UFO Conjectures

Thursday, February 23, 2017

UFOs and Cultural Anthropology

Copyright 2017, InterAmerica, Inc.
Most of us who (still) follow the UFO milieu do so across national and international boundaries; that is, we look at and are interested in UFO sightings or reports from all over.

But that may be the wrong approach, especially for UFO researchers.

There seems to be a cultural element in UFO observations, and particularly alleged UFO encounters where “beings” come into the mix.

For instance, the early 1950s, encounters with small humanoid-like entities, in western Europe (France, Italy Spain), were unique, as far as I can tell, from the accumulated UFO lore in the time-frame.

UFO sightings and encounters in South America have a flavor all their own for the countries in that southern hemisphere, with each country toting different mental flavors from their neighbors.

Mexico’s UFO “events” also take on a specific cast, pertinent to that country and its peoples.

Australia provides a patina of UFO sightings that differ from other countries in the British Commonwealth, just as sightings in Ireland and Scotland resonate differently than those in England.

Scandinavian UFO accounts also have a palette different from (than) that of neighboring Belgium or the Netherlands.

Chinese UFO tales appear slightly different than those in Japan or the Korean peninsula.

Countries in the South Pacific provide observations that speak to UFO investigators differently than observations from Mid-East nations.

Russian reports east of Moscow and the Volga differ form those west of the Capital.

And arctic sightings come in with an overlay that is different than those from Canada or the northern United States.

There are even dissimilarities between northern U.S. observations and those from the southern smear of states, Florida UFO sightings often odder than those from its more northerly neighbors.

And then we have reports from Africa, many from school children, and fraught with unusual details.

Antarctic UFO sightings are a category all by itself, in an area without a cultural substrate.

My point?

That studying UFOs, looking for an explanation, requires taking into consideration the cultural artifacts that impact observations or reportage.

We all like sensational UFO events, sightings, and purported encounters with odd entities.

But a peoples’ mind-set, with cultural elements intact, compromise evaluation, if ignored, and UFO researchers ignore them, researchers inept in most disciplines (such as Cultural Anthropology) that would nudge explanations in scientific ways.

(I'll be providing, upcoming, specific examples of UFO tales, affected by cultural artifacts that do not correspond to a generic overlay.)


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A scientific explanation for ufological ignorance

Copyright 2017, InterAmerica, Inc.

The current New Yorker [2/27/2017], pictured here, has an article by Elizabeth Kolbert, That’s What You Think, Page 66 ff.

The piece elucidates “Why reason and evidence won’t change our minds.”

Reporter Kolbert provides a number of experiments (psychological and otherwise) that show (confirm) why reasonable-seeming people are often totally irrational.

The “confirmation bias” is cited: “the tendency people have to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them.” [Page 68]

Kolbert writes, “If reason is designed to generate sound judgments, then it’s hard to conceive of a more serious design flaw than confirmation bias.” [ibid]

The main argument expressed by Ms. Kolbert, with books referenced to support the argument, is that humans have evolved to scrap reason in deference to this:

“Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups.” [ibid]

“People believe that they know way more than they actually do. What allows us to persist in [a] belief is other people.” [Page 70]

“As a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding.” [ibid]

A book authored by Jack and Sara Gorman offers this Kolbert writes:

“[The Gormans] cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure – a rush of dopamine – when processing information that supports their beliefs. ‘It feels good to stick to our guns even if we are wrong’” [Page 71]

“Providing people with accurate information doesn’t seem to help; they simply discount it.” [ibid]

I provide this watered down account to support my view, and that of some of you, which offers an understanding of why and how some UFO ETH proponents operate and think (or don’t, as the case may be).

You can find the article online I think.

I excised the political slant and the detailed examples about various aspects of society that make the point(s) Ms.Kolbert suggests to get to my point:

That UFO buffs and hard-core ufologists are rejuvenated by like-minded peers and has been detrimental to UFO research.

It also goes to the heart of the discussion here about Kevin Randle’s plight with non-thinkers and Roswell habitués.

The UFO topic is cluttered with ignorance and non-think; we all know that.

Ms. Kolbert’s astute New Yorker piece provides why that is so,