Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis has met with mixed reactions. Some Forteans seem to think I'm onto something. Most UFO researchers are, at best, extremely skeptical.

Others think I'm parroting John Keel's "superspectrum," a variation on the "parallel worlds" theme that in turn shares memes with Jacques Vallee's "multiverse." Both ideas suggest that we somehow occupy dimensional space with our "alien" visitors, doing away with the need for extraterrestrial spacecraft while helping explain the sense of absurdity that accompanies many UFO and occupant sightings.

Keel and Vallee have both ventured essentially "occult" ideas in cosmological terms; both the "superspectrum" and the "multiverse" require a revision of our understanding of the way reality itself works. But the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis is grounded in a more familiar context; I'm not suggesting unseen dimensions or the need for ufonauts to "downshift" to our level our consciousness.





Rather, I'm asking if it's feasible that the alleged aliens that occupy historical and contemporary mythology are flesh-and-blood human-like creatures that live right here on Earth. Not another version of Earth in some parallel Cosmos, but our Earth. While I can't automatically exclude the UFO phenomenon's "paranormal" aspects, I can attempt to explain them in technological terms. (For example, I see no damning theoretical reason why "telepathy" and "dematerialization" can't ultimately be explained by appealing to cybernetics, nanotechnology and other fields generally excluded from ufological discourse.)

A lynchpin of the CTH is that at least some of the more remarkable abilities displayed by reported aliens are in fact subterfuge -- immersive fictional scenarios staged to convince us we must be dealing with beings from another star system. Vallee and Keel have, of course, argued much the same thing. But both have maintained (unnecessarily, in my opinion) that the beings must hail from somewhere else -- not outer space, but an unseen realm that makes the outer space option seem almost preferable.

Needless to say, today's ufological pundits have decided to stick with the ETH. Sure, it's weird and by no means offers a holistic understanding of the phenomenon it purports to explain, but at least it makes sense in light of our own technological trajectory. After all, we've visited space (albeit briefly); the ETH has the overall appearance of a logical extrapolation.

The CTH is a synthesis. In keeping with the "nuts and bolts" tradition, it incorporates what we know about our planet and its biology and arrives at a prospective anthropology of the "other." It eschews interstellar travel in favor of beings that may not be nearly as alien as we've been conditioned to expect -- by the media and (as I argue) by the UFO intelligence itself.

Ironically enough, the CTH manages to alienate champions of the ETH and those who support a more esoteric, "interdimensional" explanation. It offers no clearcut reconciliation. It does, however, wield explanatory potential lacking in both camps.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mac:

Well said. I look forward to the book.

Just remember - I was the guy who first referred to the CTH as the potential "unified field theory" of the UFO phenomenon during that interview in Kansas City!

Paul

Mac said...

I want that on the book jacket. ;-)

platts42 said...

Hey Mac:

Everyone knows that writers, thinkers and philosophers hate, hate, HATE! theories that compete with their own, especially when they secretly fear that the new meme is better.

I know you are the first person to say that it's not a "better, best" ideosphere so just be prepared for resistance.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea that they are us from the future.

W.M. Bear said...

I never liked the "interdimensional" explanation, since it always seemed to me that claiming UFOnauts were "from another dimension" never really explained anything. It's easy to POSIT "another dimension" but what do we really know about "other dimensions"? Nada. Exactly nothing, so that "interdimensional" seems to me really to be just a kind of pseudoscientific buzzword that SEEMS like a profound explanation while, in fact, explaining NOTHING.

Which brings to why I DO like your CT hypoethesis, Mac. It's about as earthbound and commonsensical as one can get and still BE a satisfying explanation of the genuine strangeness of the UFO experience. None of this "interdimensional" crapola! BTW, I DO accept that there is such a thing as the telepathic projection of what are essentially hallucinatory illusions. Is it correct that you're suggesting that the CTs may often use this essentially occult technique (recorded of many occult practicioners, mages, shamans, sorceres, etc.)?

W.M. Bear said...

I never liked the "interdimensional" explanation, since it always seemed to me that claiming UFOnauts were "from another dimension" never really explained anything. It's easy to POSIT "another dimension" but what do we really know about "other dimensions"? Nada. Exactly nothing, so that "interdimensional" seems to me really to be just a kind of pseudoscientific buzzword that SEEMS like a profound explanation while, in fact, explaining NOTHING.

Which brings to why I DO like your CT hypoethesis, Mac. It's about as earthbound and commonsensical as one can get and still BE a satisfying explanation of the genuine strangeness of the UFO experience. None of this "interdimensional" crapola! BTW, I DO accept that there is such a thing as the telepathic projection of what are essentially hallucinatory illusions. Is it correct that you're suggesting that the CTs may often use this essentially occult technique (recorded of many occult practicioners, mages, shamans, sorceres, etc.)?

mister ecks said...

"Interdimensional crapola" a no-no but "telepathically projected hallucinations" are a-ok?

if you're going to be rejecting one esoteric explanation in favor of another, it really just proves this all comes down to a matter of personal preference, doesn't it?

at least until the cryptos/ETs/UT's unveil themselves, that is.

W.M. Bear said...

if you're going to be rejecting one esoteric explanation in favor of another, it really just proves this all comes down to a matter of personal preference, doesn't it?

Actually not. My point is this. Telepathic phenomena, if you credit the experiments of J.B. Rhine and a host of other paranormal researchers, are well-documented and, to some extent, classified and understood. Specifically, the creation of hallucinations by what seems to be a kind of telepathic projection, is also documented. In fact, there is a positive wealth of literature (granted, much of it anecdotal) for all this. On the other hand, other dimensions are not documented at all beyond being unverifiably posited in string theory. If someone could, in fact, TAKE string theory and show how some of these "extra dimensions" MIGHT support intelligent entities, I could conceivably credit the interdimensional theory. If not, not.

Whether you believe most paranormal research or not is really not the issue either. What I'm really pointing to is the EXPLANATORY POWER of projected hallucinations vrs. that of interdimensional beings, and not necessarily the absolute validity of this explanation. However, if an explanation like interdimensionality doesn't even actually explain what it purports to (or anything else)....

mister ecks said...

"On the other hand, other dimensions are not documented at all beyond being unverifiably posited in string theory."

are you joking? there's a tons of paranormal accounts that could be construed as "interdimensional" (if "dimension" is intended to mean "co-existing realms"). UFO literature alone is filled with people being whisked away to strange realms, out-of-body experiences and the like. all stuff (allegedly) seen and experienced before the advent of string theory, the many-worlds-hypothesis, etc.

maybe telepathy seems more reasonable because it has an air of tangibility about it (it's more "down to earth" har har), but it's no more proven than parallel universes. (yes, i'm aware of the many laboratory studies done on psi etc, etc, but the point remains no unambiguous evidence exists aside from anecdotal accounts.)

which brings me to my point. it's ALL unproven. and it's silly to argue for an unknown to explain an unknown, if you're rejecting another unknown for being unproven when the other unknowns agree just as unproven.

which is why i say at this point it's generally down to aesthetic preferences in how one chooses to interpret the precious little solid data we have.

mister ecks said...

er,

"when the other unknowns agree just as unproven" is supposed to read "when the other unknowns ARE just as unproven"

sorry 'bout that.

Mac said...

Brent--

I like the idea that they are us from the future.

It's a weirdly appealing idea. The best book I've read about the "extra-temporal" hypothesis is Marc Davenport's "Visitors from Time." He constructs a fascinating argument.

Anonymous said...

It's a weirdly appealing idea.

Indeed, but it's probably also the least likely of any of them.

Paul

Mac said...

Indeed, but it's probably also the least likely of any of them.

I think it's underrated. I'm not saying I buy it, but it's fun to pit against the ETH; it fairs surprisingly well.

W.M. Bear said...

ME -- Well, I guess it all depends on what you mean by "dimension" then. There are, in occultism, many other realms or "planes" besides the mundane but the point is that they ARE (typically)called "planes" and not dimensions. In fact, these planes actually seem to refer to realms of MIND (which may be as "real" as the perceptual one of waking life) which are identifiable as actual placelike, well, realms. But the word "dimension" has what seem to me psuedo-scientific connotations that render its explanatory power virtually meaningless. (Of course, as a student of the occult myself, I'd be the first to admit that the "field" -- if it can be called that -- is rife with the most egregious kind of bullshit including, on occasion, "other dimensions.")

Re UFOs being from the future, I agree with Mac that it's an intriguing idea. It could explain a lot, including why interactions with UFOnauts are remain ultimately "mysterious." To wit, they cannot interact with us without violating causality (the so-called "grandfather paradox" of time-travel).

The Odd Emperor said...

Hey Regan;

I suspect you will simply delete this and get Alfred to start another round of Odd Emperor bashing. Whatever floats your boat!

Allow me to say that, I think you folks are going down the right track. One of these days, you people just very well might come up with a testable theory. It will only be by opening your minds and allowing voices from all sides to submit ideas, not restricting ideas to some chosen few. Restricting people always fails in the long run.

Happy holidays!

The Odd Emperor

Ray Palm (Ray X) said...

Here's my speculation on time travelers and UFOs:

In the future time travel is possible as long as you don't try to change history. As soon as a time traveler attempts to affect a past event, they are negated, cease to exist.

So a time traveler must fit into what already has happened. He would check the historical record and then morph his time machine into what has already been reported. If he wants to check out the USA in the 1890s, he could make his machine look like one of the mysterious air ships spotted during that period. And if there's a report of an air ship crew talking with someone, the time travelers could dress for the occasion and just say their lines from the historical "script."

I've never heard of Marc Davenport's book, "Visitors from Time." Did he also offer similar speculations?

Ray

Mac said...

Ray--

I don't think Davenport's theory was as "Fortean" as yours. But I like your idea. Strieber suggests something similar in "Communion": Maybe "they" arrived in the late 1940s but then spread out through the past and insinuated themselves into our folklore.

W.M. Bear said...

ray -- One problem with your idea as stated is the paucity of information about the past available to travelers from the future. Causality presumably would not depend ONLY on "reported" history but also on the countless unreported incidents any one of which, if "violated," could trigger a paradox. My idea is more that these futuronauts can OBSERVE but not interact in ANY way. So we might be able also to SEE them but they wouldn't leave material "traces" of any sort. Of course, even seeing them could possibly trigger a paradox, one would think.

Ray Palm (Ray X) said...

w.m. --

But would there be a "paucity" of information about the past? It could happen if we wipe ourselves off the planet, leaving few traces, and another civilization comes into being. I'm thinking about all the UFO books, magazines, etc. that talk about various cases. And there would be sources like Project Bluebook and whatever is recorded from the Web in some sort of permanent media. There are thousands of cases to pick from.

As for the problem with unreported cases: if one of them is "violated," how could that change history? If it’s unreported, it shouldn’t have any impact on the timeline. The time machine would still be perceived as an UFO / alien spaceship.

You do raise a good point about observing only, not interacting to any considerable extent. I just mentioned the air ship sightings as how a time traveler could interact but only in a very limited way.

I forgot to mention that the time machines are usually invisible but at times have to become visible due to technical limitations or problems. For example, a submarine has to come up on occasion and break the surface, but it can stay invisible beneath the waves for extended periods. Anyway, for those times when invisibility can't be maintained, UFO reports could provide a cover.

Toying around with my concept, I can see how problems could occur. Let's say that a time traveler reads about a case but doesn't get the upshot on what really happened.
For example, how about the incident with Alexander Hamilton, a Kansan farmer who declared in a sworn statement dated April 21, 1897 that strange beings aboard an otherworldly flying vessel rustled one of his heifers. (It's mentioned in the first chapter of Flying Saucers-Serious Business by Frank Edwards.) The aliens had wrapped a cable of "some red material" around the critter's neck to haul it up and away.

It turns out this story was fabricated by the local liars club. But if a time traveler didn't know this and wanted to examine a cow by using what was (falsely) reported - well, there could be complications.

Or maybe a time traveler assumes an UFO report is only his ship, so it morphs it into the right appearance, pops back into the past -- and bumps into some aliens who are annoyed that he's trying to horn in on their action.

Maybe there have been some invisible dogfights between human time travelers and aliens. And in the end the losing ship can't maintain its cloaking and flight capabilities. It burns up completely, looking like another meteor falling across the sky.


Ray

(The world’s greatest UNpublished SF writer.)

Rick Phillips said...

The sun is a second generation star and supposedly only inhabitants of second generation star systems are likely to have enough of the essential elements to have life bearing systems. That said, it's likely that second generation star systems have been around for several BILLION years before the sun and Earth formed. It seems to me that humans do not give credit for how much information may be produced by a brain over several billion years. I guess that should be expected of a species on top of the world for less than a million years (really just 12K or so out of the caves).

Since I read about applications for patents which involve `invisibility' - and this is less than 110 years after the FIRST airplane --- I'm Positive that other `races' within the galaxy have it for their craft. The question to me as to `where they are' is almost silly ---- they have no reason to reveal any more than they wish to. They obviously have invisibility downpat if they are present in our atmosphere.

IF a % of the UFO's are `entities' of other `consciousness' IE dimensional beings -- then certainly the universe may have such beings after several billion years of development. And, therefore, some individuals may have such experiences with entities which are `off earth' beings.

That said, of course, those `off earth' beings - may indeed - in my opinion - be `beings associated with Earth'. If you will, those beings of developed consciousness who identified with earth itself and stuck around.

The universe is a huge place, 10 to the 50th the size of the visible universe according to the theory of inflation. Millions of trillions times the size of what we on Earth will ever have knowable to us. (Stuff beyond our cosmic event horizon can never been `seen' - and, if the expansion of the universe is correct - the amount of `space' that will ever be seen is shrinking.) Therefore, really, there is NO reason to think that the entities that would be here are ONLY of `this area'. And, when one considers that non local `answers' may be part of the UFO phenomena - both `earth entities', `dimensional' entities, and `non-local' entities may have a part of the action, so to speak.