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


What a fascinating and compelling subject Norland!
When you mention Joseph Campbell choosing not to delve into this topic of UFOs, it makes me think of where you write:

…whether physical objects or mental projections, the ambiguity and uncertainty speak to the mystery.

Perhaps Campbell preferred not to address the subject because of that very “ambiguity!”

As you also write: “From a Jungian perspective, UFOs stand for a certain archetypal content that finds no expression within our accepted frameworks of explanation and world view.”


Campbell was looking at world traditions/religions and archetypal symbols and then on to space and science.

Both Religion/traditions

And Science have held perception of world views.

But Campbell would find no reference nor expect any reference to such a phenomena from a mythic tradition or religion. (Even though there are others who might— a whole other story)

And then Campbell would find “no proof” or exact validation from the science perspective either.

Even though Jung offers an interesting take, maybe Joseph Campbell is uncomfortable with this?   Because from Campbell’s view there are no primary religious or mythic symbols to make that connection OR to point to the phenomena as some kind of “rapture” of the mind, which one has been conditioned to believe in certain Holy Traditions.
It would be difficult to pinpoint the phenomena, because it is both concrete and not concrete.
Can Campbell point to UFOs as being a concretization of a transcendent metaphor? Not easy. Perhaps he thought of them as no more than hallucinations or people mistaking natural phenomena for something else.
And had no interest in digging deeper or seeing them as a “New Myth.”
If UFOs are both out of the realm of religion/science (meaning no direct verification) Then where would they belong in the Psyche?
Norland, what you and Jung muse upon as a metaphor suggests a collective pain in the psyche might birth such a phenomena of experience.
If one sticks with metaphors, then one can imagine that perhaps our psyche symbols are going through an alchemical change…

If the myths are presumed to keep up with the science of the times…the space exploration and thoughts of ETs or other extraterrestrial civilizations seems to be a possible  transformation of those old symbols.

Yet even with the long potential and excitement over a one day manned mission to Mars…

I think part of the break which is suggested between the lines of your essay and Jungs work:  is the need to still see our earth from the moon…and the care towards our home planet beset not just with pollution but also with the footprints of Nuclear War and War.

So is Jung pointing to the phenomena of UFOS as a kind of escapism as well?

Whether fair or foul? And the escapism is a break in the psyche?

Yet curiously he remains ambiguous too upon the subject.
Very interesting indeed!