FROM STIGMA TO ENIGMA
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
The dialogue about life in space has changed a bit since we were told that the Pentagon has been investigating UFO’s and as we move through 2019, I am sure that either in the latter part of this year or by 2020 we will somehow rise above the political noise and focus on what has been limited to what can be called confirmation containment.
The article claims that Navy pilots were seeing UFOs on an almost daily basis in 2014 and 2015.
I marveled at the bluntness of the headline.
In the article, there is commentary from Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall presenting a draft version of “Sovereignty and the UFO” in the journal, Political Theory.
Wendt and Duvall argued that state sovereignty as we understand it is anthropocentric, or “constituted and organized by reference to human beings alone.” They argued that the real reason UFOs have been dismissed is because of the existential challenge that they pose for a worldview in which human beings are the most technologically advanced life-forms:
“UFOs have never been systematically investigated by science or the state because it is assumed to be known that none are extraterrestrial. Yet in fact this is not known, which makes the UFO taboo puzzling given the ET possibility… The puzzle is explained by the functional imperatives of anthropocentric sovereignty, which cannot decide a UFO exception to anthropocentrism while preserving the ability to make such a decision. The UFO can be “known” only by not asking what it is.”
At the time the paper was presented, there were a few chuckles in the audience.
Nonetheless, their paper makes a persuasive case that UFOs certainly exist, even if they are not necessarily ETs. For them, the key is that no official authority takes seriously the idea that UFOs can be extraterrestrials. As they note, “considerable work goes into ignoring UFOs, constituting them as objects only of ridicule and scorn.”
In recent years, however, there has been a subtle shift that poses some interesting questions for their argument. For one thing, discussion of actual UFOs has been the topic of some serious mainstream media coverage. There was the December 2017 New York Times story by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean about the Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was tasked with cataloging UFOs recorded by military pilots. DoD officials confirmed its existence. Though this story generated some justified skepticism, it represented the first time the U.S. government acknowledged the existence of such a program.
What appears to be happening is that official organs of the state are now acknowledging that UFOs exist, even if they are not literally using the term. They are doing so because enough pilots are reporting UFOs and near-air collisions so as to warrant better record-keeping. They are not saying that these UFOs are extraterrestrials, but they are trying to destigmatize the reporting of a UFO.
We have to consider that so far the Department of Defense has provided an actual two-step process in order to bring about disclosure.
Acknowledge that UFOs exist, and consider that the UFOs might be piloted by ETI.
Many people are excited about attending Contact in the Desert. My first experience with this UFO conference was in Joshua Tree, California – it was hot and it was held outdoors. At the last minute, I was asked to do a presentation because another speaker was in a car accident and could not come to the conference.
I decided to do a presentation based on an article I wrote called “The War of 96.”
Back in 2016, there was a commercial that was airing on TV and on the internet that caught everyone’s interest — it was a recruitment ad to get young people to sign up for something called the Earth Space Defense Force.
It certainly looked like a real ad except for the part where the people in the ad talked about the great alien war of 1996 and then we realized it was a promotional ad for the sequel to the film Independence Day.
However, what is most bizarre is that at the same time it literally was a recruitment ad for the Army.
The Army’s recruiting effort dipped into a parallel universe, attempting to engage young sci-fi fans who may not be aware of the military’s high-tech positions they will have to fill for a future war in space with familiar enemies and some not so familiar or even imagined.
I had taken the cue from the bizarre recruitment video that our lives were about to change and during my presentation, I predicted that we would have confirmation of both UFOs and extraterrestrials in the year 2017.
I based it on a story I read about an alien artifact that scientists were tracking. In the article, it is said that something strange was coming to the earth. Of course, it wasn’t all that defined – it gave me just enough information to think that if this report is serious – something will come into our solar system and shock the world.
Scientists were actually looking for a space artifact called 1991 VG, which left many scientists scratching their heads since it was first discovered by astronomer James Scotti on November 6, 1991. It passed by the earth in the summer of 2017 and the findings of this alien artifact were actually kept classified.
However, in the Fall of 2017, scientists stumbled on another artifact that they were not planning on.
Oumuamua hurdled through our solar system at 58,000 mph when it was discovered on October 19, 2017. The object was then propelled by the Sun’s gravity, causing it to blast off on a hyperbolic trajectory out of our solar system at a rate of 196,000 mph.
Without hesitation, the astronomers theorized that the reason it accelerated was because of something called outgassing. Outgassing occurs when an icy object gets too close to the warmth of a star and starts releasing gases that propel it forward, scattering dust off its surface as it goes.
The Hubble Space Telescope, continued to track Oumuamua after it faded from view from even the most powerful ground-based telescopes. The sun’s power gravity bent Oumuamua’s trajectory, acting like a slingshot. But “the path was not behaving as it would if it were just merely controlled by the sun’s gravity.
Astronomers used computer modeling to explore possible explanations for the mysterious acceleration, including potential effects of solar radiation, drag-like forces, and interaction with solar wind, the charged particles emitted by the sun. None of them fit.
However, Avi Loeb of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics was very vocal in exploring exciting possibilities as to what this strange anomaly was. He provided a more exotic scenario that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.
The discovery of Oumuamua raised the consciousness level to that of more study and a redefining of the sciences that focus on exobiology and astrophysics.
President Trump was notified that scientists were following this craft and that rumor has it that this event came close to being a disclosure event. After hearing about the remote possibility of this elongated object was an alien spacecraft, he started pushing harder for the establishment of the “Space Force.”
I harkened back to those commercials about the War of 96 and wondered just how much of that recruitment tool for the Earth Space Defense Force was based on fact and whether or not it was a forestructuring of trickle-down disclosure.
Beyond speculation is the reality that other space agencies and foreign telescopes were finding interesting anomalies in space that indicated that possible intelligent life is in the cosmos, only to be slammed away by so-called “enlightened” scientists that make it a point to dismiss anything that can be considered a breakthrough.
But suddenly other mainstream scientists were seriously talking about alien spaceships and visitations. One scientist, Harvard’s Avi Loeb said that the interstellar object, Oumuamua seemed to be showing signs that it was an ancient alien artifact.
He was well aware that most scientists recoiled from anything that sounds like UFO craziness. But he believed that an overabundance of skepticism has cut them off from out-of-the box ideas. Says Loeb, “Why have a prejudice? Why argue that it must be natural? What do we gain, other than putting blinders on our eyes?”
Penn State astronomer Jason Wright shares Loeb’s desire for open discussion about extraterrestrials. “There’s a real culture change. SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) is becoming a serious scientific discipline,” he says. Wright raises the possibility that a now-defunct alien civilization may have left behind artifacts on the moon where they could have survived, even if deposited there billions of years ago. Almost all such searches are destined for failure, Wright says, and all it takes is one success to change the world.
Oumuamua’s unusual trajectory meant it had to have come from outside the solar system — and that it could have been traveling for millions of years. “It’s very elongated, with an axis ratio of at least 7 to 1,” astronomer Karen Meech of the University of Hawaii said. It’s at least seven times as long as it is wide — shaped like a cigar. Or, as Loeb proposes in his paper, maybe a flattened disk. At only 1,000 feet long it is too small to be a comet. And it has no distinctive comet tail. Also, it seems to be much more reflective than the typical comet.
It has also been overlooked that one of the first scientists who wondered if Oumuamua was an alien probe was Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking lead an investigation into whether or not this Oumuamua was a spaceship from an alien civilization. It was one of the last projects he headed up before he died.
Since the sighting of Oumuamua, NASA has made the search for alien life is a high priority, and recent discoveries give ample reason for optimism that the endeavor will be a successful one.
It should be known that after the sighting of Oumuamua, an Ad Hoc Committee on SETI Nomenclature was convened at the suggestion of Frank Drake after the Decoding Alien Intelligence Workshop at the SETI Institute in March 2018. The purpose of the committee was to recommend standardized definitions for terms, especially those that are used inconsistently in the literature and the scientific community with regard to intelligent extraterrestrial biology, communication or contact with extraterrestrial civilizations and possible sightings of craft that may or may not be from advanced extraterrestrial civilizations.
There are now 9 pages with 24 terms defined, ranging from the simple alien, intelligence, extraterrestrial to the complex like Schelling Point, Fermi Paradox, Drake Equation and a list that is acronym-heavy, like CETI, SETA, METI, Active METI, Artifact SETI.
SETA stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts, which is a subset of SETI while METI – Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence – is straight out “controversial” and has been certainly a concern for scientists who believe intentionally sending signals to alien my wake a sleeping giant and attract hostile alien life.
The term “extraterrestrial” is now defined with the rider that the terminology is complicated by the interplay between Earth and the wider solar system, while alien is defined but not loved. The word “Alien” to be avoided as a noun and is not even recommended as an adjective. Definitions of intelligence are “slippery and much broader than technological.”
Based on the agreed definitions, natural and artificial seem pretty straightforward, but even here there is a note referring to slipperiness because they are “not even well defined for observable phenomena on Earth.” Even as terminologies become well defined there are slippery areas where science will be forced to be a bit more straightforward with their findings so there is really n reason to broadly define what is found and that there is no question as to the validity of discovery.
Based on the agreed definitions, natural and artificial seem pretty straightforward, but even here there is a note referring to slipperiness because they are “not even well defined for observable phenomena on Earth.”
Even as terminologies become well defined there are slippery areas where science will be forced to be a bit more straightforward with their findings so there is really n reason to broadly define what is found and that there is no question as to the validity of discovery.
As we have learned in the past that whenever there is a remarkable claim about unusual phenomena – there is a broad explanation that leaves a gap so wide open that scientists can say that a certain phenomenon or artifact is either artificial or natural. Such is the case with the always controversial sighting of Oumuamua.
It is obvious to me the truth is Oumuamua woke up scientists to the reality that something is out there that may have an interest in us. If so, then scientists have to be prepared and rethink about what it is they are doing and what exactly they are studying. There is no doubt it has changed everything and preparations are underway.
Suffice to say, the preparation for disclosure is imminent.
The cultural impact of extraterrestrial disclosure will certainly force changes to terrestrial science, technology, religion, politics, and ecosystems resulting from contact with an extraterrestrial civilization.
UFOs exist and everyone needs to adjust to that fact.
The potential changes from Stigma to Enigma could vary greatly in magnitude and type of evidence of what we are dealing with. It certainly will be based on the assessed level of technological advancement, and to the degree of benevolence or malevolence, and level of mutual comprehension between alien life and humanity.