Monday, June 23, 2008

The UFO Potluck

Okay, so it's a rant. What are blogs for?

The study of UFOs is not cohesive. There is no UFO Guild, no UFOLogy, no set standards -- scientific or otherwise -- and this, complain the skeptics, as well as a good chunk of those within UFO research -- think is wrong.

There has to be rules, standards, approved researchers with credentials, science, labels, rulers, overseers! There has to be someone who stands guard and kicks out the gaudy, the kooks, the Contactees, the over the top abductees, the New Age types, the channelers!

No, there doesn’t. Not one bit. Not at all. Not one damn bit!

The UFO phenomena is full of people. Well, people, aliens, and flying saucers. People who have stories to tell of their experiences, which both vary wildly and share eerie similarities. People come forward and share their encounters with strange beings, unexplained happenings, and unusual craft. We’re all trying to figure it out in our own way. Everyone needs to get this: there is no right way to go about this stuff.

A lot to sift through, a lot to think about. Depending on who we are and our own experiences, we accept or reject the stories of others for what amounts to, in the end, arbitrary reasons. This is valid; it’s not wrong to do so. We’re all human, and we’re all dealing with something we know very little about. So how can we possibly dare to say UFOs are such and such? We have no idea.

If the Contactees strike you as ridiculous attention seeking kooks, you’re entitled. Ignore them and move on. If stories of Reptilians from outer space coming to our planet to make torrid lizard love with earth women have you laughing so hard you wet your pants, okay. Move on.

Some of us find value in these stories. And if that makes you crazy too, it’s not my problem. Move on.

But it’s the people that carry the stories of these encounters, and we need to listen to them out of respect. Oh, I know, both the arch skeptic and many UFO students (for we’re all students) will say that some wack jobs aren’t worth respect. We can only say that after we’ve given them our attention, thought about what they have to say, then move on. If we decide they’re lairs, nuts, or simply disagree, fine.

Some are in need, some are deluded, -- it’s part of the package. Most are not. Most are average people with definitely not your average kinds of experiences and the brave ones share them with the rest of us.

All perspectives are welcome (well, except for the usual gang of pathological irrationalist skeptibunkies. . .) and that includes science. Sure, they can play too. But “UFOlogy” --- such as it is, and, we should ask, should it even be? ---- isn’t exclusive to science. Science doesn’t own UFOs, nor does any other discipline. (If anything, it’s the spiritual/folklore/historical/sacred mythology systems that have a better claim.)

The UFO Phenomena is a grass roots phenomena. It’s truly of the folk, and if the smug, the self righteous, the smarmy, want to fling their weight around in self important proclamations that such people are nothing more than trailer trash, or ignorant, or drunks, or unscientific, or uneducated, or not versed in this discipline, or that . . . let ‘em. They’re wrong, but we can’t stop them. They’re wrong because their classism, elitism, sexism, ageism, even at times racism, and all other “isms” are a form of bigotry that excludes a huge number of individuals with UFO experiences.

We need data. We need all of it. We need the documents, the paper trials, the historical perspective. We need the stories. We need people who know all kinds of things, from science to Trickster tales to pop culture punditry. We need it all, which means we can’t exclude those we don’t like or think are wrong.

The UFO Playground isn’t just yours, or mine, or for those that want an exclusive and controlled venue for their agendas. It’s for all of us.

What are people afraid of? We can think for ourselves. Let the people make up their own minds. Put the stories out there about Bigfoot and UFOs, UADS and aliens, hybrid babies, the Contactees, and all the rest. We can take it.

The argument that these things only muddles things is nonsense. We don’t know what we’re looking at in the first place; how can we be so pompous as to say certain genres under the UFO umbrella are unimportant or silly, while others aren’t? Who decides that?

Complaints that science doesn’t take UFOs seriously, that UFOlogy needs to .. . whatever one thinks it needs to do, (and that there’s a “UFOLogy” to begin with), that the mainstream media makes fun of and ignores UFOs,are wasted. It will always be so, most likely, so move on. Study what you want to, talk about the stories that interest you.

Go to the people, go to the thing itself -- UFOs -- go to yourselves. Yes, that last bit was kind of New Agey, but I’m kind of New Agey. It’s who I am. I don’t like it either some days, but there you go.

The biggest mistake those who are into UFOs can make is to insist on some kind of controlling faction that decides content, approves information, bestows rights upon individuals to speak.

If we really care about the UFO phenomena, we need to recognize we’re all in this together. So-called UFOlogy isn’t a private club. It’s an open pot luck, and some of the attendees may be embarrassing, like some relatives you see only once a year, but you can’t really kick them out. You don't have to ask them to dance; just ignore them if you must. But you aren't allowed to kick them out.

1 comment:

Alfred Lehmberg said...

I heard David Biedny proclaim on his program the other night, where everyone was astonishingly if unfortunately bested by Steven Greer (even Jeremy), that he "knew what reality was."

I had to laugh out loud.

Greer treated them all like unruly children, like boys... and they took it. Astonishing.
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