UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, February 06, 2012

UFOs and The Nature of Reality


Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

When it comes to UFOs we constantly ask ourselves what is the reality?

But that presupposes that we have a grasp on reality itself, and not just in the realm of UFOs.

What is reality?

Okay, we can’t presume to answer that question in this ratty little blog, or anywhere else for that matter.

However we can approach the topic of reality in a cursory way and see how the philosophical dilemma impacts our interest in UFOs…

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy [Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., & The Free Press, NY, 1967] in Volume One addresses Appearance and Reality (Page 135 ff.) by opening with a statement by Bertrand Russell in his The Problems of Philosophy:

…the distinction between appearance and reality [is] “one of the distinctions that cause the most trouble in philosophy.”

The segment goes on to cite Protagoras (Man is the measure of all things), Plato, Augustine, Kant (The things we intuit are not in themselves what we intuit…as appearances, they cannot exist in themselves, but only in us), Leibniz, et al.

And philosophy, that confusing discipline, has never clarified reality for anyone.

Quantum physics has made matters worse.

Science, is seems, is as confused about reality as are we.

So when it comes to UFO reports, what are we to do with the “reality” that is suggested by those who witness sightings or encounters?

We can only take down what they relate and compare it to data and other information we’ve accrued over the years and hope we get a good approximation of the UFO reality.

The problem is that UFO reality is even more convoluted than practical reality, the reality that confronts our everyday existence.

Persons who see a UFO or have an encounter become, generally, discombobulated; their senses presenting information to their brain that, because of its unique character – the UFO information – the brain has to handle in various ways, which we’ve dealt with here, somewhat, in out neurological outings.

So details get smudged by a person's memory banks and physiological responses.

The cave painting posting by Josh shows reportage that is created under calmer circumstances, as best as primitive life can be said to be calm.

We can state, though, that cave painters would not be, I think, as mentally compromised as modern man is: stress, minds filled with all kinds of media input, and a loss of connection with nature.

Therefore their depictions have an informational purity that may be missing in modern renditions of “fact” or reality as purveyed by witnesses to events.

(I have a slew of papers and sources indicating the flaws endemic to testimony, eyewitness and otherwise, should anyone care to read them.)

Commonsense tells us that observers will, invariably, botch their observations, inadvertently but sometimes purposefully, to avoid ridicule or to enhance their accounts.

I lean toward accepting first-hand accounts of UFO sightings and encounters as veracious, with caveats about memory after a long period, wherein the account is separated by time and subject to the vicissitudes of human memory: extraneous material added by neurological quirks.

But we can assume accounts that are set down almost immediately after a UFO sighting or encounter are tarred only slightly by neurological input that doesn’t pertain.

It’s the similar elements in sightings that makes them reliable, as Jose Caravaca has outlined in the many sightings/encounters he’s researched.

That is, if a detail or element continues to show up, one can assume that the witness rendition has validity.

But is that reality?

We’re back to what constitutes reality. Having similar experiences would normally provide a foothold on reality as Descartes explained.

Yet, when it comes to UFOs, or historical events, or quantum perceptions, everything is up for grabs and reality is an open question -- a chimera likely, far removed from what really is.

And then, when it comes to UFOs, there is the contributing factor of ufological interference: the addition of ineptness, bias, and ego into UFO accounts.

The academic disciplines attributable to other areas of knowledge, as flawed as they may be, are totally missing – totally – when it comes to that instilled charlatanry known as ufology.

So, we’re left with Russell’s assessment: the distinction between appearance and reality (when it comes to UFOs) causes the most trouble.

RR

10 Comments:

  • I sometimes wonder if the study of UFOs isn’t, by its very nature, about teasing the student from their concepts of reality? Taken further, it sometimes appears that aspects of the phenomena might just as well have been engineered for that purpose.

    It’s all so unreasonable and apparently incoherent. In reality, there are no ‘other worlds’, no visitors and early saucer sightings cannot be structured craft. Lights in the sky are the misperceived activities of helicopters and military exercises. Where conventional, prosaic and parsimonious explanations falter, suspicions must fall upon hoaxing. Failing that, cultural saturation of sci-fi memes undermines the weak-minded into convincing themselves of humanoid encounters.

    It *should* be that simple…

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Monday, February 06, 2012  

  • Kandinsky:

    I'm constantly struck by how many "realities" are operating at any moment -- mundane realities I mean.

    Everyone has their "project" -- their little activity that absorbs them.

    There is no unifying reality.

    UFOs are at the very edge of reality -- our mundane reality.

    No "normal" person gives a care about UFOs.

    It's a side-bar to life -- an arcane hobby for the loopy among us (me included).

    UFOs mean nothing to people, in the real sense, the substantive sense.

    Drilling down into UFO sightings and encounters provides nothing that weighs on our human existence.

    Those who take UFOs seriously should be in therapy.

    UFos are a pastime, a waste of time...

    But here we are, wasting our lives with the topic.

    How foolish of us.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, February 06, 2012  

  • I agree and at least part of the fascination with this subject involves walking away.

    If everyone walked away at the same time, it might not make any difference at all...

    I've recently found a copy of Brodie's 'Virus of the Mind' and expect to see something depressingly familiar in there.

    This ufology bug has the hallmarks of a bloody virus. The cure may be complete withdrawal and bed-rest pending recovery...

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Monday, February 06, 2012  

  • Thanks for the book tip, K...

    I'll get a copy of Brodie's 'Virus of the Mind' -- I like the title.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, February 06, 2012  

  • It is a good thing for humanity not to know the hidden nature of reality as you put it. It would descent to a pile of hubris,then concurrently become militarized and bought and sold just as what we know now about reality currently is largely squandered on miserly pursuits.
    In terms of UFO realities, the same reason may apply, although our reality is a back fill of language propelled by learned instincts, full of ludicrous images, artificially seamless, continuously reinforced, in babbling modalities, all of which are largely a dog chasing it's tail.
    What the UFO is is unimaginable in these circumstances. We cannot imagine a modality without content, content that is "purposeless" as we ourselves define purpose. Because it is empty in this sense, it absorbs like a mirror does and it reflects lunacies. We are too needy, too much the purposeful surface dwellers who are clueless to untangle ourselves from we we think is "real", let alone this enigma. We want to make it dance, go on stage. It never will. Every dart will Bounce off of it and land on our own tails. That says a great deal or infers as much as to "what" it is and what it is not in my little rag book.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, February 06, 2012  

  • Found an interesting piece on that illustration at the top of your posting.

    It was thought to be a woodcut from the 16th century but it is not. It was first drawn by Camille Flammarion c. 1888. The story is given in "An enigmatical astronomical woodcut" by Joseph Ashbrook in SKY AND TELESCOPE May 1977 and reprinted in his book "The Astronomical Scrapbook".

    Among those to ascribe it wrongly is one Dr Donald H.Menzel of anti-ufology fame.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, February 07, 2012  

  • Thanks, CDA...

    I was looking for my copy on our main computer and couldn't find it, so I Googled "Universe behind curtain" and up popped a gazillion images, some entitled Flammarion.

    It's a great image.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, February 07, 2012  

  • Every experience is a subjective experience. Even scientific experiments. We are lucky that we can agree what "red" is.

    By Blogger John Maxim, at Wednesday, February 08, 2012  

  • It's all completely objective: There are no REAL "UFOs" of any kind and never were, there are only "UFO" REPORTS; REPORTS are the subject a media-manufactured MYTH and are made within the ongoing COLLECTIVE DELUSION it perpetuates; advocates of the MYTH as an alternate reality of any kind are pseudoscientists, since (in Popperian demarcation theory) they advocate a failed hypothesis for REPORTS, and promote that failed hypothesis in advance of REPORTS while intently ignoring the obvious psychosocial origins of the MYTH and the utter absence of veracious evidence.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, February 10, 2012  

  • "What is reality?"

    Reality is what's still here when the question isn't. ;~)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, February 10, 2012  

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