Sunday, April 14, 2019

UFOs and madness

        When people ask me if I "believe in UFOs", my immediate answer is "Yes, of course". I'd have to be totally crazy to deny that unidentified phenomena are fairly often seen in the sky. But of course, that's not what they mean to ask. They really mean to ask if I think some of those flashie-washies are intelligent messengers from interstellar space. This is very literally to ask if I think some UFOs are IFOs, and the answer is no. Carl Sagan would agree with me...
"[T]here are things seen in the sky which are unidentified--that's what an unidentified flying object is, it means we don't know what it is. It doesn't mean it's a space vehicle from somewhere else. And there ought to be things in the sky that we don't understand--the sky is very rich in phenomena--astronomical, meteorological, optical and man-made phenomena. And therefore only a very reliable sighting of an extremely exotic object ought to be considered in any way relevant to our problem of life elsewhere.  And to the best of my knowledge, there are lots of exotic reports, but none of those exotic reports are reliable."note 1
        Sagan was speaking 40 years before the release of military images by the five-year-long Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, that excited many people who have a fervent need to believe in extraterrestrial intelligence. But I'm absolutely sure that those images would not have changed Sagan's opinion one iota. He believed that mysterious things are seen in the skies but that there's no valid reason to jump to the conclusion that they are intelligently-guided spaceships. And I agree (of course.)

        So what should we say about those people—millions of them—who really do maintain that at least some of the woo-woo in the sky is ET observing us? Are they all crazy, or what?

The light years
        I was led to this question because on my reading list last week was Chris Rush's memoir The Light Yearsnote 2. Rush, now an aging and respected mainstream artist, abandoned his well-heeled New Jersey family while still a teenager and dropped into the drug culture of the '60s. BIG TIME. Publisher's Weekly wrote:
"Rush’s storytelling shines as he travels across the country and back again, searching for truth, love, UFOs in New Mexico, peace, something that feels like God, and a place to call home."
        I have no qualifications in psychiatry but I'm as sure as I can be that Rush really was crazy at that time. He took every recreational drug that was around, feminized himself to the point of absurdity, and wandered the Arizona mountains and deserts with no plan other than to "find God." And he really was a UFO believer in the full sense. He writes:
"I saw a flying saucer this summer. They're all over the place now. I think maybe this is also part of  the story, you know—the Space People and how they want us to change. I'm confident they'll be here soon. I hear that if we all visualize the ships, that'll encourage them to come even sooner."
        Rush was so convinced of the importance of the UFO phenomenon that he contacted, and eventually visited, the one-time write-in Presidential candidate Gabriel Green, founder of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America Inc. I have no hesitation in declaring that Green (1924-2001) was a nutcase. He declared that he had met the crew of a flying saucer, and that they came from the planet Korendor, a satellite of Alpha Centauri. A modern equivalent would be Corey Goode, who claims many such face-to-face meetings. Neither of them has any credibility whatever.

        The Heaven's Gate "away team" were all crazy, but what about Courtney Brown? It was he who through so-called "remote viewing" told the world that there was an alien spaceship accompanying comet Hale-Bopp, and it was precisely that IFO that the Heaven's Gate loonies believed they could get aboard by means of suicide. I doubt if Brown is really crazy, more likely just misinformed and arrogant.

        "Misinformed and arrogant" would apply also to Robert Morningstar, editor of UFO Digest, who gets castigated a lot in this blog because of his wildly erroneous declarations—a perfect example from last September would be this. He's an educated and reasonably intelligent man, but when it comes to the UFO phenomenon he loses all analytical skills, and peddles trash like this. The one thing that Morningstar will never, ever, do is admit that he was mistaken.

A business decision
        There's money to be made in the UFO business—serious money. Many people are so thirsty for updates that the market for books, magazines, videos and conferences on the topic has never been brisker. The quintessential exploiter of this market is Tom Delonge's To The Stars Academy, launched in 2014. TTSA was chosen as the conduit for the US Government's release of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification data, and Delonge recruited Luis Elizondo from that project once he retired from the Pentagon, plus several other former federal officials. I don't think any of those people are mad in the slightest—they just see a business opportunity and want to be part of it. They may be right, although a fairly recent article in Motherboard casts some doubt on TTSA's financial prospects. It's perfectly possible that Delonge and his collaborator Hal Puthoff don't themselves believe UFOs are IFOs—perhaps they're just very keen to promote themselves and their "research" to those who do.

        So in contemplating all this, I find no answer to my own question. Clearly, you don't have to be bonkers to be a believer, but it certainly helps.

========================/ \======================
[1] Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 1977

[2] Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 2, 2019) ISBN: 0374294410


THE Orbs Whiperer said...

I'm not convinced that the Orbs which encountered me from the sky, were actually flying, but rather were operating under principals of Quantum Mechanics, on a macro level. It would seem to render the speed of light to be irrelevant, in much the same way as Catholic Saints have been observed by witnesses to exhibit the phenomenon designated as, 'Bi-Location'.

expat said...

Theadora: You can be helpful in this regard. Do you feel mad, or do you just seem mad to those who read you?

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

As I've mentioned before, Patrick, my mother was also a witness to the same event. Can you find my previous recounting?

Two Percent said...

Hi expat,

Haven't read the entire post yet (get the gist), but I have read a lot of 'UFO' literature, over the years.

Since you've asked Orbs the question you have, may I ask you: how much research have you done on the 'UFO' phenomenon? Have you read serious authors like Jacques Vallee? Have you studied the multiple sightings reported in New Zealand in 1978/9? Have you seen the videos shot of UFOs over Mexico City?

You see, in my experience, most people who dismiss the UFO phenomenon as not having an "out-of-this-world" element have never actually, seriously looked into it.

And don't worry, I know I'm mad! But that's only relative to sheeple.

expat said...

I've read Oberg and Dolan, not Vallee. Watched at least three full-length TV doccos on the topic. Seen the Mexico DF video, and the Moscow one.

OneBigMonkey said...

I'm more than happy to believe in UFO, just not the people who claim to have had them round for dinner, and especially not the ones trying to sell me a book about it.

The universe is amazing enough, it doesn't need fairy dust sprinkling on it.

Two Percent said...

Thanks for your honesty, expat.

My response then is: Not enough!

I don't know how smart, nor how truthful Sagan really was. I think his SETI project is, and was, a crock, but let's not go there.

The comment/statement: "And to the best of my knowledge, there are lots of exotic reports, but none of those exotic reports are reliable" sounds to me exactly like the opinion of someone who has not seriously investigated the phenomenon, so I'll give you tuppence for it. How can he say the reports are not reliable, without investigating for himself? Even then, it's SOOOO difficult to tell. What, for instance, do we make of Whitley Strieber? Is he really, simply, just mad?

Equally: "But I'm absolutely sure that those images would not have changed Sagan's opinion one iota" makes it sound like Sagan had a firmly closed mind, so it begs the question "WTF was/is the SETI project, really?"

Confirmation Bias works both ways, of course.

Anyway, I guess you are past really wanting to examine the subject deeply, so maybe we don't need to discuss this any further. FWIW, it's SOOOO much harder to see the forest for the trees these days, since, exactly as you say, there are so many clowns out there, trying to make something out of it, be it money, fame, smoke or whatever.

IMHO, these days the truth is the last thing people (and especially TPTB) want 'out there'. From what I now believe, 'they' are definitely out there, but the reality is, they are not our friends, and to be honest, they (would / do) scare the hell out of me. I'd love to see one (even just a baby 'zipabout'), but not too close.

Anyway, if you are interested, I can recommend Vallee. He's French, so you'd probably like him, and he's from a similar era. I have read many of his books (can't remember exactly which titles), but it might be a good place to continue from. That said, you'll probably end up thinking, "I still don't know." Better than uninformed denial, at least!

THE said...

Here we are doing all the heavy lifting for the UFO Control System, again. Why bring it up if you don't believe in it? Was there recently another major sighting? As for Oberg, he objects too, much. What's he so afraid of?

Two Percent said...

Why bring it up if you don't believe in it?

Because, like so many out there, he wants to further muddy the water, maybe? He does believe in the Apollo Moon Landings Magic, after all. Both, about equally improbable - WAIT! How did we get HERE, to our Lunar Launchpad?

What Control System - please explain?

expat said...

Please re-read the para headed "The light years". There's your answer.

THE said...

The UFO Control System wants us to continually have UFOs on our mind, if not at least always in the back of our minds, irrespective of what it is that we think about them.