Thursday, February 15, 2007

'Sky Lanterns:' A Few Thoughts On A Non-Issue

A few items have been appearing about the ‘UFOs’ that are really balloons, or lanterns. Sky Lanterns , or ‘glo-laterns’ are some terms for them. You can buy them on-line. Popular, and used at parties, weddings, celebrations, etc. these lighted orange balloons light up the night skies with (what I assume) is a delightful display.

At first, there were some misidentifications. Not knowing what they were; balloons, they were considered “UFOs.” Which, taken literally, they were. Very quickly, everyone realized they weren’t flying saucers from Mars, or anything paranormal, alien, or weird; just pretty lights with a prosaic purpose.

People have been making and releasing lights in the sky for decades. Pranksters, hoaxers, have been playing with candles, lights, clear garbage bags, etc. for a long time just to goof around.

And if you, or I, saw some odd lights in the sky, and couldn’t readily identify it, it’s a UFO. What’s wrong with that? What else are we to think? Of course it’s a UFO. It’s unidentified, and we don’t know what it is. Are we to ignore it and move on? Is that what the dominant paradigm wants us to do? So big deal, it turns out it’s a sky lantern. No harm. Good to know.

But some feel it’s important to go on about this non-issue and beat us about the head with the obvious. Sometimes I feel like I really am living in Alice Land. Up is down, mountains are molehills, molehills are mountains, the elephant in the room has just stomped on your dog and no one mentions it. We’re immersed in minutia while ignoring the huge big great immense awful mysterious lying deceitful poisoning wondrous stuff out there. Black is white, green is pink, and people get intellectually bent out of shape over nothing, while ignoring meatier issues.

And all this while, a lot of people want One Big Final Answer to Everything, so we can all go back to bed.

As if that will stop anything. Once we the Big Final Answer to Everything, surely that will only bring up more questions.


Dustin said...

Nicely said. A UFO is just that, an unidentified object that's in the air, and an alien craft is an alien craft. The sooner people start using the right terms the sooner people reporting UFOs will get some credibility, and people who want to find out what was seen will get further.

Like you said, if it's a sky lantern, then no harm, but the moment someone reports a light in the sky that they can't identify the stigma of wearing a tinfoil hat comes out in some people's minds...

R. Lee said...

Hi Dustin,

thanks for the comments.

About the use of UFO as in "do you believe in ufos?" and, "UFO means ET" etc. it's probably a futile exercise but I keep hoping those will just go away. As we've both said before, you can't "believe" in a UFO, and UFO doesn't automatically mean ET from outer space. (though it could....) lol.