Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Message From The Country

"Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth" - Ludwig Borne

This post began when I went down to the river of the internet to see what was either caught in a whirlpool or was floating by in these times and for a change of pace, like this river I was wandering with no particular goal in mind, which is unusual for yours truly.
After making a bonfire out of the prosaic goals and tripe of Ufology in order to ward off the winter of our cultural diaspora, I realized, like Laurel and Hardy in “Out West”, I was chopping up the train in order to fuel the locomotive, dismantling the architecture as kindling in order to move forward out of the bottom lands, the wetlands and soggy swamp of the American landfill. 

Lately, I have been reading comments in a variety of spots pronouncing the subject of UAP to be superfluous, without any pragmatic value, humorous, a trifle..that sort of thing. What is fascinating to observe is that they are commenting on the social movement rather than the totem of that movement which remains as cogently mysterious and provocative as it was as far back as most of us can recall.

The channeling of an open ended question as it is evidenced in the once and future practice of Ufology begs the question if it has any message? 
The message may be more pertinent to the practitioners than to the phenomenon itself. Perhaps this calls for a further examination before the subject is relegated to a footnote.

"It is to the Riddle of the Sphinx that I have devoted fifty years of professional life as an anthropologist. It is of first-class importance that our answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx should be in step with how we conduct our civilisation, and this should in turn be in step with the actual workings of living systems.
A major difficulty is that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is partly a product of the answers that we already have given to the riddle in its various forms. Kurt Vonnegut gives us wary advice - that we should be careful what we pretend because we become what we pretend. And something like that, some sort of self-fulfilment, occurs in all organisations and human cultures. What people presume to be ‘human’ is what they will build in as premises of their social arrangements, and what they build in is sure to be learned, is sure to become a part of the character of those who participate.
And along with this self-validation of our answers, there goes something still more serious - namely, that any answer which we promote, as it becomes partly true through our promoting of it, becomes partly irreversible. There is a lag in these affairs."
Gregory Bateson - Innocence & Experience. 1987 - p.178 

The Archaeology of Ufology

Looking back on the subjects contained in this blog , there are several consistent themes threaded among several subjects. One of which is our habitation in several realities versus one consistent reality. One could substitute the plural noun of worlds for realities. All of this brings to mind Aldous Huxley’s metaphor of the human being as an amphibian. I suppose you could apply this theme to the past and make a comparison to the existence of geological time with it’s many layers and strata making up the surface and environment in which we dwell for a insubstantial space measured by time.
Those of a certain metaphysical bent compare this to the faceting of cut stone that has a geometric set of relationships but my own view is that there are no easy demarcations between these realities or worlds and that they fold into one another as a transception that also holds intermediary forms that defy categorization.
Another theme is immeasurabilty as compared to the process of imaging and it’s counterpart of imagination. Depending on what chair you occupy, you could view this as a barrier or a recognition that there are more questions than answers.
Further, all of this appears to suggest realities beyond our sensory systems and if we deconstruct what we consider the fabric of our environment, it seems that this recognition that Einstein described as the illusions of materiality suggest that while physicality is a facet of the realities much more exists, so then how do we approach this with any degree of pragmatism, while remaining optimistic?
Truth is always pliable.
One could protect one’s sense of the universe as a fine swiss watch by adopting a stoic approach or even becoming so worn as to become cynical and yet even these are psychological buffers against naturally occurring questions placed within a transient existence whose unanswered nature within both these geological layers within generations are as perennial as self seeding plants.
If you superimposes purpose beyond the safety of existentialism as simply another pose or reaction, this life appears to be set up where questioning certainly has a lot of fertiliser and one might say my harsh treatment of the Ufology social movement infers an overall stance that none of the above is worth pursuing. Nothing could be further invalidated or validated beyond this.
Personally, I suspect this is not so.
Any sort of mobility we have has a sort of pushing while being pulled when it comes to faddism, or more sober considerations.
After publishing my last post on the social movement of Ufology as an outgrowth of materialism, I found new evidence of this mindset as one author suggested that the extraterrestrials did not land because we are not ready for future shock. Another suggested we have microbial aliens living as biological parasites within us which harkens back to Scientology’s mythos of a similar stripe. Refuting this sort of thing is a fool’s errand in the sense that a better balance might be achieved by the excavation of the roots of where these linear explanatory story lines originate. 

There is a presumptive ownership of theory that becomes a territorial prerogative, something to be defended or oppressed as seen in the rancor that is exhibited in this movement that mirrors corporatism. Theories as proverbial brand names. Should we rid ourselves of expertise?

"The more oppressive is the presence of a pre-emptive outline to the conversation, the more the conversation is about controlling and predicting people and events. This is frequently seen in conversations for recriminations and attribution of blame. It is the main recurrent conversational form in many businesses. On the other hand, in the absence of a discernible outline and in the presence of the encouragement of active participation we see the emergence of a high level of genuine, spontaneous improvisations by the members of the conversation. This is sometimes seen in organisations which implement 'empowerment' and 'participation' properly." - Vincent Kenny

A Belief System Turned Strange

One can wonder about the dilution factor, the once clear aim regarding specifics becoming lost in the lines of transmission which is something the esoteric initiation process of ages ago attempted to ward off. This was the assurance that any knowledge gained would be preserved and not subject to innovations upon past advances in that regard. The would be student placing him or herself in the role of a teacher without knowing specifics regarding the pratfalls and tragicomedies of those who have passed along the same path long before our would be guru would make the first pronouncement ignorant of these realities.
One could even go so far as to say perhaps that the motivations change as a result of this.
Mistranslated by way of projections, bias and vested interest all seems to influence the core questions that through dilution become pseudo answers. It comes the the tipping point where the original aim is lost by the repetition of reading meanings within what is in effect simply gossip.

"...the older an automobile gets and the further it is from the engineer who designed it, the more complex it gets with multiple ‘pathologies’ and the more it takes on characteristics of a living thing - moods, caprice, etc. New cars are ‘it’ but an old car is ‘she’.
-Gregory Bateson
Whether you are referring to Democracy, or Ufology, its the same process. Which projection is the best or the most persuasive becomes the stuff of an proverbial epilogue to a lost aim.
All of this aforesaid commentary reminds me of Gurdjieff's purloined Biblical metaphor regarding the Tower of Babble which he represented as a international conference on life after death, the major issue is that none of the experts had experienced death. Perhaps this is a comment on expertise in this social movement.

The Aging of Ufology

One thing leads to another. Following the stream as it flows backward toward deconstruction of the present, I found myself in an obscure corner of this river Styx by rediscovering the archives of Robert Christgau as well as the seemingly lost art of the essayist and critic of popular musical culture. I randomly picked this or that essay to read and the more I read, the more I found a kinship with his aim, which was to go above and below the surface of appearances and attempt to assemble a perspective of this type of carnival or that..having in mind what he was writing about was his subject as a means rather than an end in of itself. The implications of a subject, it’s context, it’s possibilities and it’s flux.
Here is an atypical example of Chrisgau’s forensic examination of age poised against setting one’s self in a role that becomes a venus fly trap in order to catch the illusions of eternal youth which belongs not to age but to youth. A distinct aroma of American ballyhoo and tarted up fossilization..from skin cream to surgery, from erections that can last up to four hours to dying one’s beard to have that veneer of an ageless manikin. Its no wonder Christau took a page from Wilde’s “Portrait of Dorian Grey”...all using popular music as a foil, as a prop as a platform to see what holds up the stage scenery.
The aging of the Ufology crowd as contrasted to the aging of Rock and Roll.

Looking back at myself while looking back at him, I could see familiar and all too common themes of possibility as juxtaposed against play acting or the traps we fall into attempting to apply a banner to ourselves. Like the small elfin man I mentioned in my last posting who appeared at my shoulder at the grocery store to inform me that excess is a vapid counterpoint to the void, every so often there sounds a small bell that reverberates in the flurry of life, where existential reality ( one of many) strikes a zen pose as if to ask, what in the world are you doing here? Too busy building bridges to question where they lead?

The Parody of A Parody

Another aspect of Christgau’s essays is that he is one of the few critics who understand the fine line between sincerity and self satire. Of course then there is the playing against stereotypes in order to invent new forms, or reinvention of former poses or if you will, the art of portraiture in any popular medium whether it is the role of the essayist or a musician. Queen Elizabeth as a Grey Alien beneath the skin of a lizard according to a certain author, becomes a parody within a stereotype as portrayed by a painter known as an abduction "expert." Keep those cards and letters coming.
In this revisionism, the former hot dog vendors and pulp fiction writers of yore collectively known as Contactees become visionaries. Shoe prints become star maps.
More of my regular readers have an artistic proclivity than a die hard Ufologist dissecting immeasurable evidence and for that I am grateful and many an artist does not necessarily paint or create works as they are the work as Gurdjieff would suggest.
In going back through the musicology of my life following this reversed course of a river, I came back to The Move, just prior to their abandonment of power pop as navigated by a three legged dinosaur. In an astonishing act of precognition, there was the prophetic tune of “Cherry Blossom Clinic” that heralded the future advent of prescription drugs as a panacea for the panacea of the American Dream..the death tolls of overdose, the escape route that becomes a noose.
“Lock me up and throw away the key…”
One could stand atop the landfill and take a good look around at not only Ufology but at the nexus of the ink blot that is purpose that becomes a substitution anchored to productivity in churning out the deposits intangible and material that led to the social movement of Ufology
And it came back to me through The Move in that all of this is a “message from the country”, one that is disconcerting enough to make one look away and dismiss it in the cause of self absorption which might be equitable to self survival. None the less, it is there alongside of us everywhere we go or assume we are going as if carried away on a conveyor belt.
Is it overdue that Ufology reinvent itself? Or is silence a better alternative to nonsense?


  1. As long as people believe, Ufology and UFOs will exist.

  2. Michael
    The question is belief in what? Even the most ardent advocate of say, extraterrestrial theory, or any other theory for that matter to me represents an open ended belief of a sketch of a belief. I am old enough to remember a phase of all this when the nexus of all dialog was whether anything anomalous was occurring. Project Blue Book was far from definitive, or a conclusive argument that there was an explanation for everything, so to speak. Belief rides the coat tails of this phenomenon one way or another so I think its safe to say it remains an open ended ink blot, but one worthy of attention in a more focused manner. To me when you use the term exist, it brings up the question of...What form of existence? I do think all the social and cultural signal noise has little to do with the subject itself and that includes belief as to it's nature.