Monday, April 02, 2007

Where Have You Gone, Jacques Vallee?

Paul Simon wrote:

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you,
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away."

In the context of the study of the UFO phenomenon, I would paraphrase that as follows:

"Where have you gone, Jacques Vallee?
Ufology turns its lonely eyes to you."

Why does Jacques Vallee, who hasn't been involved, at least publicly, in "ufology" for years now (notwithstanding one conference appearance a year ago), still inspire a great deal of respect and admiration amongst people who take the UFO phenomenon seriously, and engage their imagination?

Because he took it seriously, because he was thoughtful, because he was articulate, and because he always kept an open mind. He was - indeed, is - one of the "giants", along with Hynek, McDonald, Friedman and Keyhoe.

In Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma (the title says it all) he wrote:
The "UFO Phenomenon," with all its disturbing aspects, presents a most unwelcome challenge to the physical and philosophical conception of the universe painstakingly formed in the course of many centuries of civilization on this planet. But it is there; we cannot forever refuse to study it. And it could well be that, in the final analysis, our own existence will be dependent upon the sincerity with which we conduct this research.
He's been described as a "heretic amongst heretics." I asked him to participate in Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Cases, because I have a tremendous amount of respect for his work and his insights, but, alas, he very politely declined, although he provided some keen insight to a couple of questions I had.

If Vallee would ever agree, I would love to do a documentary on his life and times, much like Stanton T. Friedman is Real. That's one UFO-related film that would still interest me.

Until that far-off, probably-never-going-to-happen day, I, like many others interested in the UFO phenomenon, wish that "Joltin' Jacques" would come back, and engage our imaginations once again.

Because the serious study of the UFO phenomenon needs more "heretics" like him, and is poorer for his public absence.

Paul Kimball


Anonymous said...

Vallee has not "gone away". He continues to do his ufo/uap research, part-time, privately, and self-financed, with other colleagues in the "invisible college". He concentrates on various case of interest to him, and goes directly to the scene to interview witnesses and do his investigations.

He just does not want any media attention, as he doen't need it, and probably feels it would impinge on his primary interest, which is researching startup companies' new technologies to determine if his or other venture capital firms he's either a partner in or associated with would be interested in investing in startups with truly innovative new tech. He's quite wealthy now as a result.

His venture capital work is his main interest now, along with family, and the ufo subject is at least third in line. But he has not withdrawn from or given up ufo/uap research. He's just very discreet about it. He does not want to get mixed up with "the circus", and all the back-biting, contentious personalities and controversies that have been with us since the post WWII era. He prefers to stand "alone" and will put out data when he's ready. He's almost 70 now, so I would guess he may feel he's done most of what can be done in the "field" of ufo/uap research, and wants to devote his time primarily to those things that have much more significance to him.

But, to reiterate, he's not gone. He 's just a very subtle, discreet, and private individual who will only let the public know what he thinks when he's ready to do so.

I do wish he'd write another book, and he may be, but he only lets those closest to him know of his continuing interest in and research of the various ufo/uap phenomena.

We will hear from him again, and my guess is within the next couple years. I know all this, as I have had discussions and meetings with Vallee many times since 1992. We had lunch together just about a year and a half ago, where these issues were discussed, among others.

Mac said...

A Vallee documentary: brilliant idea.

Paul Kimball said...

Dr. X:

I'm aware that Vallee is still around, working quietly underground. He's also very generous with his reponses to people who seek him out.

Still, the serious study of the UFO phenomenon should be a public enterprise, and so long as the likes of Vallee leave the study to the likes of a Greer or Salla, nothing will ever really be accomplished (certainly no real resources devoted).

Still, as you suggest, he's done his bit for King and country, and then some. I suppose I look at Vallee not as a person anymore, but an ideal, and wonder where the current version of a younger Vallee is. I don't really see one who has both the credentials and the passion.

Which was the point Simon was making about Joltin' Joe - not so much that one player was gone, but that the era he represented, and everything good in it, is gone too.


Anonymous said...

I for one would love to see a Vallee documentary. While hardly infallible the guy is clearly a very, very sharp thinker. Who can blame him for not wanting to perform in the "circus"?

My opinion of Vallee is such that if I were a documentary filmmaker I would ask him what kind of documentary he would want to see or what he thinks would be a meaningful contribution even if he wasn't personally in it.

Don Maor said...

It would be great., I loved the documentary of Stan Friedman, you are very good making such films Paul. Thanks a lot.

Paul Kimball said...

Thanks Don.