Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nick Redfern hates aliens. Specifically, he deplores the disturbingly widespread belief that extraterrestrials are here to save us from ourselves in a gesture of galactic philanthropy.

And it would certainly seem he's backed by the evidence -- or, rather, the lack of it. Despite the persistent presence of unusual objects in our skies, we have yet to receive an ultimatum a la "The Day the Earth Stood Still." While UFOs have displayed apparent interest in military and nuclear facilities, a mass landing doesn't appear forthcoming. Whoever "they" might be, they're not the altruists we might wish they were.

Redfern's essay addresses hypothetical interstellar visitors in the context of the so-called "contemporary" UFO era, which began in 1947. On the other hand, a widescreen perspective reveals just how deeply the prospect of nonhuman contact has permeated our culture, perhaps predating history.

If an alien intelligence is accountable for even a small degree of our collective preoccupation with the "other," it's conceivable that we have, in fact, established a dialogue of sorts. Maybe we're being taught a new mythological syntax so that, confronted with the specter of planetary disaster, we'll have the means of rising to the challenge.

I'm not suggesting we'll be saved at the last minute in some alien Rapture. But the UFO phenomenon's symbolic importance shouldn't go unrecognized. Perhaps, as Carl Jung mused, UFOs signal a change in the collective unconscious. The UFO intelligence might be attempting to hasten that change, if only for ultimately selfish reasons. It might be devastatingly lonely and need us to keep from withering away in the long interstellar night. Or the truth could be more immediate: just because we might be someone else's property, an idea espoused by Charles Fort, doesn't mean we're not valuable property.

In almost any scenario, the sort of peaceable contact foreseen by the contactees of the 1950s is extraordinarily unlikely. The evidence indicates that life on Earth will become increasingly severe; we may or may not survive intact. But it's just conceivable that someone or something hopes we make it.

7 comments:

Steve said...

I met a Raelian once, and read Rael's book which he was keen to lend me.

I told the guy that if humans were the creation of aliens, and all of human history was some kind of experiment, then the last thing we should do is worship them.

The only course of action would be to develop the means to find, attack and destroy our monstrous progenitors.

Steve

Steve said...

Hey, Mac, I just noticed there's only one copy of 'After the Martian Apocalypse' left at Amazon.com - for $78!

Steve

Anonymous said...

Just because we *seem* to be alone fending for ourselves doesn't mean there isn't a more adult presence in the universe taking stock of how we're doing.

We could be the species equivalent of the young Spartan warriors of myth, left to fend for themselves in the wilderness. If they made it, they made it, if not...

Anonymous said...

steve said:"I told the guy that if humans were the creation of aliens, and all of human history was some kind of experiment, then the last thing we should do is worship them."

Exactly!

Mac said...

We could be the species equivalent of the young Spartan warriors of myth, left to fend for themselves in the wilderness. If they made it, they made it, if not...

It's not hard to envision a civilization that's decided to take that approach. In the long run, it might actually be the kindest.

Anonymous said...

The way I look at it is that we should assume we're alone, barring definitive evidence to the contrary, and get about solving our own problems by ourselves, instead of waiting for help from "on high", whether in the form of a benevolent deity or space aliens (or cryptos, for that matter).

Paul

W.M. Bear said...

The only course of action would be to develop the means to find, attack and destroy our monstrous progenitors.

That's about as absurd as the notion that would be a realistic way to defend ourselves against technologically advanced ETI invaders. If humankind is (as I believe, although non-dogmatically) a "created species," our creators are likely SO FAR in advance of us that we cannot even become aware of them unless they wish us to (which might actually be the case). I am guessing also that "they" do not need or even want our worship and that, to the extent that our ancestors HAVE worshipped them in the past, this is simply a "natural" reaction to the presence of godlike beings. We can at least, however, finally recognize what they actually ARE (to wit, "godlike beings").