The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Part of an Ayn Rand address to West Pointers


Suppose that you are an astronaut whose spaceship gets out of control and crashes on an unknown planet. When you regain consciousness and find that you are not hurt badly, the first three questions in or mind would be: Where am I? How can I discover it? What should I do?

You see unfamiliar vegetation outside, and there is air to breathe; the sunlight seems paler than you remember it and colder. You turn to look at the sky, but stop. You are struck by a sudden feeling: it you don't look, you won't have to know that you are, perhaps, too far from the earth and no return is possible; so long as you don't know it, you are free to believe what you wish--and you experience a foggy, pleasant, but somehow guilty, kind of hope.

You turn to your instruments: they may be damaged, you don't know how seriously. But you stop, struck by a sudden fear: how can you trust these instruments? How can you be sure that they won't mislead you? How can you know whether they will work in a different world? You turn away from the instruments.

Now you begin to wonder why you have no desire to do anything. It seems so much safer just to wait for something to turn up somehow; it is better, you tell yourself, not to rock the spaceship. Far in the distance, you see some sort of living creatures approaching; you don't know whether they are human, but they walk on two feet. They, you decide, will tell you what to do.

You are never heard from again.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Social emasculation and the escape from reality


Ufologists (the nom de plume for those who are habituated to the ephemeral mystery of UFOs) are eschewed by society, except for those who maintain the lower strata, and not even many of those bottom-dwellers accept ufologists or ufology (a pseudo-science) as reputable or valid.

Ufologists have, by and large, abandoned their families and inter-twined social activities in order to “study” a phenomenon that eludes explanation, and has for more years than can be counted on several hands.

The escape into “the UFO reality” is really an escape from the real reality that encompasses all human beings.

Without power or academic cachet, ufologists feel emasculated. They are shunned by those who have real lives, jobs, education, and a bona fide status in society.

The quest for validation has never come to anyone affiliated with UFOs or the enigma they present. But the search for validation continues apace, even without a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

A state of denial by ufologists is rampant and pathological. Many who once held normal lives have succumbed to the lure of “flying saucers” or UFOs only to learn, on their death beds usually, that their search for immortality or fame has been inside an ephemeral venue.

The realization of their futile, non-existential position is often subsumed by a false camaraderie that ufology fosters; ufologists are egocentric and self-aggrandizing by and large.

Even the wizened masters of the genre, Friedman and Hall for instance (both as near death as possible without actually going over into the abyss), haven’t had the final epiphany, which is that their life’s work has been for naught, useless in real terms, and a total escape from the reality into which they were born.

Younger ufologists, Clark, Redfern, Pope, Kimball, et al., are into ufology so deeply that their epiphany is far into the future, if it comes at all.

But to be emasculated and pathological, all at he same time, is difficult to overcome, and vindication is seen as the Holy Grail that validates their lives, and manhood.

No matter how hard they work at making sense of their allure to the UFO riddle, it shall never come, and they will, like Ahab in Moby Dick, go to their demises without capturing the beast that has taken hold of their existences, and made fools of them.

Even a denouement in the UFO puzzle will not bring absolute or even partial vindication to those who’ve wasted their lives (and those of their loved ones).

Is this sad or tragic? No. The matter is too pathetic to be either.