Wednesday, December 27, 2006
THE ETH VS. . . . . WELL, EVERYTHING: WE’RE STILL STUCK
Currently (though not for the first time) on several ufo blogs, like Posthuman Bluesand UFO Mystic, The Other Side of Truth, etc. there’s an lively discussion on the ETH (extraterrestrial hypotheses) vs. other theories and how it compares/contrasts to their UFOlogical ideas. The cause for the most recent collection of discussions is Mac Tonnies, author of the Posthuman Blues blog, new cryptoterrestrail hypothesis (or, ‘CTH.’) Before the CTH, and very likely after the CTH wans a bit, the debate will still go on between the extraterrestrial hypothesis and, well, everything else.
The ETH is often refered to as “paranormal.” I’ve been writing for the past year and a half or so on this blog that extraterrestrials (always assuming they exist of course, which I think they do) are not paranormal, and that the "answer" is more than one thing. Often it appears that way to us; we interpret the effects of their craft, the entities, and what they’re doing as paranormal. Experiences such as psi or esp (as I’ve experienced), and precognitive dreams related to the events,(something I've also experienced) for examples, can be said to be “paranormal.” But if most of UFO events are caused by ETs, it’s doubtful they’re “paranormal.” They’re not any more “paranormal” than one group of humans from one culture encountering another unknown, and very different group of humans from another.
How do we explain the so-called "paranormal” aspects of many a UFO encounter? Is the answer mere coincidence? “Magick?” Or stupendous technology? Probably the latter, in the case of ET.
Because ET is not paranormal, does not mean that there is no paranormal aspect to the UFO phenomena.
Many critics of the ETH and most all skeptics (or ‘cultural skeptics, to use Colin Bennett’s term) attack so-called ‘believers’ in the ETH as taking on a new form of religion. The argument tells us that “belief” in ET is merely the same thing as believing in Jesus Christ or God and therefore, silly, since none of those exist. (Or if not “silly” then still a non-issue, since there is no proof of either, it’s faith based. In the context of UFOs, since it's "faith based" there's no need for serious investigation.)
We all know there are those who do believe that ET is not only more technology advanced, but also ethically and spiritually advanced. They’ll save us, teach us the way, show us what to do. Once they land and announce themselves openly, it will all get better. No more poverty, wars or global warming. Replace Jesus, God or the promise of glorius ever lasting life with ET and it's still religion. Faith and trust Faith in their existence as "real" and trust in what they tell us is true.
Those people aside, to present an acceptance of the ETH, or acknowledge its likelihood as some sort of new religion is inaccurate. I am of the opinion ET exists, and clearly they’re more technology advanced. It does not follow however that their technological ‘superpowers’ makes them also superior to us ethically, morally or spiritually. And it doesn't mean they’re here to save, heal, or teach us. (If anything, they make me a bit nervous; I don’t trust the spindly things.)
Debates about ET often become stagnant pretty quickly because of this divine/religious/spiritual aspect. Lines have been drawn; they’re magikal-magical-mystical, or they’re none existent. There is a third angle; the nuts and bolts theorists, who usually don’t involve themselves with this aspect, and that’s a good thing. However, the problem sometimes is that the anomalous high strangeness, or ‘Oz' factors (term coined by UFO researcher Jenny Randles) often encountered in UFO events are ignored.
Often when discussing ET it’s presented as one, a singular, individual thing. We use ‘ET’ as shorthand, but we often run into problems in doing so. ET becomes almost a cartoon like figure or a comic book hero. One individual, representing all UFO events. Many types of ‘aliens” have been described, there are numerous websites about the different races and forms of extraterrestrials, all kinds of beings have been encountered and assumed to be from space. Still, the semantics used when discussing ET, or the ETH, has a lot to do with what we think of ET.
PARANORMALITY, RELIGOUSITY, THE ET: Uh -Oh
Now we’ve run into trouble. Technology is interpreted as paranormal, expectations, desires and need create a religion, and we have the danger of thinking of ET as a sort of non-human (or possibly part human) comic book hero. (Or villain; I mean, take a look at the Reptilians.) But there is a very weird component to a lot of UFO sightings, in fact, to a lot of UFOlogy itself. From the description of entities, to their behavior, to the characteristics of craft, to what has happened to the witnesses, to those who study UFOs, . . . it all gets very weird very fast, and we can’t find a neat box to put the parts -- technology, behavior, entity -- into.
Which brings us to:
ETH VS. ... EVERYTHING: OR, HI, I’M YOUR DICHOTOMY
I’m always surprised and a little exasperated when I still come across intense debates (often degenerating to name calling, sarcasm and sneering) about which is the ‘answer’ to the UFO enigma. Sides are quickly taken, and little consideration is given to this: that the UFO phenomena is more than one "thing." This has been one of my main points about UFOlogy since I’ve been blogging,longer, actually. With some exceptions, many UFO researchers, witnesses and the mainstream man or woman in the street, take sides. It’s either ET, or it’s either some sort of Trickster, ‘cryptoterrestrail (a la Tonnies) or Ultraterrestrial (as with Vallee), or ‘daemons’ (Harpur) but it seems that there is basic need to take sides, to choose one possibility and stick with it.
The idea that both exist; ETs from space, as well as earth bound, terrestrial entities, and that both are in this dance we call the UFO phenomeana is too often rejected by many interested in UFOs, from the UFO investigator to the UFO witness.
Possibly it has something to do with human psychology; we need to have these rigid lines drawn so we don’t get confused. It’s certainly neater; choose one, and go with it. It’s easier, trying to figure out what’s going in the context of UFOs is difficult enough without having to bring in so-called esoteric theories. It is kind of crazy making in a way. But we can’t continue to ignore or dismiss other ideas simply because it’s easier to handle just one.
I’ve wondered if some extraterrestrials are aware of the non-human “ultra’ terrestrials, if one mimics the other at times, and if the ultras, or cryptos -- take your pick -- are aware of various ETs. Whether or not that’s the case, it seems just as likely as any other theory that both exist, and both are active. And, as diverse as the ET population is purported to be, the same could be said for the earth bound entities. And taking off on a tangent from that angle; we can question whether or not all these entities are manifestations of a larger, single force, or just some of them are, or if they’re unique unto themselves. . .
There’s also this idea: is it correct to call ETs strictly “ET,” and/or terrestrial bound entities strictly non-human? Folklore and myth contain a wealth of stories of mortal/immortal beings; of humans that are also more than ‘just’ human.
None of these things are exclusive to one another.
MEANWHILE . . .
I think that the Trickster is an inherent part of the UFO phenomeana. (George P. Hansen makes a brilliant case for this in his book The Trickster and the Paranormal.) Part of this can be seen by the very fact such debates over the ETH vs. Anything Else take place ad naseum. While we’re busily and neatly dissecting sections of the phenomeana and deciding that theses pieces are the only ones that ‘work,’ ignoring all else, the phenomeana continues on its merry way. It’s all at once behaving elusively, bizarrely, illogically. (or what appears to be so to us.) It presents us with solid evidence -- radar, ground evidence, etc. -- while at the same time appearing murky, blurry and blobby on videos and photographs. It takes people to Venus, abducts them from their beds. Or at least, it has some of us believing that that’s what happened, while others debate what “really” happened around us.
THE THEORY TANGLE
Within this debate comes -- often presented as an accusation -- that a theory, idea, or hypothesis doesn’t have any proof. (While the three are not accurately interchangeable, I will use them loosely here to mean the roughly the same thing. ) All we have within UFOlogy and its cousins: Forteana, religions, the paranormal, is speculation. I will amend that to say we have elements of solid evidence sprinkled throughout; documents, for example. But since the phenomeana is so vast and multilayered, we have to ask: what are these proof of? (And do we trust the sources and the information?)
It is all right to speculate. Of course, there’s “wild” speculation, and we run into problems when those who confuse speculation with fact and proof insist they have the truth. But we need speculation; like the often dreaded anecdotal evidence, without either we wouldn't have anything.
I think that some of us expect a one size fits all answer. We expect that ET, ultraterrestrails, angels, demons, the fairy folk, UFOs, aliens, entities are behaving logically. We expect them to have a reasonable machine, a reasonable technology, a reasonable reason for appearing to us. We expect that there is really only one category: it’s ET, it’s angels/demons, it’s the government. We expect that these beings will heal us, fix us, give us a new kind of magic. We expect full disclosure. We expect that we can trust; that if we see on the news ET just landed,it’s the truth.
Not everyone thinks like this of course, but enough to keep these debates going, even after all this time.
There needs to be a willingless among all who study UFOs to acknowlege -- and use -- the idea that the UFO phenomean is at all times dynamic and ever shifting, full of multiple possibilites. At times various possibilities shift forward while others stay back, only to switch places again.
Without this model constantly in hand, it is difficult to see how much progress can be made within UFOlogy. The stubborn belief that it all can be solved with just a simplistic, narrow nose to the grindstone, purely ‘nuts and bolts’ (or paper trail) approach seems almost willfully ignorant.
This is not to say we don’t need this kind of approach. We absolutely do. The point isn’t that this approach is invalid; it isn’t. The point is this: without holding this ‘ball of possibilites, while utlizing this approach (or any approach) we simply will not get anywhere in UFOlfogy.