Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Interim Summary and First Draft of an Analytical Model – Part 2

The ontological levels cannot be reduced to one another. For instance, physics is not of much use to study environmental ecosystems; biology is not effective to understand cultural variations; psychology is not very good at explaining social phenomena such as social classes, etc. Yet, ontological levels do interact, and at times overlap. Any attempt to provide an analytical model for the study of UFO waves, must also take into account such interactions. In fact, any scientific progress is likely to occur by exploring those interacting and overlapping dimensions of reality. So far, it is possible to envision the following linkages.

Physical and Biological ontological intersections

Following Budden here, it appears that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) can cause biological hypersensitivity to EMF, as well as other diseases like cancer. EMF can also induce altered state of consciousness. Conversely, it is known that living organisms produce also their own, albeit weak, EMF. It is important to underline that the intersection works both ways, as the biological can influence the physical too. Hence, one should expect, at least in theory, that balls of light might also react to living organisms’ EMF. Although this is internal coherent with what is known, there is little empirical evidence available to support this. But this could constitute an interesting avenue for research.

Physical and Psychological ontological intersections

Following the work of Persinger, it is clear that EMF can have an impact on human perception. Research in parapsychology has also shown that the human mind can also have an impact electrical apparatuses like computers, light bulbs, and of course random number generators. Paul Devereux in his research on Earthlights (Earthlights (Wellingborough: Turnstone Press, 1982)suggested that they seem to react to human action and thought. Pierre Vieroudy came to the same conclusions while doing his empirical research on psi generated UFOs. This is certainly an important aspect of the UFO phenomena that the interaction between balls of light and the human mind can go both ways. This also opens the possibility that the actual content of UFO experience is in part objectively created by the human mind.

Another aspect of mind-over-matter, but more controversial, yet with some evidence to support it, is the issue of materialization. As the historian of science François Favre has shown, there was a lot of quality empirical research done in the early 20th century on materialization that is now almost completely forgotten. These materialization included also manufactured objects. Carl Jung in his book Flying Saucer discusses himself witnessing materialization without having any doubts about it. Research on poltergeist also discusses of cases of materialization. For instance, during the famous German poltergeist event of Rosenheim in 1967, bricks were seen coming out of a house while no bricks were found on the front lawn. As well, a police officer claimed that every time he was getting in the house he saw a bucket of water materializing in front of him.

This may appear outlandish, but it could explain the UFOs seen as having a manufactured shape and leaving geometric marks on the ground. There is some evidence to support this view, as shown above, and this would be more consistent with what is known of UFOs, if compared with proposals coming from the ETH.

Physical and Sociological ontological intersections

At a general level, it is possible to say that physical structures can create particular social forms. For instance, easy communications caused be flat terrain tend to create wider social networks of people and more complex social structure than mountainous terrain were the equivalent of insular mentality is commonly found (think of Switzerland). Conversely, people can change physical environment because it serves better it social organization. The Western way of adapting the environment is quite different from the aboriginal way in the Americas, and this difference is due to a difference in social structure and outlook.

There seems to be also an intersection in the psi realm. One can think about the Global Consciousness project lead by Dean Radin. A form of social psi (i.e., that cannot be reduced to individual psi) seems to affect random number generators. This was seen in a very spectacular way, starting 8 hours before the first attack against the World Trade Centre, on 11 September 2001. Carl Jung has also theorized about the collective unconscious, and other have speculated that it is a form of absolute knowledge that individual can access through psi-related means, but the absolute knowledge itself could only be understood as a social object. Others have speculated, but not research it, that UFOs might be a form social psi, gaining a temporary autonomy that cannot be understood in terms of individual psi effect. There is some evidence to support this, as some have noticed that UFO waves tend to occur where there are national or collective tensions, or just before (like the Iranian UFO incident of 1976 – similar to the Belgian one of 1989-1990, a few years before the Islamic Revolution). This would be also coherent with what is known.

This is one of the key contribution that parasociology can make in the study of not only UFOs, but other so-called paranormal events.

Biological and Psychological ontological intersections

At a general level, it is known that brain injury, for instance, can affect perceptions and consciousness. Conversely, it is also known that diseases and illness can be created by psychosomatic disorders. With respect to UFOs, one cannot exclude some report of strange illness and cure caused by aliens/UFOs. There has been research about psi healing, and psi-induced illnesses. Again, this would be consistent with is known.

Biological and Sociological ontological intersections

At a general level, it is known that the biological environment influences social structures. Fishing communities, for instance, are very different from hunter-gatherers’ societies. Social structures can also have an impact on biology like industrialism and environmental pollutions, but also advance capitalism causing epidemics of stress-related diseases.

There is also the Gaïa theory, which assumes that the Earth is a living organism too. By extension one can think that maybe this living organism is also producing psi effects that influence the collective unconscious. This is a popular New Age idea, but it has no supporting evidence. On the other hand, it is theoretically in line with the known interactions between the social and the biological, if it is embedded into a collective psi construct. This would be an interesting project for parasociology, but it requires firming up quite a bit the notion of collective psi. Yet, the implicit idea would be that UFOs are “psi reactions” of the biosphere to human activities. So far, the symbolic meaning attached to UFOs sightings seems pointing instead towards something internal to human affairs and not the issues of the biosphere.
Sociological and Psychological ontological intersections

At a general level, it is known that culture and socialization influence the type of personalities found in a given society. Conversely, so individual can have profound influence on social constructs (e.g., Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Picasso, etc.). The intersection is also possible in the realm of psi effect. For instance, the famous sociologist Max Weber implied that political leadership could be a form of psi (and this has not been noticed by many sociologists). Conversely, the “epidemic” of Gray alien visitations could be explained as individuals being “struck” by social psi.

There is very little research done so far on the intersections between individual and social psi beyond the groundbreaking work done by Carl Jung. But it is clearly in line with what is known. This is certainly the other key task of parasociology, with obvious application to UFO research, if successful in developing an empirical research agenda.

Interim Conclusions

When dissected as above, the UFO phenomenon is indeed complex, as not all the variables are known. Parasociology does not have all the answers, but it certainly focuses on the blind spots, the neglected areas of the UFO phenomenon. From this point of view, it is reassuring that the research agenda is indeed attempting to fill existing gaps in our knowledge, and that this gap has been identified by being as multi-disciplinary as possible.

The two priority areas are intersection between the physical realm and the social, and between the psychological realm and the social. In both cases, “science of the extreme” (i.e., the study of psi) appears more needed than normal social science (the “Newtonian” version of it).

It appears now too early to even propose a draft model, but some questions can be put forward. For instance, should I use “socialkinesis” instead of PK to describe the possible interaction between the social and the physical? Are UFO waves “Recurrent Spontaneous Social Kinesis”? Similarly, should I use “Extra-Sensorial Socialization” to discuss informational psi effect emanating out of the collective unconscious? I am not sure. But I know there is a need to develop a terminology that will help preventing reductionist attempts of considering social psi as simply an aggregate of psychological psi (a common problem already existing in normal sociology when engaging with normal psychologists and physicists and biologists).

Copyright © 2008 Eric Ouellet

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