UFO Conjectures

Friday, October 21, 2016

UFOs: Cultural memory and “real” memory

The Times Literary Supplement [TLS] for October 7th 2016 has a review, by W.V. Harris, of these books: Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity [Oxford University Press] and Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire [Paul Getty Museum], both edited by Karl Galinsky, the latter book with Kenneth Lapatin.

While I won’t be addressing the Rome and Christianity subject matter, I will point to material in the review that can be applied to the topic of UFOs and UFO events.

Reviewer Harris notes that “Fables about memory feats were … quite common in the ancient world..” [Page 28]

Harris then tells readers that in Plato’s Phaedrus, “Socrates” felt that writing (down events) denigrated memory because writing gives literate peoples an aid that supplants remembering. (Julius Caesar apparently agreed.)

Scholar John Kloppenborg, writing about the alleged sayings of Jesus in The New Testament, thought those sayings were compromised in their transmission, Kloppenborg elaborating in his essay for Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity.

Reviewer Harris also references Maurice Halbwach’s concept of “collective memory” from 1925 (which derives from Durkheim).

How does this discourse apply to UFO events, Roswell for one?

UFO buff CDA has raised the issue of lost or non-Roswell accounts prior to Stan Friedman’s 1978 broaching the matter after a conversation with Jess Marcel Sr.

And this is an important issue.

Where are the diary accounts of what was going on in Roswell in 1947 if the supposed retrieval of a crashed flying disk (with alien bodies) actually took place.

Diary writing was a popular past-time of U.S. citizens in the time-frame, but there seems to be no real diary entries from the July 1947 period.

(Of course, there have been “faked diary entries created after 1978, but no valid entries found for and in 1947 diaries created by Roswell citizens.)

Then there is the absence of photographs, aside from the Ramey PR effort and dismissal of the debris allegedly found by Mac Brazel.

Brownie cameras were all the rage in the 1940s (and earlier) right through the 1960s and later.

Everyone had a Kodak camera and took photos with them to “remember” where they were and what they were doing. (CDA also has mentioned this several times during his blog commentaries at Roswell postings.)

But no one thought to take photos of the alleged military men in town, accompanying Brazel or cavorting with other citizens? (Not even the local print press?)

And no one who had access to the supposed Brazel debris, including Jesse Marcel Sr. (or Jr.) thought to take a photo of the stuff?

(Remember that Farmer Trent had the good sense, if his story is true, to go into his house and grab his camera to capture the iconic McMinnville flying saucer. And this only a few years after the Roswell incident.)

The Romans (and Greeks) created historical references (Herodotus, Thucydides. Livy, Tacitus, et al.) or provided plays (by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Andronicus,  Plautus, et al.) or scuptures (Praxiteles, Lysippos) to recall (remember) significant events.

What does Roswell have? The Roswell Museum, a post 1978 construct.

Harris reminds readers that Kant wrote “recalling the past (remembering) occurs only with the intention of making it possible to foresee the future.” [ibid]

I don’t get Kant’s point (and rarely understand him) but his insight applies to the Roswell memories: Roswellians ,while deficient in capturing or remembering what really happened in 1947, has made it a point to project the mythologized incident into an ongoing and future inspired (ET incursion) possibility, that some UFO buffs (Friedman, Rudiak, and many others) have been and are attracted to, even as illusionary or delusional as it may be.

Ancient memory was encapsulated in various ways, beyond just mental memory (that Socrates extolled) thank goodness.

And that memory has become a collective or cultural memory abetted by the artifacts created to remember it.

UFO events, like Roswell, have not been treated so intelligently.

Artifacts from the events themselves not preserved or captured, leaving only a contrived memory, many years afterwards — memories that are conflated by fraud or hoaxing and the normal vicissitudes of neurological decay.

If only Roswellians or other participants in significant UFO events kept a record of their experience(s), we’d have no trouble identifying what was historical and what wasn’t.



  • We can't say we believe the "1947 Roswell story" Because we were not there, but we can except the story, for this reason.

    The Roswell local paper,had in the first place reported a crashed flying-saucer,then later had reported, only a "weather balloon"

    My point is, if it was only a weather balloon, why was the military in Roswell pushing its weight around, just over: [a mere weather balloon??]............?

    By Blogger Daniel Yang-Clark, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • But Daniel, was the military really "pushing its weight around"?

    That's my point....no one documented that at the time.....no photo, no diary entry (at the time), nothing.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • What we fined "annoying" with photos are, they are usually not clear, and when they are, its said to be, too good to be true! Suggesting they could be a CGI. so you can't win! The flavor is tainted, so to speak. Real old photos on the other hand, maybe just that, real! we assume! and yes, throw a hubcap in the air, and take snapshots,so we are back where we started. This is another reason, we feel no need to believe,just except the story WISELY! as time will tell only, the reports from others, unless we have seen for our selves.......

    By Blogger Daniel Yang-Clark, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • Daniel, buddy...

    I'm stressing the non-photos of the military in town during the incident nor any photos of the "debris" that a number people said was presented to them (before supposedly being "confiscated by authorities).


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • If what you say Rich, is true, then would not, this look like a "cover-up" in Roswell [ALL WAY ROUND]? To kill the story, of what really did happen there, and not the weather balloon everyone was expected to believe!?............

    By Blogger Daniel Yang-Clark, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • Daniel:

    In every community, whether those under assault by Russia or the Germans in WWII or a Roswell, there is always someone who documents events, no matter how bad the conditions.

    No one did that in Roswell. Were those people totally outside the norms of behavior that makes people want a record of what is transpiring to them or their surroundings, their communities.

    Even people about to get hit by a tornado or hurricane stand firm to get a photo.

    Didn't anyone in Roswell (1947) have a desire to put down, in their diary, or capture with their Kodak, what was going on. during the alleged hub-bub?

    Or did nothing happen that called for such documentation (such remembering as the books I cited referred to)?

    That's the point.

    I know it may be a little too nuanced for you and others (like Roswellian ET believer David Rudiak or scientist Stanton Friedman) but there it is.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • We understand what your getting at Rich, all good! but its 69yrs. now!...Its got to be a dead duck!? Even if nothing happened there,Rich, the Roswellians of that time, have moved on...............?

    By Blogger Daniel Yang-Clark, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

  • I agree Daniel...

    I'm looking at in the context of history and memory, not the event itself.

    It's merely an example for UFO buffs about memory and how it sometimes is lacking in substance, not just neurologically but in reality.

    All UFOs come to us afflicted by memory glitches, but if one could mitigate the intrinsic flaws in memory recall by "tools" that capture events, that should be the practice, which the ancients knew and many moderns do, but not all.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2016  

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