One of the first questions usually asked when the subject of UFOs arises is “Do you believe in UFOs?” This issue of belief can be found somewhere in almost any article, book, or discussion about the subject.
Naturally, I have been asked if I believe in UFOs. I’ve always found this question curious. What else are we asked if we believe in? God. Miracles. Ghosts. Love at first sight. The more appropriate question, to me, would be, “Have you ever seen a UFO?” No. Not to my recollection. I have not.
The issues of belief, belief systems, and communication is critical when it comes to this business of UFOs.
How do we come to believe what we believe?
Oscar Hammerstein III wrote that You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught. That’s true. It’s also true that you can be taught to think for yourself, to be discerning. And, there are always those nebulous personal influences that shape us, too. Whatever we’re taught, whatever we learn, it is always in the context of and relationship to the construct of, let’s say, our collective agreed upon reality.
Not long after Roswell, I remember a fellow songwriter asked me what I really thought about the whole thing. The best response that I could come up with was that we do not have the language to describe the phenomena in question or the related experiences people have had. That would still be my response today or certainly part of it.
I thought it worth examining, as briefly as possible, what early experiences influenced a belief system that allowed me to write a song about a subject that other writers traditionally treat as a novelty, and with derision or mockery.
First of all, I was raised Catholic which inherently allows for belief in alchemical works, transubstantiation, resurrection from the dead, all manner of celestial events, appearances by beings of light in various times and locations, the sacred intelligence of light, and of course, miracles. These are just a few of the magical elements in that particular construct of belief which I think primed me to consider all sorts of possibilities. Because Catholicism also includes a wonderful panoply of symbols and archetypes, it gave me the keys to the kingdom of Western art and music which I have studied all of my life. Through the lens of that learning, it’s been tough to miss how dramatically and frequently the collective human mind shifts its perception of the world and how individuals might arrive at and then change their beliefs.
It was in kindergarten that I was first struck by a Catholic belief. I heard that god has no beginning and no end. That led to me lying in bed at night going back in my mind as far as possible into the past and then ricocheting as far forward into the future as I could stand. Then back and forth and back and forth again. Much better than counting sheep, that exercise stretched my little mind a bit and made me forever curious about time.
My father and I had a profound bonding experience when he took me to a matinee of Forbidden Planet when I was about six. Because he knew Shakespeare like the back of his hand, my father explained to me how the film was loosely based on The Tempest and pointed out the spiritual elements of the story. Naturally, what followed was a regular weekly diet of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and most of the old school sc-fi flicks.
In middle school, I was required to read the Stephen Vincent Benét story, By the Waters of Babylon. That story impacted my thoughts about time, language, perception, and instilled a healthy skepticism about contemporary interpretations of pretty much anything historic including art, artifacts, technologies, ideas. I'm sure that it primed me as well to write The 3 Dreams of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Later, I read plenty of Azimov, then mostly titles from the original UK series of Penguin Science Fiction including Olaf Stapeldon's Sirius and J. G. Ballard's The Drowned World.
I would say that all of these stories in whatever form presented were moral tales investigating various aspects of behavior, belief systems and the human condition.
That’s a rough sketch of what I think helped form my early understanding of flying saucers and related matters, and probably why it never occurred to me to treat that subject with a giggle factor.
Something extraordinary happened outside of Roswell, New Mexico, in early July, 1947. That much I trust is fact. I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. But I do trust the reports of the ordinary citizens who witnessed and reported those events. They don’t or didn’t know exactly what happened either. But they were there and they did witness and experience what some of them were able to describe on record. Now, people being people, some of them told the truth and some of them, maybe, embellished a little.
My song, The Roswell Incident is and is not about a flying saucer crash. That’s the general story but it is a moral tale about, alas, some aspects of the human condition. It’s about what happens when something already impossible to adequately explain is shut down as a result of gaslighting, outright lies and threats by an authority once trusted and held dear, and what that betrayal and the enforced compliance of silence does to individual and personal relationships. I am suddenly reminded of Ali’s line in the Fassbinder film, “Fear eats the soul.” It does.
As I write this, many people are waiting with bated breath for yet another report from the Pentagon about relatively recent sightings of these newly classified Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs. People want answers, the truth. Honestly, what truth could anyone possibly expect from the stuff of a government report? People are looking for truth from the military? Seriously?
Unfortunately, Eisenhower’s parting warning about the growing influence of the military-industrial complex was not heeded. It was probably too late anyway. Now, that the military-industrial complex is fully fledged even in the broadest popular context—that hard core military porn of the blockbuster, fear inducing, adrenalin pumping, awfully loud and expensive Marvel Universe Neo-mythology.
So, naturally, I guess it follows that many of the new crop of UFO enthusiasts would be excited about this potentially tantalizing reveal from the Pentagon. But I would be thoroughly surprised by any big reveal because I don’t think anyone there has an answer for or an understanding of the phenomena. I don’t know but that’s what I think.
That is not to say that I don’t think that the military has interfered, brutally, with particular related events and experiences, like Roswell for example, and that there are not reams of paper reports heavily laden with black redaction lines stacked away somewhere with other sad, historic artifacts lost to time. But, that’s not what’s in the pipeline today.
Whatever it is that people are experiencing and identifying as UFOs or UAPs is just as likely to be something slipping through time or another dimension or a parallel universe as it is to be visitors from off planet. The multitude of theories that people have about whatever is happening is astounding. Humans are really good at making shit up and they love to do it. And some people are honest and true. Most people are a combo plate.
Me? I have to go along with Carl Jung’s idea. Late in his life and career, Jung admitted that he risked his entire reputation by suggesting what I am about to clumsily summarize. I am by no means an expert on any of this but, in the context of my belief system and personal experience, Jung’s idea rings more true to me than anything else.
Jung’s idea is based on the Platonic Year, also known as the Great Year. Scientific astronomy defines the Great Year as "The period of one complete cycle of the equinoxes around the ecliptic, or about 25,800 years". Okay. So, there is an astrological overlay on the Great Year.
There are twelve astrological ages which correspond to the twelve astrological signs, and each astrological age, or Platonic month, lasts approximately 2,100 years. 2,100 years ago, approximately, marks the birth of Christ and the start of the Piscean age. Today, we are entering the age of Aquarius.
At the turn of each astrological age or Platonic month, Jung suggests, with historic examples going back at least to Ancient Egypt, that human consciousness shifts dramatically. With this shift in human consciousness, the archetypes and instincts of the collective unconscious shift. Because the consciousness of the individual exists in relation to the collective, when the consciousness shifts, going with the notion that thoughts become things (which they do), we essentially manifest a new reality. Nothing happens overnight. Endings and beginnings, like death and birth are messy, messy things.
Pisces, the fish, is a water sign. Jesus was a fisher of men.
Aquarius, interestingly enough, the water bearer, is an air sign. Recently, man has learned to fly, landed on the moon, launched satellites, space probes, etcetera. Man, not a fish to be hooked but a being of the air, has become a given in human mythology over the past century.
Jung suggests that maybe, just maybe, these flying saucers, UFOs/UAPs, are a projection, a manifestation of human consciousness shifting into a new astrological age. It’s an idea. And, while suggesting this, he did make it clear, that he really did not know what these phenomena were.
When a remark he made in an interview was misinterpreted, he wrote a little book on the subject to clarify his thoughts on the matter. The book is Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies.
At the time of Christ, or the beginning of the astrological age of Pisces, there were many, many cults vying for enrollment. There was Mithraism, Gnoticism, Manichaeism, the Essenes and the Proselytes to name just a few of the incredible array of cults and belief systems milling about around the time of Christ.
As you can probably surmise, Christianity won out through a lethal combination of power plays, financial incentives, brutal violence, manipulation of archetypes, images, mythology and language.
Jung, of course, did not live long enough to experience the moment of time we are living witness to today. Jung, who lived between the mid-19th and 20th centuries, wrote his thoughts on the modern myth of Flying Saucers during the Cold War.
You would have to be living under a rock to not recognize the similarities of the last turn of a Platonic astrological month and today, when any other human being you notice walking down the same street as yourself might (and probably does) have an entirely different world view and perception of reality.
Finally, I must share my thoughts on this notion of intelligent life.
The idea that we are alone in the universe is pure nonsense. It is not logical. It’s a very big universe and we are but one rather puny species on one little planet and we have not been on this planet all that long.
The idea that we are the only intelligent life form in the universe is cray cray. However, considering that we blithely destroy all of our fellow intelligent life forms on the planet we share including the very planet that keeps us all alive, it does logically follow that this idea might hold credence in some human minds.
Personally, it goads me to no end that we dismiss the intelligence of our fellow species on Earth or force them to perform within the small confines of what constitutes human intelligence in our tiny minds to prove their own value and intelligence in relation to ours. And, with that in mind, that we spend the time and money that we do on searching for intelligent life off of the planet.
We are not so intelligent as we would like to believe. In fact, we only use a small fraction of our brains. Most of us ignore, are unaware of, or laugh at the possibility of all the other energetic systems of our rather magnificent human form. We are nowhere near living up to our potential. Definitely, I must, I am sorry to say, include myself in that category.
There is already plenty of alien life on the planet. or what some might construe as such. Just check in with Kenneth Nealson at USC. If you do, please tell him I say hi. Or you can read a Popular Science article about his work here. If you don’t think Nealson’s alien-like life constitutes much, remember from whence the human species came.
Also remember that the world we experience is based on our perception.
What is your belief system? And how do you think you’ve arrived at yours?
Do you believe in UFOs?
©2021 Suzanne McDermott (All Rights Reserved)
Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5.
Next week, I'll tell you my personal thoughts about The Roswell Incident and related matters of mindset, perception, and paradigm. Make sure you're subscribed in the sidebar.
Listen to The Roswell Incident on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify.