Friday, July 20, 2012

An Exercise From The UFO Trail: "Examining the Tainted Well of UFO Land"

Jack Brewer discusses witness reports, UFO researchers, the need for physical evidence, and one's own opinions on what it all means:The UFO Trail: Examining the Tainted Well of UFO Land
I suppose every now and then bloggers should offer a bit of clarification concerning their specific perspectives about ufology.
I've actually been thinking about this lately; where is my focus? (Do I, we, need a focus? What does that mean, really?)
I started off writing about UFOs and related topics for a few reasons. I love to write; I've always written. My interest is so intricately interwoven within itself I with personal experiences with UFOs and all the rest of paranormal/supernatural encounters begins, and the narratives of others.

In many ways my opinions on UFOs haven't changed, and yet, they have changed. One thing that has only become more firm as I explore the realm of UFOs is this: no one has the answers. No one. Not me, not you, no one. We only have more pieces, more clues, but we do not have the UUTOE -- Unified Ufo Theory of Everything.

I do know that skeptibunkies are morons and I owe them nothing; no explanations, apologies, my time, or anything else. I get to play with them on my terms if and when I want to because I am human which means, at times, I'm a petty and indulgent woman who likes to perversely tweak their snobby little noses.

Idea about what UFOs, aliens, and the whole complex ball of UFOania are just that: ideas, theories,opinions, speculations. Nothing wrong with any of those, at all. Nothing wrong with "just speculating" -- how else are we to get somewhere if we don't allow ourselves to play with possibilities?

I've changed my ideas through the years. I once thought the "ancient astronaut" theory was crazy nonsense. Now I think there is much to it -- much. I used to think the abduction phenomena was a fantasy of the mentally ill kind. Now I think no such thing. I don't think it's a literal event, but then again, I haven't experienced it so I wouldn't dare to tell others what they "really" experienced. I have no idea. But I do think there is something real there, and we need to listen to those who've had these kinds of encounters.

I once dismissed, with an arrogant impatience and religious prejudice, any ideas about what I'll loosely call "demons." But, as John Keel among others suggested, there are forces afoot. Cultures throughout time and land have various names for these. Djinn, demons, what have you. But I am now strongly aligned with that explanation for some of UFO events. I am also very careful to not put any religious interpretation on this. I am not a religious person, or a Christian, but I think this idea of "demons" is the last taboo for UFO researhcers. It's an either or situation right now: either you're a Christian fundie spouting end times dogma mixed in with aliens, or you're a "legitimate" UFO researcher who stays far away from such stuff.

One thing I'm pretty sure of (realizing I could be far off; only my opinion) and that is there are several explanations for what's going on. There are spooks, psy ops, shadow governments playing with our heads. There are actual, literal ETs. There are the gullible believers. There are the hoaxers. There are the demons and elemental and simply, a whole other realm right along side of us. They can see us more clearly and more often than most of us can see them. They, or "it" likes to play tricks on us. (Hence those conflicting stories from multiple witnesses.) It's some of those things at times, it's only one of those things at times.

Brewer wrote:
"... there are several reasons why the professional research community does not identify witness testimony as particularly relevant or of equal value to other forms of evidence. One of those reasons is as explained above: people conclusively misrepresent what took place a lot of the time. This happens as a result of any number of very common occurrences.

Another reason is because there is often conflicting testimony, and an objective researcher cannot selectively accept certain testimony while disregarding other testimony ('objective' being the key word!). More specifically, conflicting testimonies somewhat cancel out one another, kind of like offsetting penalties in a football game, which puts the researcher back to relying on that which can be independently verified.

Jack Brewer writes that he is "not willing to accept" without "conclusive evidence" and that witnesses often have conflicting reports of what happened. That, and witnesses will often unconsciously tell the investigator what they believe the UFO researcher wants to hear. These two facts are often used by not only some UFO investigators to dismiss accounts, but the expected debunkers as well.

Well, the fact that UFO reports (and I include aliens, entities, strange creatures and overall high strangeness within that term: "UFO reports") often do offer contradictory information is a gift, not a determent. Is there a "trickster" effect, as George Hansen, Vallee, Harppur and others have been suggesting for a long time?

My own experiences are an example of this. Both my husband and I have had shared UFO experiences. We also have, at times, conflicting memories of what happened. This fact does not negate the experience! What it does do is offer clues about, not the simplistic explanation that witnesses can't be trusted, but that there are layers to the experience that we need to get through. And most of us arent' getting through. Some of us won't even look, or acknowledge the presence.

As I commented on Brewer's blog, "we are here for the witness, the witness is not here for us." If we can't dig that a witness saw a glowing Bigfoot that abruptly dematerialized while standing next to a reptilian who just came up out of the ground and led the witness into a flying saucer, that's our problem. This does not mean we accept these narratives with a literal gulping belief. It seems many expect all this to be easy, to be simple. If only we had evidence, if only we had proof, if only we had physical things to hold up and show everyone, then it'd all be solved.

No it wouldn't. So, since it wouldn't, the question is, why continue? Maybe the journey is the real issue -- the quest is the point -- and not the blind chasing of illusive answers.


Mike Clelland! said...

In your quote, Brewer used the term: "the professional research community"

What is that?

Rick Phillips said...

Mike's comment is quite funny.

Perception and phenomenology are complex spaces indeed. Because of the structure of phenomenology we deal literally with `the reality of the illusion of reality' (which is the name of a cool book too).

IMO, and you are right, there are only opinions - and airing where we stand as UFO bloggers on the whole complexity is important.

I also think that the whole field would benefit a bit if we defined one thing (think I may blog this myself) - and that is separating the ontological, phenomenological aliens in crafts - from the rest of the stew - is important.

The mixing of spontaneous local perception events with ontological aliens that aren't skipping in and out of reality is to everyone's detriment.

Nice Post.