Is it just me or are all UFO sightings starting to sound the same? Strange lights or objects in the sky. Someone who once knew someone who had a cousin that worked in place where they had a picture of a B-52 bomber says that it is most definitely not a military aircraft. The sleuth reporter gives us a few more physical descriptions and pull quotes, all in an attempt to identify what the object is not: weather balloon, solar flare, really big firefly. Surely the elimination of alternatives is the same as proof.
Mr Vandervegt said the lights made no noise and did not blink.
Wouldn’t you be more concerned if the lights DID make noise? I think I would start dialing the NSA if the next time I turned on a lamp the bulb started talking to me or whistling dixie. Satellites are also known for their propensity for silence as they march across the sky. Space, being a vacuum, makes it difficult for noises of any kind to exist.
But don’t get me wrong, I really want UFOs to drop-in relatively unannounced, for aliens to give us the secrets to renewable energy, bipartisan politics, and the silent vacuum cleaner (random fact: we actually possess the technology to the silent vacuum, but people won’t buy it because of the perception that a non-deafening vacuum isn’t working properly, which is more than a little semantically ridiculous now that I’ve written it out). But I don’t think that a couple of stationary lights in the sky is proof that our current blog theme is about to come true. Despite this, articles appear once every few months in local papers, and every couple of years it makes CNN.com or the Today show. I suppose this is largely the result of a strong belief that aliens are out there, and since they’re out there, they may as well be here, and they’re here because of… well because of basic human motivations: exploration, manifest destiny, they got lost on the way to the gas station at Andromeda… These basic motivations color our interpretation of the ‘evidence’ they leave behind, creating a never-ending cycle of ‘we found this, we think it’s because of this, therefore this is true because we found this’. Kindof like how in a “haunted” house they find “anomalies” like cold spots or EMF, then they come up with a theory as to how the cold spots or EMF readings are caused by ghosts, and then the cold spots become evidence of ghosts. But coming up with a theory, and then looking for evidence, or coming up with a theory and then looking for a lack of evidence, is a terrible way to go about proving something when you don’t even really understand the thing you’re theorizing about.
See, the problem with aliens is that they’re alien. I can barely understand some of the cultural nuances of other humans; imagine trying to have a dinner conversation with a being that evolved in such completely different circumstances that they may not even recognize the concept of meals. What if they absorb all their nutrients through their skin (all you biologists out there: shush, clearly these are magical aliens who only need a small amount of energy to sustain themselves), and the thought of sitting around a table as people stuff once-dead animals and plants into their mouths in front of each other is barbarism of the highest order.
Come to think of it, it is pretty weird how we’ve made the visceral destruction of matter and the beginning stages of digestion into a social event. Plus given the devolution into yelling and drunken toast giving at my family’s gatherings, I wonder if we misunderstand the meal system entirely. It’s actually a form of psychological warfare, one that our forefathers insisted we learn and perfect so that one day when the meal-avoiding aliens arrive, we can shock them into submission with our table manners.
Just a thought.
So since we can’t understand aliens, we can’t properly theorize about UFOs. I once heard a comedian wonder why aliens always seemed to visit the backwoods states and the people of more modest education rather than marching straight to the UN. Well, for one thing: I currently live on Earth, speak one of the more popular languages, and unlike most people know that the United Nations building itself is not on international property (though it is inviolable) yet I still don’t know what their business hours are nor how to look them up. How would an alien know how to get there? Or that he should go there? And if the alien comes from a more hive-minded species, it wouldn’t occur to him (or her or it or [insert alien pronoun of choice]) that it matters which earthling to approach first.
Or there’s the scientific explanation: aliens are watching us, studying us, occasionally picking up samples for their collections. They, like Jane Goodall, remain aloof to observe at a distance and that is why we may catch brief glimpses out of the corner of our eye, but never encounter them directly. Why? Why would aliens mimic our scientific process? Is the scientific process, like math, a language that exists whether we are aware of its entire vocabulary or not? Is the Star Trek Prime Directive truly universal?
Conspiracy: Aliens are just as selfish, insidious, surreptitious, and fond of white cat petting while smoking cigars and sitting in black swivel chairs as we. They’re after our helium stores (the US Government sells helium at a ridiculously cheap price despite the fact that it is a very limited resource and we’re due to run out in a few decades).
I’ve suddenly forgotten where I was going with this and now all I can think of is a bunch of squeaky voiced aliens in a ship full of party balloons.
So here’s a question for any readers out there: you’re standing in a field when an alien approaches you. What’s the first thing you say, and how does the alien respond?