UFO Conjecture(s)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mankind’s art and rare moments of [extraterrestrial] insanity?

E.H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art [12th edition, Phaidon, London, 1950/1972] provides an erudite panoply of art from primitive eras to (relatively) modern times.

Cave art from Altamira, Spain and Lascaux, 15,000 years ago, shows that primitive man created what is known as representational art: art depicting things as they were:
Egyptian art depicted “reality” often using animal and human body parts co-joined [1400 B.C.:
But generally depicting “reality” as it was [1350 B.C. and 150 A.D.]:
The Greeks provided reality beautified, as seen here [from 25 B.C, and the 2nd Century B.C.]:
During the Middle Ages reality was still being depicted, even though that reality was allegorical [1000 A.D., 1255 A.D., 1508, 1628]:
Artists in the 1800s started to get imaginative but reality still prevailed:

Then there’s Picasso:
 Art always stayed within realistic parameters, or did it?

How can we account for these depictions (some from Pearltree.com)?

One might attribute such odd paintings or sculptors to an insanity or pathological whim of primitive man, but neurology doesn’t allow that.

Schizophrenics or mentally afflicted humans can only depict (paint or draw) what they have received mentally via the senses; that is, a person cannot draw something that lies totally outside their experience.

Even wild drawings and paintings are rooted in symbols and images that stem from actual perception, no matter how distorted the original perception has become, unless….

… those drawings and painting derive from mystical or psychical images out of the unconscious, but early man had no unconscious or collective unconscious. [Jung ‘s Man and His Symbols, Dell/Laurel, NY, 1964, Page 31]

Some will say that psychedelics were involved, but even then the images have to come from experience – what is visually and mentally known or perceived beforehand (before the psychedelics took effect.

Bizarre visuals cannot come ex nihilo; they need a root reality.

So, while artists, through the ages, generally provided works showing, in essence, real perceptions, we have a few that indicate something not quite real.

Why? What did they see?

Was early man intruded upon by strange beings from portals outside the Earth. Or was early man subject to extraterrestrial visitations as the Alien Astronaut theorists suggest?

Or is mankind sometimes afflicted by images and experiences thrust upon them by something not Earthly but connected to this planet for reasons yet to be discovered?



  • Hello Rich,

    Very interesting post!

    "Or is mankind sometimes afflicted by images and experiences thrust upon them by something not Earthly but connected to this planet for reasons yet to be discovered?"

    You might find some answers in the scholarly work of David Lewis-Williams and his “neuropsychological model” of cave art and... even an interesting hypothesis for the origins of religion... Nothing less :-)

    Very impressive and pretty convincing.

    His most interesting book, "The Mind in the Cave" is a must-read for someone who wants to see the whole picture.


    Best regards!


    By Blogger hessdalen lights, at Wednesday, July 15, 2015  

  • Grazie, Julien...

    I'm on it.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, July 15, 2015  

  • Magical thought, probably then and now, can so easily expand beyond visual experience.
    Remember, magical thought can and does affect our interpretation of our senses, even (especially) if it is revealed to us through second hand witnesses, or third or fourth ...

    By Blogger Woody, at Wednesday, July 15, 2015  

  • The great intellectual scholar, Mircea Eliade, in volume 1 of his A History of Religious Ideas, writes [Page 33] that "the art of the Natufians [peoples of the first recognized Mesolithic Wadi en-Natuf culture] is naturalistic." which confirms my view that early man painted or drew what he saw representationally (naturally) or as it actually appeared.

    However, Eliade allows that "the imaginative activity of prehistoric man also possessed a mythological dimension." [Page 35]

    His views are consumed by the idea that religious or magical thought derives from dreams and mental input, intrinsic to mankind I'm assuming.

    That may be so, but such dreams and "magical thoughts" need an a priori stimulus or stimuli....such dreams and thoughts can't come to the brain or mind, ex nihilo.

    That's neurologically impossible, neuroscience, today, tells us.

    But how can one dispute Eliade's views out of hand?

    There may, indeed, be mental input, from somewhere, that is not connected to personal human experience: that is, humans may be getting [magical] input from a source outside themselves.

    But who or what is providing such input?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, July 15, 2015  

  • Food for thought, RR and exciting.
    But I've become very reluctant to explain one unknown in terms of another unknown.
    Anyone who doesn't ken should look up teleporting bigfoots or inter-dimensional ghosts.

    All the best,

    By Blogger Woody, at Thursday, July 16, 2015  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Matt, at Thursday, July 16, 2015  

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