Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where do You draw the Line?

It was good to be back home last week and re-connect with my "former" life, my UFO friends, and even my UFO files. Those files allowed me to post "From BILL to GILL to HILL" and it felt good to get that basic element of UFO history out there. As I was writing and reading those files, the staged reluctance that people have towards the UFO phenomenon [example: accepting none, or accepting some, or accepting anything regardless] kept coming up over and over. The stage at which a person would seem to "draw the line" seemed usually NOT to be data driven but rather some sort of deep emotional thing. That is, it seemed to depend on some quality of the person which had little to do with any particular case or group of incidents---subjectivity totally trumping objectivity. I of course shouldn't be at all surprised. We have been doing this at every "level" right on up to culture-wide from the beginnings of what historians can determine about us. So, I thought, at the risk of engaging in a "load of dingos kidneys", I might take a little walk along our path of theological/non-human belief systems to see if anything worth noting about our subject resides there.-----------------------------------------------------------The lead illustration at the top refers to who we were at our earliest historically-studyable stage. All-powerful gods were all about [though thankfully not frequently overt] in the mountains, the forests, the seas. Finally almost all the cultures decided to put them in the heavens. They did this because the gods didn't show up much in person, and it was nice to have them increasingly out of the way. The Mesopotamians were way ahead of the curve in this, as their high gods [The Annunaki] were placed as the seven gods of the heavens [Sun, Moon, and five seeable planets] and, most importantly, were to run our planet according to laws [The Me's] and not Zeus-like whimsy. Fate and unpredictability begin to fade in our concern, and the possibility of figuring out what those laws were [i.e. Science] became a believable pursuit. The Mesopotamian astronomers buttressed this belief in order by demonstrating that the lucky seven gods DID in fact behave themselves in an orderly predictable fashion in the skies. The older era of "bad" gods who liked to toy with you would ultimately fade, and, if replaced at all, would be replaced by lesser creatures like demons, restless spirits, djinn, rogue angels, leprechauns, et al---possibly just around the bend of the road, but not gods. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The monotheism of the Creator God of the Bible ultimately took over the heavens. There were all sorts of reasons for this from theological inevitability of a single primary power to the way the idea was joined to the friendliest most "human" companion God of all [Jesus Christ] , who whether believable by any particular person or not, was certainly a bringer of a message of love and forgiveness that was not only welcome but served to remove the almighty hand of Old Testament justice a bit further away. [Many so-called Christians have never gotten the point of love and forgiveness vs. smiting the unjust but that is not my problem]. The fairly violent Old Man with the great white beard was greatly moderated by having Jesus stand in between. And all the really bad and meddlesome guys that had been messing around with us all these centuries became just bad [and lesser] spirits who, in the end were impotent on anything which mattered to our spiritual lives. We with the help of the Good Fellow Upstairs could begin to ignore them entirely at last and make our own way in the world free at last from whimsical deleterious behaviors of paranormal entities. Of course they did have a habit of continuing to manifest here and again, but by gum we were vanquishing them to the shadows and never need fear them again. In a strange way, denying that they even existed seemed the best way to keep them out of ones life. [Catholicism has, by the way, never denied that these entities exist. The stance of the institution is that they very much DO exist and whether they are essentially evil or just malicious by choice, they are dangerous and should be avoided]. Alongside this theological evolution, astronomy was moving in the same general direction.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Greek model of the Universe was an Earth-centered one which they stole from the astronomers of Babylon. It was probably inevitable also. The Earth afterall seemed to be the center of everything, seemed to be the biggest thing involved, and, what-the-heck, WE were on it. The Greek astronomers basically took the Babylonian model and turned everything into spheres. Earth was round not flat; and the planetary "wanderers" went all the way around it in their sphere-paths. Since circles were "obviously perfect", all this made sense...sort of. The fact that it didn't work didn't hinder it from buttressing the God model which was growing alongside. The planets and stars became guided by angels, GOD sat in high heaven overlooking all, and, most importantly, WE and our Earth were that ALL. No one else existed except us and no one else was the reason for this creation. There were certainly no aliens. And by now, any entity which one might imagine who would be on the same standing as we humans, was impossible or worse [heretical]. Nice. Neat. Getting all the complexity out of the way. You. Me. And God. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What is being described is the most basic simplified cultural foundationstone model of reality. The complexity of the ancients had been almost entirely expunged. Any "development" of add-on ideas from here would be fought by the culture, and individuals would have to "feel" their way into tolerance of each new thought and often to their peril in some ways. UFOs at each stage of their acceptability fit right into this pattern.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Something that I may be easily wrong about, but which seems to me to have played a role in this intellectual life of the [at least western] world, has been the insertion of the Holy Spirit into a more active role in the belief structure. As the role of the Holy Spirit became more prominent, other more concrete concepts diminish a bit. Ideas become more "personal" and less "institutional". Inspiration and the Inner Life become more of a feature of our thinking, and more radical forays are possible. Maybe, just maybe, says the deep thinker, what the Earth bound "authorities" are telling me has been royally screwed up by their human errors. Maybe "I" am the one who is right, and they have mis-read everything. Of course thinking like this too early in the development of society can get you killed. Thinking that there was a "plurality of worlds" and life on all of them got Bruno killed. Thinking that we weren't the geographical center of the Universe still brings wrath down on you from some persons today. Some concepts have importance far beyond fact or reason.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Major rock-and-roll fast intellectual change had to wait until you were unlikely to be killed or sanctioned if you voiced it. Society evolved democracies and democracies evolved Evolution. The inevitable end of the Evolution trail was not the violence-and-anger-producing Biological evolution of human form, but the Evolution of the entire Universe. The Big Bang to Big Brain view of Big History grew out of geology and then biology, but went truly cosmic with astronomy and the application of physics to stellar evolution and the formation of galaxies. Except for the distractions of people fearing the Man-Ape idea and old holders-on of the We're-The-Center concept, the larger culture has bought into this overarching model of reality rather rapidly. One unexpected early buyer-in was the Catholic Church, which said that it saw no violation of its theology in either Natural Selection nor the scientific view of many worlds like Earth "out there". And, given the size of this new found Universe, there were many worlds indeed.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This was and is already too much a violation of "what's important" for some people to tolerate. To some, the scriptures say that it is the human race that is the central reason for the Creation, and any hint that we're not deserves a stoning. [Pat Robertson is one who believes such violence]. For these persons UFOs have gone far beyond the line and need to be voided from consciousness or reinterpreted as demonic. ----------------------------------------------------------------On the other hand, the edge of scientific respectability wants to find and contact all these "others", who surely must be out there. So SETI arises as the next logical extension of the Cosmic Evolution paradigm at a baby-step increase of hypothesis, which if you play your cards well, won't cause you to be hurt or ostracized by the new model-making powers. But now the society has evolved far enough that it is no longer a culture. To be a culture the residents need to generally hold the same things to be true, and live with a model of reality that in some way plays an active role in their lives. That commonly held model of reality with its attached values motivates the population of a culture to act with some commonalities--that is, as a culture. But the culture of the United States is no more, and other countries, in the global age, seem to be following in its wake. Here and now, large groups can both hate and like the same model of reality , and consequently hate one another. Even something as seemingly innocuous as SETI is no such thing. It attacks the "hearts" of people in sub-cultures. In such matters, facts [and thereby Science] have never played much of a role. This is not about facts. It is about something deeper inside.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So along comes BILL. The stage of UFOlogy which we've called "BILL" after Bill Nash of the 1952 Chesapeake Bay sighting, was characterized by all manner of flying disk incidents which, taken together, make up a massive argument that some of those "other worlds" out there have sent some of their technology here. We, who study and "like" UFOs, would like to think that they are the simplest extension of the model of cosmic evolution that has swept the intellectual world. There shouldn't be much resistance. But, WOW. We all know how far off that assumption is. But why? Why THAT level of rejection? It can't be "science". This is way too emotional and thorough than that. This is, in fact, precisely like the reaction that all the new ideas that we've been talking about have gotten historically. This is emotional. This is fear. Something about UFOs is threatening some persons important-to-the-public-saying-of-truth that the concept threatens to unravel their lives or their worldview in some way. It is a line that they dare not cross. No amount of "science" will induce them to do so.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The actual showing up of UFOs has caused all manner of shake-ups in communities other than that of scientists. The shake-ups are, surprisingly more often understandable in these other communities than the almost completely irrational response of the sciences. Christian oriented religions are naturally led to worry about the basic over-reaching theology of sin, incarnation, and redemption. The not-really-silly cartoon says it all. Is the idea that God would have to incarnate on every advanced life-bearing planet in the universe too much to swallow? Some theologians would rather not have to think about multiple worlds in these terms; others don't sweat it: leave it up to God to deal with--He's big enough. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On the other hand, organizations like the military would rather the idea go away for several reasons, the most clearly real one being that it scares the crap out of too many of the citizens and makes their job harder. Almost every established power on our planet [religious, governmental, economic] has got it, by definition, pretty good the way things are. They want control. They want what they understand. They don't want any wildcards. Advanced non-human technology flying around is the ultimate wildcard, with the possible exception of the ancient whimsical gods coming back to town....or is it the same thing?----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, here "they" [or somebody at least] come. "GILL" is the next step in the natural expected evolution of the action. All of a sudden we see little guys messing about near the technology. One wonders if they are reported as "little" so often because that makes them more acceptable ["If it gets right down to it we can punch them out"]. But here they are and what are you going to do, mentally, about it? At this point some UFOlogists actually jump ship. It's not a lack of convincing data--just look at the Gill case. This step has SCARED them somehow. Whether they fear mockery because talking about entities [no matter how "logical"] is just too much for their friends to swallow, or because they are somehow creeped out by the thought that "they" are really here and not at safe sky-high distances with unmanned craft, or...? Not only is the general society one more step "alienated" [double entendre deliberate] by these close encounters of the third kind, but quite a few students of UFO incidents run away at this point too. Because I have come to see all of these responses [both on organizational and individual levels] as arising from fears of varying kinds, I am wondering if it does not take a remarkably healthy mind to both study UFOs and at the same time remain properly analytical and skeptical. Since that sentence is entirely too self-congratulatory the court recorder is authorized to strike it from the record. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So along comes HILL. Well...ahem...I have to rat on myself and say that these encounters are constantly threatening to push me over the line towards irrational denial just as I have been accusing others of doing. I'm fighting it. The D#x% line is awfully close by. Something about these things feels "wrong" but I think that it's one of those deep-seated [and not even verbalizable] intuitions, that is likely to be wrong, and at least beneath the dignity of an objective scholar. I am happy with myself that I've hung in there with the data on cases like the Hills and Buff Ledge [both in serious ways Walt Webb cases] and am on the side of the data-angels, I believe. But the experience has been enlightening. It gives me the tangible sensation of something similar to what I believe hurls people off the open-minded path, even far earlier in the game. The picture to the left IS pretty scary, but I don't think that, for me at least, that's what it's about. Maybe it's just the idea of grindingly ugly uncaring about sentient beings. I can accept that such is possible in an individual, but a whole civilization? And, I don't really know what I feel about all this, let alone what others feel---but I know a great number of UFOlogists who will not touch CE4s with a stick. And, as far as I can tell, that response has come out of them immediately--not as a result of patient examination of the data. Whether they admit it or not--it's fear of something...maybe simply of being a fool. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We've gone through a long evolution of worldviews since the gods came streaming down out of the heavens to mess around uncaringly with humanity. There are those who would happily [for reasons which elude me] interpret us as having come full circle. Even if they are here [which I believe] and even if they're behaving like a bunch of thugs [which I don't], to me they are no more than another element of the Creation, wandering their own free-will paths and making their choices. I run into similar good or bad people everyday. In my cosmology, that's life.


  1. Abductions,taken in the most literal interpretation, are not at all extraordinary. They seem to be, or involve, or be for the purpose of something which probably, by the abductors's standards, is illegal or immoral: slavery. And that's one of the most common things in human history. Aristotle thought it quite natural (because most slaves are sub-rational or lack rational self-control), but the Stoics thought it "contrary to Nature". But even Stoics knew the antique world couldn't do without slavery (Aristotle's default position: "the plow does not guide itself, and the loom's shuttle does not throw itself, therefore there must be slavery").

    The Galactic Republic of "Star Wars"--which we Americans so identify with--when faced with massive secession must buy armies of slaves: clones who genetically, uniformly, cannot disobey orders from certain persons. And who even thought this aspect of the movies worth remarking on? You do what you need to do, like poaching for genetic variations usable in the clones (when not serving the Plot in the plot of the movies).

    UFO abductions in themselves aren't an "extraordinary hypothesis." Where "extraordinary" comes in would be convincing a mind with counterintelligence skills that this is what's actually happening in (any of) these odd experiences. Or maybe, in convincing ourselves.

    Frank John Reid

  2. The way that it is "extraordinary" [in the sense of significantly beyond the last step in the belief system] is that it is the bringer of greater up-close-and-personal fear. It is not uncommon historically, nor ununderstandable "economically", but it is a whole new layer of frighteningness, and that is what the theme of this post was about. Your comments are from the view of the abductor and are couched in rationalized "reason". My comments are from the opposite end of the gun barrel and have little to do with detached "analysis".

  3. dear sir

    just one side comment on the cartoon crucifixtion, its a bit incorrect since Jesus came to save man because they sinned against God. If there are aliens or other intelligent creation in other planets, they dont need savior if they never sinned. Off course man is made from the image of God hehe im not trying to debate or anything since you are catholic and certainly knew all these things =D

    the barney/betty hill case should be a warning on who these entities really are.. by their action they are terrorizing people. and i remember reading interviews saying that betty hill is a sensitive since childhood and her family also have sensitives. I think there are connection between abductions and sensitive (phsychically sensitive i mean) peoples.




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