Monday, October 29, 2007

Are We Ready for "Contact"?

My good friend Mac Tonnies has responded to my recent post "Truth Embargo? Good" at his blog (read it here).

He writes, in part:

A large part of me is convinced that we need our paradigmatic bars rattled -- and if that means enduring the sociological sea-change likely to occur in the wake of ET "disclosure," I think it's worth the ride.

I understand where he's coming from, but I think on this issue he's naive, and wrong. I replied:


You and others view "contact" through that Western, educated, middle-to-upper class point of view I discussed. The vast majority of the world does not share that point of view, including many in the West. A "contact" event would, in my opinion, be disastrous in the short term, with unpredictable consequences in the long-term. We just aren't ready for it as a species, and it is the height of cultural imperialism and hubris for us to suggest that because some of us may be ready (indeed, may even want that change), the rest of the world is, or at the very least should be forced along for the ride.

If I was in charge, and knew about ET on Earth, and could keep it secret, all the while slowly seeding the technology into society as well as the "knowledge", through the media (i.e. films), I wouldn't hesitate to "cover it up".

I'm pretty sure the Aztecs would have done the same if they could have.
Does anybody really think that the global reaction would be one of universal joy, where people who have hated each other for centuries would suddenly toss down their weapons and embrace each other as brothers and sisters? I don't.

Perhaps the aliens, should they prove to be benevolent, would enforce peace upon the world. They would no doubt have the means to do so, at least in broad strokes. But is that how we really want to solve our problems? And where would that lead us?

How would radical religious zealots (of any faith) react?

Does anyone for a second believe that the established order would just slip away - or is it far more likely that it would further entrench itself, paritcularly if the "contact" event was not a landing, but simply a signal that confirmed what Mac and I already suspect, i.e. that we're not alone?

The one thing I am certain of, as I look around, is that we're not mature enough as a species to face that future, at least not yet.

Maybe, someday, when we grow up and solve our own problems, we'll be ready for admission into the Cosmic Kindergarten. But for now we're still stuck in the crib.

Guys like Mac, and Stan Friedman, and Steven Bassett all mean well. They all want the best, and that's truly admirable. The problem is that when they say they would welcome a landing on the White House lawn, or that they want "disclosure", they are looking to the skies for salvation, when we should be looking to ourselves. We're the problem, but we're also the solution.

To think otherwise is to be no different than the people who have spent two thousand years waiting for the return of Jesus to save us from ourselves.

Paul Kimball


Mac said...

Looking at this from an existential perspective, I'm convinced that, on some deep level, we *need* this experience. I'm not pretending to suggest it wouldn't be destabilizing. But I think the human psyche could weather this -- and maybe even come out a bit more "cosmic" in the process.

The ecological clock is ticking. We need to mutate if we're to survive in any meaningful sense of the word. Knowledge of ET visitation could play an important role in lifting the veil of duality that we've laboriously imposed on the universe.

Anonymous said...

I just think there is a conflict of interest. Why should they get to decide what information I get to hear, especially when that information may very well change who I vote for in a given election.
Applicable to ETH, cryptoterrestrial, extradimensional, or otherwise.

Clifford Malcolm Willett said...

Have you read Ray Kurzwell? I imagine that you have.

Anyhow, in a nutshell, he believes that the key to the transformation of the human race is in the merger of biology and technology. I think this may have implications for the present debate. For while humans may not be ready for ET contact, post-humans may welcome it.

Incidentally, I do wish the likes of Daniel Pinchbeck would stop wittering on about 'paradigm shifts' and 'transformations in consciousness'.

Paradigm shifts are generally driven by science and technology, not by mysticism. Think of the changes brought about by the printing press, the internet, the way that quantum theory has radically altered our view of reality and so on.

The coming paradigm shift will not come about because we all decide to sit in a New York loft apartment smoking ayahuasca. It will come about because we will have the scientific and technological knowledge necessary to transform ourselves into something greater than we are.

(If we don't destroy ourselves first, of course)