Friday, 1 November 2013

Extra-terrestrials on earth - time for disclosure?

An article in yesterday's Polska - The Times intrigued me - it was a full-page review of a blog about Polish UFO sightings. What struck me was the similarities between how the UFO phenomenon has played in the Western media and what was witnessed in Poland during the communist era, shut off from the mainstream discourse at that time. Mysterious lights in the night sky moving at sharp angles, whizzing about at several times the speed of an aircraft; crop circles; four-foot-tall humanoids with angled eyes and in shiny suits. All very familiar...

A few months ago, at my parents' house in London, we stayed up to watch a Channel 5 documentary about UFO incidents in Yorkshire in 1980. What struck me listening to the interviews with the police officers who had witnessed the incidents was the sincerity of their testimonials. These are not publicity-seeking cranks, but rather level-headed folk who had seen something extraordinary.

As coincidence would have it, while looking for 1950s American movies of the film noir genre on YouTube, up popped a speech from former Canadian defence minister, Paul Hellyer.

Having watched this, YouTube helpfully provided me with more links to clips with speeches from leading lights of the 'disclosure' movement - Steven Greer, Richard Dolan. Intelligent, plausible guys. Interviews with witnesses of major UFO encounters, such as the one in Rendlesham Forest in 1980. A Lieutenant-Colonel and a Captain. Not people given to fabrications, especially when both talking independently about the same incident. Certainly not a lighthouse nor Venus low in the skies.

Back in the 1990s, in the pre-Millennial, pre-9/11 era, when X-Files and Dark Skies were the sci-fi series to watch, and the early Internet (with a capital 'I' then) was full of usenet newsgroups discussing the UFO phenomenon, I felt sure that the ruling elites were sitting on one hell of a story and covering it up - ever since Roswell in 1947. Area 51, alien bodies at Wright-Patterson AFB, reverse engineered alien technology... This is where twaddle turns into twaddlology, where a real phenomenon is turned into myth, exaggerated and repeated by generations, and believed in with the same fervour as religious myths are believed in.

Midnight on 31 December 1999 passed into 1 January 2000 and the world was just the same as it had been before. It did change on 9 September 2001; and all the while the internet penetrated our lives, half of the human population today has a mobile phone with a camera on it - and where are the extraterrestrials? They've certainly not appeared in my life. Nor indeed of the life of anyone I've ever met. And yet a) there seems to be irrefutable evidence from highly credible people that UFOs - craft from other solar systems - have been visiting our planet, and b) that the powers-that-be are aware of this and are keeping it from us.

The Disclosure Movement wants mankind to know the truth that governments have kept from us for 65+ years. A big step in this direction was the Greer Disclosure of 2001, in which 20 senior military, intelligence and aviation personnel claiming first-hand experience of UFOs were brought together at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The quality of the testimonials was extremely high; since then, two former American astronauts have also testified.

Watching this stuff, I find it hard to refute the thesis. So many years, so many sightings (OK - 90% can be explained away), so many credible witnesses. Is mankind ready to believe?

On balance - no. The majority of us haven't seen UFOs, so its all a bit abstract, based exclusively on hearsay. UFOs don't touch our day-to-day lives and concerns. Disclosure, as Stephen Bassett would have it, made by the US President on a Friday evening (Eastern Time - after the stock-markets shut) to coast-to-coast TV, followed by two hours of analysis from experts) would be a cultural bomb that no responsible leader would want to set off.

Assuming it is true (and I'm totally agnostic), the shockwaves of such an announcement would be too vast to comprehend. Take a look at the preparations that SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) has in place to inform mankind in the scenario that the project finally finds incontrovertible proof of alien life in our galaxy via its search for radio signals (here). SETI's Post-Detection Protocol considers the cultural impact of extraterrestrial contact.

This is indeed massive. Take just three; religious, political and technological. The former is mind-boggling for those wedded to a given faith. Suddenly, the whole thing is turned upside down. How would such a disclosure affect the mind of a fanatical Shi'ite or Sunni Muslim, who until now has been interested only in blowing members of the other sect into oblivion? How would ultra-orthodox Jews or Amish folk come to terms with the fact that their leaders have got things slightly wrong? While the Catholic Church claims to ready for disclosure (since 2008), I can't see how universal Jesus is.

Politically - how will the ruling elite that has kept the truth (if indeed such it is) from us for so many years be able to justify that? How can our military keep up the pretence of claiming to defend us if extraterrestrials invade our planet with impunity (if indeed they really do so)? And moving on to the third area - technology - if there has been contact with alien civilisations, how do the politicians explain technology transfer? If they can live for several hundred years, why can't we?

Back in April 2010, market research and polling organisation Ipsos conducted a global poll on behalf of Reuters, asking people around the world whether they believe that alien beings have come down to Earth and walk among us in our communities disguised as humans. A bizarre question (surely a better one to have asked is 'do you believe our planet is being visited by creatures from other planets?'). But the answer is amazing - 20% of those polled across 22 countries believe aliens walk among us. This rather suggests that disclosure is not really necessary - a long, slow process of acclimatising ourselves to a reality of spacemen and flying saucers is already taking place. Through the cinema and popular culture, through YouTube and thousands of on-line forums, through the odd snippet (not too much, mind), here and there in the mainstream media.

In a scenario where aliens really are here on earth, I don't think there's any need for disclosure in a single one-off, dramatic, life-changing-forever way. Most of mankind is simply not ready to accept this as a truth (if it is indeed the case - and honestly, I don't know). Let's leave it like that for now.

Please, accept the mystery. The  universe is 13.8 billion years old; its furthest-known reaches are 30 billion light years away (explain that!). If aliens are moving about our solar system - let them be. They've not harmed mankind; they've not impacted upon my life or the life of anyone I know. The most important thing is not to waste time sitting around watching too many YouTube conspiracy mysteries and get on with living your life to its maximum potential.

This time last year:
Jeziorki pond development

This time two years ago:
Captain Wrona's perfect gear-up landing

This time three years ago:
Where's the daylight gone?

This time five years ago:
All Saints' Day - Wszystkich Świętych

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