The UFO As My Therapy
Of all the wondrous and insightful philosophical and religious treatises out there designed to provide humans with a compass for navigating life, I have found that UFOs are my compass. Broadly speaking, UFOs and the paranormal are my compass. Of course there are other extremely important guiding lights in my life. One of which, most importantly being Tsvete, the love of my life. I also have loving parents who provided me with good ethical and moral bearings. Yet, due only to the measurement of Gregorian time, this alien compass has been the most ever present. It was always with me like a friend since I was very young, still developing my brain and personality. I see a direct line of its guidance from this moment, all the way back to those early years. And as odd as it may sound, this mysterious aid has truly helped me to strive to be a better person.
When I saw my first and only UFO around the age of twelve, it profoundly changed my life. I buzzed with energy and a severely humbling revelation that I may never comprehend my place in this universe. What was I, a kid, to do with that? At the time it nudged me to think bigger, broader, and to not limit the scope of my imagination’s curiosity.
As I grew up, I had to deal with the pains of everyday life. I found that the world was not so perfect, and neither was I. For years I’ve struggled with fear, anxiety and insecurity. Like most people, I regret bad decisions which put myself and others at risk. I have hurt myself and others. I’ve dealt with depression and addictive behaviors. I’ve also been lucky to have had support from loved ones and friends. But whichever period of my life I was going through—good or bad—I always looked to the stars. The UFO always said to me: there are endless possibilities, therefore there is hope. Even in the darkest of shadows there were secrets yet to be learned. In my worst of states I could help restore myself by reading about the paranormal, or listen to programs like Coast To Coast AM and Psychedelic Salon; or watch hours worth of documentary programs on similarly interrelated topics.
The very idea of the UFO was and is a powerful guide. It whispers that life is grander than imagined. That the consciousness of each individual is an enigma, and each person’s consciousness should be valued as precious, never to be disregarded as just “the other.” Because if I know so little about our cosmos and myself, then surely I should not put myself down, nor other people. I’m forced to think bigger. UFOs remind me then to pick myself up and to care about others. So that others are no longer “the other”. One day at a time, this has contributed to my developing a sense of wellness and purpose.
I think we should revel in the mystery that incites powerful questions and introspection. Questions that may drive the desire to live longer, better, and be more sensitive to the plight of fellow human souls. I’m not saying there must be something divinely spiritual about supposed non-Earthlings visiting us. It’s just that when we think on what might be “out there” (or hidden in plain sight) we all share some sort of vague and nebulous mystical sensation.
Some UFO researchers who believe UFOs are strictly “nuts and bolts” craft from another planet, assume that to associate their work with metaphysics undermines their efforts to get scientists, mainstream media and society at large to take the topic seriously. It’s a fair and understandable concern, but one I believe is a slight miscalculation that’s become outdated.
Before delving further into that idea, let us first consider that ufologists have in fact been bullied. Whether we admit it or not, scientists and debunkers have won the culture war for the better part of the last 70 years. Researchers have, to a degree, given in to individuals who physicist and author Stanton Friedman refers to as the “noisy negativists.” Ufologists do so by actively deflecting or denying any notion that New Age or metaphysical topics could possibly be related to their own ufological studies. Like a good scientist, it does make sense for the researcher to do this. They keep their data or journalistic work as controlled as possible before presenting their findings to any reputable media outlets, scientific organizations or peer reviewed publications. This protective practice by the researcher is done so explicitly with the expectation of being reviewed fairly. Bias from the scientific community at large is a very real thing. For years now, it has become common practice for ufologists and Bigfoot researchers to submit allegedly recovered materials or hair samples to laboratories for testing, without disclosing the suspected origin of the sample. They are attempting to avoid being denied access or treated with bias. I mean let’s be honest, how often do scientists conceal from laboratories the suspected hair samples of a bear?
This is not a critique of those researchers, as I do believe this approach was necessary. The scientific method should always be employed to the highest measure possible still. After all we don’t want good, hard-earned data muddied. For the many millions of us who take ufology seriously, we understand the importance of presenting well scrutinized evidence that is clear of bias. We support the diligence by both trained scientists and independent researchers who honestly attempt to bring us one step closer to the truth. But seeking the truth in this field inevitably leads to the question: is there more than we see?
I find popping into my head from time to time a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson who said: “We are each of us a little universe.” Tyson’s sentiment rings with enchantment. But before your brain begins scientizing those words I ask you: “Do you agree when you first read deGrasse’s statement, that you were briefly steeped in mystery and wonder?” That feeling is only a breath away from a discussion on spirituality. An epistemological and ontological urging to question our assumptions based on our limited knowledge. This state of wonder opens the imagination. Physicist Carl Sagan once said, “We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” When scientists describe their love of pursuing life’s mysteries like this it sounds a whole lot like religious speech.
I refer to myself as a spiritual agnostic and part-time atheist. Within me is both a serious skeptic, as well as a “ponderer” of divine metaphysical concepts. The nexus of these two states of mind is, I believe, the broad field of study called ufology. The book, Beyond UFOs, is a recent marker of change within the field which exemplifies the importance of allowing ufology to include seemingly miraculous dimensions to its study. In this published study by FREE, we have a number of highly trained and multi-disciplined researchers and scientists who approach the subject with analytic scrutiny, without evading the myriad of paranormal or supernatural occurrences that are associated with reports by close encounter experiencers and UFO eyewitnesses. In fact, they recognize the profound psychological shifts that happen to people during bizarre encounters—because they happened.
The seductive strangeness that surrounds the enigma of all this, reminds me of the scene in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker is on Dagobah training with Yoda. He is urged and feels compelled to enter a haunting misty cave where he faces a harsh new truth. This is a common motif in mythologies worldwide, where caves and dark places served as portals into other worlds. The venturer enters to confront entities and their own self. When they leave, they take with them kernels of truth that ultimately lead to a profound revelation. This is not unlike reports of UFO sightings, ET encounters and abductions.
The study of UFOs and the paranormal calls to us, promising something more. And if indeed there is more out there than our five senses and technologies can perceive, then our judgment of people, politics, religion, or anything, is not even close to being based on a complete understanding of universal truths. Which is to say we are all ignorant of so much every time we make a judgement. But if we had such knowledge, obviously our thinking would be much improved. I know it sounds rather broad, but isn’t that what religions promise us - a spiritual path guided by seemingly hidden wisdoms made accessible? It’s this call to mysticism that I believe is now acceptable to associate with ufology. After all, some of the greatest scientists and physicists have believed in something imperceptible and conscious-like that permeates the known universe. Isaac Newton believed in God, though he disagreed with how God should be worshipped. Albert Einstein is arguably an atheist or a believer in God. Einstein did not believe in an afterlife, nor a monotheistic personal god, but he did believe God existed as something amorphous and indeterminate. Something that the human mind cannot grasp.
In the past the battle was between the religious and the scientific. Now you have many people defining themselves as spiritual or agnostic. Others believe in the fundamentals of a particular religion such as Christianity, but do not subscribe to an institution’s dogmatic aspects. There are also those who consider themselves Wiccan or pagan. In the age of New Agers, a growing number of people’s beliefs are an amalgamation of various spiritual and religious concepts. Yet, it seems most of these people attempt to balance their understanding of factual science with their own speculative precepts. So, despite their supernatural beliefs and flirtations, they respect science.
I have always held in my mind two general possibilities of the UFO phenomenon without conflict. One, the alleged beings controlling these ships and making contact with humans are biological or synthetic in origin, and are visiting from another planet. And two, they are inter-dimensional beings. If they are inter-dimensional, it is difficult to ignore the parallels between this and the supernatural beings we find in world mythologies. I just don’t think it is so wrong to openly admit that researching UFOs can also be a spiritually and existentially introspective investigation.
Public perception and acceptance of the phenomenon is changing fast anyway. In fact, a tide change is happening right in front of our eyes. With so many new shows on TV and streaming platforms, we have seen an increase of highly credentialed scientists as pundits talking openly and fairly about the the possibility of ET life visiting Earth. Scientists like Michio Kaku are not afraid to associate themselves with the topic. It may be a stretch, but similarly, I believe ufologists should embrace metaphysical speculation if the issue comes up in their research. People will be able to relate to this - it resonates with most. And ultimately the public will carry the day, as there is no denying that increased interest by the public always helps to generate resources for research and testing.
Respectfully, I note to researchers: spirituality is imbued within the UFO phenomenon whether you like it or not. If you have speculations of your own, perhaps don’t shy away from any metaphysical aspects of the UFO phenomenon you may uncover, or even that which you may believe in. After all, religious scientists are not called “kooks” just because they have a spiritual practice.
Equally important to unbiased data is intellectual honesty about one’s beliefs. Not only will this attract more readers and supporters, but right now it feels like that’s the direction the public feels comfortable with ufology moving in. Because honesty and openness unlock more doors than they close. Whatever you come to believe, just be open and honest with yourself and the public.
To be clear, my intention is not to make a religion of ufology, or perpetuate unfounded cultish worship of alien races. I’m simply moved by the thing itself; as well as the noble work and revelations achieved by researchers in both conventional and fringe fields of study. The work of physicists and ufologists alike, inspires us to elevate our human nature and spiritual development. Signs of life throughout the universe, or stranger than fiction evidence are part and parcel. And for these seemingly disparate studies to bump up against each other really is a good thing. Let’s be brave in the face of the fantastical and astounding.
Personally, I hope that we can all embrace the positively humane aspects of studying this phenomenon. So once again I look to Carl Sagan who elucidates for us how wisdom is gained by studying the wondrous when he said: “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
Live in the mystery.
Alan B. Smith
Paranormal Now on KGRA