Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Technocrats and Trojan Horses

Some of you might have heard by now of the so-called "Roswell Slides", the latest controversy concerning the alleged "flying saucer crash" of July 1947. In this case a couple slides were found of bodies in glass cases, and the holders of the photographs believe they are of the bodies of dead aliens long rumored about, said to have been transferred from Roswell Army Air Field to Wright Field, now known as Wright Patterson AFB.

The slides are hotly disputed even within the nuts-n-bolts community, with many decrying them merely as photographs of hydrocephalic mummies. That in turn is denied by claims that the physiology is entirely different and the bodies are too tall to be a hydrocephalic child, who usually die before they can grow long past early childhood.

I don't know what they are myself. My gut tells me they probably aren't aliens. I'm not a believer in the "crashed saucer" paradigm. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert in the field, but I'm not so sure that UFOs and aliens are entirely physical (or solid) objects as we commonly define that state of matter. I think we're dealing with something altogether more complicated than that.


You see, to me this slides business seems like the latest (or perhaps, last) attempt to colonize the UFO phenomenon, to control it. The whole notion of "UFO crashes" has always felt like a relic of the Cold War, extending American colonialism to the stars. It implies a sense that we could somehow dominate this phenomenon, that Divine Providence were casting angels out of the sky and into our laboratories so that we would know their magic.

The funny thing is is that I think something extraordinary did happen at Roswell in 1947, something that greatly alarmed the powers that be and something that changed this country in more ways we may realize. What it was exactly is something I've spent some time pondering but have yet to come to any conclusions, but I have a feeling it might have been even stranger than a "crashed saucer."

What we do have to ask ourselves though is this: say we did recover a crashed saucer at Roswell and were able to reverse engineer its technology, leading to the electronics and technology we now take for granted- was that necessarily to our benefit? 

Are we getting smarter or freer or healthier or happier because of all this technology? Or was it all a kind of Trojan Horse, ultimately leading to a Borg State? A Trojan Horse left for us by a race not unlike the Solid State Intelligence of John Lilly's most unhinged ketamine fever dreams?

I don't necessarily believe that myself but I do believe that we put far too much trust in technology. Increasingly too much, in fact. 

When idiots become so lost in their private reality show that they'll take giddy selfies at concentration camps or exploded buildings, we need to stop and seriously think where this technology is taking us.

In this, Roswell has become a kind of technocratic mythos, one that people have processed even if they don't in fact believe it literally. The deal with the Devil. And as usual, we come up short in the negotiations.


The real problem I ultimately have with nuts-n-bolts thinking is that its theorists don't really have a concept of what is truly "alien." They want to find reflections of themselves, intrepid space scientists on a solar scouting mission. Astronauts in a funhouse mirror.

The ETH proponents have always argued that aliens are some kind of research team, here on a surveying mission. Hence a few of them have even argued that the aliens have gone home, and did so some time in the early 70s.

However,  if you look at the phenomenon it looks not so much like a surveying mission than a surveillance mission. Hence the apparent tail-off in quote-unquote landings and close encounters is explained not by the "aliens" taking their thousand-year trip home, but simply adopting more stealthy methods of surveillance in the age of home video and cell phones, so that their presence is never anything more than ambiguous. 

If you study the history of espionage, you'll see that spies often made themselves known to their targets as part of a stratagem (not to mention police doing surveillance work) to modify their subject's behavior in some way. Yet this kind of argument would be heresy to an ETH guy.


What's more, ETH guys are slide-rule thinkers in an iPad world.

They tend to conservatism in an endlessly fruitless quest for respectability. But they will never, ever-- short of a major, unambiguous revelation-- ever be taken seriously by mainstream science. Scientists increasingly spend a lot of time talking about aliens and whether or not they should be contacted (why would they care if there was no chance of them ever getting here?), but the idea they've already contacted us is blasphemy.

So much of the rancor you see in UFOlogy is down to jockeying, guys trying to big themselves up by branding their rivals as kooks, not realizing that the official world sees it as a rhetorical debate in a madhouse.

In a weird way it reminds of the conflicts in the alt.rock scene in the early 80s. You had a schism within punk; some bands felt you needed to appeal to the mainstream, to play by its rules. These became the New Wave bands. Then you had bands who felt that the mainstream needed to be reformed, that it would come around if you stood your ground and stuck to your guns. These were the Post-Punk bands. 

The New Wave bands found more immediate success but nearly all of them collapsed under the weight of the compromises made. The Post-Punk bands took longer to achieve success, but found that the struggle to define themselves against the mainstream gave them a greater sense of mission and often led to these acts holding together while others split up.

It's an extremely inexact metaphor because the ETH is still the dominant paradigm by far in UFOLogy. But more and more people are embracing alternative points of view, such as the Ultraterrestrial school of thought put forward by John Keel, Jacques Vallee, Aime Michel and other theorists, ways of thinking that embrace some of the strange reverberations set off by the phenomenon, the synchronicities and high weirdness and so on.

The thing about the esotericist school of UFOlogy is that it has history on its side. When you really get down and read some of those myths you see on Ancient Aliens, they're a lot weirder and a lot less technological that Giorgio might have you believe. Not so much stepping onto a spaceship as stepping into another reality.


The Roswell Slides are a sideshow, but I think the UFO issue is going to heat up again (in fact has already begun to do so, as it always does immediately after it's declared "dead"), particularly as the drums of war are heard in the distance. The skies are indeed pretty crowded right now, but people are already tuning out the novelty of drones, lanterns and exotic aircraft. And for whatever reason, the UFO phenomenon tends to react to what's going on on the ground. 

Call it Jacques Vallee's "control system", call it black projects, call it "Blue Beam" or call it whatever you like, the fact remains that geopolitical trends are all pointing now towards a global conflagration of some kind. And if history shows us anything, it's that times of tension are exactly when strange things begin to fill the skies. Roswell might seem little more than footnote by the time the smoke clears.

SYNC LOG: Just had a weird UFO sync while going over this post. Ironically connecting with a famous case of UFO synchronicity. Go figure.

UPDATE: Fact or Faked star Ben Hansen breaks down the body language from Obama's Area 51 chat on Jimmy Kimmel.

UPDATE: The consistently unforgivably brilliant Gordon deals with our Faustian bargain with tech, this time the "disruption" delusion.


  1. I once read that UFOs, although obviously of various origins and intentions, are generally in that blurry fringe between reality and fantasy exactly to act as a sort of bridge, to make us ask questions. Crop circles are a good example: it's not that there's a secret message behind the patterns, what matters is that it makes us wonder how such a thing came to be in the first place. UFOs serve the same purpose of the angels and faeries of yesteryear, to make us wonder and peel away the layers of reality (hence why so many of them are so-called tricksters).

    This has always made a lot more sense to me than the nuts-and-bolts stuff. The other day I was reading some stuff about the Brazilian Roswell, Varginha, and at one point the ufologist shows a video of an interview with a military officer at the time of the flap, pointing out all the inconsistencies and so on. What struck me, however, was that it seemed that the officer was being purposefully inconsistent, like he was playing the reporter. I never really bought this idea that the military are just a bunch of bumbling nincompoops when it comes to this kind of stuff.

    - Bruno

  2. Jacques Vallee did a presentation on Vargihna at Esalen in 2009. Very strange and perplexing case. Like I said, we're going to see a new wave of that kind of thing in the years to come, especially now as WWIII becomes less of an abstraction.

  3. UFO hardware has always been a head scratcher- Hollywood sold me and my fellow childhood cineastes special effects first, then, when we grew up and the science didn’t work, UFO’s were repurposed as Nazi toys (You couldn’t get more alien than Nazis if you were bound to the Earth)- Parallel to that came the hypnotherapists and the rash of immaculate conceptions (John Mack covered one of those)-Intergalactic abortion clinics stealing star child embryos from sleeping teen virgins- And since there is always a rabbit hole for every taste, good old alien probes for the guys-
    In some ways I think the UFO Mise-en-scène reflects a fear of the feminine aspects of culture, that side that should actually be dominant- I agree that the purpose of those fantastic tales of the union of human and divine enabled pondering the beyond- But leashing the imagination to that slide-rule thinking will get you nowhere- But, maybe the unseen hands are deliberately pushing the techno-geek view to keep imagination at bay; the type whose synapses fry when a pretty girl makes eye contact-(Scully’s return can’t happen fast enough)

  4. I actually prefer the software model. That the (very) occasional structured craft are misidentifications or illusions and that the real deals are not unlike what Clarke describes in 2001. Which again puts that entire project in a different light. What are we striving towards? Rendering everything as information. What do we see as the ultimate storage/transmission medium for that information? Light. What are the Gnostic texts filled to the brim with? "Angels" traveling in "clouds of light."

  5. Whatever one says about past decades, the present and future are hopelessly complicated by the existence of sophisticated photo and video editing technologies and of drone technology. It is now impossible to distinguish human tech from alien tech, and true evidence of physical ETs from purposeful manipulations.

    In reality, from the anthropocentric point of view, there can be no epistemologic difference between interdimensional entities and nuts-and-bolts aliens from the stars: both require significant violations of physics as we understand the subject today. I'm willing to concede the point on physical "ultraterrestrials" who live in underground caves, but (as I suggested above) it is now impossible to discern the truth of their existence.

  6. I'm not entirely sure about that. I've gotten so I can tell CGI/flares/balloons fairly well and drones are limited by the conventions of known parameters for flight technology. That of course leaves the huge question mark of there being airfoil technology in the black world we have no concept of...

  7. Re:craft that defy physical properties, how about holograms?