UFO Conjecture(s)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Plato, Giambattista Vico, and Ufology

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Platos’s template for society – the ideal (utopian) city-state consisted of The Elite Guardians, The Soldiers, and The Masses.

Wikipedia provides this (about the government of that city-state):

Socrates points out the human tendency to corruption by power and thus the road from timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny: ruling should be left to philo-sophers, the most just and therefore least susceptible to corruption. That "good city" is depicted as being governed by philosopher-kings; disinterested persons who rule not for their personal enjoyment but for the good of the city-state (polis). The paradigmatic society which stands behind every historical society is hierarchical, but social classes have a marginal permeability; there are no slaves, no discrim-ination between men and women.

And Wikipedia says this about Plato’s view:

Plato says that a tyrant's nature will leave him with "horrid pains and pangs" and that the typical tyrant engages in a lifestyle that will be physically and mentally exacting on such a ruler. Such a disposition is in contrast to the truth-loving philosopher king, and a tyrant "never tastes of true freedom or friendship".

The second argument proposes that of all the different types of person, only the Philosopher is able to judge which type of ruler is best since only he can see the Form of the Good. Thirdly, Plato argues, "Pleasures which are approved of by the lover of wisdom and reason are the truest".

Plus this (Wikipedia):

In Books VII-X stand Plato's criticism of the forms of government. It begins with the dismissal of timocracy, a sort of authoritarian regime, not unlike a military dictatorship…The third worst regime is oligarchy, the rule of a small band of rich people, millionaires that only respect money. Then comes the democratic form of government, and its susceptibility to being ruled by unfit "sectarians" demagogues.

Finally the worst regime is tyranny, where the whimsical desires of the ruler became law and there is no check upon arbitrariness.

(A further elaboration of The Republic can be found via Google.)

Gimabattista Vico, the 18th Century social theorist/philosopher, takes the Platonic ideal and forms it into a practical theory of governance whereby “good honest men would be supreme lords….[forming a] natural aristocracy.” {Scienza nuova, 1097]

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“The peoples (Vico writes)…[should] do decent and just things rather than talk about them, because they do them instinctively, not from reflection.” [ibid, 1406]

And Vico goes on to note that “Hence the men who have neither counsel nor virtue of their own are…formless…defective.” [ibid, 1408]

And “It is the men who pursue nothing but their own private interests…the doltish men who…never remain content with the same thing, who always love and affect new things; who in a word are called the vulgus.” [ibid, 1409]

Finally “peoples so far corrupted have already become slaves of their unrestrained passions – of luxury, effeminacy, avarice, envy, pride, and vanity – and in pursuit of the pleasures of their dissolute life are falling back into the vices of the most abject slaves [becoming] liars, tricksters, calumniators, thieves, cowards, and pretenders.” [ibid, 1105]

What has this to do with ufology?

It provides insight to the ufological community as it exists today.

Are there any “Elite Guardians” in ufology? Honest men who are without the vices listed by Socrates, Plato, or Vico?

We can think of only one: Richard Hall presently, and James McDonald and John Mack who died before assuming the needed role.

All others are suspect or tinged by opprobrium.

The Platonic Soldiers, those in ufology who carry the torch for truth, such as “Isaac Koi,” Nick Pope, and a few others, are above reproach and scandal.

But if one wonders why science or decent men eschew UFOs and/or ufology, one need only discover web-sites and blogs where anti-semitism reigns or material is interspersed with sexist pictures of scantily clad women to whet the appetite of lascivious internet visitors.

Ufology needs an intellectual (philosophical) elite, that’s certain, but it can’t get that from the current crop of UFO habitués.

The “governing body” of ufology went by the wayside with the demise of Donald Keyhoe, The Lorenzens, and a select few who have gone underground (Jacques Vallee) to avoid the vulgarity and sleaziness of those who’ve usurped the UFO mystery and bent it to their nefarious and corrupt desires.

That’s one of the reasons – and not the only one – that UFOs are anathema to those who proceed with integrity and ethical behavior or thought.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Why would UFOs come here?

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The Earth, while distinctive from orbit or the Moon, has no distinguishing features from interstellar space.

What would attract extraterrestrials to make a sojourn to Earth?

The argument from Stanton Friedman (and others) that nuclear explosions caught their eye, and worried them – “The Day the Earth Stood Still” hypothesis – doesn’t conform to the ufological stance that UFOs (flying saucers) have been around since the earliest days of mankind, as cave paintings and early historical records seem to suggest.

The idea that alien civilizations picked up our broadcast signals can also be ruled out, if the early visitation scenarios are true.

And if ufologists suggest it’s the teeming life here that brings (or brought) alien visitations, the panoply of UFO sightings, with all their diversity, indicates that somewhere else in the galaxy, or beyond, life is teeming also, with beings that are much more interesting than those found on Earth.

With Saturn, Jupiter, even Neptune and Uranus offering far more visual interest that Earth, is the prospect of creatures, human and animal plus flora, that much more compelling than anywhere else in the solar system, or the vast universe itself?

That Earth is a galactic zoo or the outpost for humans who were seeded here begs the question of why here and nowhere else in the vast universe, places closer to the originators?

The uniqueness of man may be debated amongst cosmologists and theologians (which is grist for another blog of ours – rrrgroup.blogspot.com) but if UFOs contain beings with conscious thought, and intellectual prowess, the uniqueness idea goes by the wayside.

Are UFOs manifestations of another civilization here on Earth that parallels the obvious one (ours) but has remained secret over the millennia, the Mac Tonnies hypothesis?

The absence of tangible, or any other kind of evidence, for such a civilization makes the Tonnies concept hard to swallow.

Are the visitors from a parallel universe, abutting this one? Or time travelers from our future (or past)?

Either of those suggestions makes more sense than the intergalactic visitation hypothesis, but is it viable? The answer is yes, but not addressed fully, if at all, by ufologists (or scientists).

And the reasons that might allow for such inter-dimensional or time-traveling visits by others are much more amenable to discussion than the hackneyed extraterrestrial one.

That is, if UFOs really exist at all…..

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kenneth Arnold and the pelicans

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Bona fide UFO researcher Jerome Clark coined an epithet for those who are skeptical about certain UFO sightings that ufologists deem authentic: pelicanists

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Mr. Clark’s coinage comes about because one ufologist (James Easton) had the temerity to suggest Kenneth Arnold’s famous flying saucer sighting of June 24th, 1947 was of pelicans.

(Mr. Clark and other ufologists think Arnold actually saw alien spaceships. We’ve suggested elsewhere that Arnold saw a bevy of Navy test airplanes flying out of Whidbey Air Base in Washington State.)

Here is a drawing that Arnold made of his sighting:

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Here is Fate magazine’s rendition of the Arnold sighting:

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And here is a later version of what Arnold says he saw – we don’t know why Arnold altered his observation):

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And here are some pictures of pelicans in flight:

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And here is a map of pelican migration patterns:

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Also, Mount Rainier (in the Cascades) is subject to temperature inversions, especially between the winter thaw and summer season (June).

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Temperature changes at various mountain altitudes causes inversions (when he warm air bumps up against pockets of colder air), distorting observations through those inversions.

Here are two photos of Mount Rainier in June, with weather fronts that evoke inversions:

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So while Jerry Clark, whom we respect and admire, has created a bon mot for the UFO skeptic – a barb that lesser UFO lights often employ – in the Arnold case, the suggestion that he (Arnold) saw a flock of pelicans, and mistook them for supersonic aircraft of alien design is not out of the question.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Death of a UFO species?

A semi-popular blog has a piece about angels and UFOs (a Biblical slant).

The author suggests that UFOs (or their occupants) are manifestations of Satan or the Satan archetype – Fallen Angels. (We were hard-put to follow the hypothesis.)

The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) does have several accounts of angels and God communing with human beings.

One of the more interesting meetings between angels, maybe even God, Himself, appears in Genesis 18, Chapters 1-15, where Abraham sups with three angels and The Lord.

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Other angelic visitations appear in Genesis 21, 1-18; 3 Kings 19, 5; Daniel 6, 22; Tobias 6, 1-9; et cetera.

Early visitations of the gods, angels, and the Hebrew Yahweh, plus the angels of the Qur’an (The Koran) -- Surat at-Takwir, 19; Surah Ghafir, 15); Surat an-Najm, 4-6; Surah Maryam, 17-21; et cetera -- bespoke of the beauty (androgyny even) of the visitors.

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Oannes is mentioned in Sumerian clay tablets, and the Egyptians had a panoply of gods they worshipped, but none had the configured physiognomy of the angels and God in the Hebrew texts, nor did they appear in the way that the messengers of the Hebrews or Assyrians did – in chariots of fire or suddenly, with an aura of light and a body that was not different from those of their human hosts.

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An angel was said to have released the Apostle Peter from jail (Acts of the Apostles 12. 6-10) but that’s about it for the Biblical angels

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The angels disappeared and God disappeared.

UFOs reappeared, sporadically. Constantine the Great saw one in 312 A.D. And various chronicles mentioned sightings of flying somethings-or-another right up into the modern era.

But no mention of angels come into the accounts, unless one accepts Joseph Smith’s Moroni as a bona fide visitation.

The AmerIndian tribes of the Yucatan, Middle and South America also have records of visitations by gods from the air, up until those empires were decimated by some catastrophe or the Spanish. Angels, however, don’t factor in to those renderings either.

Historical Chinese, Japanese, and sub-continent (mostly from India) records also speak of sky visitors, but the visitors are flying machines rather than beings.

Then in the 1950s, a spate of tales about flying saucer provide angelic-like descriptions of their pilots and occupants: Adamski, Fry, Angelucci, et al.

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But eventually a raft of encounters with dwarfish beings, disembarking from saucer-like craft, took hold and filled the UFO literature until shortly after 1961 when Betty and Barney Hill told of an abduction by small, gray beings, with large eyes, and little else they could call human.

The beauty of the early historical visitors, the “angels,” was totally gone.

Reptilian creatures, huge, furry or robotic monsters became part of the UFO fabric, but the small, gray or colorless creatures were prevalent, and ubiquitous.

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What happened?

Did the angelic visitors return to their “heavenly abode”? Were their initial visits only salutary and temporary? Or were they killed off by the species that now inhabits UFO lore, and flying saucers?

No matter what happened, the angels of old have been supplanted by the passionless, oddly morphed creatures that inhabit the UFO myth today.

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And human beings, mostly the credulous sort, should be wary of encountering those who replaced the benefactors that showed up several thousand years ago, to help human beings, not to perform quasi-autopsies on them.

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