humans under some mass agenda seem [to me] to be going on.

So, Out Proctor we've been. Whether all this craft-design variation is "just" the required psychological dissonance of a great rigid agenda, or the product of allowable individuality among responsible explorers, the two models seem simplistically OK with the data, at least to me.

Throw in a spicy dash of local Tricksterisms and you have a very interesting if unprovable world.

May the Advancement of Civilization never leave Art or the Artistic Soul behind.

Till the next time, folks, whenever that may be.


  1. Hmmm. If we’re going ‘Out Procter,’ maybe our Folk from Elsewhere come from places like Iain M. Banks’ ‘post-scarcity’ worlds? With abundant resources, it might take the edge off keeping up with the neighbours – newer, better models could lose their importance. Combined with stable technology and forms that are fit for purpose, an ‘aircraft’ might have a working life way beyond our own conceptions. In such a scenario, visiting craft could have a manufacturing span that covers immense ages and widely diverse origins.

    Vallee used to use the argument that technology always changes – Model Ts juxtaposed with modern BMWs. He could be right and yet saucers and spherical objects could reach their technological peak of form and function to the extent that only physical *tweaking* remains. This could conceivably explain why, despite the individual differences, there’s been a general similarity in the bulk of reports; saucers, spheres and ‘cigars.’

    1. As usual Mike, your thoughts are carefully put together. I still have a place in my heart for the "many variety" theory. I lump all those varieties into similar baskets since witnesses often come up with two different descriptions of the same thing. It is interesting how discs were more the style back in the 50s and 60s, and then cigars in the 70s, and now enormous triangles and sometimes rectangles seem to be more in vogue during the last 30 years. It is also strange how their aerodynamics capabilities seem to always be a little ahead of us; sort of like it was a game. After all, any civilization capable of reaching us would be so far advanced in terms of travel capability that the differences between our airplanes of 1950 and 2010 would make no difference.

      I like your "freedom-individuality-art" hypothesis. It goes well with my libertarian leanings. :-) What I really like is that it is an out-of-the-box thought. The other theories are based too much on our view of how things should be. And perhaps the real answer is something even farther out of the box.

      If we ignore the "appearance" for a moment, there are only a few commonalities (at least most of the time) that I can list that seem to occur independent of the shape:

      Faster than sound travel without breaking the sound barrier.
      Silent movement.
      Ability of a very large object to hover. (of course only applicable to the large UFOs)
      Ability to accelerate at a rate lethal to complex organisms.

  2. Very good article. A lot of mystery to it. I always wonder about one thing. The sightings are real, yes. Interaction with the things too.

    If these things are from other worlds, why not examine the Earth from far above using 'sensors' instead of swooping down where they can be seen. No 'non-interference directive' here. You would think 'they' could check us out from a great distance. And, flying into other people's planetary space without a calling card isn't entirely etiquette. Almost aggressive in the sense of ignoring politeness. The shapes seen do fall in a few basic ones. Aerodynamics don't seem to play a role, do they? They move more than they actually fly. This is a mystery worth solving and one which I keep trying to work on. There seem to be several answers. The shapes are observable and will play a larger role when we understand just what these things are.

    To fortify the idea of individuals from space, I can recall a very old 1950 EC Comics story about a kid from another world who looked like a dragon who takes his father's spaceship/car for a joy ride and ends up here during our medieval period. He gets killed as the dragon when he meets Saint George. An individual, as it were, in a personal spaceship. And that story was written in 1950.

    Are there a lot of space Steve McQueens zooming around out there?

    Thank you Michael for the good article.

  3. One possibility might be that the outwardly observable shapes of these craft are in fact random, within certain parameters. This might be a function of the process by which they arrive in our perceptual space, at present incomprehensible. Sustained and maybe reversible macro quantum events that slide into/out of actuality, maintaining a spacetime/gravity field of their own?

    Whatever they are, UFOs don't seem to be assembled like human machinery. Size, too, often appears to be relative, or a projected variable. Also, instances of malfunctioning units have an appearance of being in some sense staged, possibly as part of a deceptive scenario which imitates human tropes ("engine broke down"). Perhaps they are "thought-craft" of controllable materiality, imagined into the physical world by whatever class of mind may command such powers over our reality.

  4. It's my turn, I guess. Though I'm not feeling too insightful at the moment.

    To Kandinsky: almost surely our visiting worlds are beyond caring about materials and energy concerns within any scale which we would reasonably contemplate. If we had slow-boaters not too far ahead of us, then such limitations would apply, but the techno-dazzle of these craft seem WAY beyond slow-boaters [though that is not to say that we may not have had a pass-by of slow boaters sometime even recently]. The general radial symmetric plan of the bulk of the UFOs does seem to me to point to something about that being a physical advantage. One soft idea would be that if you were using some gravity-blocking or analogous radially-symmetrical field of power, perhaps having a craft which was just as nimble in any direction at any moment would be preferable.

    To Robert: Ha! As you know, I'm not quite as libertarian as you, but I certainly like the sentiment. It would be a lot more comforting if we could believe that the visiting society(ies) honored freedom, and thereby were more likely to treat us honorably with a minimum of interfering shocks, and still pursue their agenda(s). You bring up one of the better UFO research projects currently do-able. We need to begin a simple "count" of the growth of Triangle reports and their percentage of total reports for the past, say six decades [getting the sixties flap involved, as we know that that manifested every imaginable thing but was "normally" radial symmetry heavy]. That graph would give us a study basis for analyzing the theory that the huge triangles are human hi-tech or not.

    To Randel:I believe that it is utterly clear that the visiting agenda has to involve very strong overt interaction for the individual event, while continuing to break pattern and remain generally covert on the macro-cultural scale. I believe as you do that they are "violating good etiquette", but rather reservedly so. One reason not to just remain at distance [or closer with great stealth] would be that they need something out of the strong human reaction. Data? Emotion-transfer? Psychology depth profiling? Who knows? Your comment about aerodynamics playing no role is right on. Only slow-boaters would have to have more primitive machines needing to conventionally "fly". This, however, might point us towards a pass-by of slow-boaters in the 40s & early 50s, when the USAF was noticing quite a bit of "snaking" in the flying of the disks.

    To anonymous: I'd like to respond productively to this but I can't. I don't have the needed data. "Random" however seems far too strong a word for what we see. The question of size should be the subject of another simple case count, with looking for correlations, even if just statistical, with case type or time or behavior.

  5. Dipping my toe into this scholarly argument -- apply the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle.

    1. Shapes vary but seem standard in some way.
    2. Manned, unmanned, probes.
    3. Culture drives what is reported.

    I live in Thailand where many UFO reports are labeled as 'ghost ships'. These reports rarely reach
    the media. Younger Thais are influenced more and more by the Western enter-/infotainment programs.

    Delving through the Project Blue Book document ( fold3 dot com ) I am amazed at the early reports
    of triangular craft and probes. For example, the balloon with spikes over Martha's Vineyard in
    November 1957.

    Someone said the shapes reminded them of art and I would had performance art with a hint of the
    Trickster too.

    The better reports are those few that combine air/ground visual and air/ground/sea radar. So far
    these are rare. I find the U.S. Navy reports with military observers as the most complete and