UFO Conjecture(s)

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,

RR