Tuesday, July 6, 2021


The Same Thing, Said Differently, About the UFO Phenomenon

The general non-reaction of the public to the news that the government believes that UFOs are real, if of indeterminate origin, requires a psychological explanation.  It is to be compared, for example, to the societal reaction in the nineteenth century to the unveiling by science of "the origin of the species," our close relationship with apes that called into question fundamental religious beliefs as well as the ethics of our treatment of our fellow creatures.  The implications of that were at least worth thinking and talking about, whereas here no one, not even the scientists whose job it is to keep us honest by asking provocative questions about the underlying reality, seems to want to touch it, leaving aside "the usual suspects."  "Moving on, then, to the question whether Olympic athletes should be banned for smoking cannabis ..."

Perhaps this is temporary.  But I doubt it.  It comes at a time when all of our thinking seems to be tribal; anyone who takes it seriously is assigned to the Tribe of the Fools.  For the Left, the Tribe of the Fools is a subset of the Right; for the Right, it is a subset of the Left.  In truth there is nothing political about the question at all.

Perhaps the explanation lies, at least in part, in our shared myth that we will be rewarded or punished at the end of the day, or at the End of Days, for conforming to the rules, be they the ones handed down by Moses and Jesus or just the Sacred Rules of Secular Humanism.  Even Noam Chomsky and Richard Dawkins, somewhere in their hardened hearts, anchor their lives in the moral meaning that comes with having "done it right" (unlike the contemptible others).

A vastly superior civilization in our midst, about whose values we know next to nothing, appears to be "tearing the veil."  What do we know about its values?

They have not to date treated us as a source of food.  They have not sprayed the planet with Pest-Be-Gone.   

Some think that they think that we have failed in our role as stewards of the planet. This seems a quaint concern for them to have, one that is out of scale, but who are we to say?  

Some think that they have performed genetic and cross-breeding experiments on us.  This would reflect a cold-heartedness more extreme than that of Chomsky and Dawkins, but such a cold-heartedness is by no means ruled out.

Some see a multiplicity of species, some exhibiting a loving-kindness and others exhibiting the ethics of the mantis.  If this is right, who is the great referee among them (and us)?  What views do they have about powers beyond their own powers, and about survival beyond death, for example?

One of the nuns once told us that God does not banish sinners to hell; He does not need to.  Sinners simply cannot bear to be in His presence, and so they fling themselves into the fiery pit by choice.  How much more universal would this impulse to self-annihilation be if God were as awesome and terrible as the Old Testament God, but He lay down no rules so as to allow us to strive to be His faithful and obedient creatures rather than objects of His wrath?

If there were reason to believe that a like reckoning may be upon us in the present age, we might well erase the warning signs from our collective consciousness in favor of cat videos and more digestible things to fear, like collapsed condominiums.

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