23 February 2017

With regard to those unearthly meddlers

Dearest diary,

Today I drank a cup of tea that tasted like a genuine soccer ball.

Then later in the afternoon I read a short book about alien abductions. It was written by a scientist who does not believe in the existence of aliens. This made me wonder if I myself am a “believer.” I answer YES. But that’s because I know the worlds are infinite. So although I think extraterrestrials must exist somewhere out there (which eventually becomes in here), I don’t think that they have visited us… yet.

But actually now that I’ve written that, I want to change my view: I say with confidence that aliens not only have visited this planet many times already, but that they arrived long ago and even influenced cultures and mated with humans and merged our gene pools together. Why shouldn’t everyone agree with me? My stance is enriching.

Aliens and angels and gods. They’re always visiting people and then hastening back into obscurity.

Dreams versus reality… the proceeds of epileptic seizures… hypnotic trances… memory and imagination… mimicry and accuracy versus creativity and “error”… (I don’t believe in error.)

The book’s title is Abducted: How people come to believe they were kidnapped by aliens. Its author, Susan A. Clancy, points out that there exist no reports of anyone being abducted by aliens prior to the early 1960s, which happens to be the time when certain movies and texts offered the public notions and details of alien abductions (prior to this, their saucers remained in the sky—they didn’t come snatch us); Clancy suggests therefore that, either consciously or not, any allegations of extraterrestrial encounters probably derived from such articles of pop-culture. And elsewhere she observes:

The parallels between the abduction experience and the age-old Christian narrative are striking.

It would be easy to cite an account from the Greek New Testament; but I happened to read the following today in the Koran, so I’ll copy it here – it’s from sura 19 (Ahmed Ali’s translation):

Commemorate Mary in the Book.
When she withdrew from her family
to a place in the East
And took cover from them,
We sent a spirit of Ours to her who appeared
before her in the concrete form of a man.
“I seek refuge in the Merciful from you,
if you fear Him,” she said.
He replied: “I am only a messenger from your Lord
(sent) to bestow a good son on you.”
“How can I have a son,” she said,
“when no man has touched me,
nor am I sinful?”
He said: “Thus will it be.
Your Lord said: ‘it is easy for Me,’
and that: ‘We shall make him a sign for men
and a blessing from Us.’
This is a thing already decreed.”
When she conceived him she went away
to a distant place.

Should I be as surprised as I am at this? Is it truly a virgin birth, as it seems at first glance? Or are we to infer that the “concrete form of a man” provided more than a verbal message? – Anyway, back to Clancy’s passage:

Alien abductions feature all-knowing, nonhuman, advanced entities whose presence resists the explanatory power of science. The entities bring moral guidance. They tell us that time is running out, that we must change our selfish ways or our planet will be destroyed. They have come to Earth for our sake, and they are working for humanity’s redemption. They want to produce superior beings. They seek not the union of God and man in Christ, but the union of aliens and humans in the hybrid. Religious creeds and UFO beliefs both require obeisance to a higher power—a power that must be accepted on faith.

This makes me consider that, in some small way, the vocabulary we use to describe our experiences (wherever those experiences fall on the scale of objectivity) has a bearing on how the future perceives itself. Again, it’s the importance of WORDS. For if you were to experience a haunting, whether it proved but a dream or in a vision from a fit of illness or even an I.R.L. affront (I.R.L. = In Real Life), you would color others’ interpretation of the drama by using the term “aliens” rather than “demons” (for instance) to describe its personæ. Even if the culprits were little grey folks with big eyes, how would you know that they came from another galaxy? Are you privy to their spaceship’s logbook? Maybe your captors have occupied Earth longer even than humankind – ever think of that? Maybe they’re the fabled fairy folk. Your labeling them as aliens is an assumption, a prejudice. It makes me wonder about ALL eyewitness reports—even those given to the police or detectives regarding more humdrum, everyday, “earthly” crimes: How much of any report is involuntarily embellished? And add to this the imperfections of our justice system. (Now I’m thinking of The Thin Blue Line (1988), a film directed by Errol Morris – really good stuff, tho I can’t say it has much to do with aliens.)

It’s a sanctity of nomenclature: separate entities can look the same, act the same, and teach the same, yet people will be at each other’s throats for following THIS one rather than THAT one, because they possess different names.

Now as an aside, I want to quote something that sprang to mind when I read one of the statements above: “They tell us that time is running out, that we must change our selfish ways or our planet will be destroyed.” This reminded me of the following passage from John Ruskin’s lecture, “Of Queens’ Gardens.”

Suppose you had each, at the back of your houses, a garden, large enough for your children to play in, with just as much lawn as would give them room to run,—no more—and that you could not change your abode; but that, if you chose, you could double your income, or quadruple it, by digging a coal shaft in the middle of the lawn, and turning the flowerbeds into heaps of coke. Would you do it? I hope not. I can tell you, you would be wrong if you did, though it gave you income sixty-fold instead of four-fold.
     Yet this is what you are doing with all England. The whole country is but a little garden, not more than enough for your children to run on the lawns of, if you would let them all run there. And this little garden you will turn into furnace ground, and fill with heaps of cinders, if you can; and those children of yours, not you, will suffer for it.

Ruskin’s words come from the second half of the collection Sesame and Lilies, published 1865. Now it is a century-and-a-half later, and we are the children’s children (etc…) – have we suffered enough?

Just one final excerpt from Clancy’s book:

…doesn’t the alien-abduction experience portray a rather banal universe? If somehow the incredible odds against the evolution of intelligent life have been overcome elsewhere in the cosmos, and those aliens are so advanced that they can build technologically unimaginable spacecraft and travel light years with ease, why would they come visit us?

I answer: Because we are interesting. If I were an advanced species of creature who lived in a climate-controlled house rather than a nest in the trees, I would similarly take an interest in watching the crows and squirrels. But I wouldn’t want to torment them; if I could speak to them in dreams or visit them in visions, I would comfort them and also desire to listen to their own perspectives. That is the major confusion that I myself feel, regarding the believers’ reports (and this holds true whether they prefer the term “God” or “E.T.”): Why so malevolent!? (I mean that paranormal kidnappers are never as kindhearted as one would wish.)

But I’m sorry for interrupting the above quote—here is the rest of it:

Today is but a fleeting moment in the history of our species, and our history as a species is but a fleeting moment in the context of the universe. Wouldn’t you think these mentally and technologically superior beings would have something more interesting to do (something quite possibly beyond the imagining of the human brain) than to hang around North America kidnapping its more creative and intuitive inhabitants, in order to do the same experiments over and over again? Why are these genius aliens so dim?

Something about this I find funny. Basically, a scientist is asserting that advanced creatures would never want to practice science! And although I agree that repetitive experiments are a bore, I would not call any being dim for having an interest in creative, intuitive humans. If your power for space-time travel were limitless, why wouldn’t you set out in search of potential Shakespeares? And I do not hold mankind’s history or even this day as “but a fleeting moment” in the context of the world: though I understand how one arrives at that perspective, I’d rather focus on the promise of human form as divine. Maybe we’re a sweet spot in the ongoing adventure of evolution. The crest of a wave, the apex…

a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

Yes, I invite all ye moody brooders of the scientific community to read the 31st section of “Song of Myself”; and other sections as well.

Whenever anyone disparages humankind as just a blight upon the Earth, which itself is just a speck within the expanse of the universe, I think: Yes, but everything is relative. That pessimistic view matches the facts, but so does the optimistic view: Why would anyone choose inferiority?

I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled systems,
And all I see multiplied as high as I can cipher edge but the rim of the farther systems.

(This is from section 45 of the same poem by Walt Whitman, who was incidentally an inhabitant of North America.)

My sun has his sun and round him obediently wheels,
He joins with his partners a group of superior circuit,
And greater sets follow, making specks of the greatest inside them.

Humans are small compared to stars and large compared to atoms. So we can make no clear assessment of the worth of humankind, if we limit our scope to mere physicality. What about the potential of thought? The great lesson of the human design, when compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, is that an agile MIND outmaneuvers claws, horns, and fangs. What is the size of a man’s imagination?

…there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel’d universe…

My point is that life wants not accumulation (whether of money, strength, size and height, or goods) but centering and harmony.

A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard the span or make it impatient,
They are but parts, any thing is but a part.

See ever so far, there is limitless space outside of that,
Count ever so much, there is limitless time around that.

No problem with being a fragment; but, as a piece to its puzzle, let individuality FIT the entirety – let us not FORCE matters. We don’t look for a note to be the “biggest” in the song; our desire is for it to play well with others.

Outlandish camerados, I trust you are listening.

1 comment:

M. said...

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