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.

THAT OLD TROJAN HORSE BIT

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 GREY IN THE MIRROR

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.

INSIDE/OUTSIDE

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.

BE THAT AS IT MAY

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.

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