UFO Conjectures

Monday, April 09, 2012

Albert Camus, UFOs, and UFO Buffs

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

The April 9th 2012 New Yorker has an article, Facing History: Why We Love Camus by Adam Gopnik [Page 70 ff.] from which I’ve culled these excerpts that can be applied to ufologists and those who debate about UFOs…

Writer Gopnik begins his piece with a laudatory take on French philosopher/writer Albert Camus’ good looks and writes this:

Looks matter to the mind…The ugly man who thinks hard…is using his mind to make up for his face. [Page 70]

You can name the prominent ufologists to whom that epithetical observation applies.

Gopnik, comparing the great Jean Paul Sartre with Camus – who were friends before a falling out – tells us that:

Camus was not only a better writer but a more interesting systematic thinker than Sartre. [ibid]

Referring to the mythical Sisyphus who, as you know, was doomed to rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back to the bottom so that Sisyphus was never able to achieve any finality to his chore – which may be likened to those who pursue the Roswell incident or UFOs generally – Gopnik quotes Camus’ “most emphatic aphorism”:

One must imagine Sisyphus happy. [Page 72]

And about Editorial writers, which many UFO mavens are, Gopnik writes:

Editorial writers can seem the most insipid and helpless of the scribbling class.

Good editorial writing has less to do with winning an argument, since the other side is mostly not listening, than with telling the guys on your side how they ought to sound when they are arguing.

Not “Say this!” but “Sound this way!” is what great editorialists teach. [ibid]

Using Sartre’s mantras about history, one can apply Sartre’s words to a proper ufological position:

Sartre said that you couldn’t know how history [UFOs] would work out, but you could act as if you did.

Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is. [Page 73]

Quoting from Camus’ The Rebel (L’Homme Révolté):

It is those who know how to rebel, at the appropriate moment against history [UFO orthodoxy] who really advance its interests. [Page 74]

It is in the nature of intellectual life – and part of its value – to gravitate toward the extreme alternative position.

We want big minds to voice extreme ideas, since our smaller minds already voice the saner ones. [ibid]

And Gopnik reminds us that “Harvard and Yale pay some of their professors to tell…students that everything they believe is a bourgeois illusion.” [Page 74] – which is a view recently promulgated by ZoamChomsky in comments here and errantly ballyhooed by our skeptical friends Lance Moody and Gilles Fernandez.

Debating the existence of UFOs or the reality of an alleged flying disk crash near Roswell has to be categorically intellectual in the absolute sense of the word intellectual.

Unfortunately, discussion of UFOs, Roswell, Kenneth Arnold and all the myriad other UFO sightings and reports has descended into intellectual anarchy, with a patina of religious fervor.

This is why some former UFO stalwarts have dropped out of the UFO scene: the debate has become too ratty for them.

And if we continue to see nutty views here that are contrary just to be contrary with no meaningful essence, we’ll have to consider taking some of our more sensible visitors – CDA, Kandinsky, Dominick, et al. -- to our academically [sic] tinged blogs and web-sites,



  • At my former blog I noted several times that the vein of existentialism runs deep in regard to
    unidentified aerial phenomenon, and I have always admired your commentary and attempts to draw the larger issues into the dialog, which I have also noted, draw few, if any comments. It seems that most would prefer commenting on others opinions of their opinions.Safe territory as opposed to the themes of existential threat, which are another example of this vein being a very large window through which folks view this phenomenon that becomes, over time, paranoiac in terms of "others", the nebulous "they". Or the mythical theme of "the stranger" or "the trickster". It's the descent as Freud would say, into "the primordial swamp of the unconscious." All of which, suggests that the phenomenon does exist because it brings out all of our skeletons from the closet. As to it's nature, the fact that it is unknown, drives this bus further into the swamp. A well worthwhile post.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, April 09, 2012  

  • Thank you Bruce...

    Coming from you that's high praise indeed, and we (you and I) are on the same page about UFOs and the state of the topic.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 09, 2012  

  • We may fuss over this or that, but although at times your comments draw ire from this writer, they have the consistent effect, whether that is good or ill to provoke more consideration to critical assumptions, whether they are personal or in regard to the issues that lie buried under hubris. What else is there as a stimulus to the topic that has not been sieved into such small pixels that how many angels fit on a pin rather than the nature of the pin.
    Bias projection, immeasurable existential threat, the architecture of chaos ( that patterns do not necessarily represent the origination of cause), and so forth are so ripe in regard to unidentified aerial phenomenon that it never fails to confirm ( much to my dismay) how all of this has declined to a existential one trick pony that's so old, you cannot teach an old pony new tricks. As a outfielder to your ground balls, I see you touch most, if not all of the bases. When I read your blog, I wonder..who will be the last to leave Plato's cave?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, April 09, 2012  

  • One final comment on the post. If agnostics and believers ( whatever their stripe) explored and studied these issues, they would be more prepared to face the unknown and place into a multi-facted sort of self awareness as far as to the traps one would immediately fall into should their ship come in. If they do exist on some coherent material level, one can easily see, as others have noted, we are ill prepared to be mature about it.
    Another way to look at it, is to ask how useful or the pragmatic utility of minutia be that's fifty years old be should such an event occur? Theres very little self examination in nearly everything I read, as if nebulous factoids could replace it.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, April 09, 2012  

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