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Reply To: UFO: A Living Myth of Transformation,” with mythologist Norland Têllez”


    Yes, absolutely, the draw, the attraction, the pull into mythic consciousness, is what draws me in as well. As you so well put it:

    The DRAW I’m thinking about is “WHAT IF?” Looking at UFOs from this perspective of PLAY. The classic suspension of disbelief and the engagement of WONDER and IMAGINATION. Maybe the soul or psyche has felt a drought…and looking up to the Stars…births this WHAT IF? Game. Because it’s in the form of questions could it not still retain that numinous quality? Wondering what a UFO could be? How it flies? Wondering if there are ETs or what they might look like? Friendly or grumpy? Tall or Short?
    Wonder is more open ended than belief…I know it’s a contradiction to letting definitions slide before the mystery. But this shows to me you are exactly right…and it is a way of longing for that wonder and imagination and rapture of mystery, which all the myths have talked about. And it reflects that “play,” that is often the key to the threshold of experience.

    I think what you and your mom experienced, as with everyone who has seen them, was such moment of transcendent wonder. But the concretism of the experience is not to be underplayed either for it is precisely that quality of the Real which takes us beyond the merely metaphorical, beyond the merely symbolic and purely ludic what-if, only to add and not subtract from the transcendent sense of mystery.

    I think the issue of concretism vs symbolism is often turned into a rigid ideological fantasy in which their opposition is seen non-dialectically, as if they were opposites external to each other. But rather than a binary split between the concrete and the symbolic we must learn to see them the way the ancients did, one inside the other. The more concrete a reality is the more symbolic it becomes. So rather than determining the literal definition of the concrete in opposition to the metaphoric, we must learn to see in the symbolic order the literal and concrete meaning of our lives. There is neither the symbolic nor the literal but only the becoming-symbolic of the literal. Time is the thing that melts them both within.

    We really need to deconstruct all our binary oppositions in order to think properly about things. That is why I also appreciate the work of Jacques Derrida, who is in my book another great depth mythologist. This is how he puts it On Grammatology with respect to the ‘science of writing’: “It is not, therefore, a matter of inverting the literal meaning and the figurative meaning but of determining the “literal” meaning of writing as metaphoricity itself.” (15)