Jacques Vallee, Critical Thinking, and Intelligent UFOlogy
In Vallee's (insanely good and essential) book Revelations, he starts off by analyzing three of the bedrock foundations of the modern UFO mythology: the Majestic 12 documents, Area 51, and the Dulce underground base. His conclusions are vastly more damning than any "skeptical" debunking article, because rather than beginning from the assumption that the claims are false, Vallee actually investigated with an open mind.
"I am probably the only person who doesn't know what UFOs are. Most UFOlogists know (or think they know) that UFOs are spacecraft vehicles, in other words, spacecraft from another planet. We are told that even the question of their motive has been solved: they are coming here to steal our genetic material. Nine million Americans are said to have experienced abductions. In the meantime, the vast majority of scientists and technologists continue to regard all this as complete nonsense, they may acknowledge that a strange phenomenon exists, but they know (or think they know) that it is not any more worthy of study now that it was twenty-three years ago when the National Academy of Sciences and the University of Colorado released the Condon report. Never has the situation been so clearly polarized. Never has it been harder to do good research." --pg. 280
Building a New Religion
As we know (or think we know) from experiments performed by Stanley Milgram and Martin Orne, the most effective method of achieving power is commanding it. The statistics back this up -- overall, 61% of the time, humans will inflict pain on another human if they are ordered to do so by someone they percieve as an authority figure. (As a helpful hint, "authority" is achieved just like "power" is.) And perhaps even worse, 90% will perform meaningless and repetitive tasks for hours on end.
So dig: this leads us to the same conclusion that we get from the Prisoner's Dilemma thought experiment. It's an ugly conclusion: the most effective game strategy for life really is being a selfish asshole. The math don't lie, brahiem. If you think that means you should be a selfish asshole, it won't be hard, because odds are you're already there. (I hope nobody misinterprets that, but I know someone will.)
Here's what all that has to do with building a new religion: it's just a numbers game. What's the difference between Branch Davidians being burnt alive and crushed by tanks, and Scientologists putting out press releases about how Tom Cruise is Jesus? Money and followers. More money, more followers, and as much as I hate to write this, Scientologists who say that they will be treated as a legitimate religion in the future are completely right.
Consider the very under-rated and fascinating William Sims Bainbridge, who's published an article studying "Attitudes Toward Interstellar Communication". He's also the author of a paper which is infamous is some circles -- and I'm probably in at least two of them -- entitled "Religions for a Galactic Civilization", in which he makes the following salient points:
"If mankind cannot solve its problems, a semi-religious movement might indeed arise to seek guidance from more advanced beings out in the galaxy. Great resources might be spent listening for radio signals. Perhaps the project would succeed in picking up messages from other technological civilizations, and this in a multitude of ways would stimulate practical development of spaceflight. Thus, we may hear the voices of other "men" through instruments designed to receive the voice of God. Today there exists one highly effective religion actually derived from science fiction, one which fits all the known sociological requirements for a successful Church of God Galactic. I refer, of course, to Scientology. I must explain at once that I myself am not a Scientologist and do not mean to promote this novel religion. Indeed, two of my published scientific articles might be taken as quite critical of Scientology's claims and origins. Yet I shall conclude this essay with a discussion of Scientology, because it may indeed be the first of the science fiction religions to become a large, influential denomination and because it does indeed promote galactic civilization."
Two whoppers in there: for one, I'm actually not the first person to think of loading up a satellite full of "Alien" transmissions, launching it into space, and setting it to begin "transmitting" high-power threats -- or promises -- once it was outside the solar system. (...and hilarity ensues.) And for two, sociologists are looking towards Scientology as a potential candidate for the Next Big Religion.
Some Vallee again:
"Over the last ten years the UFO enigma has become an important theme in the development of new belief systems. In the following chapters I will show that it is a suitable framework for those who want to build new cults, or simply to observe the social dynamics of marginal groups. The manipulations of belief that is evident in the mythology built around the aliens, and that continues with the sophisticated simulation of close encounters ...goes far deeper into our culture than the casual reader of supermarket tabloids, or even the serious student of UFO lore, would suspect. --pg. 37
He continues this thread later in the book:
"The expectation of extraterrestrials is a sociological effect which in itself can be, and is exploited for down-to-earth, sophisticated psychological warfare. While little money has been spent researching UFOs, considerable effort has been made to study, document and exploit the belief in extraterrestrials. Someone has been using (and is still using) the sociological impact of the phenomenon for their own purpose, muddying up the waters and making the life of an objective researcher very difficult. --pg. 284
...And We All Remember Psychological Warfare
The man to the left is Michael Aquino, and he's worth taking a closer look at, in relation to this material. I first ran across Micheal Acquino back when he was a Satanist child molester, implicated in the very weird Satanic Ritual Abuse scandal at the Presidio in California. (He's also been connected to the Franklin Coverup by Noreen Gosch.) Acquino is also the former High Priest of the Temple of Set, a west-coast faction of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan -- and he's written a very curious "debunking" of Remote Viewing, "Project Star Gate: 20 Million up in Smoke (and Mirrors)". It's curious for two reasons: first, that a high-ranking active occultist would write such an essay to begin with, and second, it's written as if Quantum Physics never happened, relying on outdated but "common sense" logic. Although it's only my opinion, I do feel it's pretty obvious he's just trying to stir up mud in a dark pond.
Where Michael Aquino really intersects with today's article is his early work for the US Military: two papers on Psychological Warfare. The first is Psychological Operations: The Ethical Dimension and the follow-up is From PsyOps to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory. Both documents are important reads, and if anything, they're even worse than they sound.
Whatever darker perversions Aquino may be involved with are secrets which will probably die with him, should they exist at all. However, his military intelligence pedigree is a matter of public record, he proudly provides a resume on his website. Although that might be a psychological operation unto itself, who knows...
Vallee Chats With William Cooper
I get a lot of emails from people asking me if I've read Behold a Pale Horse. Hell yeah, that book blew my mind when I was 12. Of course, I'm 25 now, so hopefully the following will help those people understand why I never wrote them back.
In Revelations, Vallee meets William Cooper for an interview over dinner. I'm going to transcribe the meaty parts of his recollection of the events:
"There are four types of aliens," resumed Bill Cooper after the waitress had brought him a second Chivas. "There are two kinds of Grays, including one race, not commonly seen, that has a large nose. Then there are the Nordic types, tall blond Aryans, and finally the Orange ones." "Where do they come from?" "I remember seeing several points of origin mentioned [in Gov't reports he saw]: Orion, the Pleiades, Betelguese, Barnard's star, and Zeta Riticuli." "You mentioned we had a treaty with them?" "Since 1964." "Why would they go through the trouble of entering into a treaty with us, since their technology is far ahead of ours? John Lear mentioned a billion years." "They needed the government to keep their presence secret. Remember, we had one of the aliens in our custody. One radar affected their navigation system and threw their craft off balance." I didn't tell Bill that I had spent the whole afternoon being brief on advanced microwave devices by an electronic warfare company. That company, based in Orange County, made a radar simulator among it's other military products. The idea that our primitive radars of 1949 would have repeatedly knocked alien spacecraft out of the sky was utterly ludicrous. Our own aircraft carry a device lovingly known in the electronic warfare trade as a DERFUM (for "Digital Radio Frequency Modulator") which is a little bigger than a shoe box and and has the capability to learn instantly all the characteristics of the electromagnetic sources that are operating in it's vicinity, to respond to them and even to provide false information if necessary, in a matter of seconds. It is hard to believe that visiting spacecraft a billion years ahead of us would not have similar, or superior, capabilities." --pgs 66-67
[Vallee] "Do you think it's that easy to fool people?" "The truth is so incredible...look at this magnificent ship. [Vallee and Cooper are having dinner aboard the Queen Mary] Imagine the Queen Mary sailing past an island where the population was still living in the stone age...what would they say about it? That's our situation with respect to alien craft." "Precisely. The Queen Mary doesn't bother to enter into a treaty with the king of every little island. Again, Bill, I don't understand why the aliens would need a formal treaty with us, if they're so advanced. It seems to me they would ignore us completely." "They needed to make sure our government would keep their existence from the public." --pg. 70
2007: A Thousand Suckers Born Every Minute
Sadly, Revelations was written in 1991. Today the rumors and myths of early UFOlogy, which Vallee was trying to do investigative work in the middle of, have calcified into rock hard dogmas. Consider the Dulce mythology, a vast hidden underground base ("the size of Manhattan") where Gray aliens perform horrible experiments on the humans they abduct, all with the co-operation of the United States government and military. Here's Vallee trying to understand that one, nearly two decades ago:
"Where is Area 51 anyway?" I asked, feeling like an ignorant kid among an assembly of scholars. "In Nevada," said Bill Moore. "Nellis Air Force Base." "At Groom Lake," added Linda Howe. They told me that, according to John Lear and others, it is the headquarters for projects called Redlight and Snowbird. But the major installation is supposed to be in New Mexico. "Why doesn't anyone know about it?" I asked. "It's underground, hidden in the desert. You can't see it." "How large is it?" "The size of Manhattan." "Who takes out the garbage?" The group looked at me in shock...
As they burrow further into specifics, Vallee only grows more doubtful:
"Well, it's a fair question, isn't it? Who takes out the garbage?" I repeated. "You just told me there's was a city the size of Manhattan underneath New Mexico. They will need water. They will generate solid waste. There would be massive changes to the environment. Where is the evidence for it?" "There are ways to hide large underground installations," I was told somberly. "Just look at NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain." "What about the infrared signature? Everybody can see NORAD on the satellite pictures. There are roads heading to the mountain. And the base would be a major source of heat. It would stick out like a sore thumb on infrared satellite imagery." The group looked at me suspiciously. "Nobody has access to those satellites," said Bill. "Those are highly classified." "Nonsense. The French SPOT satellite, which is commercially available to to industrial and news organizations, has a ten-meter definition. By smart computer processing, the definition can be improved by at least a factor of two. There is no such thing as a hidden underground base of that magnitude anymore." "The government can keep the lid on that information," someone said. "Even if you could keep this knowledge from the American citizens, you would be unable to keep it from the British, the Russians, the French, and the Israelis." [Note -- that list is much, much longer in 2007 -- anyone looked for Dulce with GoogleEarth?] --pgs. 56-57
Further Reading for Curious Primates
For general UFOlogy recommended readings, check out our previous Brainsturbator Library post. Of special interest to anyone entertaining the thought of "UFO phenomena being manipulated towards a new religion" would especially benefit from the MUFON document tracking 50 years of public opinion surveys on UFOs, available here.
Hopefully this gives the reader a sense of where the Brainsturbator UFOlogy series will be headed. Hopefully this further offended the bitter activists who've been emailing me. Most of all, hopefully you enjoyed reading this. And please, don't misconstrue me: am I implying that if you read Cooper's book "Behold a Pale Horse" and consider it to be a truthful document to this day, you're some sort of moron or idiot? Yes, absolutely, I am. It's no biggie, I still love you and all.
I conclude with one of the "seven pitfalls" of human thinking which Vallee explains in the conclusion of the first section in Revelations:
PITFALL ONE: THE TRANSITIVITY OF STRANGENESS We are all prone to this fallacy, which works as follows: someone makes an extremely strange statement we will call (A). For instance, (A) could be the assertion "I am in contact with an extraterrestrial civilization." When challenged to prove this assertion, the subject will make a second very strange statement we will call (B). For instance, he or she might say "They have given me the power to bend your spoon just by thinking about it." Naturally you will challenge this second assertion by saying something like "Oh yeah? Well, prove it, wise guy." In the next few minutes the subject proceeds to turn your spoon from a treasured heirloom to a pitiful, useless, unrecognizable shred of twisted metal, leaving you amazed and breathless. From then on, you will probably tell all your friends that the individual in question is indeed in contact with extraterrestrials. A truly independent thinker, on the contrary, would have realized the fallacy. The subject has only demonstrated assertion (B), namely the fact they could bend your spoon... The human mind, which loves to jump to conclusions, has established a transition (B is true, and it was stated in the context of A, so A must be true) which is completely unwarranted.