The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The New Contactees


Bryan Sentes (a friend) and Susan Palmer have co-authored a paper about the significance of the Raelian "theology" as a replacement for the traditional (religious) belief system.

The paper discusses the flying saucer connection, Carl Jung's UFO thesis, and related matters.

Nick Redfern made little or no note about the Raelians in his book, Contactees, but the sect or cult is everything (and more) that the contactee phenomenon represents.

Click here to read the paper and let us know what you think.

8 Comments:

  • As Ken Kesey, in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," put it so succinctly, Claude Vorilhon ["Rael"] is bull goose loony.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%ABlism

    Vorilhon's belief that some future form of genetic cloning will confer immortality, including the personality and memories of the individual, is objectively and scientifically ridiculous.

    "Raelism" is a fascistic cult, based on ludicrously bad SciFi memes and repurposed Christian belief constructs. Almost as bad as the equally nutty Scientologists, another fascist sect.

    I recommend reading the paper linked to in the blog post--it's quite revealing.

    Just look at their symbol--a Nazi swastika in a Jewish star. How nuts is that? Very.

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Saturday, February 19, 2011  

  • I'm always amazed at the human capacity to believe blindly (what some might term Faith, with a capital "F") the ramblings of some while ignoring those of others. What makes the "Abrahamic religions" any more or less valid that the absurdities of a former French pop star and race car driver? Annointment. The only thing standing between the Raelians and world domination is some influencer to bring their word to the masses. Just look at what Mormons have done in such a short time, or the ever-broadening influence of Scientology. A large number of humans have a burning need to sublimate themselves something bigger, to let someone or something else outline the doctrine and direction of their lives. In effect, to relieve them of the burden of having to figure out the caprices of life for themselves. I find it interesting. I, myself, am happily mired in confusion and ignorance. My questions, more often that not, center around "who cares?" more than "why?".

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Saturday, February 19, 2011  

  • Fellows...

    Bryan Sentes did this paper as part of a sociological study.

    I told him when he sent it that the Raelian "theology" was a mishmash of Plato's Republic, Teilhard de Chardin, and Asimov's Foundation.

    Steve, you see the inherent nuttiness of the Raelian movement, the pathology of it.

    And Cullan, you continue to marvel at the gullibility of the masses.

    I also told Sentes that when I see anything Raelian in nature, I walk away.

    But he's an academic and doesn't shirk the bizarre and off-kilter as most academics do, so I applaud his "objective" look at the Raelian cult, but thought the paper with Ms. Palmer was a bit propagandistic.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, February 19, 2011  

  • "...so I applaud his "objective" look at the Raelian cult, but thought the paper with Ms. Palmer was a bit propagandistic."

    Rich--

    Since you put the term objective in quotes, it seems you may not feel this paper is truly objective. What in particular was it about this paper you think is either less than objective, or as you say, propagandistic? Could you be more specific?

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Saturday, February 19, 2011  

  • Steve,

    Bryan and Palmer steered clear of opinion, just presenting the Raelian "facts' as it were.

    I would have liked to read what you noted about the Star of David and Nazism insignia that the Raelians use, for instance.

    While Sentes' paper was geared to academics, where readers could make their own decision(s) about the cult from the just the presentation of the belief system and history of it, such objectivity isn't helpful for the dolts who make up the broad spectrum of human society and especially the raft of idiots who immerse themselves in the UFO field.

    Opinion and guidance is needed once one steps outside the college world.

    Bryan let the Raelian "theology" speak for itself.

    Non-discerning folks would come away from the paper thinking that the cult's position wasn't bad and even edifying, not knowing how derivative the Raelian theology is.

    The ideas of Teilhard de Chardin and that of Plato in his Republic are not known by the masses (or most UFO mavens), so they can't see that the Raelian ideas are not unique or new.

    Putting an "objective" paper like Sentes and Palmer's in the public arena makes it propagandistic thereby, since there are no cautionary notes, caveats, or footnotes showing readers that Raelian ideas are similar to or derived from other thinkers and profound human ideas from the past.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, February 20, 2011  

  • Now, whether proper or not, I think I need to step in and make some observations: 1. As Rich observes quite correctly, the paper is a work of sociology, presented first at a meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and consequently published in an academic journal devoted to the study of New Religious Movements, Nova Religio; therefore the paper's purpose would be contradicted and undermined by any overtly critical or dismissive remarks, though a close reading will detect some necessarily tactful criticisms, e.g., concerning the derivativeness of Rael's Ancient Astronaut hermeneutic and the notion of immortality through serial cloning. It seems I need underline 2. The Raelians are an example of what in general is the way that core concepts and values at the margins of society reflect in their own surreal way the core concepts and values at the centre of society, namely the ideology of science and technology, the same way the UFO mythology does (the main if unspoken point of the paper). As I wrote Rich in a private email, the same point could have been made with the Star Trek mythos as the example. And,as an interesting aside 3.,Rich, as a man not unversed in psychoanalysis, have you asked yourself what the strong emotional reaction to the Raelians might be said to reveal about those who have those reactions?

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Sunday, February 20, 2011  

  • Ah, Bryan, any reaction to the Raelian "theology" stems from the blatant foisting of derivative ideas upon an unsuspecting audience of quidnuncs and ignorant peoples as Cullan Hudson intuits.

    It's not that the Raelians cause us existential angst. It's that they insult our intelligence.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, February 20, 2011  

  • Very good essay, sound analysis too I think -- Rael and UFO cultism in general manifest our post-Copernican condition: cultural shell-shock, evicted from the center of the universe, that place of ultimate importance we used to hold.

    It's proven to be not just a scientific revolution, but a deeper metaphysical one unfolding in wake, a shift toward radical uncertainty. Tarnas, PASSION OF THE WESTERN MIND, outlines it nicely.

    In recent centuries we've had the security blanket of our pre-scientific cosmology brutally ripped away. But one precious, thin linen sheet still covers us as we shiver in the chill. As a last, desperate remnant of our lost womb's comfort, its illusion of cosmic warmth to humanity, we have the luxury -- we can still assure ourselves -- we're the smartest beings around. As far as we know scientifically, we're still the greatest intelligence (and technological power certainly) nature has ever produced. We're still the ones.

    That last thin comfort of cosmic innocence is ours to cling to, until it gets torn away -- the day ET intelligence becomes undeniable reality, if/when if comes. Unless I'm wrong. Especially if we think UFOs are a bunch of bunk, period.

    Our UFO biz in general, through this lens, seems to express the acute collective instinctual awareness, on part of a species, of its precarious position metaphysically, and its impending final stage of displacement from central cosmic status.

    Scientists figure there's other intelligent life some light years away, but its only an idea, we can't say we know its true, undeniably. But its anticipated, so we're slowly twisting in the wind.

    I think the article sets in about the right frame of understanding. I appreciate its serious exploration of Raelianism. As Jacques Vallee notes, this kind of thing if fundamentally manipulative in using mixed categorical absurdity and confusion to basically repel people who won't be good subjects for indoctrination. It culls as it gulls.

    Good article, very citable, thanks for running.

    By Blogger Brian Akers, at Tuesday, February 22, 2011  

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