UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Kinds of [UFO] Truth

Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.
The New York Review of Books [June 6th, 2013, Page 82] reprinted a February 1963 review by Susan Sontag about the “historian” Simone Weil, who was enamored of the Catholic Church and Gnostic Theology, and who excoriated the early Romans and their Jewish counterparts of the time. Weil also was soft on Hitler saying he was no worse than Napoleon, Richelieu, and Caesar. Sontag says Weil was “unpleasant[ly] silent about the Nazi persecution of the Jews.”

In Sontag’s review were asides about truth, which I suggest our resident skeptics and true believers absorb. (Paul Kimball’s Other Side of Truth approaches Sontag’s views.)

Sontag writes:

An idea which is a distortion may have a greater intellectual thrust than the truth. It may better serve the needs of the spirit….The truth is balance, but the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.

… we acknowledge the presence of mystery in the world – and mystery is just what the secure possession of the truth, an objective truth denies. In this sense, all truth is superficial; and some (but not all) unhealthiness, some (but not all) denials of life are truth-giving, sanity-producing, health-creating, and life-enhancing.

And this about history (for Paul Kimball):

… no one who disbelieves … fundamentally in the phenomena [sic] of historical change and innovation can be wholly satisfying as a historian.

Sontag allows for our approach here: ideas which beg at the door of truth (or reality) seemingly have value, as a “greater intellectual thrust than the truth.”

We think (I think) that the hard-core skeptics and entrenched true-believers who show up here and at other blog venues (Kevin Randle’s site in droves) are intellectually remiss, eschewing, out of hand, possibilities that may “better serve the needs of the [UFO] spirit.”

Hard-core skeptics wow the intellectual mind sometimes, while hard-core believers make us intellectually cautious; both provide “balance, but the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.”

Persons entrenched in non-belief and those entrenched in belief roam the halls of UFO hypotheses trying to stifle views that diminish, or try to, their hard-core positions.

That’s not intellectualism. Rather it’s ignorance clothed in a patina of intellectual hubris.

We allow both intellectual reprobates commentary here, because that forces balance, as Sontag has it.

But we are often embarrassed by the close-minded or narrow-minded effusions that show up here and elsewhere.

That said, let’s try to keep open minds about the UFO phenomenon (or phenomena, if you will) and try to find the common denominator among all the sightings and accounts at our disposal.

Where is the truth about UFOs? Not in hypotheticals, but in a methodology which tackles the meaty substance, if any, in reports and/or data that derive from credible accounts, past and present.

Spewing invectives about Roswell takes us nowhere. Lambasting the Hills alleged abduction, as odd as it is, takes us beyond balance.

Inside UFO accounts lie some kinds of truth or truths. To inveigh against looking at such reports besmirches intellectual scrutiny, a non-philosophical stance that is unworthy of time spent or effort(s) expended.

UFOs may be ephemeral and/or meaningless in the great scheme of things, but once a person invests time on the topic, the phenomenon takes on a cloak of importance that belies a real reality but offers up a new, shallow reality, and in that resides something perhaps of value….perhaps.



  • To me whatever meaning truth has as a valuation based on comparisons, evolves either for the better or the worse, again, as a valuation.
    I do suspect that we exist in this transience in something comparable to a mirror, as we explore the universe to determine what our nature may be and the universe, through us, explores what it's own nature could be. The metaphysical outlook generally places us as a species in a isthmus, or as Huxley said, we are amphibious by nature.
    Ibn Al Arabi in his cosmology suggested that if we can determine what is between the mirror and the image, that is the best we can hope for. More aptly, specifically to this post, the word metaphor as always stuck with me as what we consider the truth is simply a metaphor for another truth that is incommensurable to our understanding. Looking at language, semiotics etc, these strike me as metaphors that, as Burroughs suggested, is, in one aspect, a control system as well as a modality.
    I think in the dualism of material manifestations versus intangible ones, there are degrees of both in each, and some phenomenon such as UFO's fit into this spectrum of contingent transience that fall between the demarcations of our senses. This is a tough proposition for us to envision as we are programmed to classify in ways that don't fit the several realities we ourselves inhabit. That is why truth is a pliable commodity in my view.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, August 01, 2013  

  • Bruce, I tend to look at truth as ones subjective interpretation.

    Objective interpretation, meaningful facts, can then support or discount the truth.

    Truth can be elusive. The mental construct of confabulation is merely the truth wrapped up like the layers of an onion.

    Obviously, I claim no original thought in the above as others have trudged this path for the last couple of millennium. But it tends to serve me well through life.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Thursday, August 01, 2013  

  • Yes, I agree with Sontag's general premise. History is a moving target - often the question of what happened, but even more so the question of it happened, in what context, and with what consequences and lessons to be learned. There is no single absolute historical truth about any thing - just different sides to be considered and weighed in the balance.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Thursday, August 01, 2013  

  • That should have read: "even more so the question of how it happened..."

    As a Homer Simpsonian, I can only say: D'oh!

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Thursday, August 01, 2013  

  • Anybody interested in some truly shoddy historical arguing should take a closer look at holocaust denial. It's brutally simple minded and generally dishonest, but some folks honestly buy into it.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, August 01, 2013  

  • “Including changing names, creating aliases. Stop and think what things are most calculated to get at the truth? Talk to people with first-hand knowledge. What creates the appearance and perhaps the reality of a cover-up? Not letting us talk with people who have the most amount of information, dispersing them around the country and changing their names.”


    ...not quite:


    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Saturday, August 03, 2013  

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