The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

UFOs without culture? Why?

herzog4.jpg"

Anthony Lane‘s review of Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” [New Yorker, May 2nd, 2011, Page 88 ff.] abutted, for this writer, a paper, discovered among others, entitled Speculations on the First Contact: Encyclopedia Galactica or the Music of the Spheres? by Guillermo A. Lemarchand of the Instituto Angentino de Radioastronomia [CONICET], Buenos Aires.

lemarchand.jpg

The movie review (by Lane) deals with how director Herzog presents his vision of the cave drawings on a wall in the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, in the Ardèche reagion of France.

c1.jpg

c2.jpg

c4.jpg

The Chauvet-Pont wall of drawings, from about thirty-five to thirty-eight thousand years ago, is more “cinematic” (says Herzog) than those at Lascaux, and should be compared with the shapes found at Swabia, four hundred miles away.

l1.jpg

l5.jpg

swabia1.jpg

swabia2.jpg

Lemarchand’s account of a Seminar on the Cultural Impact of Extraterrestrial Contact (sponsored by the Foundation for the Future) addressed the hypothesis that an extraterrestrial civilization worthy of contact would be much in advance of Earth, technologically, but that wouldn’t be the best premise for contact.

Lemarchand writes that mankind here has provided an advanced form of culture as represented by the art found in caves, such as Lascaux or Chauvet-Pont, and an alien civilization would have a similar esthetic culture, which any civilization of long-standing would have since they didn’t wipe themselves out with wars or cataclysmic accidents.

Lemarchand also thinks an alien culture/civilization would have a moral or ethical stance, not unlike that of the philosopher Immanuel Kant (but that’s not my point here).

kant4.jpg

Lemarchand’s paper dismisses the idea that the best way to contact alien civilizations is not by mathematics or technical formulae. Such abstract devices would not be as developed as would art (or music), which would, if the alien culture is extant, have evolved much in the way that Earth’s art (and music) has evolved, from the art of the cave(s) to what it is today. (Although I think that art has devolved from that of the caves, but that’s a matter for another time and discussion.)

Earthlings, writes Lemarchand (from ideas of Carl Sagan), are members of a Technologically Adolescent Society. Thus, communicating with a more advanced alien society would then be problematical, as we’d have a difficult time understanding advanced technological information, whereas understanding an artistic image of an alien culture would not be difficult.

Lemarchand points out that there are several patterns in art and nature that can be considered as universal as mathematics in interstellar communication attempts” (von Hoerner, 1974; Lemarchand and Lomberg, 1996).

And using artistic symbols would be a better mechanism for an interstellar communication than SETI’s mathematical approach, which is what Sagan was striving for with his golden disk attached to the Voyager spacecraft(s).

goldendisk.jpg

Lemarchand’s paper is rife with intellectual insights about alien communication, humanity, the arts, and science. (I can’t provide a link as the paper was found among others here, and has no provenance, although I imagine it was printed out from our Sage Publications account a few years ago. Interested parties might seek it out via Google.)

Now let me get to the point from which I have egregiously digressed….

And this point has been made before, earlier at this blog and elsewhere in our internet outings.

Nowhere has art or music been noted on (or from) UFOs.

Yes, there have been symbols or insigniae, as mentioned in the post preceding this one, but those have not been artistic or esthetic, as the drawings on the wall caves, or other human pictorials are.

ufo-symb4.jpg

No UFO or flying saucer reports have identified music as endemic to the sightings. And no art, aside from those militaristic or corporate-like insignia/symbols, has been registered – none like that which Lemarchand thinks would be intrinsic to an advanced extraterrestrial race.

What does this tell us about UFOs? That whatever they are, or whomever “mans” them, are either not advanced in a way that would include moral imperatives (as Lemarchand articulates) nor are they as advanced in even a small way as that of the Neanderthals or early man was, as indicated by the art in the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet-Pont d’Arc.

This means, for us, that UFOs are either created by Earthlings or are artifacts without a cultural or living species origination – a physical manifestation of some kind -- or UFOs belong to a race or races that are without moral imperatives (ethics) and refinements which would ameliorate contact between us and them as (we hate to note) some abduction accounts seem to warn.

I’ve gone far afield here, and have departed from any cogent hypothesis. But I’m hopeful that some readers might comprehend that UFOs present alternatives to thought besides the usual cavil that permeates discussions here and all over the UFO community.

And that a civilized discourse might take us into new directions, away from the classic, banal UFO cases that usurp innovative energies and keep us mired in obsequious back-and-forths which lead nowhere and have for a long time now.

We can hope….

60 Comments:

  • There's a lot of faulty assumptions in this post, but the biggest one to me is that you just take Lamarchand's hypothesis as fact. Secondly, you assume since UFOs themselves haven't displayed "art" as you understand it that whomever pilots them must have no art, and therefore no morals. There are many encounters that have been recorded on video and simply reported which I would consider artistic, such as light shows and dances in the sky. I also believe the hypothesis that UFOs are responsible for some crop circles, which I believe we can also agree would be considered art.

    Aside from this, did Europeans display art to the natives of America when they arrived? No (and the Bible is literature, which I think is distinctly different than what you are talking about), but we know for a fact the Europeans did create art on their own terms. What's to say whomever is piloting the UFOs doesn't have some art hanging in their house at home?

    Discounting symbols seen on the craft seems also like saying "but not THIS kind of art counts..."

    As far as us being able to understand art better than math, I'd also have to highly disagree. Art requires a shared cultural experience to actually get it. You seem to imply some experiences are universal. However, if the diversity of life on Earth has taught us anything, experience is anything but universal, even on the same planet. Life around volcanic vents resembles nothing like life on the surface. Similarly, a person living in poverty stricken Africa doesn't experience anything like we do in America. Just imagine the differences in culture and experience with a 1000 year or larger gap between them!

    By Blogger Armakan, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • As usual Armakan, you provide cavil.

    I've done an injustice to Lemarchand's views and paper, which is much more erudite than my synopsis indicates.

    But your opposition is just silly.

    I'm not being rude. It's just that you present the regular canards without reading any of the source material that I note.

    I'm beginning to hate the cavalier thinking that attends postings here (and everywhere else).

    Lights dancing in the sky is art?

    Come on. Where are your critical faculties?

    UFO pilots may have art hanging in their houses?

    Geez. That is an ignorant aside that doesn't even warrant a reply.

    You either take my post as a joke and are commenting likewise, or you are being assy.

    Knowing of your previous comments, some just as shallow, but not as stupid, I'm thinking you're just being obtuse this time.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • There was a TV documentary which I never saw, in 1988 or 89, in which the aliens were said to like Tibetan music and strawberry ice-cream. The person giving this information was, I believe, one of those mysterious 'inside informants' that pop up from time to time.

    So we do have one unverified instance of what our ET visitors prefer in the world of art and music. Make of it what you will.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • Is Tibetan music really music?

    You fellows just can't seem to engage in a serious or semi-serious discussion.

    UFOs, for some reason -- which we should study -- brings out the stupid in people, myself included.

    That may be grist for a psychological evaluation.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • The zero sum thinker wouldn't see art in the design of possible ET vehicles on a visit. Of course (if happening) they are both artistic and scientific wonders. Efficient and elegant. As far as any art in an ET world, again perhaps the binary thinking of men excludes great possibilities. Could their art fulfill both an aesthetic and practical role? Could their kinetic art, like mobiles, also generate the energy they need? Could their music do the same? Or is it the other way around? Of course our own architecture and vehicle design is both a sight to behold and performs its' function to whatever extent is needed, but in an ET world have they managed to blend these concepts to a greatly advanced level? If they advanced enough to get here, you have to consider that they have.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • Frank:

    Your view that UFOs (and/or their accoutrements) might be art is interesting.

    But art, outside oneself; that is, art that reflects a reality experienced externally rather than immanent, is what is at the heart of the Lemarchand paper.

    The cave drawings show a world that lies outside one's personal or subjective mentality.

    It's a world seen and projected for others.

    It's not the Platonic reality but rather the existential reality.

    If UFOs and their alleged inhabitants are the art, like performance art, that is a possibility (for me).

    However, one would have to get into Duensing's outsider art considerations and other aspects of that gestaltian reality.

    And that presents a host of other problems regarding a methodology of contacting or interacting with an alien civilization.

    Lemarchand presents views and hypotheses held by himself and others (as noted).

    The paper or thesis allows for a system of contact (as its title indicates).

    I have extrapolated from the paper an idea that no one has provided information that they've seen or heard art or music while in the proximity of a UFO, or inside one, as was the case with Betty Hill, who didn't see art but did see, supposedly, a star map -- something practical rather than esthetic, which presents an over all caveat about UFOs and the beings who "man" them.

    For me, the Lemarchand view about an alien cultural milieu in the context of an Earthly cultural milieu is fascinating.

    And the absence of any external or obvious cultural artifacts in the UFO canon equally fascinating.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • Report on:
    A SEMINAR ON THE CULTURAL IMPACT
    OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL CONTACT
    July 31–August 1, 1999
    Kamuela, Hawaii USA

    http://ieti.org/tough/books/succeeds/intro.pdf

    I'll give this a look through when I can.

    As far as communicating with an advanced ET society, Kaku has openly stated he thinks a form of telepathy is a likely means, and who is to say he hasn't already been successful at it but just isn't saying so openly?

    As far as alien music is concerned, I doubt it would hit the Top 40 charts here on Earth. Just as human interaction is fraught with conflict, human art is fraught with crass commercialism . . . but lots of people like it.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • Thanks Frank...

    While your link doesn't provide the paper mentioned in my post, which has the identifier -- Section V, Paper 10 -- your link may lead you and others to the paper I'm citing.

    It's, in my opinion, a must-read for anyone who wants to take in an insightful hypothesis or two about extraterrestrials and what might be the best way to communicate with them.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • "Speculations on the First Contact:
    Encyclopedia Galactica or the Music of the Spheres?"

    http://ieti.org/tough/books/succeeds/sectVp10.pdf

    Reading now. Thanks Richie!

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, May 04, 2011  

  • We don't put art in our Blackhawk helicopters, so why would they put art on their UFO scout craft?

    By Blogger Kristofer, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Hi Rich,

    As I speculated on a recent post at my blog, perhaps the "non-human intelligence" interacts with those among us who have the greatest receptivity to original thinking, and creativity - artists, musicians, poets, and so forth?

    If you had the choice, who would you rather talk to: Bach, or Bush (or Obama, or even someone like Roosevelt, or Lincoln)? Who, in the long run, makes a greater contribution to human development?

    Perhaps the "art" of the non-human intelligence exists not in the physical realm, but on a much more "ethereal" plane, if you will - maybe in the mind, or even the subconcious?

    In short, maybe they have art a-plenty, but just not in forms that you or I could recognize. But Mozart, or McCartney, or Poe, or Byron... that's a different story.

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Greetings,

    Just a detail, maybe off-topic (if you consider it as a detail), the last symbol (allegued june 1957 the first) in the article is the UMMO symbol...

    I suppose you have sound about this french-spanish "UFO myth" and "hoax" in anglophony too?
    There is an english wiki page with "UMMO wiki" as entry.
    But the ufoskeptic who have the more investigated on UMMO is imho Dominique Caudron (french and member of our forum), as the french wiki page devoted on UMMO stipulates too.
    Caudron's file devoted to UMMO is here ( but in french sorry). You could find the "story" of this "faked" picture...

    http://oncle.dom.pagesperso-orange.fr/paranormal/ovni/cas/ummo/ummo.htm

    The story of the picture by D. Caudron :

    http://oncle.dom.pagesperso-orange.fr/paranormal/ovni/cas/ummo/san_jose/san_jose.htm

    In essence, the UFO picture mentionned here (in fact it was at San José, near Madrid If I'm correct) is considered as a well known "fake" by french UFO-Skeptics.

    Regards,
    Gilles F.

    By Blogger Gilles. F., at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • (EDIT : 1967 of course, not 1957 for the picture - my fingers ! - sorry).

    By Blogger Gilles. F., at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Let me thank you, Frank:

    You'll get something out of the paper.

    (Let's hope others read it also.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Kristofer:

    We're suggesting that the art would be "inside" the flying disks.

    That is, those who say they've been inside -- abducted or what ever -- don't report art pieces or music.

    We'll be addressing this in an upcoming post.

    We wouldn't expect a "van Gogh" to be hanging on the rim of a UFO.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Paul:

    Your suggestion(s) resonate with me, and it might be interesting to speculate further about them; that is, are there any indications from UFO reports, no matter how minute or subliminal, that might show a hint of esthetics?

    And yes, I would prefer to associate with a poet, a writer, a musician/composer, a painter rather than any corporate biggie or politician, that's for sure.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Gilles:

    Yes, we know that UMMO is a hoax.

    It just ended up on that group of symbols, which we culled from an old UFO magazine.

    I thought someone would make note of the fake, and you did.

    Thanks, mon ami...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • I did get to read the paper over and I have to give Lemarchand credit for being a hard science guy who recognizes that hard science may not be the answer regarding communication between interstellar civilizations. Folks do have a tendency to think their discipline can solve all.

    There is some pro forma human bashing and while no one can deny the truth of it, it's cliched in my view although it does need to be put into the rear view mirror as quickly as possible.

    Perhaps the best early art to take a look at would be what came from the Bronze/Iron Ages, not quite as far back as the cave paintings. An advanced culture is going to be a metalworking culture. Spaceships, whatever their level of function, aren't going to be made of animal skins or wood.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Frank:

    If Tony Bragalia is right, alien visitors aren't using "saucers" made of metal either.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Paul/Rich

    The idea that, as Paul states: "...perhaps the "non-human intelligence" interacts with those among us who have the greatest receptivity to original thinking, and creativity - artists, musicians, poets, and so forth..."

    But, doesn't this sound kind of highly elitist? I'm sure you didn't mean it like this, but I think some people (maybe many) might interpret this to mean people who don't fall into this category are some lower, less worthy "mob."

    While there's no doubt that authors, journalists, artists, film-makers etc, have all focused on researching, writing etc on Ufology, I don't see them having and more direct involvement in the phenomenon itself.

    Yes, they obviously have greater input in terms of writing about it, talking about it, and making TV shows about it.

    But, I'd say the phenomenon targets all aspects of the population. For example, Kenneth Arnold was a pilot; Herbert Schirmer was a cop; Barney Hill was in the U.S. Post Service and Betty Hill was a social-worker. The list goes on and on.

    By the sheer law of averages, some arty types are going to get exposed to the phenomenon, because there are a lot of arty people out there!

    But, just as many cops, forklift-drivers, nurses, etc will likely get exposed to the phenomenon too.

    The difference is that arty types may well have a vehicle/medium with which to spread their story on a large scale, whereas someone else working in a different field may not; so we don't here about them.

    I also think that arty types (I hope I dont come across like one!) have a degree of pomposity about them.

    I well remember going to an author cocktail party in London about 15 years ago (fortunately they had beer so I didn't have to suffer drinking something stupid-looking, pink and with a cherry on top). The event was packed with arty types, sipping wine, telling each other how important their "work" was, and how they suffered for their art. It was horrible, horrible, horrible.

    I vowed never to get involved in any sort of local "arts-scene" again. However, in 2007, I was invited to a Dallas event full of authors, poets, playwrights, local musicians, etc.

    Again: there was an overwhelming air of self-importance, pompous ego gone wild, and the crucial importance of their work.

    Since then, I have flatly refused to get involved in any arty-farty shit, as it's just laughable.

    I'd rather go down the pub.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Nick:

    I wouldn't presume to speak for Paul but what I meant was that if I had my druthers I'd prefer to hang out with bona fide artists (of many genres); that is, I'd prefer to associate with a real composer, even the irksome kind, like Beethoven or John Cage (who's a hoot I read), or any painter, even a Jackson Pollack type.

    My point, and only mine, was that I can't abide politicians, with whom I've worked over the years or corporate weasels.

    Give me a Neanderthalian cave-painter and I'd be happy.

    Sit me down with some of the visitors and commenters to this blog -- not you of course -- and I'd rather slit my throat.

    The rabble is everywhere.

    Paul suggested I go to the movies and see a film he liked.

    I told him I never go to movies or restaurants because those venues are flush with the mob -- the rabble.

    Elitist? Yep.

    And if UFO aliens are without esthetics, I'd avoid them too, if they'd let me.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Rich:

    I'm most definitely with you re the politicians angle!

    However, when you state the following to what Paul suggested:

    "I told him [Paul] I never go to movies or restaurants because those venues are flush with the mob -- the rabble..."

    This above-question may sound slightly off-topic, but I wondered what, as someone, deeply involved in the UFO issue, you define as the rabble?

    Is it possible to discern that someone is part of a rabble, without getting to know them?

    I've seen (chiefly at conferences) a lot of ego-driven stuff where more than a few lecturers (at the post-gig parties) portray themselves as the enlightened ones informing the lower, less enlightened and less capable masses. They're the same ones who are ignorant enough to not spare the time to answer questions from people who buy their books and who give them dollars.

    And I've also seen what I strongly believe are far better social characters in what many might call the rabble than I have in Ufology!

    Ufology certainly has a far greater percentage of wackos (I think) than the general population. I know of 2 ufologists utterly blighted by OCD. I know of a male UFO researcher who, at 39, is still a virgin. There's UFO researchers who peer around the curtains thinking the MIB are watching them. Or who panic when they pick the phone up and the line goes dead - it's the CIA! Does the average "rabble" behave in this way? I'd suggest probably not.

    I'm not saying that the general public is any different in some respects. But it seems to me that, specifically in percentage terms, the number of the "rabble" who act normally is far, far greater than the percentage within Ufology who do so.

    By normal, I don't mean the music someone listens to, the clothes they wear etc.

    Rather, I mean their ability to function properly in society, to have the ability to talk in social settings about something beyond UFOs, to not be social outcasts, etc etc.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Nick:

    In a Seinfeld rerun last night, Elaine said her father -- from a terrific episode -- thought George was gay.

    Jerry said, "because of all the singing?"

    Elaine said, "No, he (her father, a noted writer) thinks everyone is gay."

    That's how I feel about people: they are all rabble.

    I find mutant exceptions -- using the term mutant from Le comte du Nouy's book, Human Destiny -- among the human race, but they are singularly unique and rare.

    You are one. Kimball is one. Dana, your wife is one. Gilles Fernandez is one. And there are a few others.

    But, over all, people are, for me, the great unwashed....the rabble.

    God would be smart to start over again, as he did once before, with Noah.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Rich:

    I do appreciate the words re me and Dana. However, you make that comment because you know us.

    But, what annoys me deeply is the behind the scenes stuff at conferences where certain players make it clear they are the informed ones and the rest aren't.

    But, here's the key point: they haven't made the effort to get to know the people they view as "just the audience" at "just another gig."

    For the record, I've seen this countless times. I recall a very memorable situation at a UFO event in England in the late 1990s, where after signing and selling dozens of books, one particular author made a snide comment to some of the other speakers about the people buying his books as being nothing more than "anoraks" (which is basically an English equiavlent of "Geeks").

    And what did those other speakers do? They laughed, because they wanted to get in that certain author's favor.

    It's that presumption that being arty, being a published author, and nibbling finger-food at cocktail parties (and hob-nobbing with UFO Royalty at the after-party gig) is somehow better, more cultured, and more important than watching American Idol and eating a burger.

    I'd disagree: I'd say it's just different.

    We'll agree to differ on the above, I'm sure. But that's cool!

    However, I do think that to dismiss millions of people as the rabble, is pretty much the same as people outside of Ufology dismissing the UFO research scene as all being a bunch of tin-foil hat wearing loonies. It's stereotyping, and making a conclusion without knowing the people.

    There ARE ufological loonies, and in the sense there ARE some people for who the term "rabble" is not wrong!

    But I think it's as inaccurate to dismiss the populace as rabble, as it is to stereotype the whole UFO arena as the tin-foil hat brigade.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Nick:

    You're man well-met, and a hearty good guy.

    My generalization(s) always get me in trouble.

    But like H.L. Mencken, I see the hoi polloi as the booboisie.

    I discriminate when I have to but over all I find people to be ignorant.

    People can be kind and good but they remain stupid, about things that matter to them, existentially.

    And I use the term philosophically here.

    I'm not identifying with the Nazi rubric of Aryan nor am I saying I have any reason to judge people in extremis.

    I just prefer to avoid the mob.

    The UFO clique is exceptionally abominable to me.

    Your experiences have been mine also.

    I got into a mess last year when I provided a blog about the people who habituate near our lake home.

    I pointed out how boorish and uncultured they were, and I and the boys are now anathema with them.

    But as an old jailbird I knew and was friends with used to say, They don't put food on my table nor do they put money in my pocket.

    So, I wouldn't kill anyone or even slap them around. They have a right to be stupid, uncultured.

    And I have a right to eschew them.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Fair enough, we'll agree on some, and disagree on others, and meet a middle-road on other issues - not a bad outcome when it comes to Ufology!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Hi Nick,

    I'm an elitist, and I make no apologies about it. It would be best to never mistake me for some sort of leveller. ;-)

    Leaving that aside, my point was that perhaps the best and most talented among us have "something" which makes them more receptive to communication or interaction with a non-human intelligence. A creative spark, an openess of which they might not even be aware.

    You cite a number of example - Arnold, the Hills, etc. I don't buy any of them as genuine. They might be; they might not be. We just don't know. But that's the problem with just looking at these individual cases from the modern era. I think we have to imagine something more long-term, and something far more interesting, and wonderous, than just nuts-and-bolts flying saucers. We have to start looking for patterns throughout human history, and I think the best place to start is with artists, and great thinkers, because they represent the best of us, as we know it (there are those, of course, who might have the talent of a Mozart, or Bach, but never manifest it due to cicumstances).

    I guess what I'm saying is that I've moved beyond UFOs, or at the very least beyond the best evidence. ;-0

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • I'm with you Paul...all the way!

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Paul

    Fair enough: you don't buy the Hills or Arnold. But you do buy the RB47 case, as a prime event, and as one of the most important UFO cases ever. Not a single arty type involved.

    Same with Rendlesham. Same with Lakenheath, UK, 1956. Was Villas-Boas arty? Were the people in the Cash-Landrum case? Countless abductees, contactees etc have no pre-existing arts-based backgrounds, but they have had absolutely profound UFO experiences.

    I understand you are an elitist, and certainly no apology needed.

    However, I still think by saying that "...perhaps the "non-human intelligence" interacts with those among us who have the greatest receptivity to original thinking, and creativity - artists, musicians, poets, and so forth..." does indeed provoke an imagery of a certain class of people being "better" than the "mob."

    That view certainly doesn't bother me, and I certainly don't lose sleep over it. But, I don't personally want anything to do with it. And, as I previously mentioned, to have attended a couple of artsy events in the last 15 years full of poets, writers, blah blah, etc, blowing their own trumpets about how they are above the average person (and all just because they stay up half the night trying to get the second verse of their latest poem to rhyme) is something I find slightly baffling, very very funny, a bit tragic, and totally unwarranted.

    Is someone who can paint any "better" than, say, an unmarried mom aged 17 who, against all the odds, looks after her kid, gets a home at tha age, and does something with her life?

    I say no. Both provide inspiration. That's my point: there are people who would say the painter is "better" because he or she is arty, and to them arty equates as VERY IMPORTANT (SELF-IMPORTANT PERHAPS). But let's see them do a 12-hour day looking after a kid, then working to support them, and putting themselves through college too.

    I actually don't mind anyone - AT ALL - thinking that their art may have made them more receptive to the UFO phenomenon. Maybe in some cases it really has.

    Rather, I just find the whole thing to be a bit of a joke when you have people assuming because they have an arts background, that this makes them more worthy than someone who busts their back workings in a warehouse 45 hours a week - and might even make them more receptive than any other category of human to a profound UFO experience.

    It doesn't really make them more worthy. It just makes them feel special. And when they are in a group (cocktails, food on a stick, and a tinkling piano in the background at some trendy city building) it gets much, much worse - all massaging each other's arty egos and pretensions.

    To me though, it's not special. Someone might be able to write great music, or write a great book, or direct an Oscar-winning movie.

    But, there are people who have other talents - someone who can strip a car engine, rebuild it better than before. Someone who is a master carpenter, or a heart surgeon, or a world-renowned chef etc etc.

    It's just different - in my view anyway! And it would hardly be Ufology if we agreed on everything!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 05, 2011  

  • Nick,

    With respect, I think you completely missed my point, and in the process mic-characterized my views. C'est la vie.

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Yes, Paul...

    I think Nick misunderstands what you (and I) are saying.

    Personal e-mails from him to me show that he thinks I'm an elitist bloke who wouldn't have a beer with anyone of the hoi polloi.

    While that's almost true, it's a little off the mark.

    His distaste for artsy folk, those who are posers rather than real artists, has skewed his observation of what you are saying, and me a little bit also.

    But ya gotta love the guy. He is passionate about his affection for the rabble.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Oh yes, Nick is a true man of the people. ;-)

    And he's a darn fine bloke as well.

    I consider those two things to usually be mutually exclusive, but somehow Nick manages to make it work.

    PK

    P.S. When I said that he mis-characterized my vies, that came across harsher than I meant it to. The mis-characterization was based on the misunderstanding, as I see it, and certainly not deliberate.

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Further P.S.

    I disdain the poseurs more than anyone (and God knows the film industry has more than its fair share)... but I also have found that most of them are not true artists, many of whom remain largely unknown and unappreciated in their lifetimes (Van Gogh being perhaps the best known example, but Nick Drake being a good modern example from the "pop" realm).

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • While we are on the subject of social types, sociology and what kind of people talk and write so much about UFOs and ufology, perhaps we can address the question of why UFOs are only seen in a restricted part of the world, i.e. the Americas, Europe and certain areas of the far east.

    Why so few from China, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or the less developed parts of Africa? Why hardly anything from the middle-east?

    I may already be wrong about China. Its recent industrial development will cause it to experience more in the way of UFO sightings, maybe even abductions. We shall see.

    I dare say there are simple answers to the above. These answers do not mean the ETs avoid large sections of our 6.7 billion inhabitants. They are more to do with us, homo sapiens, and the way we perceive things. Example: nobody in Mongolia, Kazahkstan or Libya is going to write a UFO book, give a UFO lecture or appear on a TV show, are they? Nor are they going to be abducted.

    Sociology again?

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • CDA:

    You can bet that some UFO "expert" will show up here to provide data that shows UFOs are ubiquitous, and seen all over the world.

    Your point that perceptive sociology might do well to address the First World sightings makes sense to me.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Paul:

    I think I do understand what you were saying. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were pointing out that brilliant minds, original thinkers etc in the field of the arts, might become a target (in a positive sense) of the intelligence behind the UFO phenomenon.

    And maybe by interacting with such people, it allows for culture to expand and move forward. Would that be broadly correct?

    My main point, however, is one stand by: I do think the wording of how you said it does make it look like those in the arts world are somehow more important or above the rest of the crowd.

    My additional point, was just to simply note that many people have talents in many areas that help advance society (and many of them have had UFO encounters too).

    The difference, I've found, however, is that the arty types display far more of a high-degree of self-importance (to the point of very often being laughable and pretentious) than do a lot of other groups.

    Rich:

    You'll come to Dallas one day and drink beer with me and Dana - I guarantee!

    I will introduce you to my favorite of all beers - Tennents Super. A couple of 4-packs of that and you will be seeing UFOs!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Nick:

    I've been known to swill a beer or two -- heavily salted by the way, which is bad for my hypertension.

    And your added boon of seeing UFOs is an extra perk.

    I'm looking forward to it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Nick,

    You wrote:

    you were pointing out that brilliant minds, original thinkers etc in the field of the arts, might become a target (in a positive sense) of the intelligence behind the UFO phenomenon.

    Alas, that's not quite what I meant. Substitute "be more receptive, without necessarily being aware of it" for "become a target". There is a subtle difference.

    My stance on people in general is as follows:

    We are all equal as human beings, in terms of our intrinsic value. However, some people are smarter than others, or have more imagination or creativity than others. That is just a fact. And I think that someone like Mozart, or Bach, or Van Gogh, or Socrates, or others like them, do make a greater contribution to humanity than the averga eJoe or Jill, even as the average Joe and Jill possesses an equal amount of individual human worth.

    Again, a subtle but very real distinction.

    And I can pound them back with the best - and the worst - of them all! ;-)

    Paul
    Unapologetically elitist since 1967, and a proud member of the hoi poloi since 1967 as well.

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Meanwhile, back on track, my reply to Rich:

    http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2011/05/ufos-as-performance-art.html

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Paul

    But the "average" Joe and Jill, as you call them, also make MASSIVE contributions to society in other ways.

    Art is fine. But where would society be withour cars, aircraft, hospitals, food manufacturers?

    The "average" (why are they average when their roles are essential to keeping the wheels of society turning?) Joe or Jill who work in such areas (manufacture, distribution etc) make incredibly valuable contributions.

    They may not be the sort of contributions that make the wine-sipping, "I'm an artist, therefore respect me and my new poem" type foam at the mouth, but without those Joes and Jills, society would soon crumble.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Also, from Greg Bishop back in 2007 - "Are UFOs A Cosmic Art Project?"

    http://www.ufomystic.com/2007/09/22/ufo-art/

    "The intelligence (and there is almost definitely one) behind the UFO enigma may be doing something similar to these artists. When a witness sees something flitting through the sky (or perhaps closer) s/he is often forced to at least temporarily suspend what they think about “reality.” Some cases (like certain great art works) achieve a permanent shift in the witness’ worldview. It’s strange that most researchers choose to ignore this aspect of the UFO experience."

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Greg Bishop's observation Paul is interesting.

    UFOs present a kind of "performance art" then....

    It's a stretch for me but a possibility, even though such maneuvers would be a kind of clever encryption, and not a subtle encryption necessarily --something like the dance that bees do to alert other bees where pollen sources are.

    (Gerald Heard may have been on to something.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Nick's position about the human population reminds me, scarily somewhat, of Robespierre's during the French Terror.

    For examples of human ignorance and intellectual dereliction, watch ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos show or CBS's the Price is Right, not to mention the mobs at basketball, hockey, and football games (to name a few sporting events).

    Instances of mobocracy are rife for even the casual observer.

    A trip to UFO UpDates will seal the deal for those hoping to see examples of human stupidity.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • But Rich:

    As you know (because we've discussed it quite a bit!) me and Dana watch American Idol, Survivor, and Big-Brother. And most weeknight from about 9PM to midnight I watch the English soccer games on one of the subscription channels.

    We spend our friday nights at the pub, and have friends over for drinks, snacks and loud music on weekends.

    I like to think I'm not a dumb, stupid person, and I dont think I am. But, if you did not know me, you might say: "That guy watches lots of reality TV, spends his nights watching soccer, and drinks a lot of beer - he's everything I hate."

    But, the reality is, we share a lot of commonalities, we are proud to call each other friends, but I work in a field that could be termed arty.

    So, in other words, maybe some notions of the populace as the great unwashed mob, are actually preconceived, stereotypical beliefs based on first assumptions.

    Who is to say that those watching The Price is right or the baseball, don't also watch the Discovery Channel or History Channel, or read 2 books a week?

    I watch endless soccer, and watch lots of reality TV, but I'm not a fool who doesnt know what goes on in the world.

    Maybe many of the so-called mob are just like me, but preconceived views prevent people from finding out, because their minds are already made up about them.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • But Nick, you're projecting your intelligence and genteel proclivities on the masses.

    You believe, and perhaps rightfully so, that most people have intrinsic worth and intellectual value.

    And if those who worship the Hindu God Vishnu have it right, your view is sacrosanct.

    But I'm with the old God, Yahweh, the demiurgos, who created and thought (and thinks) mankind is befouled: original sin as Augustine had it.

    Let me suggest, again, Lecomte du Nouy's book "Human Destiny" which presents a cogent view of where we are and where we're going (or should be going) as humanity, as a civilization.

    My old radio show, Ego, based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, still makes me stubborn to concede that your compassionate, Christian-like view is the proper one.

    Even immersed in Schopenhauer, as I am, I can accept your view that mankind isn't as bad as I seem to be making it out to be here.

    You are a good freind and a good guy, and UFO abductors would do well to study you, for the best that is in us as human beings.

    Me? They'd spit out...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Thanks for the comments Rich.

    I dont, however, see me as being compassionate (and certainly not Christian).

    Rather, I used myself as an example to demonstrate simply that writing people off as the great unwashed mob is wrong, when no attempt has been made to get to know them at an individual level - only via a short clip of someone waving and shouting in the audience of some TV game-show.

    The reality is that it doesn't actually demonstrate they're somehow lower or just one of some mob. It's just a brief clip of someone's life.

    And, without knowing what goes on in the rest of that person's life, makes it impossible (in my view) to sum them up in terms of character etc.

    I dont believe that has anything to do with compassion at all. To me, it just makes sense to get to know someone before assuming they are this or that.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Despite being an alleged non-believer" Nick, or an atheist even, you assume the patient judgemental attitude that theologians ascribe to God (and/or Jesus/Christ).

    That is, one can't judge a person's life or existence based upon a small example or slice of that life or existence.

    But for me the patina of "mob" overrides any such consideration.

    People stink! (Generally)

    And being saint-like or good in nature, kind and common-sensical can't save them from my obtuse prejudice.

    Humanity is a foul species, in my mind, and aside from the few who've raised us from the level of the beast -- those named by Paul Kimball, for example (and whom the gods would destroy out of jealousy for their transcendence) -- humans, generally, can be done away with and the Universe would be a better place.

    Yet, one can't abort a fetus, as it may be the next Jonas Salk or Einstein or Beethoven. Who knows?

    Your patience with the rabble allows for correctness within the species, and that is the long view of du Nouy.

    I'm just being curmudgeonly and silly, all because commenters at this blog -- not you or Kimball -- are so goddam stupid or short-sighted.

    (Not you either JR and Frank S.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Hey Richie,

    People have to discriminate, there's no way around it. Whether it be with people, ideas, activities, there just isn't enough time in the day to literally embrace everything. Hating the things we don't have a passion for becomes a problem for all of us though.

    The great artists Paul mentioned have made the world a better place, but we can't forget they had a great passion for what they did, they had stellar mentoring and they lived in societies that prized the arts, if not the specific artist (thinking Van Gogh here during his lifetime).

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Frank:

    You said, "The great artists Paul mentioned have made the world a better place..."

    I totally agree. But people who invented cars, aircraft, who pioneered heart transplants, who deliver the mail, who provide us with electricity, who make computers, who even package our food and make it edible (and the list goes on and on and on) have all made the world a much better place, too.

    I just don't understand why it's the arty types that seem to get greater recognition, and are recognized and remembered, or (which I hate the most) that they are perceived as being more worthy than the rest of us mere humans.

    So Mozart could write music. I can ride a bike. A mate of mine can dislocate his thumbs and pop them back into place afterwards. All good, but none of this helps the human race to survive. The people down in the trenches - the workers - do.

    The world will continue very nicely without another Beethoven - ever.

    It won't continue nicely if - overnight - worlwide electricty went off, forever. Or, there's no more bottled water in the stores. Or, there's no fuel.

    These areas - and the people who work in them - are easily of equal importance.

    I love music, absolutely love it (well, as I mainly listen to punk, a lot of people don't class that as music, but I digress), but at the end of the day it's just music, and a painting is just a painting. The Mona Lisa? Just some bird posing with a faint smile and a hippie haircut. No big deal.

    Now, don't get me wrong: the world would be an awful, AWFUL place if books were banned, or didn't exist, or if music stagnated etc etc. The result would be an utterly, utterly soul-less society.

    But, let's have a balance and recognize the deep importance of how millions of totally unknown people have transformed the planet for the better in other ways.

    Let's not just champion some long-dead composer or whoever, over everyone else, just because he or she was in the arts (a luvvy, as we call them in England).

    You also say: "People have to discriminate, there's no way around it."

    Yes, you're right. But my point was this - I have seen in this debate (which, granted has gone way off it's ufological theme LOL), a references to a kind of "us and them" situation re the arty and mob scenario.

    But, if we discriminate, it should be because we have first taken steps to understand the full character of the person we are discriminating against, and we realize there are (or are not) valid reasons for discriminating.

    To write-off whole swathes of the population because they watch reality TV, watch lots of sports, drink beer, and then class them as the mere mob - and without having any inkling of what they do the rest of the time, or even their names or jobs - is, as I see it, plain wrong.

    Not that you said that, of course! But, your comment allowed me to make a few final comments on this issue. With that said, I'm off to mob-land to hurl rocks at the hoi-poloi!

    :)

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • And to get almost back on topic, I note, as I have early on at this blog, that UFO beings only abduct the hoi polloi, the rabble -- never a bona fide celebrity or artist or scientist.

    So there must be some value to the great unwashed.

    I just don't see it...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Rich:

    Maybe they do abduct them. Maybe a scientist (perhaps one with a government or university grant, and with fears about what his or her peers and colleagues might think), would be reluctant to come forward.

    There is of course Streiber: a best-selling writer who, arguably as a direct result of his experiences, thrust the abduction scenario onto the world stage with Communion, and its eerie, memorable cover.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Streiber?

    Talk about rabble...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Now, now!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Rich et al,

    I just recorded a one hour segment for the X-Zone tonight in which I discuss a lot of these ideas - even gave you a shout-out, Rich. ;-)

    http://www.xzoneradiotv.com/

    It's the last segment, so it's quite late - 1 to 2 am EST - but it will be available on ITunes for free shortly after.

    I recommend it, and encourage folks to keep talking about the possibilities here, and not to get dragged down into arguments about ourselves (i.e. what makes a good human) - the focus should be on how "they" might be contacting or interacting with us.

    Paul

    P.S. I think Rich will like my one-word answer when host Rob McConnell asks me a question about ufologists. Just sayin'... ;-)

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Nick,

    So-called "reality television" is an abomination.

    Now, watching football (or "soccer", as the troglodyte Yanks would have it)... that's sublime!! :-)

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Well,Paul, I better take a nap so I can stay awake to hear the show.

    I'm looking forward to your rejoinders.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Paul

    Well, it's an abomination in your opinion, LOL!

    I could (and do!) say the same about Jazz, which I know you like.

    Tastes vs tastes, that's all it is!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • Hey Nick,

    I think we're on the same page here. One of Lemarchand's better points in the paper is where he recognizes the similarities between the sciences and the arts.

    Obviously, advances in both fields require creative thought, even divine inspiration.

    I guess my point is that a lack of interest in engaging in the full embrace shouldn't equal rejection or disdain.

    A long time ago I realized that the music that me and my friends liked wasn't the cool music, it was just the music that me and my friends liked.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, May 06, 2011  

  • "That's how I feel about people: they are all rabble."

    Here we go again with the misanthropic references to humanity as "the mob," or the "great unwashed," or simply and pejoratively as "rabble."

    Rich, if all people are "rabble," as your statement quoted above notes, doesn't that then necessarily include you also? And if not, why not?

    Or do you claim to be a "mutant," in the sense of Lecomte du Noüy's definition? If so, then do you see the obvious logical contradiction involved?

    It smacks of and seems derivative of some strangely elitist and distorted Ayn Rand-style philosophical belief system, IMHO. Do you see yourself as some Neitzschean ubermenschen Howard Roark, or what?

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Saturday, May 07, 2011  

  • Steve:

    Don't get overworked by my rambling nonsense.

    I was being argumentative and silly.

    You should know how I function by now.

    It's all to drive a discussion.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 07, 2011  

Post a Comment

<< Home