Monday, October 29, 2007

Paul Kimball and I are having a friendly blog-war over the human dimension of extraterrestrial contact.

Paul writes:

Does anybody really think that the global reaction would be one of universal joy, where people who have hated each other for centuries would suddenly toss down their weapons and embrace each other as brothers and sisters? I don't.

Neither do I. If anything, I think we'd experience a fierce (if relatively brief) upsurge of violence between and among certain cultures as the new "threat" was digested.

That said, I still advocate disseminating knowledge of an ET presence. As I comment on Paul's blog, The Other Side of Truth:

Looking at this from an existential perspective, I'm convinced that, on some deep level, we need this experience. I'm not pretending to suggest it wouldn't be destabilizing. But I think the human psyche could weather this -- and maybe even come out a bit more "cosmic" in the process.

The ecological clock is ticking. We need to mutate if we're to survive in any meaningful sense of the word. Knowledge of ET visitation could play an important role in lifting the veil of duality that we've laboriously imposed on the universe.


Paul Kimball said...

And so it goes...



Anonymous said...

But what if the contact were like that depicted in, well, "Contact"?...

--W.M. Bear

Mac said...

It's very likely that visiting aliens would go to considerable lengths to conceal their presence, as revealing themselves would only destabilize us. Unless they *wanted* to destabilize us (or didn't even consider us worth caring about), they'd remain liminal and out-of-reach -- which is one reason I think UFOs might be ET.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting, I was just having this conversation elsewhere today.

I think abrupt disclosure of "aliens visiting the Earth here and now" without the appropriate acclimation baby steps would be an utter disaster for humanity in the short run. That said, I also tend to think we are in desperate need of just this kind of headspace if we are to survive the next century.

I don't envy the various parties dealing with how best to disclose to the public. They know damn well they have to do it and on some level are morally obligated to do so BUT how to do it without completely scrambling everyones brains is a tricky one.

"They" absolutely need to fess up on potential organics and ruins on Mars as a comfortably distant start. An ancient rogue signal from another civilization would be a good alternate step. Why they keep putting these relatively low disruption acclimation events off is beyond me.


michael said...

For my own reasons, I believe ET is out there and right here as well. I also think that he has been out there for a very, very long time. In deference to Stanton Friedman and others, I have a hard time believing that ET has entered our planetary sphere only to crash and burn the occasional spacecraft. In that regard, I doubt our government or any other has artifacts that would prove the existence of such craft. I differ with Paul that our government would withhold that information for “our own good”.

I agree with Paul that if ET were aggressive then we would have been long gone. My view is that we are a curiosity and that we are viewed as being worth watching. I agree with Mac that exposing what we do know might hasten our own development toward recognizing the need for modifying our own behavior on this planet as well as what the long term might hold for us as an intelligent life form. We are not alone, but sometimes it sure feels like it.

Paul Kimball said...


I doubt the government has that information either, as I pointed out. I was merely stating that if they did, as "disclosure" advocates maintain, then they would be justified in withholding it, for the reasons I stated.

While some of us in the Western world may be ready for contact, you have to look at whether the majority of Earth's population is. I don't think it's even close, which means that such information, shoudl it exist, should be withheld, at least officially - which does not stop people from seeking their own "truths" at an individual level.


Michael said...


I think perhaps you are placing too much emphasis on the readiness of the "West" and giving the rest of the world too little credit. Isn't that a little like the "barefoot and pregnant" scenario.

Our earthly overlords have long felt and acted like, we, the unwashed masses are incapable of knowing the truth. I think the opposite is true and the secrecy of governments and power structures have done more harm than good in advancing humanity. Let the sun shine in and open the books. Elevation and not repression would be a welcome breath of fresh air for you and I as well as the rest of the people we share this planet with. At least it's worth a try from my perspective. Just what is it that I can't know?

Paul Kimball said...


Yes, it's possible that I'm indulging in the same cultural hubris I accuse others of when I give the West credit for having more educated and secular people than the Third World...

Oops. Except for the fact that the West does have more of those people.

Also, I noted that there would be lots of people in the West who would have trouble with "disclosure". I just think the Third World would have more, as a general rule.

If aliens set up an embassy, I have little doubt that Islamo-fascists would do their best to blow it up. Sadly, they might be joined by religious nuts from other groups.



michael said...


I am not sure exactly what there is to “disclose” and why it would cause such distress as you suggest. Religious nuts of any kind are dangerous and an impediment to knowledge, be they Islamic, Christian, or otherwise. I just can’t imagine that there is information that could be any more harmful than the fantasy religious doctrines that have spread like a disease across this planet. Of course, I guess we could find ourselves combating a new fanatical religious doctrine that could spring from ET awareness and we could call it Etfascism. Death to the non-believers!

dad2059 said...

A conundrum indeed. To divulge, or not to divulge, that is the question.

Mac and Paul both give valid arguments, six of one, half dozen of another.

Okay, enough cliches. Whether Mac or Paul are right at the end of the day, exopolitics exists. In my view, more proof is needed before any consensus on this study is reached.

Or we could all be wrong and Jacques Vallee is right.

TJ said...

I think the whole premise that "they" are more or less benevolent towards us is a stretch to begin with.

To me, benevolence implies some sort of concern, feelings, or goodwill coming from them. I get the creepy hunch that none of this is true. Why should ET care about us, or how we "feeL" at all? Because that's what we like to believe WE would feel towards lesser species?

Consider how mankind, as a whole, has regarded the animal kindgdom throughout history. Lesser life forms are a resource to be exploited and disposed of when no longer needed.

How much care and empathy do scientists give to lab rats, or children give to an ant farm? I suppose from the view of rats, they might conclude that since we don't outright extinguish them then we must be "benevolent"

The older I get, the less I feel humanity can handle, or even deserves, contact in the first place. Aside from the occasional DaVinci or Mozart, on the whole I feel we pretty much blow as a species. Rand was right - 1 percent of mankind propels us forward, while 99 percent suck off their work.

Who needs to bring up wars and pollution? I look at the ammount of savagery and cruelty in my own tiny part of the world - rape, murder, abuse, you name it - and I think to myself "no wonder ET hasn't laid out the welcome wagon.

Proof of ET will not change the fact that right this minute within a few miles of my location, some guy is beating his kid and some sicko is torturing an animal. We need another 100K years or so to evolve, then PERHAPS we might be worthy of a relationship with a truly advanced species.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with TJ. We are ants in their eyes or rather biological playthings. Nothing in their supposed interactions with humans tells us that they have intentions to make legitimate and equal contact.

If anything we are a zoo (of many I'm sure) and a reserve/preserve to study.

The BIG question is whether or not our being aware of their presence might actually take us off the current designation of mindless animals? I mean, we reward Dolphins and monkeys for interacting with us on a higher level so why should ET be any different?

Perhaps mankind ultimately needs to assert his place in the Universe, however insignificant and primal, before we are even on the interstellar radar. I think accepting our primal nature as part of the package is an important piece of that puzzle.


Dustin said...

I've always thought that what TJ's saying was likely to be right, in part. IF another intelligence was visiting, we could probably likely assume that they're beyond us technologically. We could also make an educated guess that they'd be further evolved. If that were the case, why would we assume that we'd be anything more than a simple curiousity. Maybe much like a lab rat, as stated above, but I'd guess more like a monkey in the jungle. You wouldn't necessarily try to talk to a monkey, but you wouldn't try to harm it, either. Study it, watch it, sure, maybe even respect it, but probably not interact on the same level as we're accustomed to.

That's all getting slightly off the original topic, but it's relevant in the way that people would react, I think. If we knew that something visiting us saw us as something to be watched or studied, then perhaps people react differently than if someone showed up who was about our equal. Oddly enough, I think the reaction of something "above" us would be more tame than the reaction to something equal with us who might really gain something from taking over the planet. If we found out that contact was from someone far beyond us, then we'd have to assume that we aren't "on the gallows" or we'd likely be long gone before any kind of contact.

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