FSR - FLYING SAUCER REVIEW
We live in an age of many great and continuing mysteries. Consider the human brain which packs the information processing power of hundreds if not thousands of maxi-computers into a volume of about 95 cm3. While neuro- and electro-physiologists gradually discover some of its hidden capabilities and biochemists and geneticists chart its molecular structure it continues to hide its most wondrous feature - consciousness. Debates continue to occur over whether consciousness and its partner, the "mind", reside within the brain matter or somehow permeates the entire human body. The closer one looks the more one finds that the brain's anatomy merges into its physiology and vice versa. Others study the brain's fantastic memory processes - sometimes likened to a hologram - where memory contents are miraculously split up and redistributed to many different spatial locations only to be reassembled and recalled later. Yet, after centuries of speculation and study, the human brain remains almost as much a mystery as before.
Consider the migration of birds from Alaska to Central America and back. Who understands their elegant, navigational capabilities that last for months at a time? Who can explain what it is that triggers their mass takeoffs at nearly the same time across vast regions in the first place or how each succeeding generation finds the same locations to stop at along the way? And what is it within each bird which delegates it to be a leader or a follower within the flock? These are great mysteries which should only motivate us to study harder.
Or, proceeding to even
a larger domain, consider the existence of natural lasers recently discovered
far away in outer space by NASA.
A powerful airborne infrared telescope was aimed at a very hot, luminous star in the constellation Cygnus. It is thought that extremely intense ultraviolet radiation emitted by the star excites, i.e., "pumps" densely packed hydrogen atoms in the dusty, gaseous disk surrounding the star. What results is an intense light beam at precisely the same wavelength (here 169 microns) which is well beyond the range of human vision so that we will never see it with the naked eye. While predicted more than fifteen years ago, this natural laser remained only a theoretical possibility yet this possibility led a few scientists to search for it. Truly, faith must precede true inquiry. And the fact that it was invisible did not keep a few bold and creative scientists from searching for and finding it.
If one thinks about unidentified flying objects (UFO) rationally for a moment one sees a similar process at work as with the discovery of the natural laser. Representing a truly frontier area of scientific endeavor, UFO phenomena continue to challenge those who are willing to remain open to new possibilities. Yet unlike the above story of the natural laser, UFOs are clearly visible to the naked eye and have been accurately reported by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Nevertheless, something lying deep within the soul of mankind keeps us from accepting its reality. Indeed, this clear and present process of psychological denial is as mysterious as are UFO phenomena.
Yet if UFOs are even remotely possible someone will study them. But who will these people be? Will the study of UFO continue to be carried out only by a small handful of poorly equipped and under-funded enthusiasts around the world? Or will the august conservatives populating the halls of science and academia wake up one day and actually look outside through their ivy-covered windows? If they do they may see with their own eyes what others have been seeing and reporting for decades (indeed much longer). And then perhaps some of them will get up from their philosophical sofas and laboratory benches and go to their libraries and reach for the best published literature on the subject of UFOs in order to begin their own journey. Eventually, if they truly persevere, they will find the British journal "Flying Saucer Review" which has been in continuous publication since 1955. They will discover within its pages a sweeping overview of these "mysteries of our age," as I like to call UFO phenomena. And these brave new investigators will then find out how to plumb the depths of these many pages in order to search for their own equivalents of "natural lasers" or "bird migrations" or "brains" or other such subjects. The present "Volume-Author-Article Index" painstakingly prepared by Edward Stewart will provide an invaluable aid and will save much valuable time for us all.
We live in an ever present world of myths, those wonderful stories which transport us away from the problems of everyday life and into fantastic realms of seeming unreality.
Suspended somewhere between reality and imagination, modern myths play many valuable roles in our western society as the psychiatrist Carl Jung, folklorist Eddie Bullard, and social philosopher Joseph Campbell all have made clear. Some myths hold cold reality at a respectably safe distance - to keep us from being personally impacted by its terrors. Other myths bring reality gently into our very hearts and warm them with comfort and light. And still other myths merely float somewhere in the ether of the mind just out of range of focused thought, barely disturbing our sleep at night. Yet I think that all of these kinds of myths are important to us for they can motivate us to reach into the hidden recesses of thought for the wisdom that may lie there. And this wisdom often springs up as a result of asking ourselves all kinds of questions.
Human beings love to think about many different kinds of "what if...?" questions. What if I could fly? What if I had a million dollars? What if God should speak to me tonight? What if that cute girl over there should walk over and talk to me? What if UFOs are real? These are all important questions for they help us to stretch our thoughts. They permit us to explore new realms of possibility without fully experiencing the consequences of our mental boldness.
Sometimes we project our "what if" questions into totally new areas of imagination and then tell someone else what happened, sometimes giving birth to at least a new tale and, perhaps even a new myth.
Many people today think that UFO are only mythological. Perhaps such a belief is born out of a fear that UFO really are "nuts and bolts" real. For by thinking about UFO as pure imaginary constructs people can live in a somewhat perceptually safer world. It is bad enough to be scared of burglars, rapists, murderers, con-men, the IRS, terrorists, floods, earthquakes, and the like today. But at least UFO and their alleged alien occupants are not a part of this list! What if our newspapers could also treat burglars, rapists, murderers, etc. as myths! Could we not then relegate them all to that safe and controlled area of life which is far away from us? Wouldn't we sleep more soundly? Wouldn't our lives be better off? But, there is no way we can treat them this way.
If UFO are really "real," on the other hand, our lives are made even more burdened than otherwise for now we also have to be worried about bedroom visits by etherial beings in addition to human marauders. St. Paul teaches us in the New Testament that "perfect love casts out fear. " This is the best single remedy for dealing with such fears. Can we truly love one another or must we go on fearing? Can we come to love the thought of the reality of alien life forms? Should we do so? Will we come to do so one day? These kinds of questions lead us to the final area of consideration, our personal motives for making such decisions.
Should I spend time reading about this subject or that? Why couldn't I study to become a pastor or a counsellor someday? Why do I think I am better at doing this job than he is? Should I tell a little "white lie" in order to save my marriage? All of these kinds of statements have obvious as well as hidden motives behind them. Truly, we humans are not just a bundle of reflexes which cause us to react to stimuli which strike us moment by moment. But what then really does motivates us? Of course there are many different answers. Yet I suggest that in much of western society today it is fear that motivates most of us and I think this alarming trend is growing.
Stretching from the wide spread cold war mentality in earlier years of invisible yet ever- present nuclear-tipped missiles above us to the present crumbling societal structure and dangers in America's inner cities, many citizens seem to continue to live wrapped in cold blankets of fear. The list of fear-producing things around us is long and sometimes unrecognizable. The list ranges from invisible bacteria on our sink tiles to huge continental earthquakes. Some of us fear an alarming increase in the loss of top-soil while others anticipate contamination of our water supply; others fear overpopulation of America by illegal immigrants. Still others focus on monetary deflation or inflation or absolute control by some despotic world dictator. But within the past several decades quite a new genre of something to be afraid of has appeared in our daily lives, i.e., aliens from space. These creatures are often portrayed as powerful, slightly built yet grotesque, child-like in stature yet somehow wise, and usually bent on their own goals and objectives.
The ugly, Hollywood-inspired, space aliens we all are so familiar with have truly invaded our living rooms through the medium of television. It is little wonder that so many people describe these uninvited visitors as looking alike. Our national media can now influence the visual imagery of millions of Americans (and non-Americans as well) in very subtle yet similar ways. And the even more disturbing result of all this is a loss of a sense of personal control over our own environmental circumstances. Still, all of this fear is not necessarily bad.
Fear is a perfectly normal and useful psycho-physiological protective response. It is a practical and helpful indication to us that we had better do something about our selves or our circumstances. Irrational, fear-based behavior, on the other hand, is potentially dangerous as well as self- defeating. If our encounters with space aliens produces irrational acts someday we will find ourselves in very great difficulties indeed. But if we can assess our personal motives concerning why we feel as we do toward alien life forms and can trace some degree of rationality in our thoughts about them we (mankind) will be far better suited to meet and dialog and coexist with them.
The painstaking work of Ed Stewart in the pages to follow will lead you on to much greater depths of wonder and awe concerning the creativity of God and of the minds of men, as reflected in the pages of Flying Saucer Review. Do not turn this page unless you are ready to confront your own fears directly and to try to understand your own motives for studying UFO phenomena. What you discover about yourself will probably surprise you more than what you will find out about UFO phenomena.
Richard F. Haines September
© Flying Saucer Review Library of Congress copyright FSR Publications, Ltd. 1981.
Contributions appearing in this magazine do not necessarily reflect its policy and are published without prejudice.