UFO Conjectures

Saturday, August 17, 2019

My pal Bryan Sentes is angry with me….but that was to be expected

Copyright 2019, InterAmerica, Inc.

Buddy (no longer?) Bryan thinks I distort his view about the importance of witnesses to UFO (paranormal) activity.

I just reviewed all of his writing – all of it – at his blog [skunkworksblog.com] and I am sure that his tenor there is that the “cultural” aspects of Ufology and UFO reports are important and probably the most important element in the search for the UFO meaning or explanation.

He adopts the Jungian view about Flying Saucers – they are a myth, engendered by a psychosocial demeanor that permeates society and human beings,

And I disagree, thinking that UFOs are something inordinately unique and a key – a real key – to our understanding of reality – real reality.

The psychosocial aspect, presented brilliantly by Bryan, is interesting but has nothing to do with the mysterious phenomenon itself, nada!

I note in a comment for him, in my piece below this one, that a witness to a UFO event or a paranormal event should be like a news reporter: invisible to the account or story, reporting clearly and truthfully what was seen or experienced. And that’s it.

I noted in my piece below the Calvin Parker/Pascagoula episode and his of-late offerings about it.

Calvin is a good ol’ country boy who had what I think is a real encounter with what has come to be thought as an ET creature from a UFO.

Calvin continues to “exploit” that experience – and why not, it’s a good one.

But nowhere do I get the idea that Calvin thinks he’s the important part of the story.

It’s the “encounter” that is front and center for him and for his telling about it.

That’s what I’m driving at, but Bryan would, I surmise – and Bryan thinks I do wrongfully – have us believe that a psychosocial view of Calvin might be helpful in the matter.

But I would ask, naively apparently, how?

Go to Bryan’s blog, be entertained by his erudition and let me know if I misunderstand his emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of the UFO myth or reality (he allows you a choice).

You will find this there:

"If we turn from the speculation that the UFO is strictly a psychosocial phenomenon, lacking physical objecthood to another, that the UFO is physically real, either in a way our physics can grasp or not, does the psychosociocultural reality examined above become of no account? Not at all."

If I mistakenly see an overwhelming preference by him for the human observation or experience rather than a desire to explain the phenomenon itself, let me know and I’ll send him a bottle of Chivas as a penance.

RR

27 Comments:

  • Bro',

    You take the quoted passage out of context: that post proposes itself as a _thought experiment_: if we think _this_ way, what follows? Then, later, in the same post, I reverse the assumption, if we assume the opposite, in a certain sense, what follows? In either case, the thinking is hypothetical, and turns on the different senses sensibly attributable to the word 'reality'.

    And to be as clear as possible, we are, in this regard, speaking at cross-purposes (a point I go to great pains to make clear...): if we analyze the UFO phenomenon into an objective and subjective pole, you are concerned, you claim, exclusively (however much your side interests belie this claim) in identifying the mysterious object of the experience; for my part, for the most part, what's important to me is what the report of the object reveals about the subject (NOT what the subject reveals about the object!) and thereby about the society and culture wherein that subject is situated; _some_times, I reverse the interest and _do_ posit the subject reveals something about the object. As I write at the the post re Cosmic Consciousness, etc. _remove the witness from the equation_ and the relevance of the witness is revealed. But that's more an epistemological question, which is a very demanding and admittedly often tiresome (however important) territory to traverse.

    More pertinently. you omit the final passage of the post you quote:

    "I am not arguing here for an exclusively “psychosocial” approach to the UFO mystery, or even that such an angle of engagement might be sufficient in itself for resolving that mystery. What I do maintain is that the relation between the UFO phenomenon and the culture to which or within which it appears is a dialectical one: no phenomenon without something “seen in the skies”, but nothing witnessed without a witness, always situated and oriented in a world always-already articulated, made sense of, by the matrix of culture out of which that witness comes to awareness of reality, of the world, the cosmos, and itself."

    With regard to Parker's self-effacement: it don't matter: he's no blank slate. Every experience has its conditions of possibility that determine what can be experienced at all (shape, motion, light, sound, temperature, etc.), and, of course, Parker's testimony articulates itself in even greater detail than these merely sensory inputs, e.g., ""They gave a thorough, I mean a thorough, examination to me just like any doctor would..."

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Saturday, August 17, 2019  

  • Let me see if I can't put myself in your shoes: as a witness, yourself (right?), you are gripped, understandably, by the unrelenting question of just what it was you saw. Anything aside from this question, is really beside the (your) point, and so you are understandably impatient with, at the very least, forays by myself and others into the cultural ripples reports of the phenomenon, if not the phenomenon itself, send out: _these ripples aren't what hit the water of our world or reality._ Such a standpoint I could understand.

    But if I do understand you, I beg you to understand no less that my if not others' interest in what strikes you as the mere periphery or epiphenomena of the phenomenon doesn't seek to displace or even impinge on the focus of your concerns.

    And if I do, on occasion, as I do, humbly submit to clear away some of the obscuring epistemological underbrush, it is only to help clear the path a little to the clearing where you and others on the same quest might meet up with and maybe even grasp (remember Steve Michalak, though!) that evasive Graal you're after.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Saturday, August 17, 2019  

  • I always admit that your view (and MJs and Jung's -- I have read his book several times, as you have) is fascinating and interesting for this reality we find ourselves in and are subject to for now.

    But I, like others who don't get cranky about it, are sick and tired of reading about all the fascinating peripheral approaches to the phenomenon -- my own often making me puke.

    There seems to be a reality impinging on the one we think is normal and real, a reality amenable to our consciousness.

    And when brilliant persons like you and MJ go off on tangents as if that impinging reality is meaningless or not relevant, I'm offended and angry.

    I wish I had the wherewithal you fellows have or the temperance that Paul Kimball has, but I don't.

    I'm sidetracked by my sordid past and diverging interests in things as placid or foolish as ballet.

    I'm looking constantly, as is obvious from my book recommendations, for those who have a grasp of this human folly. And philosophy isn't the answer. It's a quagmire, like Quantum theory.

    I get your attempts to teach your readers and goofs like me something of the academic approach but the academic community, like science, is under attack, as I have noted here.

    So, offering classes online at this blog and even your own is an iffy proposition in the current milieu.

    And let me tell you as you are an innocent when it comes to social mores sometimes, the epithet "Bro" is, like "n*gger," owned by our black friends who hate that we whiteys use it as a form of greeting or endearment.

    I had it brought home at my Media FB page a while back by a black reporter who was incensed that a fellow reporter (white) was calling everyone he met, "Bro."

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, August 17, 2019  

  • On my planet, here in Canada, where race relations are a little different (not to say there's no problems), "bro" gets tossed around by all kinds, but I'll surely keep your remarks in mind in the future.

    I really am unsure just how to respond to your being offended or angry at others having other interests than yours; I had hoped my attempt to articulate things from you shoes would have at least ameliorated certain frustrations or incomprehensions, that I note. I tried.

    To be clear, though, I'm not attempting to teach anybody anything, least of all conduct some kind of MOOC. If anything I'm just trying engage certain topics from my own constantly changing viewpoint, informed by my own background and reading, like anyone else, trying to get clear on things for myself. Believe or not, at no time have I lowered the academic boom! And if I can't express myself like myself, always with the interlocutor in view, mind you, what's the point of expressing oneself at all?

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Saturday, August 17, 2019  

  • Your expressed views are superb and always on point, academically and grammatically correct.

    It's the sometimes subversive asides that distract me, as when you "correct" me using your quote:

    "If we turn from the speculation that the UFO is strictly a psychosocial phenomenon, lacking physical objecthood to another, that the UFO is physically real, either in a way our physics can grasp or not, does the psychosociocultural reality examined above become of no account? Not at all."

    I accent the last few words "Not at all." which strike me as an exclamation of preference for the psychosocial phenomenon.

    You imply that you're open to the "physically real" option but that "Not at all" remark seems otherwise.

    But I quibble.

    You always enlighten. And your views have more merit than mine I believe.

    It's just that one needs to hold your feet to the fire or else your pedantry will engulf us all.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, August 17, 2019  

  • Thanks for the opening affirmation; it is appreciated, both what you write and _that_ you write it (however much it is contradicted by your need to write 'pedantic' in your closing flourish...).

    The "not at all" is used rhetorically, both in each instance and its repetition. Its significance is to be found in the context of the rest of the argument of the entire post. Even in the context of the passage you cite, it affirms the _reality (pertinence) of the cultural_, which is under attack as being of "no account", nothing at all; it balances that absolute view that would affirm _only_ the pertinence or relevance of UFO (physical) reality. (It does, too, sneakily and cheekily, borrow from the rhetoric of the opening pages of Sein und Zeit, but that's a very minor aside).

    And I _invite_ such bbqs (holding my feet to the fire), it's just that too many strawmen have been lamed in the process.

    And, you might note, I had politely bowed out until you called me out in the posts on witnesses, as the emergency rooms were being overwhelmed by the sprained jaws (from irrepressible yawning) and the visual impairment caused by eyes rolling out of the heads of your other, regular commenters, for which CDC has fingered my comments as the vector...

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Sunday, August 18, 2019  

  • " ... as the emergency rooms were being overwhelmed by the sprained jaws (from irrepressible yawning) and the visual impairment caused by eyes rolling out of the heads of your other, regular commenters ..."

    Ah, my regular commenters; they need the wash of academic rejoinders from you. It keeps them in the mix.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, August 18, 2019  

  • Oooh!..We take that as a hint:) Confounded in dizziness..yes!?..A grand display of behavior, lost for words........

    By Blogger Daniel, at Sunday, August 18, 2019  

  • >> And I disagree, thinking that UFOs are something inordinately unique and a key – a real key – to our understanding of reality – real reality.<<

    Only problem, Rich, and it's a big one, is that you can't show there are real "UFOs" of any kind in the world. And neither can anyone else. That's a fact, buddy.

    >> The psychosocial aspect, presented brilliantly by Bryan, is interesting but has nothing to do with the mysterious phenomenon itself, nada!<<

    But there is no "mysterious phenomenon." There is no mystery, never was. It all began as a series of well-documented and well-understood newspaper hoaxes. And later there was a hoax to launch a "flying saucers are real" magazine.

    That's the real history of the origin of the idea "UFO." And there's no room for a mystery in all that history.

    There is no physical "UFO" phenomenon, never was. Which leaves only the historical Psychosocial hypothesis to explain why some people believe in the "UFO" myth--a demonstrably false belief--and make "UFO" reports. So the Psychosocial hypothesis has everything to do with the popular "UFO" delusion.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Tuesday, August 20, 2019  

  • Zoam:

    Let me accept your view that there are no "real" UFOs and there have never been any.

    Can't we "enjoy" and play with the idea of a UFO myth or the theme that UFOs are chimeras?

    You are a ufological buzz-kill, but I luv ya anyway.

    Yet, I'm gonna continue my "obsession" with flying saucers and UFOs, even though my therapist and you think it's a kind of insanity or delusion.

    At my age I can't give up any of the few stupid pleasures I indulge in.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, August 20, 2019  

  • Zoam:

    what is the authoritative history of the UFO from which you get the claim that "It all began as a series of well-documented and well-understood newspaper hoaxes," etc.?

    I don't recall even Curtis Peebles (Watch the Skies!, Washington: Smithsonian, 1994) making such a strong claim...

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Tuesday, August 20, 2019  

  • -> But there is no "mysterious phenomenon." There is no mystery, never was. It all began as a series of well-documented and well-understood newspaper hoaxes. And later there was a hoax to launch a "flying saucers are real" magazine.<-

    *

    So ignore the "RADAR" reports, round the world, eh! Zoam..
    No "mysterious phenomenon?"......?

    By Blogger Daniel, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Bryan;

    George Howard and Robert Bartholomew in "UFOs & Alien Contact: Two Centuries of Mystery" (1998) make the case for the origin of the modern "UFO" myth in the Great Airship Mania of 1896-97, based in known newspaper hoaxes and on the hundreds of all-too-familiar "airship" reports that followed.

    https://www.amazon.com/Ufos-Alien-Contact-Centuries-Mystery/dp/1573922005

    A Good Read! It can be had on ebay for $4.

    Best!

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Those are mere REPORTS, Daniel, not any real "mysterious phenomenon."

    REPORTS are not physical phenomenon--they're stories created from fleeting human perception, conception and social environment.

    A phenomenon is some thing that's available for scientific inspection. But the pseudoscience of ufoolery has appropriated the word because it sounds scientific.

    The biggest error believers make is in taking "UFO" reports literally.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Yes, Rich, my friend. Play with the "UFO" myth all you like and enjoy it.

    Luv ya too!

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • ZC: thanks for the bibliographical tip, though the task the authors set out for themselves seems an overwhelming one, e.g., accounting for UFO and entity encounters outside the influence of the American mass media (rural France, remote Africa or Brazil, etc.)..."We must look into the matter".

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Zoam,

    We're all having fun during the summer
    recess, yes?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Oh, You Betcha, Bud!

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Zoam:

    Even if a wee bit of what you say, could be correct, You are not going to convince Pilots, that they didn't see what they know they saw,backed up by the control-tower & Radar. We have heard the tape recordings, between Pilots & control-towers, not just paper reports,but real recording between all Pilots & control-tower. It's not pseudoscience or ufoolery,Zoam! It's Real stuff going on, and you need to get a grip on that. Not everyone is Lying, or mistaken, even though it contaminates the truth to what we understand to be correct Zoam............

    By Blogger Daniel, at Wednesday, August 21, 2019  

  • Bryan;

    Once the myth was established by the spread of the Sacramento Bee hoax across the nation in 1896, other hoaxes cemented the Airship myth in the mind of America--most notably the Boston Tillinghast hoax.

    Nearly all the familiar elements of the modern "UFO" myth were already present in the Airship myth: the wonder of high-technology aerospace; the conspiracy of industry and government that was beyond the ordinary public world; exploded and crashed airships; mystery metals and electronic parts featuring hieroglyphics; ET and even little bodies!

    And as the media propagated the myth in a circle of hoaxes evoking reports (Believing is Seeing), the Airship myth and the latent delusion spread throughout the English-speaking world: Canada's Ghost Balloons; the New Zealand Zeppelin Scare; a British Zeppelin panic; followed by Phantom Air Raids, Spy Missions, and Mystery Monoplanes in Canada, America, Australia and South Africa. There were even more scares and panics across all of Europe over the early decades of the 20th century.

    Once you've examined the evidence, you'll see the rapid spread of the "UFO" myth throughout the world by media reportage and the fevered human imagination was not even an issue. The at once wonderful and frightening IDEA of unknown aircraft haunting our skies, and the very Earth itself, became the modern "UFO" delusion.

    https://airminded.org/archives/mystery-aircraft/

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, August 22, 2019  

  • Daniel;

    Pilots (and astronauts) are just fallible human beings like the rest of us.

    I don't have to convince pilots of anything and your summary of Navy "UFO" events is hardly accurate. In fact, it's grossly inaccurate. None of it happened as you say.

    And nothing is going on that hasn't been going on for over a century: People fail to identify things they see in the sky, and for some the latent culturally supplied "UFO" delusion is evoked.

    Simple. It doesn't require anyone's secret high technology, ET visitors, or any "mysterious phenomenon."

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, August 22, 2019  

  • ZC:

    the Howard and Bartholomew volume is in the mail, whose evidence will be duly examined. I have some reservations, but those will wait until I read their case. In the best of all possible worlds, a reader's report will be forthcoming at Skunkworksblog, though the question of the physical non/nature of the UFO falls, strictly, outside its purview.

    As you probably know--and I have made the case at length elsewhere--even if UFOs lack a physical reality, the phenomenon becomes no less, perhaps even more, curious!

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Thursday, August 22, 2019  

  • ...Though I must confess to being a little taken aback, ZC, by your feeling you needed to apprise me of the relevant history in the link to airminded.org. The extant (and published) part of my poetic work already incorporated much of that information, ranging over the mid-1800s to the first bombing of London by Zeppelins in the Great War. Thanks, regardless.

    By Blogger Bryan Sentes, at Thursday, August 22, 2019  

  • Zoam:

    -> I don't have to convince pilots of anything and your summary of Navy "UFO" events is hardly accurate. In fact, it's grossly inaccurate. None of it happened as you say.<-

    *

    Zoam, I did not give a summary of Navy "UFO" events,so how can that be hardly accurate? Again you get it wrong.Go back on my comments Zoam,you will not see the word "Navy" Only You have said this!!!

    What I said was>> ->You are not going to convince Pilots, that they didn't see what they know they saw,backed up by the control-tower & Radar. We have heard the tape recordings, between Pilots & control-towers, not just paper reports, but real recording between all Pilots & control-tower.<-

    And that is as true as I'm sitting here talking with you now..Actually, it was "commercial/Passenger" Pilots!..

    Zoam, What planet do you come from?:).............?

    By Blogger Daniel, at Thursday, August 22, 2019  

  • Bryan;

    All good to know. In keeping with the subject, the link was to imaginary aircraft.

    Enjoy the book!

    Best.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, August 23, 2019  

  • Daniel;

    If you weren't referring to the Navy stories, the most popular "evidence" of the past two years, then maybe you should have said exactly what stories you were offering as "evidence" of your false beliefs about the world.

    Or is this an example of the "UFO" fairy tale factor at play: There are really good "UFO" stories of pilots and radar (Oh, My!) on which I base my false beliefs, I just can't say what they are. And then it's the believer's predisposition to "UFO" stories that favors quantity over quality: Believers have lots of "UFO" stories but not any good ones, that is, none for which there is veracious EVIDENCE!

    Sorry Daniel, statements of your false beliefs about second or third-hand "UFO" stories aren't evidence of anything. Pilots whether Navy or commercial have been shown to be LESS reliable witnesses than any person on the ground. And radar is an error-prone and interpretive system. If a pilot reports a "UFO" then a radar operator will find an ambiguous blip to match it, ground clutter or whatever; and inversely, when a radar operator sees an ambiguous blip and asks a pilot to look for for something, the pilot will invariably see some light, a star or bright planet.

    Same old stuff, seventy years and "UFO" believers are still employing the same stupid tricks and mindlessly repeating every stupid thing they hear on C2C.

    As far as this flying-saucer pseudoscience and popular delusion is concerned it could just as well be 1950 since everything remains the same. And still there aren't any real "UFOs" of any kind.

    It's another day in "UFO" fantasy land.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, August 23, 2019  

  • Zoam:

    I'm still exploring the UFO idea, "NOT as a believer" Zoam, but as one with an open mind on the subject, of its possibility. YOU on the other hand, have already determined the outcome,as you've pointed out,as you see it. Not everyone is going to agree with you.The reason being,that you give no room for possibility, and/or change, of something, that you are unaware of..Any of us really, if it comes to that.

    Your mind is closed, or made-up, to the idea of UFO, or change! So for anyone with an open mind, we are not going to agree! That's all, and ONLY what it's about...........

    By Blogger Daniel, at Friday, August 23, 2019  

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