Where have all the UFO's gone to?

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Published on August 31st, 2007, 7:48 am
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Close encounters of the fourth kind
Ziauddin Sardar

Published 30 August 2007

11 comments Print version Listen RSS In the age of the internet and instant communications, aliens have become irrelevant

It has been a bad summer for aliens. The last UFO sighting in Britain (the only one this year) was in April, in Guernsey, and - alas - it was not a real UFO. But it's not only here. The United States accounts for more than 99 per cent of all UFO sightings. Yet, while fence-building has failed to staunch the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico, the department of homeland security has somehow managed to deter illegal aliens of the intergalactic kind.

Maybe the visitors have been put off by the increasing number and ferocity of hurricanes. Whatever the reason, UFO sightings in the US have almost disappeared.

My friend Kevin Fitzpatrick, who spends a great deal of time thinking about these things, says there is a simple answer. He suggests an exact parallel between the rise in the use of the internet and the fall in UFO sightings. Logical: the amount of time spent staring at the sky must be in inverse proportion to the amount of time available to stare at a computer screen.

But Kevin, a philosopher-cum-psychologist from Cardiff University, has a more elaborate explanation for it. He thinks aliens are a projection of our inner irrationalities, anxieties and fears. The spaceships arrived as a cultural device for making sense of things incomprehensible to ordinary folks. Now we have a new, all-encompassing tool. So, instead of projecting our fears of the inexplicable on to outer space, we project them into cyberspace.

This is a major shift in our cultural references for explaining the "inexplicable" in our lives. Belief in aliens emerged during the Cold War and the early days of space travel. Before that, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the cultural references available to people were steeped in religious belief. It was quite natural for people then to explain their "inexplicable" experiences in religious terms. Visions of the Virgin Mary were common.

However, with the rise of science and the decline of Christianity, the advent of science fiction about travel to the moon and then the actuality of moon travel, it became more culturally relevant for people to couch their strange experiences in terms of science and UFOs. So, mass sightings of aliens replaced mass sightings of the apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Something similar is happening now, says Kevin. Instant global communications have changed our cultural reference points. Now, our hallucinations are located in cyberspace. People seek to explain the inexplicable through the internet - by developing virtual communities, in chat rooms, through exploring virtual worlds and playing games where they can actually take on the persona of visiting aliens. With the internet, we have become self-absorbed and inward-looking. UFOs have become irrelevant.

Last autumn, the French television channel ARTE produced Cosmic Connexion, a special programme designed to persuade the aliens back. It was broadcast to Errai, a star located in the Big Dipper, some 45 light years away. Presented by two naked hosts, the show tried to explain the mysteries of the human body and humanity to its target alien audience. ARTE also asked viewers to submit messages to be beamed into space. Replies are due around 2096.

I hope I'll still be around. I believe we are not alone and I pine for First Contact, like in Star Trek. Where are Vulcans when you need them? Mr Spock, in his logical way, was a great deal more humane, compassionate and opposed to the arrogance of human self-absorption than that model of pan-galactic paranoia and the American Way, Captain Kirk. Maybe there's more to learn than just about ourselves - out there among the stars.

While I do think there is life in the universe other than us, I have a hard time beLIEving any aliens have ever visited our little mudball of a planet. Overall this article seems to make good sense.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you "choose" to respond to it.

SouthernFriedInfidel wrote: If you believe things that are contradicted by the evidence, then you are on a path built on falsehoods.
August 31st, 2007, 7:48 am
Based on everything I've seen, I've got to believe that
a) their is life out there.
b) some of it's smarter then us &
c) it's been here.

Call me crazy, but I think mathematically it's much more likely that those 3 bullets are true rather then false.

Concerning this article though.... I think, if it really is a "true" alien ship rather then human UFO, then they are being more cautious with the increase in technology to monitor the air. Secondly, I think alot of UFOs are man-made, or government aircraft, many of which may not be as likely to be out and about with the current level of insecurity within the world.
August 31st, 2007, 8:58 am
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