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


Well said, Norland! The following especially rings true:

But the threat to the collective existence of humanity you asked me about has always been ourselves, homo homini lupus, the collective shadow of humanity. This is the deeper source Jung alludes to but it points not to a single thing but to a whole confluence of factors, a network of interdependencies that pit us not only against ourselves, with our ridiculous nuclear capabilities, but also against Nature and Life on Earth as we stand near the precipice of ecological catastrophe to add to our nuclear threat.”

The era of UFO sightings certainly tracks with the beginning of the nuclear age. I have the vaguest memory of a drill in first grade where we practiced hiding under our desk in the event “the bomb” was dropped: just a drill for this little kid, but the fodder of nightmares for my parents.

Of course, though we still have the capacity to blow ourselves up many times over, the likelihood of nuclear war no longer occupies the forefront of public consciousness the way it did during the Cold War; nevertheless, between pandemics and climate change, an existential threat to all humanity, and perhaps all life on Earth, remains.

Certainly there are plenty of hooks in UFO sightings on which those projections of our fears are able to snag and catch; at the same time I do find it intriguing that, in the popular imagination, these potential visitors from outer space are considered both a potential threat on the one hand, and a potential savior on the other, with perhaps the technology and wisdom to save us from ourselves – the ultimate deus ex machina?.

Jung doesn’t deny there might be some objective reality to these encounters – indeed, he notes, even back in the fifties, that there did seem to be evidence of, well, something – though what most concerns him are the psychic projections we make onto these phenomena regardless of whether they are real.

Whether these sightings are of physical objects, mental projections, or a combination thereof, the ambiguity and uncertainty speak to the mystery, which strikes me as an essential quality of the experience. This has been happening for at least three-quarters of a century, yet, despite the plethora of sightings, it’s not anything we are able to nail down. There seems to be something there, but nothing we can know for sure, including whether or not the something is a something. Now, with the Pentagon files public, evidence does seem to be mounting, but not enough to dispel the uncertainty.

So I am curious, Norland, where you stand on the subject? Stepping away for a moment from the psychological and mythological implications, do you believe UFOs are real? And if they are, then what the heck are they?