Friday, November 12, 2010
Alien Conspiracies and the Varieties of Belief
Posted by James Curcio
As people who follow my twitter probably already know, I've been on a "thing" the past day or two looking into some of the conspiracies that I tend to avoid. Why have I been doing this? Maybe it's a bit of self distraction. But since I at least ostensibly study modern mythology, and take a pretty damn broad view of what that is, it starts to seem that this topic does fall into my oeuvre, much as I'm loathe to admit it. Alien lore is a form of modern mythology. So are conspiracy theories. And they are subject to many of the points I have brought up before about ancient myths. Like many "believers" of all creeds today, a lot of these people have missed a crucial distinction between internal experience and scientifically verified theory, or even, dare I say it? Fact. (Don't get me started on "facts" today, though. That'd totally throw me off track.)
Rather than really get into what I mean by "missing a crucial distinction," just watch the video above, where this woman calls out Obama and the other Reptilians / Draco's, and Reticulans to let them know that she is the representative of the Pleiadian people, who according to her are about to show up and open up a whole bottle of whoop-ass for getting their asses trashed back in some war that, believe it or not, does get alluded to in a lot of the "literature" you can find through Google searching these terms.
I'll let you do the Googling if you care to. It's pretty fucking funny, until you realize just how many people believe this stuff in a way that can get dangerous, or manipulative. Not to mention the fact that offering threats to the President of the United States is probably not a good idea. But that's her problem.
This demands some xkcd:
As anyone with half a brain will point out: anything is possible. (I'm told Stephan Hawking has also said "anything is possible," and we all admit that he's not exactly dumb. Right?)
This does not mean, however, that anything is probable. If we're actually looking for cause the best route is to expel the most probable answers before even considering less probable ones. Occams Razor doesn't provide solutions but it does tend to keep us from making total asses of ourselves. For instance, 9/11: the result of almost criminal negligible on the part of the government mixed with inter-bureau jealousy... not sharing intel, an "inside job," or the first step of a Reptilian invasion plan? It can be very hard to determine the relative probabilities of many things in life- is it more dangerous for me to walk to the corner store in North Philly to buy a carton of milk, or to drive several blocks in a suburban neighborhood? But can we all at least get together in saying that it is more probable that humans are dumb and greedy, rather than that - without any further evidence to the point - that there is a global conspiracy in place which would require an almost absurd amount of intelligence? And that this is itself more probable than that eight foot tall lizard people are manipulating terrorists and governments alike?
Let me bring this veering train back to my initial point. If we are willing to accept the psychological and mythological perspective as valid on its own grounds, as I have discussed on this blog many times before, then if you have an experience of talking to an alien species through your crystal necklace than I say go with it. Have fun talking to your giant Pleiadian lover. I won't even call you crazy, because so long as you don't pretend you actually know the source of this message, that experience is valid. (Though her story really sounds like a classic schizophrenic breakdown.) Maybe the message is coming from inside you. Maybe it is something you just need to experience emotionally to maintain some kind of equilibrium, say, after a catastrophic loss. Maybe it is fucking telepathic aliens. (Though I doubt it more than my ability to fly.) If you approach it with a certain skepticism but also an openness to the fact that we simply don't know, with any real certainty, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, then you may at least learn something about yourself. The fact that these things take on an increasing amount of reality, the more attention you give them, is something that is fairly well documented and it is certainly a curious thing. It is almost like that common motif in fairy tales, that the "fey folk" depend in some part on our belief to exist at all. That they feed upon our dreams.
But we'll save that for another day. What if your telepathic alien lover tells you to kill everyone. If you listen, then you're crazy. And a lot of other things, to boot. Put another way, the moment you take the leap and think that the aliens are teaching you Science, that you must spread the Good Word, and everyone must stock up on weapons before the Reticulans arrive... Well, we may as well all just get out our aluminum foil hats. Some people don't know this, but the psychologist Carl Jung wrote a book on UFO phenomena that deals with this.
I'd like to point out that if you look at what I just said, and swap out a few words, we could just as easily be talking about Religious fundamentalists. It is exactly the same principle at work. And the distinction between what is potentially a new and even valuable mythology, and what is a dangerous one, or what can be used to control people, is simply in the subtle distinction I've been trying to get at - possibly poorly - throughout this post.
By the way I recently read a meta-blog, you know one of those high traffic "blogs about blogging," which claims that if your posts go over 650 words that you're going to bore your readers, and another said that if you can't read a blog post in 90 seconds then no one is going to read it. Because no one has an attention span of more than 90 seconds these days. Is that true? Are you still reading? If that is indeed true, I had best stop writing fucking books, huh?